Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Not-So-Great Social Experiment

Those who practice these things "will not inherit the kingdom of God."
– 1 Corinthians 6:10

Maybe you’ve already noticed, but we are living in the day of the great social experiment. For several thousand years marriage was defined as a lifelong union between a man and a woman. But in recent decades, we’ve been trying to redefine marriage. Maybe we could replace it with cohabitation. Or maybe we could regard it as something temporary. Or it could even be a legal long-term relationship between “two people” regardless of gender.

Last week we looked at one of the alternatives to replace traditional marriage, cohabitation. Today I’m going to talk about two other alternatives: serial monogamy and gay marriage.

Serial monogamy is the practice of engaging in a series of monogamous sexual relationships. Most people probably wouldn’t refer to it by its formal name, but here’s how it goes: date, have sex, break up, repeat. Date, have sex, break up, repeat … you get the idea. Serial monogamy is the alternative to marriage that is most glamorized by Hollywood. But while Hollywood is obsessed with serial monogamy, it’s safe to say that God isn’t crazy about it, since the Bible makes it clear that sex is meant to come only after marriage.

So, let’s focus on one specific kind of serial monogamy: serial monogamy in marriage. The pattern is pretty much the same, with minor modifications: fall in love, get married, get divorced, repeat. Fall in love, get married, get divorced, repeat. But in Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus makes his views on marital serial monogamy clear: divorce and remarriage was never part of God’s plan either. He explains that the law of Moses allowed for divorce only because of the hardness of our hearts. But if you’re divorcing your spouse for any reason other than adultery, when you marry someone else, you’re committing adultery with that person!

That drives a nail in serial monogamy’s coffin. Because the New Testament makes it clear that adultery—if it continues without repentance—will keep us out of heaven: “Do not be deceived: Neither the fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9b-10). So, these verses state that both premarital sex and adultery are sins that will keep us out of God’s kingdom.

And, you will note, homosexuality is another sin that will keep us out of God’s kingdom. That’s a point to remember as we turn to one more alternative to traditional marriage: gay marriage. This is an alternative that’s gained in popularity and acceptance in recent years. Less than nine years ago, here in one of the most socially liberal states in America, Californians voted to approve Prop 8, which defined marriage in our state as being “between one man and one woman.” But it was shot down in the courts. Then, just over 2 years ago came the Supreme Court ruling that state bans on homosexual marriage were unconstitutional, which—in effect—legalized gay marriage in all 50 states.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2001, 35 percent of Americans supported same-sex marriage. In the 16 years since then, the level of support has almost doubled: 62 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage. So, what does God say? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. God created marriage in Genesis 2:18-25, forming the first human relationship—between one man and one woman, Adam and Eve. And if we take that great passage together with Paul’s description of marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33, here is a biblical definition of marriage: a lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman for the purpose of companionship, bearing children and learning to love as Christ loves.

So, regardless of what an American court calls it when two men or two women enter a contractual relationship with each other, to God … it’s not marriage. Period! And as we read in 1 Corinthians 6:9, God considers homosexual sex of any kind to be in the category of sexual sin along with heterosexual premarital sex and adultery. Just as with premarital sex and adultery, homosexuality, if it is not followed with repentance, will keep someone out of God’s kingdom. Whether or not someone in a homosexual relationship has a marriage license, to God it’s sin. Sex is only to be practiced in a married relationship between one man and one woman.

Regardless of whom you are attracted to, every one of us has to overcome sexual temptation. God urges us to resist temptation and pursue holy relationships that are set apart from the world and in line with His word. So, God’s answer to sexual temptation is biblical marriage. God’s answer to our deep longing for companionship and acceptance and love is—you guessed it—biblical marriage.

It bears repeating: Marriage is a lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman for the purpose of companionship, bearing children and learning to love as Christ loves. And what could be better than that?

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit www.fccvv.com  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 a.m.

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