Jan 19, 2009

Don't let public opinion direct your moral compass

by Dan Grubbs

We have lost a significant battle in the debate about the morality of homosexuality because we have allowed homosexuality to be extorted out of the sin of fornication. Due to decades of conditioning, the public discourse has not kept homosexuality congruent with other forms of fornication. To the detriment of Christ’s people, we have accepted, without questioning, the view of homosexuality being independent from the sin of fornication.

If we are ever to make headway in the polemics of this global debate, we must adopt two radical practices. One, never refer to the sin of homosexuality separately. Call the sin what it is — fornication. Two, we must adopt Christ’s approach to depravity. That is, do not tolerate the sin or even that which may encourage the sin.

The Bible tells us to be intolerant

Ephesians 5:11 clearly tells us that we are not to tolerate the sinful behavior of others or in ourselves. It even tells us to go a step farther. “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.”

There are — incredibly — true Christians who believe we ought not to judge the sin of homosexuality in order to reach and evangelize those who practice this form of fornication. In John 8, Christ certainly pointed out the hypocrisy of those who accused the woman caught in the act of fornication. However, don’t read into His actions that He tolerated her sin. We must not miss how Christ felt about her lifestyle as evidenced by what He said to her once her accusers left. We see in verse 11 that He considered her lifestyle sinful and commanded her, “From now on, sin no more.” He commanded her to change.

Did this woman have a special gene or environment that sent her down the road to fornication? No … nothing more than her old sin nature and allowing herself to ignore what she knew to be right.

Our society in America has degraded to the point that reinforcing morality is considered to be an act of intolerance. Unity, under the desire to evangelize, is a movement that would have Christians put aside our intolerance of fornication.

A lamentable result

What is happening is a movement that will make it illegal, at least civilly, to call fornication a sin and make proclamations against it. The addition of one type of sin to a nondiscrimination clause will inevitably lead to other sinful behavior becoming acceptable.

Why not non-discrimination clauses in support of alcoholics? There’s “research” that may support they have a predisposition to becoming alcoholics. How fair would it be to tell them of their sinful behavior if they simply couldn’t help it? How about heroine users, nymphomaniacs, pedophiles, liars? These sinful behaviors are prone to repeated abuse. We preach against these behaviors, even in the secular society. Why is fornication different? In fact, it is not.

Evangelize, yes; support fornication, no

Do we want to reach out to people involved in a sinful lifestyle? Absolutely! Every single human is in a sinful lifestyle. We would be hypocritical if we did not. It’s why Christ died on the cross. However, toleration of the sin is sin itself. “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin,” (James 4:17). A nondiscrimination clause or allowing homosexuality to be viewed as other than sin is sin itself.

What’s to be done? Won’t the problem eventually go away? Apathy leads to destruction. A simple review of history will bear that fact out. We all sin, some sins are dreadfully repeated. But, the scriptures tell us what we can do about it. In Galatians 5:16, it tells us, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

The only way to walk by the Spirit is to have the Spirit of God living in us. The only way to have the Spirit living in us is to repent and be born again. How will those of us living sinful lifestyles hear the truth? Romans 10:14-15 tells us, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!””

It’s not just the pastor’s job

It is all of our responsibility to both send and to preach truth to people living a sinful lifestyle — that is everyone. These two verses from Romans are not specifically talking about a formal pastoral staff in a church. These verses are referring to all of us, regardless if we have a special Spiritual gift for preaching or evangelizing. Remember, because of Christ’s authority, we are all a priesthood of believers.

What if Christians neglect this preaching we’re commanded to do? We will be held accountable. Here’s what God Himself said:

“Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.” (Ezek. 33:7-9)

A significant movement is sweeping our country to no longer consider the sin of fornication a moral downfall. Public discourse against fornication, or against sin in general, is at best persecution-ridden. We must not let the popularizing of fornication and the public demonizing of preaching morality sway us from being dogmatic when it comes to what the Bible teaches.

We must first reinstitute the teaching and reinforcing of biblical values and morality in our churches. Only then will we be credible enough to reach out to those outside the church to convince them of their depravity and “From now on, sin no more.” Only then will we, each one of us, be able to effectively tell the truth of the Gospel of Christ.

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