Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Pastoral Concern: The Word matters, and words matter too

Last week, I had posted that God's Word matters above all things.  While we may attempt to argue about a social concern or popular trend in terms of logical argument, some logical arguments will not stand.  Some, quite frankly, are just plain stupid.  For example, anyone who insists that heterosexual marriage is better than same-sex marriages because husbands and wives get along better than lesbians should be prepared to hear about the deplorable divorce rate our country knows all too well.  If you are going to make definitive statements, base them on God's Word.  The Word stands, as it has for the history of the world.  People who hate it and reject it are simply acting as we would expect unbelievers to act.  They reject the Word; they have not overthrown it.  The word of our God endures forever.  (Or if you prefer the Latin: Dei verbum manet in aeternum.  Isn't Latin fun?)

Unfortunately, Christians are also victims of the culture we live in.  Many are buying into the propaganda, argumentation, and social pressure to believe that same-sex marriage is a good law and even a good practice.  How many Christians are hitting the "like" button for comments which favor same-sex marriage or have updated their Facebook profile to be a rainbow flag?  I suspect that it is far more common than I think.  Such actions will garner praise from the world.  Such opinions will brand you as a good American.  But if you are going to do these things, you run into some serious problems with the word of God.

I will only highlight two Scripture verses.

Romans 1:21-32
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
(NOTE: These verses detail what is the result of rejection of God and his word.  People become increasingly wicked, and God allows them to pursue their wickedness, seeing just how depraved they will get.  Though these verses are specific regarding homosexual and lesbian behavior, they also note that rejection of God leads to all kinds of wickedness.  Such wickedness not only becomes accepted as the norm, people also end up celebrating those who engage in wickedness.)

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified,you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(NOTE: Especially in this verse, we see many sins which mark people as unrighteous, not just sexual ones.  But, these are all sins.  They mark all people as unrighteous.  The only remedy for unrighteousness, judgment, and damnation is the blood of Jesus Christ.  These are what the Corinthians were; but by God's grace they repented and found forgiveness in Jesus--a new status and a new life that seeks what is good and despises what is wicked.)

How can you "like" same sex marriage and still confess the previous verses to be God's word?  They are mutually exclusive and contradictory.  Either the Bible verses are to be confessed or rejected, believed or disbelieved.  If you are that eager to be a good American, you may have to forfeit being a good Christian to do it.  Beware.

God's Word matters.  And the words we use to confess our faith matter too.  Consider the words "good" and "love."  A kindergartner can probably give you a decent definition of each, but these words have been used and twisted and worked in such a way that Christians have a hard time recognizing that what what the world means by "good" and "love" are not necessarily what God means when he uses those words.

In an upcoming blog post, we will consider what God means when he uses the word "good" and "love."  If Christians maintain a firm grasp on the way God uses these words, many arguments offered by our world will be exposed for the lies they are, we will be strengthened in our stance on God's truth, and we will be further aided in speaking the truth in love.

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