As we begin to receive our postal vote in the national debate about same sex marriage, it’s timely to look at “what is marriage”? Is it just a secular legal agreement? A piece of paper? This debate draws me back to the Scriptures. As I have listened to both sides of the debate it has impacted my heart and stirred my compassion. For many of us, the debate is not an academic one because we have friends or family who are impacted personally by this decision. So let me touch on two things—my biblical convictions and how that shapes my response.   Biblical Understanding—When Jesus was questioned about marriage and divorce he cites Genesis 3 and says “Haven’t you read” he replied, “that at the beginning the creator made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’, So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate (Matt 19:4-7). God gave a blueprint for society, for marriage and for family right from the beginning of creation. Leaving his family, a man begins a new relationship with a woman where they become one in body, in mind and heart. As the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one, so this marriage union of man and woman represents “oneness”. As male and female both reflect something of “God’s image”, as father and mother they are contributing different aspects of the “image of God” (Gen 1:27) to their children. Gender is important to God.    Also, as Christ loved the church, so a man is to love his wife (Eph 5). Marriage also reflects this sacred relationship between Christ and his bride the church. So God see’s marriage as a holy and sacred union – one that he ordained and one that embodies and reflects his nature. To change this design is to put ourselves above God and his plan. So as a Christian, I am very passionate about marriage and its definition. This plan has been the fabric of society in general for thousands of years. To change it will have ongoing consequences.
Relationally – John says “for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus’ (John 1:17). Jesus embodies and speaks truth but always with love and grace. His response to a woman caught in adultery, who by law should be punished, was one of grace and truth. He tells the woman two things—“I don’t condemn you” and to “go and sin no more”. Undeserved mercy but hope for a new way forward. How we respond as followers of Jesus is as important as what we say. Having been forgiven much, we are called to love much. We have all sinned—we all fall short. So be both truth and love—listen, respect, care, weep with the pain of others, and look to the truth of God’s intent for marriage.   For me, I will be voting no to redefining marriage. This is also the position of Qld Baptists and the Australian Baptist Union.     So I encourage you to make your own decision and place your vote.     God bless.  Pastor Stephen