HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS RESPOND TO THE RECENT SUPREME COURT RULING ON HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE?

Written by Ron Hutchison


I am sure that almost everyone is aware of the decision that the United States Supreme Court handed down June 28, 2015 legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States. It is being heralded as a landmark ruling. The President of the United States hailed the ruling as a milestone in American justice that arrived "like a thunderbolt." The President further said, "This ruling is a victory for America... This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free." To further add insult to injury for us Christians, on the night of the decision the White House was lit in rainbow colors - a symbol of "gay pride" - to mark the high courts decision.

We now live in a country where it is a terrible sin to speak out against the sin of homosexuality and homosexual marriages but it is proper and just for those who live in the White House to offend Christians. It reminds me of Isaiah's time, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" (Isaiah 5:20-21).  Indeed, there are many in our country and in the leadership of our country who have gotten things backward and can't see the light.

(For a transcript of the Supreme Court decision concerning "same-sex marriage" click on this link. Before you continue reading this article, please go to this link and read what the Bible teaches about homosexuality.)

Again, I have to ask, as I have been doing for some time, where does the so-called expansion of marriage rights stop? Does it stop here with homosexual marriages? Or does it now go to polygamist marriages? What about marriage to animals, will it lead to that? What about pedophiles? After all, the same arguments are being made for these "expansions of marriage" as for homosexual marriages. Go to the links and see for yourself.

The question I want to consider in this article has to do with how Christians should respond to this decision or to any other decision that our government makes that is against God's will.

The deed has been done - the ruling has been made. Five unelected judges have ignored written and moral law and have imposed their immoral views on the whole country, legislating from the bench, usurping the authority of individual states who had passed laws against same-sex marriage, but more important and of far greater consequence, defying the authority of God Himself who originated marriage and who set forth His will for marriage in His word (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:3-9; Ephesians 5:22-33 etc...) As a result, there will be the inevitable clash between those of us who believe God's will about this matter and who act accordingly, and the government officials who are charged to see that this decision is carried out. In fact, the clashes have already started.

Many have said through the years that once the homosexual activists and their supporters reached their goal of legal same-sex marriage that they would not stop there, but would go on to try to destroy the influence of those who are opposed to their perversion and sin. This decision has already emboldened the atheists and activists to call for a repeal of the tax exempt status of religious institutions. They evidently now believe that they have the upper hand, and have government behind them, so they are going to do everything they can to destroy the influence of those who claim allegiance to Jesus Christ.  As a result of the power they now hold over gullible leaders in our nation, it may not be long until Christians here in the United States undergo the same kind of persecutions that our brothers and sisters faced in the first three centuries from the Roman government. Mark my word, those who claim they have been persecuted in the past because of their "gayness", and those who support them, will not hesitate to persecute and murder Christians. It has happened before, and it can happen again. And it can happen in these United States.

The fact is that this decision of the Supreme Court came about from the influence of Satan whose goal has always been the destruction of Christianity. The inspired apostle Peter wrote, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Yes, I believe that the devil exists and that he influences evil people to do evil things. Make no mistake, his ultimate goal in influencing those five judges on the Supreme Court to make the decision they made is the destruction of Christianity. In the first century when Jesus built His church (Matthew 16:18), it was the Jewish leaders that Satan influenced to persecute the church. Later, he influenced the Roman government to persecute the church. Down through the years Satan has tried his best to pervert and destroy Christianity. It has always been his ultimate goal to influence any government he could to destroy the church, and that is still his goal.

However, one of the great truths that we must remember is that Satan has never been successful and will never ultimately be successful in destroying the church of Christ. He has won some battles, and every time he does he takes some Christians who cannot stand the test with him to an eternity in hell. But ultimately Christ will be victorious over Satan and Satan will end up in the hell that was prepared for him (Matthew 25:41) and will suffer eternally just as all wicked people will suffer. The Bible teaches in Revelation 20:10,
"The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
The beast and the false prophet represent those who let Satan influence them to do evil and who persecute God's people. The devil, and all those who let him influence them to persecute the church will suffer torment day and night forever and ever. God will see to it! And on that day we can rejoice that all of Satan's power and influence will never again threaten us or anyone else.

But while we are waiting for Jesus to judge Satan and this world, we Christians must remain faithful to Jesus Christ no matter what comes our way. We must not allow the decision the Supreme Court made or any other decision made by our government motivate us to do things that are contrary to God's will. So, I want to now study with you some of what the Bible teaches about how Christians are to respond to civil government when it passes laws or makes decisions that are contrary to God's will.

I would like to first suggest that:

WE MUST CONTINUE TO OBEY THOSE LAWS AND RESPECT
THOSE DECISIONS THAT DO NOT CONFLICT WITH GOD'S WILL

Please read Romans 13:1-5:
"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, and avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake."

I wanted to make this my first point because I am afraid that there will be those who will use decisions like the Supreme Court recently made to take up arms against our government or at least to rebel against it in some way or try to physically hurt or kill people charged with enforcing or carrying out those decisions. We are reminded of those who have killed or tried to kill doctors and nurses who were aborting babies. I know what murderers of innocent human beings deserve, but it is not up to Christians to seek vengeance. That is God's place (Romans 12:19; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 10:30).  Those who abort babies, those who sell baby body parts, those who involve themselves in homosexual sin and who support such things will have vengeance rendered on them by God Himself (Revelation 21:8; Romans 1:32). Our responsibility as Christians is to teach what God's word says about abortion and homosexuality and other sins so that people can make informed decisions about whether they should be involved in such sin. Our battle is not physical but spiritual (Ephesians 6:12). 

In Romans 13 Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes very clear that Christians must be subject to - obedient to - civil government. Now I understand that there are those who believe this to be true in regard to what they consider to be good governments. But they say that Paul is not talking about a government that makes laws and decisions that conflict with God's will. But the fact is that the Holy Spirit is speaking about the government that was in power in Rome. It was the Roman government that the Holy Spirit says the Romans were to be subject to. In fact, during Paul's life Nero was Emperor of Rome. Nero was one of the most corrupt Emperors Rome ever had. There was severe persecution of Christians under his government. In fact, tradition tells us that Paul was put to death during the reign of Nero, possibly by Nero's own order. Yet, Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write Romans 13:1-5 during the time that Nero was Emperor. And He said that we are to be subject to the governing authorities and that "whoever resists the civil authorities resists the ordinance of God." Not only that but He even says that civil government (which included the corrupt Roman government) is "God's minister," or "God's servant."  One wonders why the Holy Spirit would refer to the Roman government as God's servant despite the fact that the Romans were idolaters and lived very immoral lives.

We get some insight into this when we look at the Old Testament. There were several times when God referred to evil rulers and nations as His servants. A good example is Jeremiah 43:10 where God spoke of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon in these words:
"...thus says Yahwah of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will set his throne above these stones that I have hidden. And he will spread his royal pavilion over them...'"
We should understand that Nebuchadnezzar was not God's servant in the sense that he was obedient to God and recognized Him as the one and only true God, but God used him for His own purposes and to accomplish His will. That is how He uses civil government today - to accomplish His will - and that is why the Holy Spirit through Paul called civil government His servant. Please listen to this: A CHRISTIAN MUST OBEY AND BE SUBJECT TO CIVIL GOVERNMENT NO MATTER WHAT GOVERNMENT HE LIVES UNDER! If Romans 13:1-5 does not teach this truth, I don't know what it teaches. And if we are going to honor God in our lives, we must obey what He taught in Romans 13.

But here is something that must be considered in this discussion: We cannot obey civil government if it requires us to support or be involved in something that conflicts with God's will. Let me repeat that: WE CANNOT OBEY CIVIL GOVERNMENT IF IT REQUIRES US TO SUPPORT OR BE INVOLVED IN SOMETHING THAT CONFLICTS WITH GOD'S WILL! The following example will help us understand this and what our response must be when such takes place.

In Act 5, we have the record of the apostles preaching the gospel and having great success. The Sadducees became jealous and put the apostles in jail. Verse 19 of Acts 5 tells us that an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said,
  "Go stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life" (Acts 5:20).  That's what the apostles did. The High Priest and the Sadducees sent to the jail for them and when the officers who were sent could not find them they came back and reported this to the Jews and the Bible says in verse 24, "...they wondered what the outcome would be."  Someone then told them that the apostles were preaching in the temple. This angered the Jewish leaders so they had the apostles brought before them and verse 28 records the Jewish authorities' words to the apostles: "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to being this man's blood on us!"  Now listen to how Peter and the apostles replied to this because it sets forth a principle and an example as to how we must react when the time comes that the government tells us that we can't preach against homosexuality or any other sin they might try to prohibit us from preaching against. "But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: 'We ought to obey God rather than men.'"  Do you see the principle? Peter did not say "if you keep going against God's will we are going to take up arms against you." They simply said, in so many words, if civil government requires something of us that goes against God's will, we must obey God instead of civil government. Is that resisting civil government? Yes, but we don't resist with an attitude of arrogance or superiority. We resist like the apostles did - with humility and love. And if that leads to us having to go to jail, or to be beaten like the apostles were, then that is how it will be and we will not fight it unless we have legal recourse as the apostles did when Gamaliel spoke up in their defense.

If we have to face persecution as a result of our resisting civil government when they require something of us that is against God's will, we must do it with the attitude the apostles had when they were persecuted. Notice Acts 5:41-42,
"So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." You see, this is the mindset we must develop about persecution. We rejoice that we are doing God's will in such a way that we are counted worthy to suffer shame in His name. So, the Christian does not seek revenge - he does not retaliate - he rejoices that he is counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ.

Rather than rebelling against civil government the Bible teaches us to pray for our leaders:
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior..." (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

The last part of Acts 5:42 brings us to our next point because it says, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." How do we respond to the decision the Supreme Court made, or to any decision or law that conflicts with God's word?

WE MUST NEVER STOP TEACHING AND PREACHING THE GOSPEL!

The apostles and other first century Christians, despite the persecution, despite the threat and reality of death, never stopped teaching and preaching the gospel. When the persecution of the church began at the hand of Saul of Tarsus as recorded in Acts chapter eight, and people were forced to leave their homes to escape the havoc he made in the church, the Bible says,
"Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the gospel" (Acts 8:4).  We may never have the opportunity to teach God's word to those justices on the Supreme Court or the president of the United States or congress, but we can teach our kids and grandkids, we can teach our neighbors and friends and people we work with and go to school with. We can set an example before all of those people we come in contact with of what it truly means to be a Christian. We must be like the apostles of Acts 5 and the Christians in Acts 8, and continue to teach and preach the truth no matter what kind of opposition we face.

We should not be surprised that persecution will come to our lives.  Jesus once told the apostles,
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you. 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me" (John 15:18-21).  We must understand that just as Jesus and the apostles were persecuted for teaching God's word, so we must expect the same to happen to us.  And the reason is clearly stated by Jesus: We are not of the world and we teach something that condemns the world in its sin. Christians are supposed to be different - our speech, dress, teaching, entertainment is different. We dedicate ourselves to serving Christ and worshipping our Father in heaven. We attend worship services. We try to teach other people the gospel and convert them to Christ. So we are not like the world, and as a result we will suffer persecution. In fact, Paul writing to Timothy said, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).  I am sorry to say this but it may not be long until we are suffering persecution like people did in the first century (physical persecution) simply because we can not support sin and because we must speak out against it. But what do we keep doing? We keep preaching the gospel, living the Christian life, and preaching against sin and calling for people to repent and obey Christ.

How should we respond to the decision the Supreme Court made?

WE MUST ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL

I know that sometimes it may not seem like it.  Sometimes evil and wickedness is so great and powerful that it seems like God has left us. And we might even ask, "God where are you? Why do You let these things go on?" I am sure that people felt like this in the first, second and third centuries when the Roman government persecuted Christians. In those days there was no way for Christians to fight back against the Roman government. There was no way to defeat them in a physical war. The Jews had already tried that and lost. The Romans were too powerful. But those Christians could fight back by staying faithful to Jesus Christ. Jesus told the church at Smyrna, "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).  No matter what we have to suffer in this life, we must stay faithful. We can be assured that if we remain faithful we will receive the crown of life - eternity in heaven with God. This is something that each Christian needs to ponder. Will I remain faithful to Jesus Christ when faced with physical persecution?

One of the things we must always remember is that God is in control. Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon finally learned the following truth:
"...the most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whoever He chooses" (Daniel 5:21). There is no doubt in my mind that God still rules in the kingdoms or countries of men today.  When Jesus stood before Pilate, Pilate ask Him where He was from, but Jesus gave him no answer. In John 19:10, "Pilate said to Him, 'Are you not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?'" Verse 11 records this amazing answer from Jesus, "...You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above..." Pilate needed to know what every leader in any nation needs to know. The power they have comes from God. The only reason Pilate had any power was because God gave it to him.  God can give power to leaders of nations and He can take it away. 

It does not matter how much power the justices of the Supreme Court think they have. It does not matter how much power the President of the United States or the congress think they have. God is in control and He can take that power away literally at any moment. Nebuchadnezzar learned that lesson after being driven from the sons of men and dwelling with the wild donkeys and eating grass like the oxen (Daniel 5:21). Nebuchadnezzar's son, Belshazzar learned this lesson when he failed to humble his heart and when according to Daniel 5:23 he lifted himself up against the Lord in heaven. God sent him a message by having the fingers of a man's hand write words on the wall as Belshazzar watched. The words the fingers wrote were MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.  Daniel interpreted those words to mean: God had numbered Belshazzar's kingdom and finished it.  Belshazzar had been weighed in the balances and found wanting. His kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:26-29).  That very night the words came to pass. Belshazzar was killed and Darius the Mede received the kingdom (Daniel 5:30-31).

God is still in control. I wish people who are in authority would come to an understanding of who God is.  Daniel told Belshazzar in Daniel 5:23,
"And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified." The words underlined in this verse are true in our time as well as in Belshazzar's time. Who is God? He is the One Who holds our breath in His hand and owns all our ways. That's the kind of power He has over every person including those who hold power in civil government. God has the power to destroy those who arrogantly reject His will. There is no doubt in my mind, that those five judges who ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage as well as those in the past who ruled in favor of abortion have lifted themselves up against the Lord of heaven. Our president has lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven in his support of this decision. Many in congress have lifted themselves up against the Lord of heaven by supporting those decisions. They have not glorified God. They need to be taught or reminded that God holds their breath in His hand and owns all their ways. 

I do not know how long God will tolerate our nation's leaders rebelling against His will. How long will He bear with those who shake their fists in His face (as it were) and arrogantly decide that God's way is not the way to follow?  There is one thing that we can be assured of, and that is that God will ultimately punish those who do such things and that those members of the Supreme Court who made the decision to ignore God's will and made perversion of God's marriage laws legal and all of those who support them in that decision will one day stand before God and answer for their decisions if they do not repent (2 Corinthians 5:10; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:11-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). 

While we are waiting for Christ to carry out His judgment on this country and on the world this is how we must respond when the leaders of our country make decisions or pass laws that conflict with God's will:

  • We must continue to obey those laws and honor those decisions that are made by our leaders that are in harmony with God's will.    
  • We must continue to preach the truth no matter what the circumstances and no matter what kind of persecution may result.
  • We must continue to remember that God is still in control!
 

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