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God help us

July 1, 2015

http://www.timeofgrace.org

TIME OF GRACE BLOG STRAIGHT TALK. REAL HOPE.

By Pastor Mark Jeske

So Gay Marriage Is Here. What Now?

The Christian world is badly divided on this issue of gay marriage.

The left generally has supported the LGBT agenda, although at great cost as their denominations have hemorrhaged members and congregations.

So what do the rest of us Christians do now?

Here are ten thoughts:

I don’t fear that gay people who want to get married are a serious threat to heterosexual marriages. The greatest threat to heterosexual marriage is heterosexual people. In my pastoral opinion, the best thing straight Christians can do to protect one-man-one-woman marriage is to take better care of their own marriages. Marriage is like a car—if you just drive it and drive it and never refuel or do maintenance, the car will die by the side of the road.The greatest damage to straight marriage is done by straight people who don’t bother to get married but just cohabit, or single straight people who just sleep around as though it is their right, or married straight people who want to act like they’re single. We can do a lot more good for the state of heterosexual marriage in our world by putting serious work and respect into God’s marital design.Christians should stop expecting that their government will be the teacher of national morality. The only possible source of a code of conduct that is universally true for all human beings on earth is the Bible. Our nation’s laws are based not on the Bible but on what the people say they want. That’s the downside risk. But there’s an upside—the darker and bleaker that our world gets, the better and more desirable our Christian communities will appear. Where God’s Word and Spirit are disappearing, Satan moves in. In Satan’s wake are always pain, conflict, hatred, selfishness, and cruelty.Opposition to the LGBT agenda and lifestyle is not homophobia. That very word is a made-up mishmash—phobos is the Greek word for “fear.” We are not afraid of gay people. We are simply convicted by the clear words of Scripture. Neither are we haters. Christians whose harsh words make them look like haters only make the biblical position look backward and distasteful.Any Christian who dares to utter an opinion on the sexuality of others better know what the Bible says. Do you know where the Scripture speaks about homosexuality? If our words are not based squarely on Scripture, then we will just appear driven by prejudice rather than principle.Businesses run by straight people who oppose the LGBT agenda will probably no longer be allowed to discriminate against gay people with their goods and services. Christian bakers will have to make cakes for gay weddings, photographers cannot say no to gay fiancés, companies cannot fire people for sexual preference, and bed-and-breakfasts will have to allow gay couples as guests. The law’s compulsions on businesses, however, do not constitute approval of the lifestyle on behalf of the owners.  There has always been a subset of the human population that is sexually attracted to the same gender. You can argue the percentage, but the desires will always be there in some. That means that there are people sitting in the pews with you on Sunday who are wrestling with their desires. People with same-sex desires are people too, people loved unconditionally by the Lord, sinners just like you and me in desperate need of the blood of the Lamb. People who feel shunned by their families and churches are often intensely lonely and can find acceptance and support only in the gay world. We need to find a way to make people with gay desires feel valued and loved even while discouraging living the lifestyle. We must find a way to welcome people even when not sanctioning parts of their lifestyle. Gay people need to be in church. Gay people need Jesus.LGBT advocates argue that the very presence of gay desires legitimizes those desires. Their Christian allies will say things like, “This is how God made me.” Biblical Christians do not have to yield on this point. The presence of a desire in someone’s mind and heart does not make it right. A persistent subset of the population fantasizes about sex with children. That does not make it right.My greatest regret about the legitimization of gay marriage is that it will damage the individuals themselves. Gay desires will always be there, but it is repentance that brings Christ’s forgiveness and new strength. First Corinthians 6:9-11 teaches us that arsenokoitai (men who have sex with other men) will not inherit the kingdom of God. Steadfast rejection of God’s Word only brings divine judgment and condemnation.Kindly note that heterosexual adulterers come under the same judgment, as do thieves and swindlers. Christians do our world no good when they appear to single out homosexuality as worse than other sins. All sinners need to acknowledge their accountability to God, compare their lives to his standards, repent of their failings, claim the forgiveness that Jesus bought, and then fill themselves with Word and Spirit to make the changes they need to make. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, “And that is what some of you were” (note the verb tense—people can change their lifestyles).

Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus Lutheran Church on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics. You can sign up to receive his daily Grace Moment devotions via e-mail byclicking here.

Reposted 6/30/2015

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