Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time to Take a Second Look?

(From the Evangelical Lutheran Synod web site, by Pr. Paul Fries) 

Here in Minnesota, we will be voting on a “marriage amendment” this November.  If passed, it will define marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman.  There is a great deal of debate with very heated arguments often the result.  I drove by an intersection with a house on one side of the street with a “Vote No” sign on the lawn and the house on the opposite side with a “Vote Yes” sign. There is also a television commercial running showing a happy heterosexual couple with children with a church and political background (both of which would normally be opposed to same-sex “marriage”) telling us that it’s time to “take a second look” and to vote “no” on the amendment.  What should a Christian do?

For a Christian, the answer is quite simple:  God has already defined marriage as between one man and one woman.  No matter what our government does, God’s definition cannot change.  But what about people who are not Christian?  Can’t they decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong?  Well, no.  The Bible also tells us that God’s Law is written on the hearts of all people—our consciences.  We all know, because of our consciences, that all sexual relationships outside of marriage are wrong.  This not only applies to homosexuality, but also to heterosexual couples living together.  If our consciences tell us it’s wrong, why are so many people overlooking these sins and even promoting them?  The Bible also tells us that we are able to harden our hearts, both against our consciences and against God’s Word, refusing to believe either one.  And, unfortunately, that is what has happened and is happening throughout our nation.

Many are claiming all kinds of outrageous thoughts and theories about marriage.  So let’s clear some things up.  These are the facts:
  1. Marriage is NOT a right.  It is not guaranteed by God.  It is not guaranteed by our nation’s laws.
  2. God has defined marriage.  Marriage IS “the lifelong union of one man and one woman into one flesh, entered into by mutual consent and promise.”  (ELS Catechism) “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:5-6)  There is no other definition of marriage.
  3. The Bible does NOT condone, as some would suggest, polygamy, incest, rape, etc., as definitions of marriage.  The Bible does contain accounts of all these sins and uses them as examples of sin and the consequences of disobeying God.
  4. It is NOT acceptable for a Christian to hold any other view of marriage other than the Biblical definition of marriage.  As Christians, we live our faith according to God’s Word alone.
  5. The Bible is NOT just a book written by men. It IS the very Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and correct in all that it teaches. The Word of God may not be changed to fit changes in a particular society’s morality.
  6. We recognize that not all people accept the Bible as the true Word of God.  However, God has also given us all consciences and human reason, which, unless we close our hearts to them, will agree with God’s Word in every teaching of the Law.
  7. Churches, church leaders, and others who teach that any form of marriage, except between one man and one woman, are directly opposing God and His Will.  They are sinning.
  8. If the government eventually allows other forms of “marriage,” God’s Word will not change.  Christian churches will continue to teach and practice the Biblical definition of marriage, which is the only definition.  “We must obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:29)
  9. We are NOT all created in God’s image.  Only Adam and Eve were made in God’s image—in perfect righteousness and holiness.  Since the Fall into sin, all people are born in the image of man—spiritually dead and unable to save ourselves.  In this natural state, we ARE all equal in God’s eyes—equally sinful and condemned to Hell.
Those are a lot of negative statements, aren’t they?  Well, let’s look at the positive.  God, in His Word, tells us that He loves us.   God sent His Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior.  Jesus lived the perfect life God demands of us.  He didn’t give in when others tempted Him.  He didn’t have the lust-filled thoughts that we experience.  He didn’t waver when the society and religious leaders around Him told Him He was wrong.  He clung to absolute truth, to God’s Holy Word—His own Word—and proclaimed it without apology. Jesus was willingly tortured, beaten, and killed to take the punishment we deserve for our sin.  He took our punishment and gives us the reward He earned—forgiveness and eternal life!  And to show that He approved, our Heavenly Father raised Jesus from the dead, just as He promises to raise all believers!

Can we as Christians, knowing what God’s Holy Word says, knowing what our Savior suffered for us, knowing the promises of God, “take a second look” at same-sex “marriage?”  Absolutely!  Let’s look at the inspired, inerrant, Holy Word of God!  Let’s read how God defines marriage!  Taking a second look—reading and studying what the absolute truth of God’s Word tells us—we will see that marriage is between one man and one woman.  Take a third and fourth look!  It won’t change.

-Rev. Paul Fries