Yesterday was a day that will most certainly be etched in the history of the United States. In 100 years, students will have “June 26, 2015” written on a flashcard as they stressfully study for their APUSH exam. Gays were officially given the right to be legally married and, expectedly, opinions were being voiced left and right.
While many have cried tears of joy and celebration over the SCOTUS ruling, many have fought with words of fury against it. Unfortunately, many of the furious have been those who publicly declare themselves Christians. This saddens me, not out of judgement, but out of protection for the truth and preciousness of the Gospel.
As Christians, we are called to guard the Gospel and to preach it always. We are to “be prepared in season and out of season: correct rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Tim. 4:2) It’s a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly and can only be done through reliance on the Holy Spirit. However, it’s obvious, especially today, that many have neglected or ignored that responsibility and are missing one of the greatest opportunities in recent history that we as Christians have to preach the remarkable truth of the Gospel.
As #LoveWon trends on every social media site, it is certainly impossible for me to forget that gay marriage has now been legalized in all 50 states, but more importantly, it is impossible for me to forget that love so beautifully won over 2000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross.
To be upfront and clear, yes, I do believe that homosexuality is a sin. I do believe that it is a desire of the flesh that is to be turned from, just as I believe pride, dishonesty, lust, and impatience are desires of the flesh that are to be turned from. I do believe that marriage was, and continues to be, a beautiful gift from God that began when Eve was created from Adam’s rib: a unity of one man and one woman, and I do believe that God intended for this model of marriage to be upheld. I believe that as our Creator, He knew what was best for us and loved us enough to lay it all out for us in His Word.
While the Bible makes it non-negotiably clear that homosexuality is a sin, our call is not to first make known our condemnation for sin, but rather to first make known that the price of all our sin has already been paid out of immense, incomprehensible love. It is true that we are called to lovingly correct fellow believers when they are walking in sin, but if we look to Jesus as a model, we are called to love first and always.
In John 8 when Jesus encounters a group of teachers and Pharisees who are about to stone a woman for the sin of adultery that she has committed, he replies, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw the stone at her.” After all the men have left due the realization of their own sinfulness, Jesus tells the woman, “Then neither do I condemn you,” and commands her to “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
There was no condemnation. He saved her from being stoned to death, and then commanded her to leave her life of sin. Love was first, and correction followed out of this love.
As followers of this loving Christ, our focus today should not be on arguing our stance on gay rights and condemning those in support of the ruling, but our focus should be on preaching the gospel. Our preaching should come from a place of love and never from a place of condemnation. We have all fallen short of the glory of God, and we are all justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus when He died and rose again–when love truly won. (Romans 3:23-24)
The purpose of the Bible is not to be quoted in Facebook rants. The purpose of the Bible is not to be cited in political debates and Twitter fights. The purpose of the Bible is salvation. God’s first and highest passion is for all of His creation to be home with Him. Every word in the Bible serves to describe His plan and desire for salvation, and every citation of the Word should be rooted in this same desire.
Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:7) and He is the Son of a Father who is love (1 John 4:8). It should be very simple for us to understand and live by, but the darkness and complexity of the world has blinded us to the simplicity of the truth. We are called to be instruments in the fulfillment of God’s plan, which is for all to achieve salvation. The only path to this salvation is through the Son of Love.
I’m only human so my understanding of the Lord of the Universe is feeble and likely flawed in many places, but I stand in firm confidence that endlessly voicing opinions of opposition to homosexuality is not what is going to bring the LGBT community to salvation. If salvation of everyone is truly our focus, many of us are going about achieving it so wrongly.
“Hate the sin, love the sinner,” the Christians post in order to lightly make their opinions known. Yes, this call to hate sin and its evil nature but love everyone despite their innate sinful nature is Biblical. It is undeniably true. But as vessels of the Light of the World Himself, is this the best declaration of the truth of the Gospel we can bring? While only Jesus can bring a soul to salvation, He lovingly uses us to play a role in that process and we cannot disregard the importance of that role.
Instead of focusing on and condemning the sin that is being celebrated, we should be focusing on spreading the best news in all of history: that everyone–gay, straight, black, white, or purple–can be forgiven of their sins and can forever have the separation they’ve experienced from God removed, through the blood of Christ–the blood of Christ that was shed before love won the victory against death in the grave. (Eph. 2:13)
With this pivotal moment in the nation’s history, God has given us an incredible opportunity to make the greatest gift of His Son known. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:3-5)
America, world, the time that Paul spoke of two-thousand years ago has come. We are not to turn away from the truth and condone sin in order to appease itching ears, but we are called to do the work of an evangelist, and preach the Gospel–the Gospel of grace and love.
Instead of fighting with the LGBT community, let’s start fighting for it. Let’s start being vessels of Jesus, who fights for their hearts with the truth of salvation through love.
We are called to preach the Gospel that beautifully sings the song of love winning.
Love created man and Love created woman. Love allowed His people the freedom to choose sin. Love consistently called His people to turn from sin and towards Himself. Love sent His only Son to pay the inevitable price of sin–death. Love turned away as His Son was gruesomely crucified and died on a rugged cross. Love fought the greatest fight in history against Satan and his desire for all to be in bondage to him in the future. After three days of fighting, Love WON and conquered evil himself. Love rose His Son from death and had Him command the world to make disciples of Him before bringing Him back home. Love reigns on His throne waiting for every single one of His creations to join Him.
Love DID win and let us NEVER stop celebrating that and making it known.