reason4thehope

Thinking about life, faith and the world.

The Right Questions

question“Has no one condemned you?” – John 8:10

If the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage didn’t turn out the way you hoped, you may have some questions for God right now. How could He allow this? Has He changed His mind about marriage? Is He still there?

Maybe we as Christians need to ask ourselves some questions instead. Principally, if God allowed the battle to be lost, was He ever in it? You may think, of course He was!  God always fights against those who break His commandments, doesn’t He?

God’s judgment has come and is coming. He judged sin at the cross. For those who don’t accept that judgment poured out on Jesus in our place, judgment will come at the end of time, and there will be no intermediary to absorb it. Until then, however, Jesus won’t raid the speakeasy and send the revelers scurrying into the night. He’ll enter, in our skin and on our feet, and invite them to come out into the light.

God invites us into a covenant relationship, and marriage is a sacred, earthly symbol of that covenant, as the Bible repeatedly makes clear. That may be one reason it’s hard to believe God wouldn’t stand and fight with the defenders of marriage as He established it. But when God gives a symbol to represent a deeper concept of faith, the symbol never trumps the spiritual reality.

When venomous snakes attacked God’s people as they wandered the wilderness, God commanded Moses to make a bronze snake and lift it high; all who looked to it would be saved (Numbers 21:4-9). Through this symbol God demonstrated His power and foreshadowed Christ being lifted up to save all who would look to Him. What could be more sacred than that? Fast forward several hundred years. When people persisted in worshiping the bronze serpent, the righteous King Hezekiah destroyed it.

Am I suggesting that God wants traditional marriage destroyed? No, though in the next world, earthly marriage won’t exist; its time will be past (Mark 12:25). But sacred as marriage is in this life, there are more sacred things – such as God’s invitation into the higher relationship marriage symbolizes. We can’t extend that invitation impaled on a sword of judgment.

Speaking of symbols, it’s interesting that the rainbow, which God declared a symbol of His covenant never to flood the Earth again, has been adopted as a symbol for marriage equality. We can sit and fume about that. Or, just as God made the rainbow a symbol of judgment suspended, we can see it as a reminder to suspend our own judgment.

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2 thoughts on “The Right Questions

  1. One of my favourite lines in the Bible is … Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13 – But should there not be a voice crying in the wilderness that this rapid trend in immorality is in the long term full of demise and destruction – is this too, not Love? And especially so for a nation ? I suppose it depends on the audience you are hoping to reach ? This is such a major subject, and yet I hear so few Christian voices on it.

    • This goes to the heart of one of my recurring themes. I come at it from an American perspective, although it could apply to any culture. I’ve come to the epiphany in recent years that it’s not Christians’ job to save the secular culture, but to call people out of it, one at a time. It’s impossible to do both, because in the losing battle against the culture, we raise barriers on that all-important individual level.

      Certainly as Christians we shouldn’t be contributing to the culture’s degradation; that would mean we are falling short in terms of personal holiness. But many American Christians feel entitled to a culture that makes them feel at ease. They see America as somehow exceptional. We’ve had our season as a nation, but like every other nation, America will pass away, and from an eternal perspective, God isn’t all that invested in America over any other nation.

      Bottom line, if railing against same-sex marriage in the public square means I can’t have a conversation with an individual gay person about the Gospel – where I can speak the truth in love – then I am accomplishing nothing of lasting value.

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