Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gay Marriage: Our Gods Laid Bare

The world is messed up.  We live in a world where everything is turned upside down.  We want people to stop talking about Jesus but to talk openly about what they do in bed and with whom they do it with.  We call him a baby when he is in the incubator but a choice when he's in the birth canal.  The list is long.  It is very, very long.  The world has become "inventors of evil" (Romans 1:30) as if we are bored with the old way of doing things wrong we have had to come up with new ways.  Nothing is new under the sun.

The other day I was signing on to Fakebook and one of my friends instant messaged me.  He welcomed me to the Gay Marriage Debate Social Network.  We both had a good "lol."  But then we both shared with each other that we were weary, tired and disturbed.  What I see are a lot of fearful people whether for or against gay marriage.  Where there is fear, there is passion.  The gay marriage debate in Delaware has heated up because the HB75 bill to legalize gay marriage has gone before the State House and passed and is now before the State Senate and may or may not pass.  Who knows?  Well...God does.

I have been asked what I think over and over again by many people about the whole gay marriage issue.  Anyone who has ever listened to my sermons, or has read anything I have written, or has conversed with me knows that I am going to preach Jesus Christ crucified un-apologetically and without reservation.  I fully believe in the power of the Gospel alone to change people at the pace that God wants to change them.  I hold to the Scriptures as finally authoritative.  I do not plan to ever "water down" what God says.  With that said, I believe that the gay marriage issue is a complete secondary issue which both many in the church and those outside a church have turned into a primary issue and as a result our gods have been laid bare.

Homosexuality is a sin according to the Scriptures.  Don't get Leviticus on me.  Jesus took care of the ceremonial laws by fulfilling them on our behalf.  The New Testament is clear that shellfish laws, menstrual laws, cleanliness laws and such are finito.  So are the civil laws so many liberal theologians and atheists like to quote so much when trying to demonstrate that it is impossible to take the Bible literally.  These days we don't stone disobedient children, disobedient children just get stoned all by themselves while skipping school. Jesus took all of the civil punishment due to us for sin on the Cross and cried out, "It is finished!"  Still, the New Testament condemns homosexuality.  It also condemns gossips, hatred, hetereosexual freaks, lust, greed, lying, fornication, porn, and a whole laundry list of things you didn't think about - like calling someone a name in hatred, lustful thoughts that occur too many times to count, eating too many Big Macs, and identity issues.  But even in the New Testament the actual sins are secondary issues.  What is first and foremost in the New Testament is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For every one verse that talks about homosexuality, there are hundreds of others that preach that Jesus died for sinners.  Homosexuality was a blip on the writers of the New Testament's radar screen.  Jesus was a continent sized ice berg on the radar screen screaming to be dealt with.  Many Christians have reversed the primacy of Jesus for the primacy of agenda (whether for or against HB75).  

As a result of this reversal some have given the government too much authority.  Some have given the government too much authority by believing that "marriage equality" will legitimize their marriage to the same sex.  Other have given the government too much authority by believing that a law will redefine marriage.  The government does not define truth.  The government cannot define marriage.

If HB75 passes, Jesus is not going to load up the chariots and return to earth in response.  Gay men and women will now have a piece of paper from a secular state that says they are married in the eyes of the state.  Common grace will continue (otherwise the world would cease to exist due to the effects of sin), churches who preach Christ crucified will continue to grow here and around the world, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike will continue to come to Jesus when God opens their eyes, and the world will continue to spin toward the day that God the Father has picked as the day where He makes all things new.  All that will have happened is that we will have an even clearer delineation between "rites" and "rights".  Anything we can do to unfurl the flag from around the Cross is good in my opinion - where is Jesus' Kingdom?  That's right.  "Not of this world."  Marriage will not have been redefined because as far as I have heard, there is no book of "Americans" that has been placed between Jude and Revelation and there have been no new Apostolic writings.  Government can't redefine marriage any more than it can redefine truth.  At one point our government defined black men and women as only part person.  Did this declaration have any bearing on the actual humanity of black men and women?  No way.  Right now our government has defined a growing human being in the womb as a non-person  which can be taken out and put in a trash can to die not unlike a woman's appendix.  The government hasn't redefined human life it just ignores it and kills it with it's laws.  Humanity in the womb is till humanity in the womb regardless of what our laws declare.  In the same way, marriage is only between a man and a woman in God's eyes regardless of what the US government says or does not say.  The government doesn't determine or define theology.  God defines theology.  We find God's theology in God's Word, not in the state law books.

We could write laws that say that Jesus is not God.  In fact, the Romans did just this and do you know what happened?  God did not remove His common grace.  God did not exit the land.  God flourished.  The disciples wrecked everything.  Why?  Not because they fought on the floor of the Roman Senate but rather because they fought on the floor of the synagogue and in the town square and in people's homes.  And their agenda had nothing to do with Roman purity laws or civil rights.  Their fight had everything to do with Christ crucified.  They knew the power of the Gospel.  They believed in the power of the Gospel.  The law does not define truth.  Therefore, the fight to keep marriage between a man and a woman is not fought at the level of law but at the level of the human heart.  The human heart can only be changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Galatians Paul says that law has no power to change anyone.  It only tells us how crappy we are.  We stink with sin.  We are stained with guilt.  A law on the books of Delaware will not save even one soul - not one.  But the preaching of Christ to those who are broken will save many.  I believe that Christians should do what their conscience has called them to do.  I believe that Christians should fight for what is right in society.  But I believe that the most effective disciples of Jesus Christ are those who are equipped with the Gospel when they take the fight to the streets.

Are you afraid that a law in favor of homosexuality will pass?  Your god has been laid bare.  Are you afraid that a law against homosexuality will pass?  Your god has been laid bare.  Do you think that the law of man has the power to change people?  Your god has been laid bare.  Do you think that the government has any power over people's hearts?  Your god has been laid bare.

When Paul went to Mars Hill he was asked by the crowd to talk about his God.  Paul had been defined by his inquisitors because of what he preached.  Why didn't they ask him about his thoughts on Roman civil policy?  Why didn't they ask Paul about Rome's brutal colonization of conquered people?  Because Paul was known for the Gospel.  He was known for what he was because he was in Christ and purposed to preach Christ crucified.  I think it is about time that Christians are defined for what they are for rather than what they are against.

I don't know what is going to happen with HB75.  I have family and friends on both sides of the issue and I am praying for them to a Gospel presence.  I know that gay marriage is not marriage no matter what the law says.  But I also know that Christians are called to love God and love people.  I have been asked what a Christian is supposed to do when an issue like this comes up.  I think that they should do what God has called them to do.  Some might be called to work within the government and to be a Gospel presence there.  Some might be called to pray.  Others might be called to befriend a gay couple they know and invite them into their lives for no other purpose than to be their friend and confidant.  Do what the Holy Spirit has prompted you to do, but make sure it is of the Spirit, empowered by the Gospel and taught in the Scriptures.  

Make much about Jesus.     

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