(Due to the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage (June 26, 2015), Part II of the study on confronting textual conflicts has been postponed until next month.)
The Supreme Court of the United States now has clearly stated that same-sex marriage is now permissible in all 50 states and marriage between a man and a woman is legally equivalent to same-sex unions. Since 36 states had already approved same-sex marriage, the justices may have concluded that eventually the remaining states would approve the matter anyway. Even if the verdict of the Supreme Court reflects decisions made by a majority of the 50 states, the verdict should be sobering to Christians because the United States’ highest court has formally insulted the Creator of the universe. Arm yourself with the following 14 statements and the supporting Bible quotations:
1. Daniel and Paul indicate that governments are ordained by the Creator and they serve at God’s pleasure.
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1–2)
“He sets up kings and deposes them. . . . The holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 2:21; 4:17)
These verses do not imply that citizens should obey earthly authorities when they overstep the boundaries set by the Creator. When a conflict between the laws of man and the laws of God exists, we show our allegiance by complying with the authority we deem highest. Notice how early Christians responded to this challenge:
“Having brought the apostles [from prison], they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,’ he said. ‘Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.’ Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!’ ” (Acts 5:27, 29)
2. The Earth is but a footstool of the Creator. After eating grass like an animal for seven years, King Nebuchadnezzar finally discovered that God has dominion over everything on Earth.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.’ ” (Isaiah 66:1)
“His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’ ” (Daniel 4:34–35)
3. God raises up nations and He takes them down. His patience with nations is limited.
“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” (Ezekiel 14:12–13)
4. God declares that homosexual acts are detestable to Him.
“ ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.’ ” (Leviticus 18:22–23)
5. God warned Israel to stay away from sexual immorality.
“ ‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these [sexual] ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:24–25, insertion mine)
6. Jesus declared that sexually immoral people cannot enter the Holy City.
“ I [Jesus] am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (Revelation 22:13–15, insertion mine)
7. Paul says those who practice homosexual behavior deserve death.
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. . . . Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:24–32)
8. God’s wrath will come upon those who participate in sexual immorality.
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10)
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” (Colossians 3:5–6)
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.” (Ephesians 5:6–7)
“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” (Romans 2:5–8)
9. Marriage began when God united Adam and Eve during Creation Week.
“The man [Adam] said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man. [And God said] For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23–24, insertions mine)
[Jesus said] “ ‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’ ” (Matthew 19:4-6, insertion mine)
10. God loves all sinners and all human beings are born sinners.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
11. The penalty for sin is death. This penalty will be executed on those sinners who do not have a Savior at the end of sin’s drama.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
12. Eternal life cannot be purchased or earned by sinners, but God has made eternal life freely available for everyone willing to overcome the desires of the sinful nature.
“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:13–14)
13. Overcoming the misdeeds of the body is required and possible through faith in Christ.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? . . . You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he
did.’ ” (James 2:14–22)
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the [evil ways and desires of the] world.” (1 John 5:3, insertion mine)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
14. Overcoming sexual immorality is not optional.
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.”
(1 Thessalonians 4:3–5)
“These are the words of him who has the sharp, double–edged sword. . . .You have people there [in your church] who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality . . . Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.” (Revelation 2:12–17, insertion)
“These are the words of the Son of God . . . I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel [this is not king Ahab’s wife who lived centuries earlier], who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” (Revelation 2:18–28, insertion mine)
The Creator has declared His position on sexual immorality. God is changeless. (Malachi 3:6) He holds us accountable for our actions. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) Nothing escapes His view: “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12;14) Judgment day is coming. “He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.” (Psalm 96:13) “The Lord is coming . . . to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14–15)
Our changeless Creator has never called something “detestable” and later called it “good.” Marriage was ordained as the union of a man and a woman in the Garden of Eden. Sexual immorality is a sexual experience with another person outside of marriage and a homosexual act is a sexual experience with someone of the same sex. The Supreme Court of the United States has spoken, but its words will be nullified when the Lord reveals His anger with man’s arrogance, rebellion, and blasphemy. Soon, the Supreme Ruler of Heaven and Earth will rise up and show sinners that He means business. When He does, 25% of Earth’s population will quickly perish (Revelation 6:8) and the survivors will tremble. Joel saw this, too: “Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand—a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.” (Joel 2:1–2)