One of Sunday’s [29 June 2014] news headlines was Elton John’s claim that Jesus Christ would have supported gay marriage. Now it’s corrupt simply to justify gay marriage, but even more so for someone to justify it in Jesus’ name. And this is one of the problems with modern ‘Christianity’: it’s based more than ever on emotionalism. If it feels right, it is right. If I say it’s Christian, it is Christian. If peace and love and freedom are the very definition of Christianity, those hippies in the 1960s would have been the best Christians ever! Increasingly, public Christian standards are not based on any reliable document, i.e. the scriptures given by the inspiration of God, but instead on worldly perspectives. You cannot define what is Christian. I cannot define what is Christian. Nevertheless, God does in the Holy Bible.
The fact is that Jesus did not, does not and never will support gay marriage. First of all, Christians believe that Jesus is God: the Son is not a revision of the Father, but rather he came to fulfil what the Father had decreed. Jesus affirms this in his teaching about marriage. When the Pharisees approach him, he references Genesis:
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9 ESV)
Jesus affirms that marriage has existed since the beginning of creation – so it is God’s ordinance, and not just a civil institution which we have the authority to define as we please. God made us specifically male and female, establishing by this order the head-helper covenant between the husband and wife, who consummate their marriage and become one flesh. And while it is true that many heterosexual couples and governments scorn the covenant of marriage through adultery and divorce, while it is true – as we read described, yet not prescribed in the Bible – that many Jews themselves perverted true marriage through polygamy, this is no reason to introduce more errors. The fact that we have sinfully redefined marriage in the past, that there were judicial laws to regulate malpractice because of the hardness of the heart, does not grant us the authority to redefine marriage further. Instead, we should repent and be conformed to the Word of God.
Jesus was at one time questioned by the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the flesh, concerning marriage in the new creation. Jesus tells us that there is no marriage in the new creation; the reason for this is obvious: there will be no need of marriage because there will be no procreation (‘be fruitful and multiply’). Procreation, though it be not required to complete a marriage, is integral to the purpose of marriage. Marriage is a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman, providing a safe and loving environment for the raising of children. Marriage, as we read in Ephesians 5, is moreover a symbol of the covenantal relationship between Christ and his bride, the Church.
Furthermore, Jesus stated that he did not come to overthrow the law, but to fulfil it. Now, should the usual protestation about mixed fabrics and seafood arise, as I have previously discussed on this blog, obedience to these ceremonial laws is no longer necessary because they were types and shadows of Christ before he was incarnate. The New Testament is clear about this. Yet God’s moral law, as it is intrinsic to his holy character, is unchanging and perpetually binding on all mankind, which is made in his image. The prohibition of homosexual relations, alongside all prohibitions of extra-marital sex, is clearly moral, not ceremonial, in nature, and reinforced in Paul’s letters under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – which are therefore equally the words of Christ as those Christ physically pronounced.
There is truly no such thing as same-sex marriage. It does not and cannot exist, and Jesus surely hates any mockery of his own ordinances. I am aware of the desires and struggles faced by homosexuals, and that they cannot be switched off at will, but these are no different to various sexual struggles faced by heterosexuals. The solution is the same as for any other sin: to mortify it, put it to death, nail it to the cross, trusting in the gospel promise that Christ has won our forgiveness, to pray and strive for our sanctification. It is not loving for us to delude people in their sins; neither is it God-honouring for us to endorse what he has condemned. But the same goes for any sinner: to deny ourselves and take up our cross, losing our life for his sake, is in fact to gain true, eternal life.