Let me begin by saying as Paul, I consider myself to be the chief of sinners. I have no righteousness to call my own. I am simply one beggar reaching out to other beggars like myself to tell you that someone took me in. He took me off the streets called sin that I once loved. He cleaned me up. He gave me a home. And He adopted me as His son. I deserved none of that, and did nothing to earn it. But He saved me from my former life and the sins I thought I once loved. You see, I had never experienced life apart from the streets of my sin. I thought that was as good as it could get. But this man introduced me to a life I could have never imagined, and to a joy I would have never otherwise found without meeting Him. His name is Jesus.
We are living in a culture where the majority would say that there is no one single truth. Our extremely postmodern society would say that truth is ultimately determined by each individual. This past week, our Supreme Court attempted to redefined the definition of marriage. Again, this is just proof of this prevailing postmodern mindset where no truth is set in stone, and things can be easily redefined according to how a person feels inside.
The subject of same sex marriage has been a major dividing line not only within church and state, but between professing believers as well. There are many misconceptions as a result of culture attempting to redefine what God has clearly defined throughout scripture, that being marriage consisting of one man and one woman.
“He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” Matthew 19:4-5.
I write this blog not out of anger or in an attempt to degrade anyone. Rather, I want to take this opportunity to answer some questions that I see many professing believers asking in light of the recent wide-spread support of same sex marriage.
One supporter of gay marriage recently wrote, “We all have sins in our lives. So why is this sin so singled out? And how can it be sin if two people are in love?”
Romans 3 is crystal clear. That all have sinned, every one of us, and as a result stand guilty before God. But there is a misconception of sin in relation to the true believer in our world today.
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
Homosexuality is not the only sin mentioned in the above verse. There are many sins listed. And each of them threaten to separate us from God for eternity. We tend to place sin on a rating scale where big sins are bad but things like gossip or a little white lie are innocent sins.
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8.
This verse seems to be a repeat of sorts of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, but there are a few different sins listed. One of them is the sin of lying. Our world thinks nothing of a little white lie today, but that only shows how very wicked and evil we are at heart. Even habitual liars be separated from God for eternity.
What is the point? It is this; that the true Christian can and will fall into sin, but due to their new nature in Christ they cannot continue in that sin as a way of life.
“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3:9.
Any practice of sin, which is a lifestyle of sin, be it homosexuality, lying, gossip, slander, or whatever, according to God’s word, proves that the person doesn’t know God! If a person can deliberately continue walking in a lifestyle of sin, then they prove that the truth is not in them and the sacrifice of Christ crucified does not apply to them.
“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” Hebrews 10:26.
A Christian strives to avoid sin, they do not willingly run towards it.
As Christians we sin. But the difference is that a Christian weeps over their sin. It pierces their heart that they have transgressed against God. The Christian mourns sin in their life, they don’t institutionalize and celebrate it.
Some would ask, “How can it be sin for two people to love each other?”
Lets address this question by stating something that will make the postmodernist cringe. There is a such thing as absolute truth. And every truth is always defined by the creator of that truth. In 1869, when Walter Camp came up with the sport of football, he coined certain terms that were true to the sport he created. When a point was scored, it was called a touchdown. When a player was knocked down by someone on the opposing team, it was called a tackle. Now imagine that all the sudden, you decided when a point was scored, you would call it a home run instead of a touchdown merely because you liked the sound of it better. Anyone would tell you that you can not redefine the sport of football based on how you felt! There is an absolute truth that defines the game.
Many people are calling gay marriage a redefinition of marriage. But you cannot redefine absolute truth. You cannot call a touchdown a home run.
In the same way, God created the concept of marriage. And God had a purpose in His design, that we would procreate and that His glory might spread to all nations of the earth through His image bearers. It is not unloving or indicative of a bigot to hold to the Biblical concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman. Rather, it is just acknowledging absolute truth. Our world affirms absolute truth in all areas of life, except when it pertains to the Bible.
Again, the question on the table is “How can love between two people be called sin?” Again, we must continually think of absolute truth. Humanity does not define sin, we embody it. We don’t make the rules as it pertains to creation based on how we feel in our hearts.
Ill give you an example. We have four boys and they all love to swim. Luke and Abel are four years old and just beginning to learn to swim. Whenever we go swimming in a pool, my oldest Andy and Lincoln will play in the deep end of the pool. And Luke always wants to jump in the deep end with them and play. But his mother and I forbid it. We have made a rule for him that he is not allowed to go to the deep end. Now being only four years old, Luke doesn’t understand this. All he knows is that in his heart, he desperately wants to go and play in the deep end of the pool with his older brothers. He thinks Lacy and I are being unfair in not allowing him to go. In his mind, playing in the deep end of the pool makes him happy. Therefore, mom and dad must be against his happiness.
When in reality, I love my son more than he will ever know. And I want nothing but his safety and happiness. My rules are never to harm or hinder Luke’s fun, even though at this point in time he can’t see that. My rules are to keep him safe and are set in place because I know that the pleasure that is so alluring to him now could ultimately lead to his death. And I want my son to have a long, joy filled life.
We are like four-year old children at times. We view the word of God as a hinderance to the desires of our hearts. But God even warns us about listening to our hearts.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9.
God does not give us commands in an attempt to be some kind of cosmic kill joy. God knows you better than you know yourself. He sees the pitfalls that we do not. God did not create marriage as an absolute truth to hurt us, but rather to say, “Look I designed you and the concept of marriage to bring you into greater joy and to protect you!” The commands of God are for the greater joy of His children and for His ultimate glory!
In closing, how are we to react as the church to this celebration of gay marriage. I am ashamed to say that many church going Christians who hold fast to the Biblical concept of marriage are totally wrong in their approach to this issue. They tend to vilify those who are living in a lifestyle of sin while priding themselves on their supposed self righteousness. When in truth, we should have the attitude of 1 Corinthians 6. After Paul had listed the many sins that are an abomination before God, just so there would be no self righteous people patting themselves on the back for their piety, he said this;
“Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11.
Here is the approach we take when talking to a person practicing sin.
“I am the chief of sinners. I was worse than them all. I have no righteousness to boast in, and I was lost in my sins. But I want to tell you that there is a greater joy than the sins you are living in. Trust me I know, because I was loving and chasing sins of my own. But Jesus saved me! And the more I know of Him through His word, the more my heart begins to desire the righteousness that I one hated, and despise the sins I once loved. Let me tell you about my Jesus!”
People will argue that God is love and therefore, we should just love all people. Absolutely we should love all people. But getting them to realize the absolute truth of God’s Word is the most loving thing we could do for them. God is love, but God is also wrath. And those who spit at His commands and redefine His truths as a deliberate practice of life are abiding under that wrath.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Romans 1:18.
The most unloving thing that a Christian can do is to celebrate another persons sin with them. It would be like my son Luke getting excited that I finally gave in and told him to run and jump in the deep end of the pool. As he jumps in with a huge smile on his face, I celebrate and applaud him. All the while knowing that his temporary happiness will soon lead to his death. To applaud and celebrate a person practicing a lifestyle of sin may seem loving to them for the moment, but the wrath of God and Spiritual death are the absolute Biblical truth of their future.
There is a much greater joy found in knowing Christ. When King David in the Psalms described his relationship with God as being as desiring as sweet honey on his lips, that was not just puffed up speech. When a person says that they find no joy in the commands of God, that is not an invitation for Christians to bash them. But rather, it is an opportunity to preach the word of God to them and show them the supernatural beauty of Christ throughout the scriptures.
There is an absolute truth in the universe, and His name is Jesus Christ. And as Christians we all fall short, and we all sin. But we do not celebrate our sin. And we certainly do not institutionalize it. We weep over sins and seek to put them to death as we strive towards pleasing our Heavenly Father. Because for the true Christian, pleasing the Father is what brings true Joy to our souls.
“Why do Christians keep making a big deal about gay marriage”, some may ask. The true Christian continues to plead and cry out against sin just as a loving father would plead with his son who is playing ball in the street to get out of the road before an oncoming car hits him. Christians oppose gay marriage not because we hate people, but because we love them. And more importantly, we love and believe firmly in the absolute truth of the word of God.
Love your neighbor enough to preach the Gospel to them not in judgement, but out of a heart of love. Be transparent, not condemning, when it comes to the topic of sin. Show them that we all have fallen short, even you, and have chased the fleeting pleasures of the world. But do not compromise the absolute truth of God’s Word. Love others enough to warn them of the wrath that abides on all those who practice any sin with no repentance. As one beggar relating to another, show them that there is a better way in knowing Jesus. And He is in the business of rescuing beggars like you and me. Life in Christ is more beautiful than life on the streets called sin.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
1 John 5:3