Justifying Gay Marriage Biblically?

How does a Christian church justify (Biblically) performing a marriage ceremony for homosexuals? What is their interpretation of Scripture?

The biblical justification offered by those who perform such marriages often falls under the category of “common grace”. What is that? Simply put: That is the belief that there are some things God gives to all people, believer or unbeliever. (e.g. Matthew 5:45 says “the rain falls on the just and the unjust.”)

So to justify it as “common grace“, they would say something like, “Even people who have no regard for God at all have the 'right' to get married (heterosexual, homosexual, doesn‘t matter), because that is a ‘common grace’ available to every human being.”

Whether you agree or disagree with the fundamental issue isn‘t the aim of this answer because it wasn‘t the aim of the question. This is a "Biblical justification" given from those who care to justify it biblically.

The other answer given is: “The Bible doesn’t say homosexuality is sinful.” I know this is a sensitive and very culturally relevant topic today, and this particular issue has been debated and discussed incessantly. So I would encourage you to read Romans 1:18-32 for yourself. What does the Bible straightforwardly say about it?

Dead to Sin!

One of the most encouraging passages in the Bible about having victory over sin is found in Romans 6:2.  The Apostle Paul asks the rhetorical question, "How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (NASB). If we're a blood-bought believer in Christ, having confessed and forsaken our sins, and surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ, then we DIED to sin. To continue in it would be unthinkable!

The phrase "died to sin" refers an act or event that happened once in the past and is now completed.   We died to sin the moment we placed our faith in Jesus Christ.  Because of His finished work on the cross, the reign of sin has been crushed in our lives and replaced by the reign of grace.  The cords of the enemy that held us in bondage were broken and we were set free. This is fantastic news! 

Dying to sin does not mean that we are perfectly sinless now.  Even despite our heightened vigilance against sin and temptation, we will still continue to succumb to our human nature and commit sin.  But what this passage is saying is that sin does not have a death grip on us anymore. This means that we are no longer slaves of sin.  We are no longer under sin's dominion. Sin no longer controls us. The sin that once terrorized us and defeated us has been rendered powerless in our lives.  When sin controlled us, we had no option but to sin.  Sin was our master, and slaves must obey their masters. But things are different now!  We have a different Master!   

Yes, we're going to sin. We are going to blow it. We're going to stumble and fall sometimes.  But when this happens, we confess, repent and get back up. Why?! Because we died to sin.  Sin doesn't reign over us anymore, God's grace does.

Why does He talk like that?!

Have you ever been around someone that made you ask yourself this (hopefully in your head)? I went to high school with someone who suddenly grew a British accent when she went to work. I am sure she didn’t know she was doing it. But I was just like… why is she talking like that? When did she get so British?

So Jesus, the greatest Person to ever walk the earth, is about to reveal some deep spiritual truths about God, the earth, heaven, hell, the Gospel, the end of the world… you know, all the big topics. And He starts His teaching by basically saying, “Want to know about Sovereign Holy God’s kingdom? Let me tell you a story about a guy who had a bag of seeds.”

In Matthew 13, Jesus teaches 7 parables. What is a parable? The Greek (para) means “something alongside of something else”, or a comparison. It is a hard spiritual truth alongside an easy, earthly story. Spiritual matters are very hard for fleshly humans to understand, so parables help us make sense of them.

Parables can be effective for many reasons. They put concepts in pictures, for those of us who think that way. Parables are also easy to remember and retell. They are also great attention-grabbers!

But why did Jesus talk like that? Why didn’t He just teach the facts? Why did He communicate in parables?

In Matthew 13:10-17, the disciples had the same question, and Jesus explains why.

Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: "'You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. 

So Jesus said He speaks in parables because “seeing they do not see” and “hearing they do not hear”. Parables had a way of revealing truth to some people and concealing it from others… at the same time! If you want to hear God’s truth, He makes a way. But if you harden your heart, you will not be able to hear him! Receive truth, get more; reject truth, stay in darkness! Also an interesting note: Jesus didn’t explain this to the multitudes… He explained this to His disciples!

The bottom line is grace. We are accountable for how we respond to what we know. And the more someone knows… and rejects… the worse the punishment is going to be for them in hell. So God, in His grace, uses a method of clearly teaching truth in a way that can be taught by those looking for it… BUT ALSO missed by those not interested. It’s grace!

The parables have always fascinated me. How can Jesus say so much by saying so little? Join us at Harvest on Sunday as we seek to understand the profound truths taught in simple stories.

p.s. - has a congregation that wishes he could say so much by saying so little

BE STRONG! Part V: What does being strong in grace look like in me?

People say it all the time. People pray for it and ask for prayer for it all the time. “Be strong, be strong, help me be strong, keep me strong…”

We have already seen the source of strength (the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 Timothy 2:1), and how that grace has eradicated our sin and given us blessings beyond compare. But sometimes thinking about being strong can be a rather abstract concept. What does a strong Christian look like? Is she emotionally steady? Does he have massive biceps? Is a strong Christian one who has a brilliant mind?

To get a grasp on what a strong Christian looks like, Paul gives Timothy four illustrations. He tells Timothy a strong Christian lives like dedicated experts in four different vocations: a teacher, a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer (2 Timothy 2:2-6). 

The Teacher: A strong Christian is active in ministry. We live in a day where many are content to be saturated with good teaching… always involved in taking it in but never involved in giving it away! Instead of passing the baton, we have Christian fatheads who would be great on Jeopardy if New Testament was one of the categories. But just taking it all in, as some kind of armchair Bible scholar, is not a picture of strength. The first thing Paul points out is a strong Christian is involved in making disciples through teaching those who will be able to teach. Notice verse 2 speaks of four generations: Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others. For Christians who are not in a church, or Christians in a church who just show up: get involved in ministry. Lead a small group, get involved in VBS, join up with those doing outreach… whatever you feel God has equipped you to do, get doing it!

The Soldier: A strong Christian is focused on pleasing Christ. This should be a no-brainer, but we need reminded as Timothy did. It is so easy to get “entangled in civilian pursuits”. These things aren’t necessarily sinful things, though some can be. These are the things that consume our time, money, energy, thoughts, attention, etc. It can be a hobby or a habit or a hang-up. Whatever is hindering you from serving Jesus Christ with your whole heart is an entanglement. Entanglements sound like this: “I can’t get involved in church because of __“ or “I wish I could be a part of that ministry, but I am just too busy ___.“ You will always have the time to do what you really want to do, just as you will always have the money for what you really want! We avoid any entanglement, because the thing that drives the follower of Christ is pleasing Him! He enlisted us, and at the end of the day, all we want to hear is “well done, good and faithful servant.” We do what we do to honor our Commanding Officer. Keep that motive clear in your own heart!

The Athlete: A strong Christian lives by the Word of God. Nobody likes a cheater. Whether it is Mark McGuire or Sammy Sosa or Bill Belichick or Ben Johnson, people who have cheated in professional sports have permanently stained their reputation. But as Christians, we play by the rules. No shortcuts, no “my way is better than God’s”, we play according to the rules. What rules? This is not talking about rules like “don’t play cards, don’t dance, women don’t wear anything other than a skirt”. This simply means we follow God’s Word because we love Him (John 14:15). Every athlete is in his/her respective sport to go after the prize: the trophy, the cup, the belt, the medal… and we are pursuing the ultimate prize (2 Timothy 4:8). And we are doing it by the Book, so to speak :) . 

The Farmer: A strong Christian feeds himself first. If a farmer brings in the harvest, and sells 100% of it, he has a problem. He may have made some money, but now he has nothing to eat. has nothing to eat. We are saturated with good teaching in our day, but some of us pour ourselves out to do the saturating. Ironically, sometimes the biggest hindrance to our personal growth is doing ministry. We give out and teach and pour into and rinse and repeat, but end up feeling empty ourselves sometimes. What’s the solution? The hardworking farmer should be the first to partake. If I am not feeding myself, I have nothing to give. Our ministry should just be the overflow of what the Holy Spirit is doing in our own lives. 

“Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything”, he says in verse 7. Before you navigate away from this page, or hit the red X square in the upper right corner, just STOP for a minute and THINK it over. We would all agree with what the Word of God says. But stop and ask yourself, “How am I doing in these areas?” in verse 7. Before you navigate away from this page, or hit the red X square in the upper right corner, just STOP for a minute and THINK it over. We would all with what the Word of God says. But stop and ask yourself, “How am I in these areas?”

  • Am I actively involved in ministry?
  • Am I seeking to please Christ by avoiding any entanglements that get in the way of serving him with my whole being?
  • Am I living in obedience to the Word of God?
  • Am I seeking the Lord and growing personally, in order to have something to give to others?

p.s. - thinking it over...