On Friday, the supreme court justices voted 5-4 to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. And the nation has been responding all weekend long. I have barely checked the news and my facebook because it seems to be the only topic about which people are talking. Happiness. Celebration. Anger. Lamentation. Lashing out. Finger pointing. Almost everyone is responding, and we all need to be able to articulate our positions well. Most of my heroes have responded, and so much has already been written on the topic that I wondered if I should enter the fray, but there is one facet to this conversation that I fear is being overlooked: Satisfaction.
Traditional catechisms verbalize well for us the purpose of man:
To know God and enjoy Him forever.
Jesus said it like this,
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
– John 10.10
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father except through me.”
– John 14.6
Jesus boldly and unashamedly proclaimed to the world that He came some that we can have full, satisfying life, and that He is the only way to have that satisfying life. People are searching for satisfaction and fulfillment, Jesus proclaims that we can only find it in Him, yet we search the world for pleasures: entertainment, relationships, toys, meaning in life through helping others, sex, food, etc. I live in a city which has a remarkably, and abnormally large single’s population, and many of those singles are frantically looking for a spouse. Even within the church, there is a sense that life is incomplete without a spouse, and the married people within the church unfortunately have a tendency to encourage that worldview. This is such a problem, in fact, that many people choose their church based on the number of singles who attend. We would never consider joining a church that had few singles, because the dating pool would be so small!
So here were are in a [church] culture that has taught us we need to be married, being single is a curse, we do not know how to involve and relate to single people, and silently teaching people that they are incomplete without a spouse. And at the same time we are seeing a multiplying number of openly homosexual people in our world and even in our churches. So is it any surprise, then, that they would think a sexual and even marital relationship will complete and fulfill them?
The core of the problem is simple: God did not create us for a spouse. He created us for Himself. If anyone enters into a marital relationship looking for satisfaction and fulfillment, they will be looking to receive from their spouse what only God can give. They will be disappointed, they will think that they have failed, and they will spend the rest of their life wondering what happened, going to counseling and marriage conferences trying to make it better, or they will divorce and look for that “soul mate” who does not exist. It is only when we find our satisfaction, meaning and fulfillment in Christ that we can have full marriages.
The homosexual community has pushed to have the right to legally marry and be viewed by employers, healthcare companies and the world as a married couple. Having an unbiblical view of marriage, they cannot enter into a marital relationship having found peace and satisfaction in God first. In short, they will be disappointed. Some will stick it out to the end and some will move on to look for something else that will satisfy, and this is where the Church must be ready to respond.
First of all, we must remember that people need Jesus. We have all sinned, and no matter the type or depth of our sin, if we do not come to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation, there is absolutely no benefit to fighting sinful tendencies. In short, we should not waste our time trying to convince someone that the Bible teaches marriage between a man and a woman if someone does not believe in Jesus: the conversation is moot. Until we are able to agree that God is the authority and that Scripture is His truth, it does not matter what the Scripture says, quite frankly. Because even if we do an exhaustive study on marriage and the will of God, if the second party is convinced that the Bible does in fact teach heterosexual marriage but does not know Jesus, we have done him no benefit. He needs to know Jesus first.
Secondly, we must remember that we all have walked in sin, and when we came to Christ for salvation, we all had to lay down those sins of temptation. Perhaps yours was not homosexuality, but Scripture says that those who covet (those who get jealous and want what other people have) will not be allowed into Heaven.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor[ effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
– 1 Cor 6.9-11
We all were looking for something to satisfy our lusts until we met Jesus. Some might have the same inclination and you, and others will have different drives than you. Jesus can redeem and forgive them all. When people realize that their lifestyles are not fulfilling them, we must be ready to point them to Jesus: the life.
Lastly, we must stand firm on the truth. If we stand in silence, then we will in essence give affirmation. After, and only after someone has come to Christ for salvation do we begin the work of accountability and dying to sin. When people come to Jesus we have to make Him the Lord of our lives: He is in charge. He gets the final say.
“…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…”
– Rom 10.9
You will only be saved by allowing Jesus to have the final say. And we can know what God has to say from reading His Word, the Bible. Therefore, once Jesus is made Lord, we being teaching people how to read the Bible, understand it and apply it. God says that people who are jealous will not enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we must fight jealousy. God also says that people who practice homosexuality will not enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we must fight homosexual urges. God also says that drunkards, and people who have sex outside of marriage, and people who hate others will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore we must not get drunk, we must not have sex outside of marriage and we must love one another. Not to earn salvation, but to prove ourselves to have made Jesus the Lord of our lives. If He is not Lord, then we are not saved. And for Him to be Lord, we have to do what He says. But we will all fail along the way, so we walk in grace to help people (and ourselves) recognize their tendencies and fight them.
Even this will not satisfy. Only Jesus can satisfy. If you are looking for fulfillment in anything else, you will be disappointed. And marriage is one of the biggest eye openers to this reality. People disappoint. All people. Only God will bring joy and peace. So let us boldly and unashamedly offer this gift to a hurting world. Let’s not get caught up on the secondary issues, but let’s point people to Jesus first. Then, after they have come to Him for salvation, let us diligently seek the word and help one another grow in maturity in Christ – putting away the sin and flesh and putting on Christ.