The debate as to whether gay marriage ought to be legalized has been raging across our land for a number of years. It is my understanding that the president of our great nation has recently made a public statement of support for legalizing gay marriage- marriage between two men or two women. Never before has a president of this country issued such a statement. As citizens of this nation what should be our position and attitude regarding this prospect?
Civil authority exists by God’s design (Rom. 13:1-7). As Christians, God holds us accountable for respecting civil government and obeying the laws of the land. History is filled, however, with examples of civil governments that were corrupt and immoral and that instituted laws that reflected those characteristics. Where should we stand on matters of civil law that contradict God’s law as revealed in His word?
First, we need to understand the basis for the very concept of law. Fundamentally, a law is a statement issued by a society that defines rightness on a given matter. It is right to respect life; therefore, murder is illegal. It is right to respect another person’s property; therefore, stealing and is illegal. Admittedly, many civil laws lie on somewhat murky ground, but the standard sought is one of basic goodness- that which is best for society as a whole.
True goodness is a matter of morality, it cannot be true goodness apart from also being moral. The only valid standard for determining what is moral, and therefore good, is God (Matt. 19:17; Jas. 1:13; 1 Jn. 1:5). Without God neither goodness nor morality can be defined or upheld. His word, not civil government, lays out for us the fundamental truths of goodness and morality (2 Tim. 3:16-17). So, where should we stand when civil law contradicts God’s law?
We must always stand “on the Lord’s side” (Ex. 32:26). If some other authority issues a decree that contradicts God’s law we must remain true to God (Acts 4:18-20; 5:29). When civil law clearly violates God’s law we must stand with God.
Active homosexuality- the so-called gay lifestyle- is clearly condemned in scripture. In the Old Testament it is referred to as “an abomination” (Lev. 18:22) so serious as to be punishable by death (Lev. 20:13). Thankfully, we don’t live under that law today. But, the New Testament also condemns the active homosexual lifestyle as being one of “vile passions” and “against nature” and “shameful” (Rom. 1:26-27). It is declared to be a sin that, without repentance and forgiveness, will keep one out of Heaven (1 Cor. 3:9-11).
Our attitude toward our president, as the leader of our civil government, should remain respectful, but our first allegiance must be to God and His supreme law. While active homosexuality is undeniably identified in God’s word as being sinful, we still need to exhibit the love of God toward those caught up in the sin by teaching them the divinely inspired truth on the matter and showing them the way to forgiveness and healing through Christ (Matt. 11:28-30; Acts 22:16; Phlp. 4:13)…
Gary L. Hutchens