This Friday the Iowa Supreme Court rescinded a law that did not allow same sex marriage. Most true believers in Jesus Christ were probably disappointed at this. I’d like, however, to move away from disappointment and try to put things in perspective. Let’s go back in time to when Christianity first started and look at that society in comparison to ours. The culture back then was heavily influenced by Greek ideas and was called Hellenistic. It was pluralistic, believing in many gods, and morality was relative including homosexuality. It was in this environment that Christianity started and where it grew very quickly. With the decision this week, it helps clarify the direction our society is moving – back to this type of society.
This poses some difficulties but it also allows many opportunities for the gospel to be presented clearly rather than dismissed as it so often is. I saw one person state that says this makes it more difficult to be a public Christian. I disagree. I believe we will have more opportunities to clearly state what we believe. Homosexuality is a sin before God (Romans 1) that has disastrous consequences, but complaining is also a sin–with disastrous consequences as well. Sometimes people balk at labeling things sin. Yes, it is true that things labeled as sin in God’s Word are under the judgment of God; but it is also true that by understanding what things are sin provides hope as well. To label complaining sin and understanding God’s grace in sin is to understand that complaining does not have to be my identity forever. The danger that this decision embraces is that homosexuals will be more content in their identities. In reality, the only place both the complainer and the homosexual can stand before God without being judged is the cross. This is the message of the Gospel. And it is a message we must humbly and boldly proclaim; for this is the only hope for men and women. This is what the early Christians proclaimed – with powerful results. And so Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6 that both homosexuals and complainers (revilers in some translations) will not inherit the kingdom of God; only those who have been washed and justified through Jesus Christ – and some of the Corinthian church were sinners like that! They went from having identities as homosexuals and complainers to being sons and daughters of the King. So let us boldly and clearly proclaim the good news so that others may have hope as well.
A second reminder we need is that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. In an ultimate sense it doesn’t matter to Christians what the Iowa State Supreme Court does or doesn’t do. We have a higher calling – to introduce people to Christ’s kingdom – a kingdom that will not be destroyed or decay. A kingdom in which there will be (eventually) no one married to another – but we all will worship Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. A kingdom in which there will be no sin – only saved sinners. So while being citizens of this country and trying to persuade men of righteousness, let us be ever more and more citizens of that kingdom and persuade men by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word of sin, righteousness, and judgment – sin because we are all sinners, righteousness because only Christ was righteous, and judgment because we will all be judged – either at the cross or in hell. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!