by The Rev. Mark Buetow
Last week, the Supreme Court of California legalized gay marriage. Homosexual men and women may now actually get a marriage license. The world pretty much welcomed this decision as a wonderful thing, allowing the “love” that exists between two men or two women to be given the same “right” of marriage that was only allowed to a man and woman before. This is a pretty sad decision because it highlights our world and society’s continual advance away from God’s Word.
But here’s the thing. All over the country churches and preachers are going to be preaching and teaching that homosexuality is against God’s order and against God’s Commandments. Well, they’re right. After all, the Book of Leviticus says plainly that “you shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman” (Leviticus 18:22). And St. Paul seems pretty clear when he includes “homosexuals” and “sodomites” among the list of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9). So, yeah, homosexuality is clearly against the LAW of God. But so are all other sins!
While it’s true that the Law condemns this sin as it does all sins, what you won’t hear preached and taught is that homosexuality is wrong because it denies the GOSPEL. The Gospel is the “Good News” that God does not hold our sins against us on account of the obedience and death of Jesus for sinners. Part of this “Good News” is that our Lord Jesus has rescued sinners and brought them into His Church. The Church is the Bride of Christ. Just as Eve was formed from the rib taken from Adam’s side, so the Church is born from Christ’s side in water (Baptism) and Blood (the Sacrament of the Altar) when those flowed out on the day of His death. (John 19:34).
St. Paul writes these words to the Ephesians 5:25-32: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
As it turns out, marriage between one man and one woman is actually a picture and example of something much more important than what’s going on with the husband and wife. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church. So think about this: If a man and woman united in a lifelong union are a picture of Jesus and His Bride, what does the union of two men or two women mean? For that matter, what is pictured by a couple that is just “living together” without marriage? What is pictured by a couple who divorces for no particular reason other than they “fell out of love?”
The truth is, such unions and lifestyles are a denial of the Good News that God’s Word says is true. Either Christ gave His life for sinners and has taken the Church as His Bride or (as gay “marriage” would illustrate) the Church is on her own, married to herself or Jesus only loved and died for Himself—or something weird like that! The truth is this: Christ has given Himself into death for all sins and sinners. On the cross, Jesus took the curse of sin upon Himself. On Calvary, Jesus is the homosexual, the divorced person, the adulterer, the murder and every other sinner. That is what saves us! THAT is the Good News. And that Good News is given and earthly and physical picture to be witnessed in the blessed union of one man and one woman for life.
So, yeah, it’s not a good thing that the Court saw fit to legalize gay “marriage.” But the great sadness of this sort of thinking is not simply that it breaks God’s holy Law, but that such “marriage” denies the very thing that saves us from the Law’s damning curse: the Good News that Jesus has rescued us from our sins and made us a Bride for Himself. Well, let the world believe and do what it wants. We shall hold fast to the true Good News that declares that our Lord does not count the sins of His Bride against her, but takes her as His own precious treasure now and forever.