Bought by the Blood

June 24, 2011

What I Will Tell My Kids About Gay Marriage

Here I Stand

The problem with the way that many conservatives, including evangelicals, defend marriage is that they’ve dumbed it down to a point where when it is stood up against society’s current redefining of marriage there is hardly any recognizable difference.  Marriage, as God designed it is to be a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). In a secular society, that is not always the case especially since everyone does not have the same worldview. Marriage, in America is quickly deteriorating from what God intended, with many people living together and having sex outside of marriage, the growing popularity of no-fault divorce and how pornography and infidelity run rampant.

In light of all of this, is it correct to say “anything goes”? Because of the separation of church and state should we just take the mindset that marriage is a state institution and it is up to individual states to decide? My fear is that if I do that, then I won’t be salt and light, which is why it is important to know what I believe and why.

The Bible is the solid ground on which I stand and form my convictions, all else is sinking sand. These convictions may make me sound judgemental and condemning, but my hope is that any judgement or condemnation someone sees me passing is the same judgement and condemnation that I deserve, but because of Christ free grace and rich mercy that all who seek to be crucified with Christ and find their life in Him may be free from any judgement or condemnation.

What’s Love Got To Do With It

Many people believe that marriage should be for two people who love each other and it doesn’t matter their gender.  I am not going to argue with that statement, because it is a great proposition.  Instead, ponder this, what does it matter if a person gains marriage, but loses their soul (Mark 8:36).  If we think that a couple, straight or homosexual, having the right to marry will complete them then we have set the bar far too low.  To quote C.S. Lewis “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”  If someone doesn’t have the opportunity to marry the person they love, then they may be momentarily missing out on something.  Ultimately, marriage is nothing compared to knowing Christ. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).” By promoting any marriage not built on Christ, whether straight or homosexual, it does not matter how much love there is, there will be no eternal value in it.

The Culture Wars

Obviously, I would not stop a non-Christian couple from marrying.  I can imagine your reaction being that if a homosexual is born that way, then it is unfair that I would support laws that would stop them from marrying someone they loved.  In all honesty, I have trouble supporting laws that outlaw same-sex marriage because legislation is not the answer.  The law has no power to bring a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and without a relationship with Him how can I expect them to deny their desires?  I have friends that are homosexual and in same-sex relationships and marriages.  I have never told them that what they are doing is wrong.  Also, I have never outright supported their choice.

The media, our society and the political machine wants us to believe that a culture war is going on right now.  I believe that Jesus would scoff at the idea of a culture war.  I am not at war with any homosexuals who choose that lifestyle.  They do not need me telling them that they need to change.  They need to see the love of Jesus and that His grace is greater then all their sin.  If Jesus was walking the earth right now, it would probably be the homosexual couples and not the conservatives that He would spend His time with.

Jesus does not see people as straight or homosexual, but he sees all people as sinners who need a Savior.  Rules and laws will point out that we are sinners.  Rules and laws can go no further then bringing about shame and I fail as an ambassador of Christ if all I do is point to people’s sin without pointing to the Savior.  No one who comes to Jesus has to make a drastic life change before they come and as His representative I do not have to force people to change instantly when they come to Jesus.  The result of coming to Jesus is crucifying the flesh and no longer walking according to its passions and desires, but that always comes after faith and never as a condition (Galatians 5:24-25).  Straight people, homosexuals, all are free to come to Jesus and and find the satisfaction their soul has been longing for.

Does It Really Get Better

Many of you reading this, are probably familiar with the “It Gets Better” campaign.  Part of me wholeheartedly agrees with that campaign, with the ideal that people will grow up and mature so that others don’t have to fear being bullied, have the ability to visit a loved one in the hospital and not be ostracized by family and friends for being who they are.  Even if that day comes, things may temporarily be better, but ultimately there will be a day where we will all have to stand before God and give an account.  Hell is a real place, it is a place of eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30), and torment (Luke 16:23).  Any human rights that homosexuals gain to make this life better will not compensate for God’s holy wrath that He will pour out on sinners in the life to come.

It isn’t just homosexuals worthy of burning of eternally, but it is everyone. No one does good, no one chooses God (Romans 3). Every single person is born with a heart that is sinful and no one deserves to go to Heaven, except for Jesus who lived a perfect and righteous life and died on the cross to atone for the sins of gays, straights, liars, murderers, thieves, gossips, etc. Yes, that is condescending and judgmental, but it is filled with hope. It is gloriously beautiful because it means that salvation is not up to us and that we don’t go to Heaven because we do good things or live a “right lifestyle” but it is only because of the merits another.

Former homosexual and current evangelist Sy Rogers once said, “People doesn’t go to hell because they’re gay; they go because they’re separated from God.  Heterosexuals don’t automatically go to heaven; they go to hell too.  The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality; it’s devotion to God and a holy lifestyle.”

In the book, “An Arrow Pointing Towards Heaven,” about the life of Rich Mullins, Rich tells the following story and I believe it truly gets to the heart of the matter.

I remember one time Beaker and I were hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and he met some friends of his, so I walked into town.  It was about a five-mile walk from the campsite down the trail…,down into town.  And when I got there I went into a restaurant and I was having a steak, and this guy started talking to me and we had this great conversation.  We were having a good time, and he said, “Hey look, it’s dark and it’s five miles up to your campground. Why I don’t I drive you up there?”
And I said, “Hey, Great!”
And so we got in his car, and just as we pulled out from under the last light in that town, the guy said, “You know what, I should probably tell you that I am gay.”
And I said, “Oh, I should probably tell you that I am a Christian.”
And he said, “Well, if you want out of the car…”
And I said, “Why?”
And he said, “Well, I’m gay and you’re Christian.”
I said, “It’s still five miles and it’s still dark.”
Then he said, “I thought Christians hated gays.”
I said, “That’s funny, I thought Christians were supposed to love. I thought that was our first command.”
He said, “Well, I thought God hated gays.”
And I said, “That’s really funny, because I thought God was love.”
And then he asked me the big one. He said, “Do you think I will go to hell for being a gay?”
Well, I’m a good Hoosier, and I puckered up to say, “Yes, of course you’ll go to hell for being gay.” I got ready to say that, but when I opened up my mouth it came out, “No, of course you won’t go to hell for being gay.” And I thought to myself, Oh my God, I’ve only been in New Hampshire for one week and I’ve already turned into a liberal! What am I going to tell this guy now?
Then I said to him, “No, you won’t go to hell for being gay, any more than I would go to hell for being a liar.  Nobody goes to hell because of what they do.  We go to hell because we reject the grace that God so longs to give to us, regardless of what we do.”

What Will I Say

I titled this post, “What I Will Tell My Kids About Gay Marriage.”  Some time in the future my children will ask me about gay marriage and human rights.  I can’t tell you today what I will say, most likely I won’t repeat all 1,800+ words to them that you just read (if you did read all of this, thank you and I’d love your thoughts). I know that it will be a message of grace because that is what everyone deserves even when we don’t see eye to eye.  It will be a message of acceptance because homosexuals are not second class citizens.  It will be a message of love because “we love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).” It will be the message of the cross because homosexuals need the cross just as much as I do.

[9] 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, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] 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. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

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May 10, 2010

God Saves Sinners

For to Calvinism there is really only one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point that God saves sinners.

God: the triune Jehovah – Father, Son, and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power, and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the son fulfilling the Father’s will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing. Saves: does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: plans, achieves, and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies.

Sinners: men as God finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, blind, unable to lift a finger to do God’s will or better their spiritual lot. God saves sinners – and the force of this confession may not be weakened by disrupting the unity of the work of the Trinity, or by dividing the achievement of salvation between God and man and making the decisive part man’s own, or by soft-pedaling the snner’s inability so as to allow him to share the praise of his salvation with his Savior.  This is the one point of Calvinistic soteriology that the ‘five points’ are concerned to establish and Arminianism in all its forms to deny: namely, that sinners do not save themselves in any sense at all, but that salvation, first and last, whole and entire, past, present, and future, is of the Lord, to whom be glory for ever, amen!

-J.I. Packer

November 19, 2009

Spurgeon on the mission of parents

Elisha had to deal with a dead child (2 Kings 4:29-37). It is true that, in his instance, it was natural death; but the death with which you have to come in contact is not the less real death because it is spiritual. Boys and girls are as surely as grown-up people, “dead in trespasses and sins.” May none fail fully to realize the state in which all human beings are naturally found. Unless you have a very clear sense of the utter ruin and spiritual death of children, you will be incapable of being made a blessing to them. Go to them, I pray you, not as to sleepers whom you can by your own power awaken from their slumber, but as to spiritual corpses who can only be quickened by a power divine. Elisha aimed at nothing less than the restoration of the child to life. May you never be content with aiming at secondary benefits, or even with realizing them; may you strive for the grandest of all ends, the salvation of immortal souls. Your business is not merely to teach children to read the Bible, not barely to inculcate the duties of morality, nor even to instruct them in the mere letter of the gospel, but your high calling is to be the means, in the hands of God, of bringing life from heaven to dead souls.

Resurrection, then, is our aim! To raise the dead is our mission! How is so strange a work to be achieved? If we yield to unbelief we shall be staggered by the evident fact that the work to which the Lord has called us is quite beyond our own personal power. We cannot raise the dead. We are, however, no more powerless than Elisha, for he of himself could not restore the Shunammite’s son. Need this fact discourage us? Does it not rather direct us to our true power by shutting us out from our own fancied might? I trust we are all of us already aware that the man who lives in the region of faith dwells in the realm of miracles…

You are sent into the world not to do the things which are possible to man, but those impossibilities which God worketh by His Spirit, by the means of His believing people. You are to work miracles, to do marvels. You are not, therefore, to look upon the restoration of these dead children, which in God’s name you are called to bring about, as being a thing unlikely or difficult when you remember who it is that works by your feeble instrumentality.

-Charles Spurgeon: read the rest at The Spurgeon Archive

August 10, 2009

The Lord is My Shepherd; I shall not want

The Lord is my shepherd;I shall not want- Psalm 23:1

As I proclaim with David that the LORD is my Shepherd, I am also proclaiming that I am a sheep.  To be called a sheep is not a compliment, but instead is humbling and self abasing, all sheep cry out with the John Baptist that I must become less and he must become greater (John 3:30.  This is because I am nothing and He is my everything.  I am making a statement about my weakness and need for a protector.  I am telling of my foolishness and that on my own I am prone to wander and easily get lost.  As a sheep, I am looking to my shepherd to be the one who provides for me, protects me and directs me.

In Christ, we have the Good Shepherd, the one who gladly protects and leads us back home to the Father.  He has laid down His life for you and I, taking our sin and curse, so that we may live through Him and have His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Through His atoning death for us, we have died to this world and our flesh so that we may live to God and have the hope of life forever in Heaven (Romans 6).  He has intimate knowledge of His sheep and will not leave one behind, but has died so that we may have no fear of death.  The Son is in perfect relationship with the Father and because we are in union with the Son and call Him our shepherd, the Father sees nothing hindering our relationship with Him, so that we can be adopted sons and daughters (John 10:14-15).

If we are adopted children of God, that then begs the question of how should we live?  We are to live as sojourners, we are to be people not of this world since we are just passing through (Hebrews 11:8-10).  There should be nothing in this world that captures our wants and desires because our greatest want is more of God.  If our hope is above then there is nothing in this life that can fulfill and satisfy us.  Any wants I have, I lay before the cross knowing that if it is of God then He will provide it for me (Hebrews 11:26).  It is not an issue of not wanting, but conforming my wants to God’s wants for me because I know if my desires are aligned with His then He will gladly give them to me (Psalm 34:4).

July 23, 2009

Martin Luther on Imputed Righteousness

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; – Romans 4:7

Believers inwardly are always sinners; therefore they are always justified from without.  The hypocrites, on the other hand, are alway righteous inwardly; therefore they are always sinners from without.  By ‘inwardly’ I mean, as we appear before judgment and opinion; by from ‘without,’ as we appear before God and His judgment.  We are righteous ‘outside ourselves’ when our righteousness does not flow from our works; but is ours alone by divine imputation.  Such imputation, however, is not merited by us, nor does it lie with our power, as the prophet says in Hosea 13:9: ‘O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.’ Of ourselves we are always wicked, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 51:3 ‘My sin is ever before me.’ But the hypocrite, say: ‘My righteousness is ever before me, and blessed are they who do works of righteousness.’

The text says: ‘Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven’; that is to say: Blessed are they who by grace are freed from the burden of iniquity, namely, of the actual sins which they have committed.  That, however, is not sufficient, unless also their ‘sins are covered,’ that is unless the radical evil (original sin) which is in them is not charged to them as sin.  That is covered when, though still existing, it is not regarded, considered and imputed by God; as we read: ‘Blessed is the man to w home the Lord will not impute sin.'”

Martin Luther

June 30, 2009

What A Great Salvation

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared. – Psalm 130:3-4

God has a holy standard that He has called all men to live up to.  The words that God wrote to Belshazar are true for all men, “you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; (Daniel 5:27)”  The balances is that of God’s righteousness and when ours is weighed against God’s, we are found wanting, there is no curve on God’s scale.    Our best attempts of having any righteousness of our own are filthy rags when seen in light of God’s holiness.  There is no one sin that is greater than another sin, all sin is equally heinous because it is against a holy God.  You and I are in the same boat as Adolf  Hitler and have no goodness in and of ourselves to make us attractive to God.

If you and I were to stand before God, we would be trembling in fear.  When sinful man comes in contact with a holy God there is an instant realization of our smallness and unworthiness.  The media today has presented a false portrayal of angels, but the Biblical picture of angels is one that is so beyond our imagination.  Angels, are not creatures with wings and harps that belong on hallmark cards, but in Scripture when an angel speaks to man the first thing an angel says is “fear not.”  If our immediate reaction is to fear angel’s which are messengers and servants of God’s, then it is terrifying to think what our reaction would be if we actually saw God.  When Job got a greater revelation into God’s character He was reduced to stating, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further. (Job 40:4-5)”  When we are placed next to God we realize we have no room to stand or speak, we are nothing, if God is the ocean, we are but one drop of rain.

Praise God that this is not our ultimate end, God has made a way for us to be forgiven.  This forgiveness is nothing light, but it came at the price of His Son.  For those who have faith in Christ, He has passed over their sins by the means of diverting God’s wrath away from us and onto Himself.  God’s justice has been satisfied by Christ taking the holy wrath that we deserve (Romans 3:25).  Instead of God seeing us and our sinful state that is deserving of punishment, He sees Christ righteousness.  He has washed our sins away by Christ blood and cleaned us from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  My sin is no longer on my record, but instead has been transferred to Christ, so that God may remember my sinfulness no more, although my sin was abounding more and more, grace abounded exceedingly more (Isaiah 43:25 and Romans 5:20).  Since we have such a great salvation, God’s wrath does not need to be feared, but instead we can worship Him and serve Him in loving reverence.

June 16, 2009

How are the faithless made right with God

“‘Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful,
declares the Lord;
I will not be angry forever. – Jeremiah 3:12

A key question that we all must wrestle with as we come to this text is, “who is faithless Israel?”  If we are being honest, faithless Israel is none other than you and I.  We are the one who have the played the adulteress and worshiped other God’s.  When we examine our hearts we realize that you and I are the one who have placed faith in peoples and things other than the living God.  There is no one who does God or seeks God, we are all deserving of death and God’s wrath (Romans 3:14 and 6:23).

Despite the sad state that we are in, we’re not completely without hope.  Although God has every right to strike us down and make us pay the penalty for our sins, God has called us to return to Him.  Our hope for returning is not on the basis of anything we have done or any goodness in us.  The only way we can return to God is because of Christ completed work on the cross.  On the cross God has offered to exchange my sin for Christ righteousness, but if I am to receive this free gift from God it comes on the one condition that I must confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9)

If we return to God, we will receive mercy.  To receive mercy we must turn from our sins and turn to God, this a process called repentance and it must be done daily.  The puritan Thomas Watson once said, “”Be as speedy in your repentance as you would have God speedy in His mercies.”  We have gained everything through the cross, God has promised to no longer be angry with us.  There is no more fear of condemnation and are viewed as loved in God’s sight forever more.  What greater motivation do we need to live lives of worship that are characterized by putting off sin and putting on holiness (Colossians 3).  Let us be quick to turn from the things of this world, for God’s love is in us and His will is for us to abide in Him by denying our flesh and all forms of worldiness. (1 John 2:15-17).

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