“The “NO” voters have lost!” That was the immediate reaction by many people to the announcement that the plebiscite in Australia to recognise same-sex marriage had finished with a majority in favour of the “Yes” vote. It now seems almost certain that a Bill to allow for same-sex marriage will be passed in both houses of the Australian Parliament. If that is so, it means the definition of marriage would change from being between a man and a woman to being between two people.
But have the “No” voters really lost? “Lost” what? One cannot know the motivation behind every “No” vote but if the “No” voters had genuinely voted to maintain what they felt was a God-given concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman then they certainly didn’t “lose” favour with God. It was an act of love towards God to vote “No.” They were voting to maintain what they saw as a wonderful privilege and blessing [marriage] given to humans by their Creator.
If they had voted “No” to same-sex marriage because they believed that God is opposed to same-sex marriage and were concerned that some people would transgress the will of God by entering into an entity called “same-sex marriage”, then again they did not “lose” favour with God. Rather they were honouring Him by honouring His opinion about marriage.
Furthermore, in seeking to prevent the legalisation of same-sex marriage by voting “No,” they were acting in love towards those who would be tempted to enter into such a relationship which God has declared to be contrary to His will. To vote “No” was a loving act, not a homophobic nor a discriminatory act, nor the act of a bigoted person. As I have previously written in these articles, to encourage people to enter into behaviour that is contrary to the will of God, is extremely uncaring and unloving.
In a very real sense then, those who were genuinely voting “No” because of their love for God and their love for their fellow-humans were trying to fulfil the two great commandments Jesus taught His disciples. In response to a scribe who asked Jesus about the commandments Jesus answered, Mark 12:29 “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
You don’t “lose” when you side with God in seeking to honour Him by obeying His commands and by trying to fulfil His commandments. You don’t “lose” when you are [hopefully] motivated by love towards God and by love toward one’s neighbour.
The question for us now is to work out just what our responses should be to a change in Australian law to recognise same-sex marriage. It is not easy to try to adjust our concept of marriage, [which has been pretty much unchallenged for thousands of years] to this new “reality”. Or perhaps we have begun to live in a world of unreality in which some of His creatures are telling their Creator that His sense of reality is no longer “real” to them. Sadly, some go further and claim that what He has revealed in His word about His creation of marriage as being between a man and a woman, is unloving, discriminatory and even evil.
It may be time for those who “lost” [in the eyes of some], to reflect on what St Paul wrote on “loss” when after having the world at his feet as a leading teacher among the Jews he “lost” it all in order to gain something infinitely better. In His words, Philippians 3:7 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … .”
It is better to be a “loser” in the eyes of the world than to be a “loser” in the eyes of the Lord. Jesus did say, by the way, something important about marriage, Mat 19:4 “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 … ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Fancy Jesus using binary terms such as “male” and “female” and “man” and “father” and “mother” and “wife.” Enough to make some modern-day gender benders have conniptions! But as God’s agent in creation, He might know a thing or two! [NOTE 1]
Does Jesus’ opinion matter in today’s world? He took what He said seriously, Joh 12:48 “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” His words [the Father’s words] will judge us! Strong words indeed!
It seems that some people are too ashamed to acknowledge Jesus’ words [the Father’s words] as being true and relevant for today! But let Jesus have the last word, [as indeed He will have at the last day] Mar 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
[NOTE 1] Jesus as Creator as seen in John 1:3 “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made”. AND in Colossians 1:16-17, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” AND in Hebrews 1:2 “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
Blog No.252. Posted on jimholbeck.blog on Sunday 3rd December 2017