What are the long term consequences for a same sex marriage?

(Julia Bracewell) #1

A lot of questions I ask might end up surrounding the issue of SSA because I have many friends, coworkers and some family members who are queer. I hold to a conviction that the Bible says acting out SSA is wrong, yet I struggle with my own wish for these friends and family members that it was not. I understand that although I love God, I’ve still been shaped by a culture that has said this is OK.

I trust that everything God asks us to do is not only so He will be glorified, but also so we can live the lives he intended us to- healthy and good lives. With that in mind, I’m struggling to understand what the consequences would be for two individuals who were to enter into a monogamous same sex marital union. Again, I trust that God has good reasons for saying this is wrong, but am seeking to understand what the consequences (apart from any children they may care for being deprived of either a mother or father) might be of this lifestyle.


(Carson Weitnauer) #2

Hi @Julia_Bracewell,

Thanks for raising this question. I think you might find this resource, from LivingOut.org, to be helpful as you reflect on this question:


One quote from another article on their site, that I think we need to keep in mind in this discussion, is this:

We believe that same-sex attraction is no more inherently problematic than any other temptation that Christians face…

I find that there is a certain culture, or language, that can sometimes accidentally or unintentionally discuss this issue in a way that is harsher than we discuss the sin involved in heterosexual relationships. For instance, I rarely hear discussions of what are the long term consequences for cohabitation, but I believe this is a far more prevalent concern in most churches (according to Pew, about 18 million Americans cohabited in 2017).

To that end, I think this video from Sam Allberry helpfully speaks to how we can personally show love to someone who is same-sex attracted:

These five commitments, from Kevin DeYoung, are also helpful: welcome, friendship, truth, gospel, and hope.

For a place where Sam addresses ‘what’s wrong’ with same-sex attraction, this article might be useful. I find it interesting that his argument is primarily theological. Our goal, as I’ve heard it said, is not that all people would be heterosexual, but that all people would be saved and walking with Jesus.

Extraordinary Returns

However much we have to leave behind we are never left out of pocket. Whatever we give up Jesus replaces, in godly kind and greater measure. No one who leaves will fail to receive, and the returns are extraordinary—a hundredfold. What we give up for Jesus does not compare to what he gives back. If the costs are great, the rewards are even greater, even in this life. For me these include a wonderful depth of friendship God has given me with many brothers and sisters; the opportunities of singleness; the privilege of a wide-ranging ministry; and the community of a wonderful church family. But greater than any of these things is the opportunity that any complex and difficult situation presents us with: to learn the all-sufficiency of Christ—learning that fullness of life and joy is in him and his service, and nowhere else. There is a huge amount to say on this issue, but the main point is this: the moment you think following Jesus will be a poor deal for someone, you call Jesus a liar. Discipleship is not always easy. Leaving anything cherished behind is profoundly hard. But Jesus is always worth it.

(SeanO) #4

@Julia_Bracewell That is a great question and very relevant to our society. @CarsonWeitnauer recommended some great resources for delving deeper into how to engage culture on this difficult topic. I would like to suggest that perhaps you have the question upside down or backwards. The question is not ‘how do same-sex marriages result in unhealthy/bad lives?’ but rather ‘how does an unhealthy heart lead to slavery to our sexual passions to the point that we say no to God and yes to sex?’

In the Bible, as we see in Corinthians and Romans, we are slaves to whatever we obey and as even science will tell you, acting out on wrong sexual desires leads to addiction to them (sinning against your own body corrupts the mind). And as pointed out by Hollinger and Romans 1, idolatry in the heart - seeking our ultimate meaning outside of God - leads to sexual immorality. The issue here is one of idolatry and identity.

Tim Keller has a great sermon on ‘Counterfeit Gods’ and how they can control us / destroy us. So I would say that the negative consequences of living out wrong sexual desires is the same as any other form of idolatry - the destruction is wrought by the wall it creates between us and God and the dependence on idols that cannot save in the day of disaster or heal our hearts.

Now, a person may say that God is first in their life while they are living in contradiction to Scriptural sexual ethics, but the Bible is clear that anyone who tells God ‘No, I’ll do it my way on this one’ is a slave to their bodies - not to God. I will admit that there may be baby Christians or those on the edges of faith that really are trying to follow God in the midst of this state. In fact, in her testimony, Rosaria Butterfield says there was a time as she was on her journey towards God that she was still living with another woman, but there came a time when she realized she had to make a decision to continue drawing nearer and end that behavior or draw back. I would never want to place condemnation on someone who is trying to work out their faith sincerely, but I do believe firmly that those who seek the Lord’s will earnestly on this matter will come to it rightly in the end.

I think we would do well to remember both that we cannot serve two masters and that there is no sex in Heaven - our identity ultimately must be rooted in Christ or it will self-destruct, if not in this life, then in the age to come.

Are those thoughts helpful? Did I address the question? The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom as you seek to love your friends and to honor the Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:18 - Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

Romans 6:12-14 - Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 6:16 - Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

“The link between idolatry and sexual immorality is established by the frequent use of ‘prostituting themselves’ or ‘adultery’ to describe Hebrew idolatry [in the Old Testament]. Israel’s unfaithfulness to God was not only a form of spiritual prostitution or adultery, but it also led to the physical acts themselves.”
Dennis P. Hollinger , The Meaning of Sex: Christian Ethics and the Moral Life , pp. 64-65

“What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give…A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought…An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’…If anything in life becomes more fundamental than God to your happiness, meaning in life, and identity, then it is an idol.” ( Counterfeit Gods , xvii-xix)
Tim Keller

Premaritial Sex, living together, moment when "marriage" is a union
Premaritial Sex, living together, moment when "marriage" is a union
(Julia Bracewell) #5

Thank you for your reply! I found this really helpful. Especially the link to Living Out that talks about male-female dynamics being the key foundation in marriage. I also appreciate the Gospel Coalition’s point about extraordinary returns! I have found this to be true in the things God has asked me to sacrifice in my own journey, so that definitely helps me with this question.

(Julia Bracewell) #6

Thanks for replying again Sean! Yes, those thoughts are very helpful and I definitely appreciate how you re-framed the question to say where is one’s heart if they are so enslaved to sexual passion they say no to God. That’s what it comes down to- what is first in one’s heart.

@SeanO @CarsonWeitnauer This is certainly a hard topic, and I often feel anxious when its brought up at my work place, because so many of my coworkers are queer. I fear that if they ask me I won’t know what to say, especially if they were to ask me what the consequences are. But I’ve also been looking at how Jesus responds to questions in the Gospels. It’s clear that when someone is asking a question from a place of humility and open-mindedness He is willing to engage them with the truth, but when people come to Him already with their minds made up to reject Him, He doesn’t bother to engage them with truth to the same degree. (hopefully i’m explaining myself correctly- I’m thinking about specific instances when the pharisees or Sadducees try to trap Jesus with questions about tax, marriage in Heaven etc.) Anyways, that’s put my mind at ease because unless someone comes to me with openness and genuine humility in their questioning about SSA, I don’t have to give them my answer because they don’t have the right frame and have already decided to reject God and judge me as hateful.

(SeanO) #7

@Julia_Bracewell Yes, so often the challenge is not only what to say but both when and if to say it. May the Lord Jesus grant you that wisdom. Glad you have more peace on this matter.