Grif.Net

06/11/16 Weekend Grif.Net – A Different Kind of Sin

06/11/16 Weekend Grif.Net – A Different Kind of Sin

[Jonathan Parnell has =
written much on male/female identity issues facing the church =
today.  We are borrowing a few paragraphs for the more serious =
‘weekend’ edition of the grif net =
blog]

 

Homosexuality is not the =
only sin mentioned in I Corinthians 6:9-10 “Or do you not know =
that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be =
deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, =
nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor =
revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of =
God.”

 

It’s not the only sin =
mentioned, but it is different from all the rest, at least right now. At =
this moment in history, contrary to the other sins listed here, =
homosexuality is celebrated by our larger society with pioneering =
excitement. It’s seen as a ‘good thing’, as the new =
‘hallmark of progress’.

 

To be sure, the masses =
increasingly make no bones about sin in general. Innumerable people are =
idolaters, not to mention those who are sexually immoral, or who commit =
adultery, or who steal and are greedy and get wasted and revile =
neighbors and swindle others. It happens all the time. And each =
of these unrepentant sins are the same in the sense of =
God’s judgment. They all deserve his wrath. And we’re =
constantly reminded that “such were some of you” (I Cor =
6:11). You in the church.

 

But as far as I =
know, none of those sins is applauded so aggressively by whole groups of =
people who advocate for their normalcy. Sexual immorality is no longer =
the tip of the spear for the progressive push. Adultery is still frowned =
upon by many. Accusations of greed will still smear a candidate’s =
political campaign. Thievery is still not openly embraced, and there are =
no official initiatives saying it’s okay to go take things that =
don’t belong to you. There’s no such thing as a drunk agenda =
yet. Most aren’t proud to choose a beverage over stability, and =
there aren’t any petitions that the government should abolish the =
driving restrictions of inebriated individuals. Reviling others still =
isn’t seen as the best way to win friends and influence people. =
Swindling, especially on a corporate level, usually gets someone thrown =
into jail. In fact, the infrastructure of the American economy depends =
upon, in some measure, our shared disdain for conniving =
scammers.

 

Perhaps excepting =
fornication, these sins are still seen in a pretty negative light. But =
not homosexual practice, not by those who are now speaking loudest and =
holding positions of prominence. According to the emerging consensus, =
homosexuality is different.

 

As Christians, we =
believe with deepest sincerity that the embrace of homosexual practice, =
along with other sins, keeps people out of the kingdom of God. And if =
our society celebrates it, we can’t both be caring and not say =
anything. Too much is at stake. This means it is an oversimplification =
to say that Christians — or conservative evangelicals — are =
simply against homosexuality. We are against any sin that =
restrains people from everlasting joy in God, and homosexual practice =
just gets all the press because, at this cultural moment, it’s the =
main sin that is so freshly endorsed in our context by the powers that =
be. Let’s hope that if there’s some new cultural agenda =
promoting thievery — one that says it’s now our right to =
take whatever we want from others by whatever means — that =
Christians will speak out against it. The issue is sin. =
That’s what we’re against. And that’s what =
should make our voice so unique when we speak into this =
debate.

 

Some would like to =
see this whole issue of homosexuality divided into two camps: those who =
celebrate it and those who hate it. Both of these groups exist in our =
society. There are the growing numbers, under great societal pressure, =
who praise homosexuality. We might call them the left. And there are =
people who hate homosexuality, with the most bigoted rationale and apart =
from any Christian concern. We might call them the =
right.

 

The current debate is =
plagued by this binary lens. Those on the left try to lump everyone who =
disagrees with them into that right side. If you don’t support, =
you hate
. Meanwhile, those on the right see compromise and =
spinelessness in anyone who doesn’t get red-faced and militant. =
If you don’t hate, you support.

 

But true followers of Christ =
will walk neither path. We have something to say that no one else is =
saying, or can say.

 

Distancing ourselves from =
both the left and the right, we don’t celebrate homosexual =
practice, we acknowledge God’s clear revealed word that it is =
sin
; and we don’t hate those who embrace homosexuality, we =
love them enough to not just collapse under the societal pressure
. =
We speak the truth in love into this confusion, saying, simultaneously, =
“That’s wrong” and “I love you.” =
We’re not the left; we say, this is wrong. And we’re =
not the right; we say, you’re loved. We speak good news, =
with those sweetest, deepest, most glorious words of the cross — =
the same words that God spoke us — “You’re wrong, and =
you’re loved.”

 

God tells us =
we’re wrong, that the wages of sin is death, that unrepentant =
rebellion means judgment, that our rescue required the cursed death of =
his Son (Romans 3:23; John 3:36; Galatians 3:13). =
And God tells us we’re loved, that even while we were sinners, =
Jesus died for us, that while we were unrighteous, Jesus suffered in our =
place, that though we were destined for wrath, Jesus welcomes us into =
glory (Romans 5:8; 1 =
Peter 3:18
; Ephesians =
2:1–7
).

 

You’re wrong =
and you’re loved
— that’s the =
unique voice of the Christian. That’s what we say, speaking from =
our own experience, as Tim Keller so well puts it, “we’re =
far worse than we ever imagined, and far more loved than we could ever =
dream.”

 

That’s our message in =
this debate, when society’s elites despise us, when pop songs =
vilify us, when no one else has the resources to say anything outside of =
two extremes, we have this incomparable opportunity to let the gospel =
shine, to reach out in grace: you’re wrong and you’re =
loved
. We get to say this.

 

That’s why =
homosexuality is not like other sins.

 

~~

Dr Bob =
Griffin

bob@grif.net =
www.grif.net

"Jesus Knows Me, =
This I Love!"