New York has become the sixth state in the nation to legalize gay marriage. Gay activists are calling this the biggest victory for homosexual rights in American History. As the United States, with strong influence from the media, pop culture and the President, seek to pave the way for gay marriage in America, we can see that society is taking a sharp turn from God and His Word. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin, (but of course this does not mean a gay person cannot be a Christian, as all people are sinners). God invented marriage in the Garden of Eden and intended it for a man and a woman. Jesus Christ made this clear when He explained: “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6). So how should Christians view this landmark law being passed in New York? Is it time for protests? To move to a different state? On the contrary, the Bible shows that it is time for Christians to stay put and stand for Biblical beliefs even more.
God provides all human beings with freedom of conscience: we can choose our own behaviors and whether we want to follow God’s ways, or the ways of the world. And just like an individual, a nation is responsible for its own choices. Christian believers should understand that God empowers governments and instructs us to submit to their decisions. So even when their actions are ungodly, God is still in control of the ultimate destiny of us all. In ancient Israel, God’s original government was one where HE served as King. He raised up judges who administered his law to the 12 tribes, but their actual King was the Lord Himself. Until the days of Samuel, when Israel decided that they wanted a human king to reign over them. Samuel, the last Judge, was supposed to have his sons take over the task for him. But the people had different ideas. The Book of 1 Samuel details how the people addressed the prophet to let them know their desire for “change” in government:
8:5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
Samuel, whom God had appointed to administer the law, was disappointed when the people decided they wanted a human king as their ruler. But God explained the reality of the situation: the people were not rejecting Samuel or his sons, they were truly rejecting God. The Lord in His divine providence, allows for “democracy.” The people of a nation can choose their government. But they also have to live with the consequences when they choose sin. Samuel warned the people that if they received the King they wanted, there would be dire ramifications once he came into power:
8:10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.
8:11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
8:12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
8:13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
8:15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
8:16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
8:17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
8:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
The new government they desired was going to be oppressive! The people would soon see many of their sons enlisted in the military for various wars. Their daughters would be working to support the government. They would be taxed heavily to support the administration and everyone would be overworked. Samuel closed his warning by telling the people that in the end they would suffer so badly that they would cry out to God for relief from the same King they were asking for. And so it is today. The desire for a government based on fallen, sinful human standards has indeed been embroiled in numerous military conflicts, raised taxes to no end and put the American public in possibly the worst financial crisis ever as cronies and corporate sponsors of the President pull in record profits. All in rejection of godly principles. If people today continue to choose what “feels right” but is against God’s laws and ways, then we will continue to reap the effects of our errors.
And where are the “conservative” Republican state senators on this issue? As the New York Times reported, although they initially were opposed to the new measure, New York governor Andrew Cuomo did not go to Republican Senators to make his case – instead he went to their wealthiest donors in a closed-door meeting. Once he was able to get billionaire financiers and hedge fund managers to go back to the Republicans, they were won over. So in the end, money, and the love of it, took precedence over morals and “conservative principles.” As the Times stated:
But, behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.
Many Christian groups and churches have warned society time and time again that homosexuality is a sin in the Bible and that gay marriage is against God’s Word. And the response has been very similar to what Israel said to Samuel in the face of his warnings about their future king:
8:19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
8:20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
In their desire to be like the world, the ancient Israelites at that time did not even care about the disaster that awaited them. They had fallen so deep into rebellion, that they were no longer listening to God or His servant. America is unfortunately following that same pattern. The beauty of God’s love is that He lets us choose. But the downside is that we can, and often do, choose wrongly. And while the celebrations take place all over the nation for this new law, very little is being said about the pandemic of HIV that is affecting gay men in urban areas, where 1 in 5 are infected with HIV and that figure (from the Center for Disease Control) rises to a staggering 30% of African American gay men. There are serious consequences that again, the people are ignoring in the desire for what they think is “right”. So as Christians, we know this has happened before. And like Samuel, we should not leave the country, fight against gay people or start a revolution. In response to the selection of Saul as King, Samuel, did his best to advise the King of what would be the best decisions based on God’s Word. And as predicted, Saul did not listen, and the people indeed suffered mightily under the new King they so desired. Yet until he died, Samuel remained in Israel, preaching God’s Word and pleading with the King and the people to repent.
And so we should continue to stand for God. To preach His Word truthfully and accurately, and not compromise Biblical standards for the world’s view of what is “good”. So Christians in the face of this new law should spread the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ with all people. There is no need to look to politicians to solve our problems. While we can support a certain law or public official, they will never erase the most serious problem facing the world: sin in people’s hearts. Only Jesus Christ can do that. And just as people can freely choose to reject God, through the power of the Gospel, they can also choose to come back and God will freely forgive them for all of their sins, be their King and love them as one of His own. Let’s pray that will take place.