Some Thoughts on Romans 1 and Gay Marriage . . .
Romans 1: 21-23 , “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their own imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”
I, like almost everyone on this planet, like to feel approval from my fellow humans, especially my Christian brothers and sisters. If I were to go with the flow of what I think would bring that state about, I would start this post by building a dichotomy with gays on one side of it and straight people on the other. I would show in my writing a huge difference between gays and straights, making it evident that we straight people don’t need to make any changes in ourselves but that gay people need to change everything about themselves. Only, I don’t believe that is the case. I don’t think the Scriptures reveal that either.
We often haul out Romans 1 to prove that homosexuality is against God’s design for the human race. And it is. If we believe the Scriptures, Romans 1 says just that. Even those Christians who are for gay marriage admit that they have to change the meaning of Romans 1 to reach their conclusion. The way they do that may be the subject of a later post, but not this one.
However, a whole lot of rebellion against God’s design occurs in Romans 1. In fact, the three verses quoted above occur in advance of the downward spiral into homosexuality that we point to in Romans 1. It is as though homosexuality and homosexuals are the canaries in the coalmine of the human race, pointing to the fact that a whole lot of us are missing God’s design for humanity.
Can we really say that the earlier verses only apply to people who end up being gay? Or is there a tendency in the human race as a whole to spiral downward and away from God’s design for us, only one facet of which ends in homosexuality?
The earlier verses describe leaving God for a substitute god, which can only be called an idol. They describe leaving a lifestyle of thankfulness to God for a lifestyle of selfishness. God’s design for us is to live in relationship with Him, and to evidence that relationship by our thankfulness to Him for all He has done for us.
Instead, what do we do, gay and straight alike? We spend our lives complaining, feeling entitled to anything other than what God gives us. We reject His good gifts and His sovereignty in our lives for other things we believe will satisfy us more. And, in not being satisfied by the God who designed us, we become idol worshippers.
Some of us end up desiring gay marriage against God’s design, but some of us end up desiring serial marriages (or relationships without marriage) to members of the opposite sex. That is against God’s design, too.
Use of alcohol to drunkenness is against God’s design. Use of mind-altering drugs is against God’s design. Use of too much food so that our bodies grow unhealthy is against God’s design.
Romans 1 goes on to list many sins in the downward spiral of a society, all of them due to our idolatry and refusal to be satisfied by God and what He provides for us. We exhibit fits of anger, gossip, viciousness in the way we talk to each other, murderous impulses, and on and on it goes.
Yes, sexual sin is particularly harmful to us because it is against our own bodies. But to God, sin is sin. We are all guilty of it. We all stand condemned before Him. It is only by being saved through God’s Son, the Sinbearer who frees us, that any of us has any hope whatsoever.
Then even after we are saved, we still so often are ugly to each other, evidence that we are still lost in idolatry and in trying to tell God that He is not enough for us.
So, I am probably going to disappoint some people who thought I was going to make homosexuality into a special type of sin that accrues more guilt than the other types. Fact is, there is no honorable sin. We all stand humbled before God, as He already told us there is no truly righteous man.
The good news is that Christ truly is enough. He is the hope of the entire human race, gay and straight, churched and unchurched, open sinners and people able to hide their sins beneath a veneer of hypocrisy. He can free us from ourselves.
And don’t we just all want to be free? True freedom is found in Him, friend. Let’s discover that together.