Is it possible that the Bible defines marriage in such a way to exclude a same-sex union and yet at the same time prescribes an antidote to homophobia? I think so …
Firstly the Bible is quite clear that marriage was created, designed and instituted by God. As such, he has the prerogative to determine who qualifies to participate in this institution.
Genesis 1:26-31 and 2:18-15 provide the clear account of God’s creation of man and woman and his uniting them together in marriage for the purpose of companionship, procreation, and creational stewardship.
Matthew 19:4-6 provides us with Jesus’ clear affirmation of this creational design for marriage. They were created in the beginning male and female.
Ephesians 5:22-33 provides us with the Apostle Paul’s pattern for how this male/female marriage is to function as an outworking of a man and woman’s mutual confession of their sin and faith in Christ, which forms the glue to their convental commitment with one another in marriage.
But to state this view, doesn’t that make the Bible, me and any other Christians who say such, homophobic? No more than stating marriage should not be redefined to allow 10-year-olds to marry demonstrates a phobia toward 10-year-olds.
One will say, OK, but the Bible also states homosexual practice is a sin, now that is surely homophobia.
No. Homophobia is “antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or irrational fear” toward someone who identifies themselves as “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.”
To call something sin or to define marriage in such a way as to exclude certain participants is not a phobia.
The same Bible that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, the same Bible that states clearly (in both the Old and New Testaments) that homosexual practice is sin, also states that for me to hold “antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or irrational fear” toward another person created in the image of God is sin.
I am called by God to love my neighbour (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:9-10), I am told in the Bible that “perfect love casts our fear” (1 John 4:18), I am instructed by Jesus to tangibly and practically show care for those who are different than me (Luke 10:27-37).
Fellow Christian, are you clearly and unashamedly holding fast to the truths of Scripture when defining and discussing marriage? Fellow Christian, are you homophobic? Not because you hold fast to the truths of Scripture, but because you do not love your homosexual neighbour?
What can give us the clarity to hold fast to the truth of Scripture while loving those who deny those truths?
The gospel. The gospel reminds me that I am a sinner saved by grace. I am no better than anyone else. I, like all mankind, deserved the wrath of God in judgement due to my sin, yet he poured out his wrath on his Son, Jesus Christ, in my place as he died for my sins and rose again to victorious life, conquering sin and death.
I did nothing to deserve this. I simply called out to God confessing my sins, trusting in Christ alone for the forgiveness made possible through his death and resurrection, thereby receiving this free gift of grace.
And this free gift is available to all those who will believe! (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:1-10).