Saturday, May 28, 2011
The above link is not pleasant to read for a Christian. I tend to think that more Christians ignore the pervasive, perversion of morality all around us today rather than take the time to have a clear defense if confronted by those who support the "gay" agenda. I have been listening this month to the link (found at the right of the page) of Alpha and Omega Ministries. James White has been dealing with this subject and speaking to Dr. Michael Brown who just wrote, A Queer Thing Happened to America. There is no question that these people and those that support them are making an all out effort to silence any biblical voice that suggests that such sins are wrong, immoral, dangerous to society and are sins at all. I believe a case can be made that this is where real persecution of Christians will come from in America before too long.
One "Gay" activist made it very clear that tolerating homosexuals is just another form of bigotry. If you don't support and celebrate such alternative lifestyles then you are just another intolerant bigot. School systems and businesses that don't follow this agenda are the subject of intense pressure. If you listen to these podcasts from James White you will see that things in America are very serious. They want exclusive rights to educate our children and we had better be prepared to draw the line here if at no other place.
In the above links we read of a couple who have decided not to tell anyone, even the grandparents, what gender their third child is. They don't want society to impose their views of what gender he or she is supposed to be, but instead they want their children to decide for themselves who and what they should be. If you read far enough you will find out that traditional views of gender roles are "stereotypes" which, of course, immediately puts a negative connotation on things.
There are a lot of things wrong with this from a biblical as well as a natural and sociological point of view but I want to mention one that should be familiar to Christians. We have to be able to see through all the twisted logic and see this for what it is. The fact of the matter is that God has already identified who this child is. All any of us have to do is to look between our legs and immediately we know who we are. God has given us roles and duties to carry out that are gender specific and he has not left it up to us to decide to be something we are not.
This is rebellion against God's authority which means that anyone who does this or sympathizes with it cannot be a follower of God and instead are obviously given over to an evolutionary, naturalistic view of life. They must see our gender as merely an accident of nature because only this view can allow someone to think it is ok to ignore what "nature" gave them.
Another reason we know this is sinful and godless is because it is the exact same sin that led to the fall of Adam and Eve. God had given them roles to carry out as created humans which basically was to put God first in everything and they decided that they would choose their own destiny. God's response was to plunge the world into the curse of sin and its effects. The first chapter of Romans tells us that the natural man suppresses the knowledge of God and the authority of God. And when people continue to do this and will not submit to the Lord he makes it very clear that pervasive homosexuality will be part of his judgment. And so the Bible explains where we are as a society and it did so two thousand years ago.
I don't write this to just bash such people and I am not trying to stir up anger and ill will towards them. This is the "Gay" activist's tactic and there is too much at stake for this. These people, like all of us, need the gospel and we should make it a point to do so if we have the opportunity. Secondly we need to make sure that our children understand at the appropriate ages what the Bible says about gender and sex and openly explain from a biblical standpoint why perversions are wrong and dangerous to individuals and society. Thirdly we need to understand their tactics and the failure of their arguments so we can speak intelligently with them and not just resort to name calling.
We cannot ignore this because it is unpleasant to think about. This world is openly trying to brainwash our children into thinking that there is nothing wrong with their behavior and making them think that to criticize them or even disagree with them is bigotry. We have to be aware of their tactics. The podcasts of the first half of May from James White will be beneficial and necessary even though unpleasant.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I suppose it has always been easier for Christians and especially preachers to concentrate on the love, mercy and grace of God than to think about the fact that God also hates and has holy wrath toward both the sinner and his sin. Pretty soon we begin to come up with formulas to separate God into compartments to take some of the edge off his holy wrath. We have all heard the saying, "God hates sin but loves the sinner". At first glance that seems to take the edge off of things but it is just an unfortunate, rather misleading statement. There is an element of truth in it but it is far from accurately conveying God's attitude toward sinners.
In the first place you can't separate sin from the sinner. Sin is in its essence an act of rebellion. All sin is shaking your fist before God with the idea that you will do what you want to do. To say that God hates your hatred of him but loves you anyway just doesn't paint the full picture. Whether we like it or not the Bible says, Psa 5:5-6 "The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man." This isn't to say that the Lord doesn't love and hate at the same time but our problem is that we don't have a problem being loved but we just don't like being hated, especially by God. The reason God hates sin is because a just God must be against people not worshipping him alone and he is right and just to do so.
Perhaps one reason some think they can separate themselves from their sin is because we sometimes make sin a substance in us, not a deliberate act or thought we do and have. We say whiskey or cigarettes are sinful; this is a sin or that is a sin as if sin is separate from our wills. But sin isn't found in a bottle and it is far more than just an act we perform. When we make sin merely something separate from ourselves it is easy to stand with God against it and begin to think pretty highly of ourselves. But there is no sin unless our sinful wills are involved.
But there is another problem we have today that is even worse than distorting God's wrath and that is to deny it altogether. There are plenty today that are telling us that God doesn't hate anyone; he is just a God of love and the only sin we have is that we won't accept his love for us (read Robert Schuller, Rob Bell, etc.) Those that only believe that God is gracious and merciful but deny that he is one who hates sin and will judge sinners take away the basis for grace.
One only is gracious and merciful to those who are deserving of judgment; those that have offended the law and stand condemned. Without the guilt of sin and the judgment of a holy God there is absolutely no need of grace and mercy. In fact, if we are all just innocent victims of God's providence then he actually owes us grace.
Monday, May 2, 2011
I was reading the other day in Rev. 22:4, "They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads." It occurred to me that the great majority of people know about the mark of the beast but most probably didn't realize that Revelation has more to say about the mark of God on the saints than it does about the mark of the beast which is only mentioned once.
This is sad for a couple of reasons. First of all without knowing about the mark God puts on his elect one doesn't understand what the mark of the beast means. And this has led to sensationalizing the meaning to be an actual mark implanted or tattooed on the forehead and hand by some political leader during the "Great Tribulation". Books and movies have been written and made over this usually focusing on the Devil and the Antichrist while saying little about what God is doing in this world. The reason is that people are not interested in knowing God but they are terribly interested in anything that has to do with Satan and the Antichrist and the End Times. It makes for a good story but poor theology.
The second reason this is sad is because by ignoring God's mark you really miss the whole point of both marks. Beginning in chapter 7 when God gets ready to do his work during this present age which will include many judgments on the world ending with the final judgment of sinners, the first thing he does is to put a mark or seal on his people to assure us that no matter what happens we will be brought safely through this life and end up in glory. That is why in chapter 22 when the eternal state begins we see this same group standing before the throne reigning forever. It reminds me of Romans 8:29-30, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." Notice that all who are predestined are glorified, none are lost.
While this is apparent as you read all the times it is referred to in Revelation, it is made easier to see by looking back at Ezekiel 9:4 where John draws for his illustration. There God is about to judge Jerusalem for her idolatry but tells an angel to put a mark on everyone who has kept themselves from idolatry and kill everyone else. This gives us great calmness and assurance in this present age that "the Lord knows them that are his" and that "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out."
We are being given one of the great privileges of the election of God; "He that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and no matter how bad it gets in this world we have the power, purpose and promise of God that he won't lose one of us.
But as we read through Revelation we notice something else about these two very different marks; something that Ezekiel also showed. They also represent two very different lifestyles. Those with the mark of God are those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. This makes sense because the indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal. He makes us new creations. Those with the mark of the beast are those that do whatever it takes to get along in this world and that is the very identification of this mark. It isn't a tattoo or an implanted chip in your brain, it is the unregenerate heart. One mark identifies a heart that worships the Lord and the other identifies one whose god is himself.
So which mark do you find more interesting?