By Joe Gutherie, Lewiston Baptist Church, Kentwood
The recent United States Supreme Court opinion in favor of same-sex marriage was based on the premise that the love between two individuals is the essence of marriage.
Everyone from President Obama on down has based their argument for same-sex marriage simply on if two people love each other, then that gives them the right to be married. The day the decision was reached, the pro same-sex marriage contingent proudly waved their banners “Love Wins.”
One must now ask the question what is love? And is it the love between two people, or the love for God that is most important? In answering these questions, only one opinion should be considered and that is the opinion of God as found in his Holy Scriptures.
God’s first commission to man was to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, Genesis 1:28. In order to accomplish this mandate according to God’s will, He instituted marriage between one man and one woman, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh, Genesis 2:24. The formula for marriage, as ordained by God, was leave, cleave, one flesh – only sex between a married husband and his wife is blessed of God.
This definition of marriage is confirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:3-9, and Mark 10:2-12. The Apostle Paul also uses this formula in describing the responsibility of husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church in Ephesians 5:30-31. We do not find love anywhere in God’s plan for marriage.
The word used is “cleave,” which is the commitment between the husband and wife for each other. “Cleave” is defined in the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary as:
CLEAVE, v. i. pret. Clave or cleaved. [Sax.]
1. To stick; to adhere; to hold to. My bones cleave to my skin. Ps. cii. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. Ps cxxxvii. Cleave to that which is good. Rom. xii.
2. To unite aptly; to fit; to set well on.
3. To unite or be united closely in interest of affection; to adhere with strong attachment. A man shall leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife. Gen. ii Math. xix. Cleave to Jehovah your God. Josh. xxiii.
Love is not referenced in scripture until the twenty second chapter of Genesis where God commands Abraham to Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of, Genesis 22:2. The first mention of love in scripture is the shadow picture of the future sacrifice by God the father, of his son Jesus Christ, for our sins.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
During the sexual revolution of the sixties, the slogan was “Free Love,” and this morphed into equality of the sexes, and now equality of gender.
After the sixties, the mantra became, “Love means never having to say you are sorry;” made popular in the film Love Story. Love may not require one having to say they are sorry, but commitment does.
The inability to say, “I’m sorry” in marriage, is a sign of one or both spouses’ failure to show their commitment to one another. American society perceives saying, “I’m sorry” as a sign of weakness and is based on a lack of humility. There can never be repentance of sin without the ability to say “I’m sorry.”
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. 2 Timothy 3:1-2
Today the focus is on empowerment of the individual, rather than commitment to one another. Sin began with pride, and it is pride that too often prevents the commitment to one another that is necessary for the success and longevity in marriage.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes, and pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17
When addressing the position of love in relationships, is the emphasis being placed on the law, or God’s mercy and grace? It is the love for God that is to take priority according to the law. The law can never provide salvation, but only convict one of their sins and transgressions. Consider the question of the greatest commandment.
But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Deut 6:5). This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self (Lev 19:18). On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:34-40
Regarding the response to the question as asked by the lawyer, we are to love God first, then our neighbor as according to the law. We read again in the gospel of Mark:
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. Mark 12:28-34
By obeying these commandments of the law, Jesus Christ instructs that the scribe was not far from the kingdom of God. That is, he was close, but no cigar. Once again, the law can only convict, and it is only faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ that can save. It is not some romantic affection for the person of Jesus that is truth. Nor a social gospel based on humanistic psychology that is too often emphasized in the messages coming from our pulpits, but only faith in His gospel that saves.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:9
The first chapter of Romans is quoted in dealing with the question of homosexual relationships. There we also find the answer to the question of who is first and foremost worthy of our love. Is it the Creator or the created? According to biblical standards, same-sex relationships cannot only be listed as sin, but also as the judgment on a society that no longer recognizes God as Creator. When a society places the love for the creatures above the love for the Creator, we will eventually find God’s wrath of abandonment.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Romans 1:18
Three times in the first chapter of Romans we find God giving men up, or abandoning them.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly; and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. Romans 1:24-28
In declaring our nation’s independence, our founding fathers proclaimed that we were “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Shouldn’t any right provided by our Creator, also be defined by our Creator? We need to examine ourselves and determine if our priority is love for God, according to His Holy Word, or a love of self. Has our country as a whole been given over to a reprobate mind, or just five SCOTUS lawyers?
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 10:33
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19