"What would Jesus do?" The Sun's Dan Rodricks asked recently in reference to same-sex marriage ("Same-sex unions: What would Jesus do?" Oct. 25). He was highly upset by remarks made by a local Baptist preacher regarding a New Testament Bible verse, Romans 1:32, that states that homosexuality, along with other sins, "is worthy of death." The short answer is, according to both Old and New Testaments, in scores of verses too numerous to cite here, all sin is worthy of death.
But the writer took it upon himself to inform us how Jesus felt about the matter, explaining that although he isn't a scholar of the New Testament, nor does he know or feel inclined to be informed about Old Testament teachings, "I know in my bones what Jesus was about." Jesus was about the truth, which he said unequivocally: "For this cause I came into the world, to bear witness of the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice" (John 18:37). Truth is not something one feels in his bones, but it is to understand with the heart, accept, and apply the teachings of Jesus Christ to his life.
While the writer referred to the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount and their unparalleled teachings of hope and love, neither of these speak directly to marriage. Why not cite the passages where Jesus did specifically address the subject of marriage?
In Matthew 19, certain religious skeptics came to him with the motivation to ensnare him in his words. They asked him "whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for every cause," which many were doing. They referred to what Old Testament law said about divorce, but Jesus bypassed this and went straight to the heart of the matter — to the beginning when God instituted marriage: "Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh." Then he added this stern warning: "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." This inaugural design, which Jesus espoused, obviates adultery, polygamy, and homosexuality.
Jesus referred back to Genesis 1-3 and the creation of man and woman. God created the man and then he created the woman out of the man: "and brought her unto the man" (Genesis 2:22). God did not bring a man to a man; nor did he bring a woman to a woman. Then God blessed them and said: "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion…" (Genesis 1:28). There is no way that either two men or two women can multiply without bringing in a third party of the opposite sex. God's design for marriage establishes equality, monogamy and heterosexuality.
It is clearly stated in both Old and New Testaments that all sin carries the death penalty. The good news is, God hates sin, but he loves sinners. God is a righteous judge, and this requires consequences for breaking his laws. Jesus Christ did not come to rescind the death penalty for sin, or he would have circumvented the justice of God, making his laws a mockery. Rather, he came to suffer the punishment, to fulfill the sentence of death on our behalf, and was executed on the cross. Romans 6:23: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
As recent events have shown, those who dare to act on their convictions against same-sex marriage, even in a civilized, legal use of their freedom of speech and freedom of religion, are more often the ones who are "persecuted because of righteousness."
Sharon A. Knotts, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun