By George C. Hammond -
On Friday, June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in a 5-4 split that states may no longer adhere to the natural definition of marriage, nor require that its citizens do.
It was a strange decision for many reasons, not the least of which being the court’s internal inconsistency. In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed into the law the Defense of Marriage Act, legislation that codified the natural definition of marriage and made it the law of the United States. In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 split ruled the law unconstitutional because it was not the place of the federal government to dictate to the states the definition of marriage. Fourteen states retained the natural definition of marriage. On June 26 the court dictated to them what the new definition of marriage will be. The really striking aspect of this is that the five justices who opined in 2013 that the federal government, of which the supreme judicatory is the third branch, had no business defining marriage, are the same five justice who in 2015 redefined marriage and imposed that redefinition on the states.
In the aftermath of that decision, rainbow flags flew along with signs proclaiming “Love Wins!” What won at the hands of the court on that day was not love. What won was human lust and sexual perversion. But sometimes people speak truth in spite of themselves and their intention (Caiaphas comes to mind, Jn 11:49-50).
Love wins. The truth of it can be seen in the fact that God is love (1 Jn 4:8). Love was the root of God sending his Son into the world, so that all who trust in him would not perish but have eternal life (Jn 3:16). And he didn’t do this for the good, the upright, the deserving, but God commended his love to us in that when we were still sinners Christ died for us (Rom 5:8).
That’s quite a remarkable statement from Romans 5:8, banding together God’s love, Christ’s dying and our being sinners. When Jesus was crucified it didn’t look like love had won. It looked like evil, injustice, perversion had won. But it didn’t. Love won on that very day. On that dark day, that discouraging day, that frightening day which caused the disciples to scatter and hide in despair – on that very day, Love won.
Love continues to win, and it wins today in the way it’s always won, by supernatural grace. You shouldn’t be surprised that we as a culture have approved of and blessed the murder of children, sexual perversion, easy “no fault” divorce and other immoralities. The consciences of those who practice these things sting them, some to a greater and some to a lesser degree. The activists of immorality hope that by making their behavior legal it will silence their consciences. Certainly when what is wrong is also illegal there is more weight on the conscience. But in truth, the conscience is independent from human legal contrivances.
The gospel is liberating in the only way it’s ever been liberating: by supernatural grace. Think of what it takes for someone to become a disciple of Jesus, to bow to him as Lord and Savior. It requires that they recognize, confess, and forsake their sin.
Yet forsaking sin is the very thing all people know in their heart of hearts that they are unable to do, so we pretend that it is not sin, pretend that our consciences do not hurt, and try to sear and cauterize them into insensitivity by engaging the behavior over and over again.
The gospel is glorious and offensive because it requires something of us in response to it. The forces behind the pandering decision of the U.S. Supreme Court do not like the law and light of nature, let alone the revealed law of God because it suggests to them, “Something is wrong with you.” It is to that proposition that they and all people react with viciousness.
I read many years ago about an op-ed piece that ran in a newspaper in G.K. Chesterton’s day that was entitled, ”What is Wrong with the World?” Chesterton wrote to the paper in words similar to this: “Dear Editor, in response to the piece ‘What is wrong with the world?’ – I am!”
That’s what the gospel demands, that’s what it takes to be a Christian. It requires looking at myself and the norms that can be gleaned even though the light of nature (Rom. 1) and to say, “There’s something wrong with me!”
This is what everyone who would find true peace in their lives, peace with God, must do. It’s not just homosexuals who have something wrong with them. You have something wrong with you. To admit that takes supernatural grace. Without such admission you can never be healed.
But by the grace of God, everyone can be healed. The church needs to be ready to offer the grace of the gospel to those who practice homosexuality and who had desperately hoped that their consciences would now stop hurting because the U.S. Supreme Court has “made it legal.”
Peace and a good conscience cannot come through any law, human or divine (Gal 3:21). But it can and does come through the gospel of grace that can change us, a change which starts with the realization and sorrowful admission, “There’s something wrong with me.”
“Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor males who allow themselves to be used as women, nor homosexuals, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:9-11)
That is what some of you were. You are no longer. By the grace of God you can be changed. By the grace of God it can start with the admission “Something is wrong with me.”
God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor 5:19). He loved the world and sent his Son into it for people just like you. Thousands – millions can testify that he has delivered people just like you.