In many ways, on my blog, I believe I have already addressed this issue. It is obvious that there are those who would say they agree, and many who will never agree. The point is not in the argument but in one’s own conviction and resolve to carry out the message of Grace or continue to create “others” and separate ourselves as believes, from them.
In Acts chapter 10, we find Peter being confronted by God about eating unclean animals. Here is the story:
This was a time when Romans, let alone Roman soldiers were greatly despised by the Jewish people; God had just poured out his Spirit on the Jews however; there is no real mention of the Gentiles. To this point, we would assume as many probably did, that the only way a gentile could be saved was to become a Jew. Therefore, it is interesting that in this story we find out what God states of those horrible Gentiles the Jewish people despised so much
There was a Roman soldier who was kind and generous, who prayed to God every day. His name was Cornelius. One day Cornelius had a vision of an angel who addresses him. His response is, “What is it lord?”
It is then the angel tells Cornelius about Simon Peter. The angel tells Cornelius where Peter is and Cornelius sets out to find him. As Cornelius and his men get closer to Joppa, Peter goes on the roof of the house he is staying in and begins to pray – or rather, he falls into a trance.
It is here where it gets interesting. In this trance, Peter sees a sheet come down from Heaven with all the unclean animals on it and a voice of God saying, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” Of course Peter, of all people would respond as any good Jewish person would, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” (In a way, this story sounds like the time Peter refused to have his feet washed by Jesus and Peter started to argue with Jesus not to do so.)
Then the same voice spoke again as we read in verse 15:
But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” 16 The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven?
Let us stop and ponder what that means. God is declaring all the unclean animals clean. This rather reminds me of the end of the story of Jonah where Jonah was called to prophecy to Nineveh to repent of their sins. Here is the last bit of the story of Jonah if you do not remember.
7 But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. 8 And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.
9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”
“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”
10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”
Let us go back to Peter now. Peter understands that this vision of the sheet of unclean animals is not about food. It was about God’s compassion for people – all people regardless to Jew or Gentile. Peter then meets Cornelius and as they meet, Peter gives a short sermon that results in the Holy Spirit being poured out on the first Gentiles. I hope you go and read that for yourself – and realize that most of you, unless you are Jewish, would fall under the label of “Gentile”.
Paul writes about the Gentiles in Romans chapter 1. I assume whether you are for or against gay marriage you use this chapter in some way to prove or disprove homosexuality is a sin. Really, that is not the point of Romans 1 but you can read more of that here. Likewise, as in Romans 1-2 Paul gives the “Therefore” as to why he wrote Romans chapter one in Romans chapter 2, we find that Acts 10 does the same thing in relation to Acts 11.
Peter welcomes in the morally corrupt Gentiles as being cleansed by God and then does an amazing thing. Peter preaches a sermon about the Grace of God. In fact, the sermon is the retelling of the happenings in Acts Chapter 10. Peter ends the story with this amazing defense of Grace.
5 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”
18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
The question is what did the Gentiles or Jewish people do to be cleansed? Nothing. The Jews and Gentiles became equal (as God shows no favoritism) by the Grace of God. We are now all at the same level and come to Life by faith in the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. It was not until Peter met a Gentile who believed in Jesus and giving revelation from God, that Peter’s eyes were finally open to see how great the Grace of God is.
I hear you now, “Wait! What does this have to do with gay marriage?” My response is this – are you being kind or creating an atmosphere of othering? If you can grasp this, God’s grace covers much more than many realize. I can give reasons as to why our sin was truly taken away by Jesus on the Cross. I have written much on my view of sin and maybe in a future blog post will give you more of what I believe. I could explain my theological position now, but this blog post is already too long. However, if you want a better Biblical understanding of how homosexuality is used in the Bible I suggest you also read this post.
Again, my answer to gay marriage is; Does your position demand rights that undermine the kindness of God that leads to repentance? Are you guilty of judging others in a way that denies God’s kindness that leads to repentance? Do you judge homosexuality as different as stealing, being greedy, or being drunkards, or being an abusive person, or cheating people, or lying, breaking promises, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching of God? Are you gluttonous, or lust for power, dishonoring to your parents, quarrelsome, jealous, angry, selfish, slanderous, gossiping, arrogant, murderous, lustful in general, and other disorderly behaviors? If you have not committed any of these ever, then cast the first stone at the rest of us who have and rest on the Grace of God. Answer those questions, pray, and then let God speak to you about gay marriage.
Here is the synchroblog list. Again, be kind and give grace. This is an opportunity for many to see another side of this issue.