June 30, 2013
Proposition 8 in California appears to have been defeated by the proponents of homosexual marriage. The proposition qualified for the November 4, 2008 ballot after a massive signature campaign. The measure was a proposed constitutional amendment which stated, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The measure passed with over 52% in favor in an election with over 79% voter turnout.
Immediately a suit was filed against the proposition. Perry v. Schwarzeneggar ended up in the hands of openly homosexual judge Vaughn Walker who eventually ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional. In February of 2012 the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals declared the measure unconstitutional based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The Equal Protection Clause is the last part of section one of the Fourteenth Amendment which says, “…nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Amendment Fourteen was passed after the Civil War to clearly define citizenship and assure that former slaves were allowed equal protection under the laws of the land.
In applying the Equal Protection Clause to Proposition 8, the Ninth Circuit Court showed that they considered sexual orientation to be an immutable condition and should be given the status of constitutional right protected by the Constitution. The clause then would prevent states from denying homosexual people the right of marriage granted to all other citizens.
Proponents of the proposition filed to the United States Supreme Court July 2012. On June 26, 2013, just last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the proponents lacked standing to defend the challenged law in the federal courts. This meant that the issue was returned to the Ninth Circuit with instructions to vacate their former ruling. When all is said and done this action officially means that same-sex marriages will once again be permitted in California barring some unforeseen event.
If one gets caught up in the political back and forth surrounding such issues, frustration will clearly be the end result. Let me offer a biblical perspective that may help many of you to receive God’s peace in this matter.
First of all, we must keep in mind that the Christian walk is a spiritual life, not a political one. God’s order of operation with us is first spirit, and then soul and lastly body. First, He connects with us in spirit through the new birth experience. In the spirit He leads us and fellowships with us. Jesus told the woman at the well, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Since God is a spiritual being we can only approach Him through our spirit connecting with His Holy Spirit. This is the part of man that died after the fall in the Garden. God had said that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that they would surely die (Gen. 2:17). This death did not destroy their human spirit but merely caused it to be disconnected from God. This is spiritual death. Of course spiritual death resulted in death working on their soul and body as well since those parts of the human person depended on the life of the Spirit as well.
This is what Paul means when he says, “… if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Rom. 8:10, NASB). When we receive Christ His presence in our human spirit causes us to live spiritually. We are no longer dead because of the sin that dominates us but live in Christ because of the righteousness He produces in us.
Unfortunately, many of us have come to see the Christian life as a fleshly one in that we emphasize buildings, programs and passive acceptance of top-down leadership rather than a life lived in communication with God as led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14). Life in Christ was never meant to be lived through external things connected to the flesh but by an inner connection with God in the spirit. It is a supernatural life lived in the power of God.
The word “politics” comes from the Greek word polis and the later word politika speaking of a city or the people of a city. Politics is purely earthly and having to do with fleshly attempts to govern people and their activities. It has nothing to do with life in the spirit. It is part of the activities of the body and the soul but has no connection with the spirit.
Political issues faced by Christians have a spiritual solution. Attempting to solve the problem only through politics will lead to functioning outside of the spirit and dwelling in the carnal realm where the body and soul are active with or without the leading of the Spirit.
The politically minded people were always trying to get Jesus to function by the flesh or according to politics. He always shifted the issue to the realm of the spirit where He held the upper hand in God. The religious politicians of His day sent someone to Him with the question, “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matt.22: 17, ESV). Notice how they began their attempt to draw Jesus into the political discussion. “What do you think,” they asked. In other words, “What is your political stand on this issue?”
They wanted to suck Jesus into the fleshly, political, religious realm in which they lived, but He would have none of it. He only did what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19). We all know the story. Jesus asked for a coin and when they brought it He asked them “…whose image and inscription is this?” (22:20). When they answered “Caesar” He said, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (v. 21).
Jesus would not enter into their political debates. His response demonstrated that He knew that there were two kingdoms—the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth. While they dwelt on earth they had a responsibility to the earthly kingdom but He encouraged them also to render unto God and His kingdom the things that belong to Him. One is physical and the other is spiritual—of the heart.
The Zealots of Israel sought a political, military solution to the dominance of Rome. Jesus’ word to them was "My kingdom is not of this world” (Matt. 18:36). His kingdom was spiritual which means that it originates in the spirit and will have a spiritual expression. These words also imply that His kingdom could not be manipulated by men in the natural realm. It was to be perceived in the spirit and entered by means of the spirit. Eventually the heavenly kingdom defeats the earthly one.
This is why so much of the activity of the organized church does not have a spiritual result. Often the buildings, leadership, and programs have an earthly, fleshly beginning and are not conducted in the spirit. The Holy Spirit is not consulted about decisions and much of the time the organization operates on fleshly autopilot. It takes on a life of its own and can function quite well without God. We transfer this attitude to the political realm thinking that we have permission to function there in the flesh apart from the leading of the Spirit.
Often I am asked about the Christian’s responsibility in politics. The answer is that anything we do as we live out our lives must be led by the Spirit. I cannot tell you how involved to be but can only encourage you to hear from God. Don’t make the mistake of dividing your life into secular and spiritual compartments. We cannot have a secular compartment in which we can do as we please and then a spiritual compartment where we are led by the Spirit. Our whole life— spirit, soul and body—belongs to the Lord (1 Thess. 5:23). You must be led by the Spirit in your job, at home, at leisure, in your ministry and in your functioning as a citizen.
Same-sex marriage is no different than any other issue in terms of how we approach it. The eventual answer is a spiritual one and our involvement must be spiritual as well. Satan’s strategy since the Garden of Eden has been to deceive us into believing that actions outside of the will of God are acceptable. He tempted Eve with the words, “Yea, has God said…?” (Gen. 3:1), and went on to move her from total dependence upon God to independence of God. All sin is acting apart from the will of God. This why it is so important to know what God has said, so we can live our lives dependent upon Him.
Homosexuality is blatant sin but it is in the same category as eating of fruit that God has forbidden. It is acting outside of the will of God. The lesson of Eden is to stay in fellowship with God so we know what His will is and then live in that will. We Christians tend to condemn homosexuality vehemently while we do so many things without consulting God. Most traditional churches today rarely consult God in the decisions they make.
We function outside of the will of God and then wonder why sin is rampant around us. Christians, who are called by Jesus “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth,” are regularly eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We live our lives and conduct our churches the way we want without deferring to the Lord. When we finally begin to walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of the Holy Spirit, homosexuals, who encounter the God in us, will be healed and see free. At this point in our powerless, disobedient state, we have little to offer them except condemnation and hopelessness.
The church that Jesus is building will prevail over hell and release heaven into peoples’ lives (Matt. 18:18, 19). Jesus did not come to condemn people in His first earthly visit and neither should we be condemning others. He went about healing all who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). Our ministry is the same today. The problem is we approach homosexuality without the power than flows from holy lives committed to a Holy God.
It is time for the church to repent of its independence and fully embrace the will of God. I believe that homosexuality is Satan’s favorite sin at this point because it flaunts his independent spirit and slaps the face of powerless Christians. As long as we choose to make Christianity just another human religion we fall into his trap. When we realize that this life is a spiritual, supernatural one and live accordingly, we will unleash heaven in the midst of this chaos and set the captives free.