This is a blog post from October 2014, but in light of recent events in our country, it is worth being reminded of and looking at again. The Supreme Court announcement refers to an appeal on a case which had made homosexual “marriage” legal in five states, including Utah. These reminders are valuable as we look at the recent Supreme Court decision which has affected the entire country. In many ways, the problems and changes we face today are new and different to us. We have not faced many of these problems before. But that does not mean that they are new in the history of the world. Many of the problems we are now facing were prevalent problems in Biblical times, and they are addressed very directly in God’s Word.
Early last week the Supreme Court announced that it would not hear any of the appeals from lower circuit courts regarding the legality same-sex marriage, effectively making the lower courts’ decisions stand. When we as Christians look at the popular morality of our day, we have seen a drastically radical shift. In 2008, Brendan Eich, one of the co-founders of Mozilla, donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8 in California. In March of this year he was ousted from his position as CEO of Mozilla after a public outcry about this donation. More and more we are seeing this type of response to anyone who speaks up against the popular morality that homosexuality should be endorsed and celebrated, even if they made the statement when popular morality permitted a rejection of homosexuality (as recently as six years ago). Today we see more and more that anyone who speaks out against homosexuality is put down and marginalized with an amazing amount of vitriol. This leaves Christians with making a choice between staying faithful to God’s clear Word and facing the vitriol of the world on one hand and sacrificing the truth of God’s Word in favor of the world’s acceptance on the other hand. Even ten years ago it was easy to accept God’s Word without facing the scorn and anger. But that has rapidly changed, and more and more, there is no middle ground where we can follow God’s Word without facing anger from the world.
If we desire to be faithful to God, then God clearly calls us to be faithful to His Word, including when He makes an authoritative statement regarding morality. God has called us to be faithful to what He said; He has not called us to be popular or accepted in the world. So the choice between following the absolute authority and morality of God and following the changing popular morality of the world that ebbs and flows should be obvious. We must be faithful to God’s Word. But in our current day, that sets us at odds with the world, and that is what many Christians fear. This fear stems largely from the desire to avoid rejection or negative repercussions for our faith and lifestyle. But the Bible has already prepared us for how to live in today’s world, even with its changing popular morality. The reality is that the Biblical commands against homosexuality (and other forms of immorality) were given in a world that practiced and celebrated those very things. When God condemned and destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin, including homosexuality, it was not simply because they had just passed a law permitting homosexual marriage. He condemned the sin of homosexuality, whether it was called marriage or not. Many of the popular religions of the day including all sorts of immorality. But when God’s people faced a choice between following God’s Word and following the popular morality of their day, God called on them to be faithful to His Word. Corinth was a city that celebrated immorality as part of the worship of their idols, yet God called His people to sexual purity. In Revelation 2, the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira faced opposition because the main religions of their cities used immorality as part of their worship of idols. Apparently some in the church were teaching that it was permissible for Christians to participate in some of these acts, as this would help alleviate the pressure of persecution and helped the Christians participate in the economic prosperity of the cities (particularly Thyatira). In other words, some in these churches were trying to do the exact same thing that many Christians today are trying to do: trying to justify ignoring or rejecting God’s statements on morality in order to avoid conflict with the world around them. But God’s Word to these churches is clear: it is wrong to sacrifice the truth of His Word in favor of gaining the acceptance of the world and lowering its opposition. Repeatedly throughout the New Testament we see God’s statements regarding morality and sexual purity. But sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that these commands are typically given in the midst of a culture that ours is rapidly becoming like. We are not facing a new and different world that the Bible does not address. Our culture is rapidly heading in the same direction that the cultures of Biblical times already celebrated. Yet God’s Word is just as effective today as it was then. When we face a changing culture today, we must respond as Scripture has prepared us to respond. The Bible teaches that we should call sin what it is: sin. Sin is wrong. But instead of putting down and condemning those who commit sin (as we all have-Romans 3:23), we must show how that sin shows the need of a Savior. The reality is that whether our nation celebrates homosexual marriage or makes it illegal, we still need a Savior from our sin. Whether our nation celebrates murder or makes it illegal, we still need a Savior from our sin. Whether our nation celebrates lying or makes it illegal, we still need a Savior from our sin. Our culture is rapidly changing. But God’s Word has already prepared us for what is coming.