On June 24, New York became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. Gays and non-gays alike erupted into cheers. After the initial celebration died down, some questions about this important topic affecting millions of Americans still remain, and they are: How should we view gay marriage? If it's about two people who love each other, then there's nothing wrong with it, right? And since God is the Creator of the universe who doesn't make any mistakes and since homosexual relationships have been in existence since ancient times, then it must mean that God approves homosexuality and gay marriage, doesn't it?
To answer these questions, we must turn to the ultimate authority of humanity: Yahweh God Almighty. Let's know His principles regarding His judicial system, and then apply them to our topic.
1) Yahweh God Almighty alone has the authority, knowledge, and capability to set standards for our lives
Who has the authority, knowledge, and capability to determine the proper use or handle of a product, the maker of the product or the user? If you agree that God is the Creator of all, then do you not also agree that He alone has the right, knowledge, and capability to lay down laws to govern our lives? Who else would be more knowledgeable and capable to decide what is best for us? Since God is the Originator of all things, all things are below Him. The Creator is higher than the creation, never equal or under it. So doesn't God have the capability and authority, and even the responsibility, to set the standard principles for our lives?
2) Yahweh grants us free will, the right for us to make our own moral decisions
When God created humanity, He granted us with the gift of free will. "Free will" means we have the freedom to make moral decisions. We are not like robots who do not have the ability to choose either right or wrong. As free moral agents, we have the freedom to choose to lie or not, to steal or not, to fornicate or not, etc. However, how we exercise our freedom will be judged by God. Thus, each of us is responsible for our actions, by which God will judge us.
3) Yahweh has set laws for us to voluntarily obey
By what basis will God judge each person? By the laws and principles He has set for us. Just as He has set the laws of nature (i.e., law of gravity), He has likewise set moral laws for us. If there's no law, there wouldn't be anything to obey. If there's no law or principles for us to choose, free will to make moral decisions would be obsolete. But now, when there's law, each of us will be judged according to that law.
4) Yahweh's permission is not the same as His approval
When God grants us free will, that means that He permits our actions, good or bad. In His law, He tells us not to steal or to lie, and He permits us to choose whether to obey or disobey it. Thus, when we disobey His commandments, it doesn't mean that He approves what we have chosen. People since the beginning of humanity have disobeyed God's laws. We steal, cheat, accept bribes, murder, commit adultery and fornication, and so on. Does this mean that God approves these actions? No, it simply means that God has kept His Word: He permits us to exercise our free will.
5) Obedience to Yahweh's laws leads to His approval, not salvation
While our obedience to God's laws is His will for us and is commanded, it alone doesn't grant us eternal life or salvation. No amount of good works we do by our own efforts will earn us salvation.
6) Yahweh offers everyone the gift of salvation only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ
God hates all sins, and every person is a sinner with no exception, so all deserve God's eternal wrath and condemnation. We all are hopelessly doomed. But wait, this is where God's pure grace kicks in: He has made provision for everyone's forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ. Once a person comes to trust in Jesus alone as their Lord and Savior for their salvation, believing that he is the Son of God who came to Earth, died for our sins, was buried, resurrected on the third day, and ascended back to heaven, God will forgive that person of all their sins, impute Jesus' righteousness on them, and give them the Holy Spirit that helps them live a whole new life that's pleasing to God. Then in the future, all True Christians will be resurrected whereupon they will live forever with God and Jesus. On the other hand, those who willfully reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will also be resurrected, but they will be judged and then sentenced to eternal death, with no chance of a resurrection ever again. Without Jesus, every person is lost, helpless, hopeless, and destined to eternal death.
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How do God's judicial principles apply to homosexuality and gay marriage? This is how:
1) Since Yahweh is the Creator of men and women and the Originator of marriage, He alone can set the laws and principles to govern sexuality and the marriage arrangement. No one else, neither a king or an emperor, has such right. God determined and purposed marriage to be a lifelong union between one man and one woman. He gifted us with the pleasures of sex only for a married couple. Anything else outside these laws is a sin, not condoned by God, whether we like it or not.
Besides setting laws for marriage, God has also set marriage as a significant symbol:
The marriage union is the greatest symbol of the relationship between Yahweh and His chosen people, and the relationship between Lord Jesus Christ and all Christians (the "assembly" or "church"). God describes marriage as a most sacred union, when the husband and wife become "one flesh," meaning union on every level: spiritual, emotional, physical (Genesis 2:24). This passage best describes it:
"Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly; because we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. 'For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh.' This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Christ and of the assembly. Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:22-33, WEB)
If we alter the aspects of God-ordained marriage in any way, the marriage's symbolic meaning would be lost. Our American flag uses certain colors and elements to symbolize specific truths and concepts. If we add to, subtract from, or alter the elements, the original intended meaning would be lost or nullified; in essence, it would no longer be an American flag. Likewise, when we go against God's law concerning marriage and sex, we're not only disobeying God but distorting or nullifying the greatest symbol of the love between God and His people or between Christ and his body, the church. This is one reason why we must take sexual sins and marriage unfaithfulness most seriously.
2) God permits us to either obey His commandments regarding marriage and sex or to disobey them. He doesn't control our hearts. He desires obedience that stems from love. Thus, we can choose to live a heterosexual lifestyle (in obedience to God) or homosexual lifestyle (in disobedience to God), to commit adultery (in disobedience) or remain faithful to our spouses (in obedience), to have pre-marital sex (in disobedience) or remain as virgins until marriage (in obedience), etc.
3) Even if our government approves gay marriage, our manmade law doesn't override God's law on marriage, by which will be the standard for God's judgment. What is legal in our manmade laws (i.e., fornication) is not always legal in God's laws. Thus, when our laws conflict with God's laws, we should choose God's. When people tell us to disobey God, "we must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)
4) Just as with any other sinful lifestyle, a homosexual lifestyle may be the grace of God, but it's not because He approves it, but because He permits it and allows us enough time for us to repent and be saved: "The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
If we want to defend gay marriage or a homosexual lifestyle, or any other sins we practice, we have the freedom to do so (this freedom doesn't nullify the consequences for our rebellion against God). But we must not defend it by saying that God supports or condones it. We must not say that God supports something when He does not. That is blasphemous. We must not equate God's permission with His approval.
It's true that homosexuality has been in existence since ancient times, for thousands of years. But so have blindness, deafness, and a slew of other disabilities, not to mention the practice of all known sins. Does this mean that all these are what God truly wants for humanity? To use the longterm presence of something as evidence for God's ultimate approval and desire is flawed according to God's own Word.
So while our premise ("God doesn't make any mistakes") is correct, our conclusion ("God approves homosexuality") is blasphemy. Yahweh Himself said, "You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain." (Exodus 20:7) We must be very careful with what we say about God. Obviously, God isn't just anyone--He is our Creator, Life-Giver, Sustainer, and Judge, so He deserves our greatest honor, respect, devotion, and love. We can approach Him only in reverence, humility, and worship; this is the very least we can do in gratitude in light of what He has done for us.
5) While we have the free will to continue living a homosexual lifestyle, understand that God will judge us according to His laws. Only God is our Judge, so it's to Him we will give an account. Know that neither the unrepentant "sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
But there's something that must be stressed here: even if we repent and live a seemingly perfect, virtuous life in accordance with God's laws, it would be meaningless if we don't come to trust in Jesus alone for our salvation. It's only Jesus + repentance that will bring us salvation. Apart from Jesus, we're all lost, regardless of our sexuality.
My friends, carefully consider your lifestyle in light of God's commandments, not just in the area of your sexuality but every facet of your life. Consider how you should respond to God and to Jesus. You have the choice to conform or not to conform to God's will, and you'll be held responsible for the choice you make. No one can decide for you. Your eternal future is up to you. I urge you to come to God and Jesus for your salvation if you haven't already: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn't believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won't see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (John 3:16-18, 36)
The Bottom Line
The bottom line to all this is the answer to the most important question: do you love God? Love for God is the bottom line. If we don't love God, nothing else would matter, regardless of whether we believe in Him. It's only when we love God with our whole heart, spirit, and might will it be a joy for us to obey His commandments to the best of our ability. Without love, the best we could do is obey Him grudgingly. Love for God is to love Him for who He is, to love His Son, to love His commandments, and to love one another. We can't say that we love God if we don't love fellow creation. Thus, our love for God is expressed through and proven genuine by our love for others.
When we commit any sin, from gossiping to hating others for any reason, it shows that we love ourselves more than we love God. We all know the golden rule, but Jesus took it a step further: we are to love others, not only as we love ourselves, but more than we love ourselves. Since we are to love others more than we love ourselves, then how much more ought we to love God and Jesus more than we love ourselves, the God who has given us our very lives and Jesus who died for us to give us the chance of an everlasting life! To return their love is the only proper response.
Indeed, loving God and Jesus is self-sacrificial love. But what we sacrifice would fall embarrassingly short of Jesus' sacrifice for us. If you think about it, what little sacrifice we make is really no sacrifice at all, for when we give up temporal things, we would gain eternal treasures, as Jesus said: "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds." (Matthew 16:24-27) But don't love God and Jesus for their rewards; love them for who they are and what they have done for you.
Well, my dear friends, I pray that God will give you a heart to love Him and His Son ever increasingly and unwaveringly, and that you will come to trust in Jesus alone as your Lord and Savior for your salvation. Decide wisely and carefully, for it'll be the most important decision you'll ever make, as it determines your eternal destiny. Do not delay, for upon your passing or when Jesus returns (whichever comes first), the door of opportunity for you to decide and repent will close. Then Judgment Day will come, when each unbeliever will face God and, defeated, they'll finally acknowledge God as Creator and Jesus as Lord. Amen.
~*~Q&A with Dr. Shirley~*~
Question: In the Old Testament, God required "an eye for an eye," but in the New Testament, Jesus said, "Whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also." Is that a contradiction?
Answer: No, "an eye for an eye" and "turn the other cheek" do not contradict. Allow me to explain and clarify this common misconception of the Bible.
The principle of "an eye for an eye" is how God's perfect justice system works. This means that in a court of law, the criminal should be punished in proportion to the crime they committed. A person who committed a big crime should receive a tougher punishment appropriate for their crime, while a person who committed a less significant crime should receive a lesser punishment. For example, if I steal something from you, I should not be punished with a death sentence. Thus, "an eye for an eye" promotes fair judgment and punishment, and prevents unfair judgment and punishment. "An eye for an eye" should be followed/practiced in the court, not in personal, everyday matters.
However, after God gave this law, people began abusing this law by using this in their personal, non-criminal matters. For example, if I slapped you, you would slap me back. If I pulled your hair, you would pull mine. This promoted personal revenge. This is the issue that Jesus dealt with. This is why he told us to "turn the other cheek," meaning that we should not take revenge. Slapping someone on the cheek, especially the right cheek, was a form of great insult in ancient Israel. So when Jesus said, "Whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also," he meant, "If someone greatly insults you, don't insult them back at all. Even let them continue to insult you without protesting." This follows God's principle: do not overcome evil with evil, but overcome evil with good.
"An eye for an eye" should be used in only dealing with criminal matters in the court, while "turning the other cheek" should be used in everyday matters. Jesus is the most perfect example of "turning the other cheek." When he was insulted, hit, and spat at, he kept quiet. He never took revenge.
As you can see, there's no contradiction concerning "an eye for an eye" and "turning the other cheek," because each principle is used for different purposes in different situations.
~*~A Biblical Wisdom Nugget~*~
"Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man." (Genesis 2:21-22)
After creating the first man, Yahweh said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." (Genesis 2:18) Thus, God created the first woman and brought her to the man. Upon seeing her, the man proclaimed, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken out of Man." (Genesis 2:23) He said this since Yahweh made the woman from his rib.
Why did Yahweh make the woman from the man's rib? After all, He could have used any material or simply made her from nothing. I believe that God used the man's rib to create the woman to achieve the greatest intimacy. It is like a mother giving birth to her own child; many people agree that a mother feels more intimate with her child if she has given birth to him as opposed to adopting him. So when the woman came from the man's own body, they have that intimacy to begin with.
In the intimate union we call marriage, "a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) Here, two bodies become "one flesh," signifying spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical oneness or unity. This unity is to last till death shall part the couple, for what "God has joined together, don't let man tear apart." (Matthew 19:6) For this reason, divorce should be the option only in cases of fornication (sexual immorality, such as adultery). Note what Jesus said, "Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries her when she is divorced commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
Hence, the purpose of marriage between a man and a woman is companionship and intimacy on every level. Two people who fully grasp this purpose of marriage will avoid entering into marriage for the wrong reasons, and will avoid mistreating their marriage partners once they do enter into the sacred union.
If you're a husband, are you treating your wife as your own body? She is indeed the flesh of your flesh, the bone of your bones, a part of you that is to be loved and cherished for life. Likewise, you wives out there, respect and love your second halves in return, for remember, you are one flesh with your husbands for life.
May the grace and peace from Yahweh God and Jesus Christ be with you.!
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Dr. Shirley Cheng
Award-Winning Author with 27 Book Awards
Proclaimer of Yahweh God's Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ
Author/Contributor/Editor of 35 books by age 27, Poet, Motivational Speaker, Self-Empowerment Expert, Advocate
Board member of World Positive Thinkers Club
"Although I'm blind, I can see far and wide; even though I'm disabled, I can climb high mountains. Let the ropes of hope in Yahweh God haul you high!"
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