Posted by: The Lazy Admin | March 28, 2013

Some Christians Have It All Wrong

Okay, I’ve had enough.

The Supreme Court is deliberating the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and will likely find that it should be struck down.  I’m not affected by this one way or another except that as a Christian, laws like these make little to no sense and are not in line with scriptural doctrine.

Oh, I’ve heard all of the arguments.  I’ve heard fellow Christians rallying cries of “marriage is a man and a woman” and “it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”  It’s one thing to feel like you’re a Christian who knows the Scripture, and what God wants.  We all want to be the very best Christian we can be, right?  It’s another thing though to try and act on those ideas when we aren’t sure just how righteous our actions are.  It’s not how Jesus taught people to behave and to approach sin while he was on Earth.  He never advocated forcing people to rally against sin in such a way, nor to protect other people from sin through any means.  Christians seem to entirely miss the point of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ:  humans can’t save anyone else from sin, much less themselves.  Laws based on misguided Christian ideas do not fulfill God’s plan.  However, rather than base an argument on extrapolation and conjecture, we’re going to look at scripture and see what is truly wrong with this behavior and ideology, and hopefully remind some people as to why Christ’s sacrifice was needed.

Matthew 19 opens with Jesus being tested by the Pharisees.  In verse 3 they begin by testing Jesus’s knowledge of Judaic law versus his teachings.

Matthew 19:3 NIV:  Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

Notice what the Pharisee did?  He asked Jesus if, based on the law, he would condone a man and a woman to get a divorce.  The trick here is that these Pharisees believed they were the righteous ones because they acted within the law.  So how did Jesus reply?  Look at verse 4:

Matthew 19:4 NIV:  “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Let’s look at what Jesus told them.  He references the word of God that had already been written, as God enacted it.  Two were joined *by God* and no act of man can undo it.  Human beings have no power in matters such as these and we cannot undo what God has done.  This prompts the Pharisees further to ask in verse 7 about why Moses, a holy man, would condone acts that go against God’s intentions.  Jesus has the answer ready for them in verse 8 and 9.

Matthew 19:8-9 NIV:  Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.  I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

I feel like this is an important distinction to make here.  First of all, Jesus teaches us that Moses allowed it for the sole reason that people were going to do it anyway.  Think about the meaning of having a hardened heart.  Does this mean you’re mean, unruly, disobedient?  No!  When your heart is hard, it doesn’t change and doesn’t give up on what it wants.  The followers of Moses wanted this so badly that they simply weren’t going to let the issue go.  They looked to Moses as a prophet, seeking answers, but the answers he gave them weren’t what they wanted.  Eventually, because he wasn’t infallible, he gave in and allowed them an earthly means to “undo” what God had done.  But Jesus tells us that from the very beginning God told people that marriage couldn’t be undone very plainly in verse 9.

You might think, “Well, God condemned homosexuality.  So isn’t it a ‘hard heart’ that keeps people wanting to allow something that goes against things that God Himself has condemned?”  It’s easy to think, as a Christian, we’re performing God’s will.  It’s a great thought, an honor, to think God is acting through us.  Most of us should be so lucky.  But, let’s look further into chapter 19 and see what else is said here.

Verse 16 starts with the story of the rich man asking Jesus how he might gain eternal life.  Jesus cites the Law of Israel here in verses 17, 18, and 19 which is generally accepted as the means to enter Heaven.  The rich man confesses in verse 20 that he had met all of those requirements but still asked what more he could do, to which Jesus replies in verse 21, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

This surprises even Jesus’s disciples, who started to question their own salvation at that point despite following Jesus around all this time.  In verse 25 they ask, after hearing the very sobering words they had been told just moments ago, “Then who can be saved?”  Once again, Jesus has the truth for them in verse 26:

Matthew 19:26 NIV:  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Let that sink in for just a moment.  There is nothing, *absolutely nothing*, that a man can do for another man, or for himself, to bring about salvation.  Jesus makes that very clear to his disciples.

So what does this have to do with laws forbidding homosexual marriage?  It’s man taking action to try and help save another sinner.  Jesus himself told believers that there was absolutely nothing they could do to be saved.  Nothing!  Why are Christians then so preoccupied with waging these legal wars against people consumed by sinful acts if, based on the word of God, there’s nothing they can do to save these people?   Two homosexuals who want to be joined legally and inherit the benefits under current law are beyond our power to reach and to save.  Why should we be so proud and rebellious as to think that we can save someone like this when we can’t even save ourselves from judgment?

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 1, Paul testifies that nobody will escape God’s judgment.  In chapter 1, he sets the scene for us by describing how humans have been since the very beginning: rebellious against God.  People have rejected Him and his commandments.  They are murderers, liars, gossipers, thieves, idolaters, the arrogant, the boastful, disobedient of their parents.  In a modern sense, they’re drug addicts.  They’re alcoholics.  They’re child molesters.  Adulterers.  Pornography watchers.  Body piercers and those who get tattoos.  They’re everyone.  They’re you.  Yes, you.  And God was tired of it.  So what did God do about it?  Look at what Paul says in chapter 1 verse 26:

Romans 1:26 NIV:  “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. “

What’s even worse is that Paul testifies in verse 32 that, despite knowing what the consequences were we do these things anyway!

Romans 1:32 NIV:  “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Every one of these acts deserves death.  We have nothing to justify ourselves.  Each sin, as great and small as the next, all deserve death.  And God was going to let us have it. As Jesus told us before in Matthew, there’s nothing we can do about it.  I can’t save you anymore than I can save myself.  You, reader, certainly can’t save anyone.

Paul drives this point home at the beginning of chapter 2 in verse 1.

Romans 2:1 NIV:  “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”  We have no hope even among ourselves!

Paul is once again going to crush us here.  Look at what he has to say about our situation in chapter 3 starting at verse 9:

Romans 3:9 NIV:  “What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”

Again, let that sink in for a minute.  *Nobody seeks God.*   *There is no one who understands.*  *There is no one righteous, not even one.*   Not even you.  That’s pretty damning.

So if none of us are righteous, how can we feel justified that our actions are righteous?  Realistically, we can’t.  We can’t trust our own judgment about what’s right and wrong.  If we could, would we still deserve God’s wrath?  Would we be consumed by our sinful nature as we all are today?  Would Jesus’s blood sacrifice as payment for our sins have even been necessary?

The scripture warns us against pursuing law as a means towards righteousness.  The ruling law of the day was handed down and built upon from the Old Testament, and one of the recurring themes throughout the New Testament is that those who live by the law will die by the law, but those who live their lives through faith in Christ will receive eternal life.  In fact, we are told in Romans chapter 4 that what Abraham discovered was that none of his works were righteous in the eyes of God.  His faith, however, made him righteous.

What can we call the attempt to legislate against things we believe are sinful other than imperfect works to earn favor for a perfect, just, eternal God?  Look at Romans 4 verse  2 and verse 5:

Romans 4:2 NIV:  “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.  What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:5 NIV:  “However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”

All that is required of us is to trust in God in order to be proved righteous in His eyes.  Imagine that!

So what are we actually accomplishing by trying to enact law based on what we believe God wants?  Did it work for the Israelites?  No!   Without faith in Christ, their law was their doom.   Failing to adhere to even one of the laws brought to bear the full punishment for violating all of them, and ultimately death and eternal separation from God.  Back in the book of Matthew, Jesus brings down woe on those who cling to the law as a means of salvation:

Matthew 23:13 NIV:  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

This is not all Jesus had to say about the teachers of the law, but get this:  Using law to try and bring about righteousness will only ultimately condemn those you’re trying to save!

Matthew 23:15 NIV:  ““Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

That’s the insidious nature of sin, though.  You do realize that, reader, correct?  Sin will justify your actions for you.  Sin will tell you, “This is for the best.”  Sin will tell you, “It has to be done to save them.”   Sin will tell you, “This is what God wants.”  And you will listen, if you trust in yourself to judge what is righteous.

I don’t agree with homosexual marriage, but based on my understanding of scripture I feel it is not only a horrible idea  to enact legislation to prohibit individuals of the same sex from entering a legal marriage, but is counterproductive to God’s plan of salvation for all those who still have not accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.  If you are for prohibiting these actions through law, I feel you are directly negating the entire reason for Christ’s sacrifice, in that we cannot save ourselves and that only through God’s divine grace and forgiveness through the blood of Christ will we ever achieve salvation.

And if your actions as a Christian deters even one individual from turning towards Christ you are not only unrighteous, you have stolen the gift that was given freely to all of us from a person who’s eternal soul is in danger of separation from God.  You can’t save anyone from sin; only God can do that.

Now let that sink in.

Advertisements

Categories

%d bloggers like this: