I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. My soul hates your new moons and your appointed feasts, they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you, even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword,” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken” — Isaiah 1:13-20
Last week I saw a headline that really encouraged e. It offered hope not only to me but to other Christians who are heartbroken over churches embracing sexual practices clearly condemned in scripture.
Church of England Refuses to Lift Ban on Same-sex Marriages
What wonderful and unexpected news! A denomination is sticking with the biblical principles concerning marriage! And it’s not just any denomination, it’s the Church of England. Europe is not known as the center for moral purity, much less biblical purity these days. The vast majority of Europe has walked away from religion as a whole. So it’s particularly encouraging to hear that the Church of England is taking such a bold stand.
But only until you read the article. Then you discover that their church leaders are trying to appease everyone except God. On the one hand, they say they still won’t perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples. That bone goes out to theologically conservative Christians who still believe the Bible. But then they throw it all away by saying that although they won’t officiate the wedding, they will bless a same-sex union legalized in a civil ceremony. And the winner is…the woke immoral masses who would rather offend God than offend those people who identify as anything but heterosexual.
It is such a sad and ugly compromise. If they believe that they can bless the union, why can’t they officiate it? On what basis do they believe that God will disapprove of them officiating but approve of their blessing? Is there scripture that they are standing on?
They also apologize for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” that the LGBTQ+ crowd has faced. I have to wonder, has the Church of England expressed hatred for gay or trans individuals? Have they turned away LGBTQ individuals who are seeking the truth and who hunger to turn from sin to salvation and holiness?
Obviously there are straight individuals who hate LGBTQ ones, just as there are LGBTQ individuals who hate straight ones. And since the Church doesn’t require one become perfected before getting saved, there will even be haters within the Church. But as a rule we do not hate or show hostility to LGBTQ individuals. Nevertheless they may very well feel rejection and exclusion. But it’s not from us. It’s from God. And He didn’t start it, they did.
It was not God who rejected them but they who rejected God. They are excluded from the kingdom of God, but no differently than any unrepentant sinner is excluded. That exclusion is not specific to their sexual identity, desires or practices. It is based upon the fact that even the smallest sin kills the sinner spiritually and eventually physically. Only by repenting, turning away from sin to receive mercy through the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, do any of us move from exclusion to inclusion in the Body of Christ. The fornicator must repent of his fornication. The liar from his lying. The hateful from their hate. The boastful from their pride. The greedy from their greed. Repentance has always been the beginning of the gospel. Jesus wasn’t even prepared to begin His ministry until John the Baptist had paved the way by preaching repentance of sin.
In their hearts they have cast God down from His throne and replaced him with a god more to their liking. Paul addresses this in Romans.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. — Romans 1:22-23
They didn’t like a God who insisted on a standard of holiness that they didn’t want to keep or perhaps a holiness they didn’t understand. So they replaced Him with one more to their choosing.
But I’m not writing this to address the error of the LGBTQ mindset and lifestyle. I’m writing to address ours. Are we compromising on God’s standards in our lives? I couldn’t begin to tell you how many dating and engaged Christians I meet who have compromised their sexual purity. And so many remain unrepentant. Or how many Christians I’ve met who choose not to report their tips to the IRS or lie to their spouse or boisterously reply to news stories of crime with a boastful desire to shoot any criminal they could. (Yes, self defense is biblically justified, but “swift to shed blood” is not a description of the righteous but the unrighteous. See Romans 3:11-18.)
Does God detect compromise in our words? In our actions? In our silence? In our inaction? Are we pure in our motives, or do we get caught up in wanting others to think well of us?
Merciful God and Savior, please forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. And help us to forgive others! We can’t even do that well without You.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” — Psalm 139:23-24