Monday, June 29, 2015

We Knew this Day was Coming. Now What?

We knew this day was coming, and I wasn't at all surprised when I heard of the court's decision to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Let's not kid ourselves: it is a terribly sad thing to have witnessed the Roe v. Wade decision of our time. My family and I were on vacation when I saw the news all over Facebook, along with so many profile pictures updated to include the rainbow colors in support of the court's decision.

James White has warned for years that we will soon see the Tsunami of apostasy wash through the visible church. I knew he was right when I saw with my own eyes professing Christians use this as an opportunity to announce their sexuality all over social media. What made these situations even more heart-breaking was that other professing Christians "liked" these "coming out" posts on Facebook, and left supportive comments stating how "proud" they were for being true to themselves.

Chief Justice John Roberts is spot on when he said this in his dissenting opinion:

"The majority's decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment."

Yup. Contrast that with Justice Kennedy's majority opinion:

"The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex cannot be deprived of that right and that liberty."  

The problem with the majority's opinion is that marriage isn't discussed in the U.S. Constitution. The dissenting justices rightly say: "The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court's precedent."

One final quote from the dissenting opinion that is remarkably important:

"But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex  marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise “neither force nor will but merely judgment.”

The dissenting justices are absolutely correct. Later that Friday evening, to add insult to injury, the White House displayed rainbow colors across the property to show support for the LGBT movement. The Disneyworld Cinderella castle did the same, along with a dozen other government and popular locations. It's obvious that our government doesn't care one bit about offending those of us who believe in real marriage.

In the few days since the ruling, I've noticed a significant change in people's attitudes about the whole subject. It's as if people can't contain their newfound freedom to express all kinds of sexuality. People also seem shocked to discover there are those of us who still believe that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman. More people are now unwilling to engage Christians in conversation about this subject because it has been settled in their minds. It seems to me that our society thinks we have nothing worthy to say on the subject.

But you know what I think is really going on? All of the Facebook rainbow profile pictures, the declarations of how "proud" and "courageous" LGBT people are, pop culture making this whole thing cool and "normal," the marches and parades in support of their lifestyles, the decades that organizations persuaded the American public, liberal politicians, and judges who think they're legislators ... All of this is an attempt to suppress the truth in unrighteousness, just like God said in the Bible. Even with all of this time and money and energy spent to try to hold down the truth, they still know their actions are sinful in God's sight. That's why the world hates us: because they know that the wrath of God abides on them (just as it did us), and they don't want to face the reality that someday a final Day of Judgment is coming where everyone will have to answer for his/her actions.

So what now? What will you say to your co-workers who try to get a reaction out of you? How will you respond to your neighbors, your friends, and your family? Should you speak up to the LGBT friends in your life?

I believe that we should begin and end with a message of love, compassion, hope, and truth. In every gospel conversation with unbelievers I begin by letting them know my motivation is out of love for them and for God. And yes, level the playing field - what I mean by this is to explain that you are a sinner, just like they are a sinner. As we are all born into this world, we deserve death, judgment, and eternity in Hell. I believe that we need to discuss what sin is, otherwise, how will people know what to repent from?

As hard as it is, this means that some discussion may need to take place about how homosexuality, bi-sexuality, polygamy, trans-genderism, or other various forms of sexual expression, are sinful in God's sight. The Bible is very clear on this subject. On the flip side, there is a positive message that we have to proclaim: gender is a gift from God. Maleness and femaleness is a blessing that God alone gets to define. He has also given the gift of marriage: one man and one woman for life. The complementarity that a man and a woman experience together are obvious in nature: biologically, psychologically, and emotionally. I can testify how my life was radically changed when I married my beautiful wife. From singleness to marriage, a woman has a strong domesticating effect on a man. Likewise, the man offers a woman support and stability that she longs for. They also produce life by creating children together. I've found it very worthwhile to point out to people that only a man and a woman can create children ... something a man and a man, or a woman and a woman can never do. It's biologically impossible.

What about LGBT people that are sincerely attracted to members of the same gender? I recommend acknowledging it, because I believe in many cases they do have a predisposition to same-sex attraction. But, just because someone has same-sex attractions doesn't give them the right to act on these desires. We live in a fallen world, and as such, every one of us has predispositions for some sinful desires. Take Grumpy, for example ... one of the seven dwarfs. Let's say for the sake of argument that he believed his orientation was to be grumpy, and that everyone should just accept that that's who he is, period. Should we, and all of society, bow to this assertion? I would think not. Grumpy has no right to be grumpy because God requires that he give thanks to God for the many blessings given to him. In a similar way, LGBT are called by Christ to turn from their sinful desires and dreams, and turn to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Something I'm hearing more and more from professing Christians who consider themselves LGBT is this: "So you're saying that since I only have same-sex attractions, I am to remain celibate for the rest of my life? I'm to be alone and unhappy forever?"

I would respond with gentleness and care at this point. I might say something like this: "Jesus does require that you turn from your sins, which includes same-sex behaviors, yes. This may not be easy, and the Lord does say that you should consider the cost of abandoning your desires, and embracing the desires of Jesus. It is certainly possible that God removes same-sex attractions from you once you are saved. It is also possible that He gives you opposite-sex attractions. However, this isn't promised by the Lord in this life. What Jesus does promise is to provide grace that is sufficient for you, whichever path He has decided that you walk down. If you think this is impossible, and that your orientation is too strong, know this: God's grace is more than sufficient to help you overcome your desires. In fact, some Christians in the early church were once homosexuals and Scripture says this about their former homosexual lifestyle: "Such were some of you..." (1 Corinthians 6:11). He also promises never to forsake or leave His children. And most important of all, He promises to give you eternal life, where your sins are forgiven once for all. Then, you will have the hope of a future resurrection where your new body no longer has remaining sin and temptation. I say this to you: repent, for today is the day of salvation. Trust in Jesus to forgive you of your sins, and to deliver you from your sinful ways. Jesus is the only hope for sinners."

I would urge the reader: if you love your neighbors, speak the truth in love to them. Tell them the good news about what Jesus Christ has done on behalf of sinners. We, more than anyone, have reason to be joyful and thankful because we know the true and the living God. We have been redeemed from our sins, and we know the good life that Jesus promised. While the Lord has given us the freedom to do so, might we be faithful witnesses for His gospel. Look for opportunities to be salt and light in our society living in darkness.

13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16, NASB).

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