First and foremost . . .
I am a Christian.
I believe Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” From that verse on, I believe that God has orchestrated all of history to testify what He would do and is doing through Christ Jesus, His Son. I believe in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He bore our sins at the cross and He rose from the dead. I believe the truth of Romans 5:8-9, that God “demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
As a follower of Christ, I believe that we must be born again (John 3). I believe that salvation is not merely a belief in God (James 2:19) but a life that is set apart by faith through Christ Jesus our Lord. I now rejoice in the amazement of Galatians 2:20, for “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Because Christ now lives within me, I am compelled by faith to obey Scripture and do that which is pleasing to my Heavenly Father (2 Timothy 1:9). I am no longer conformed to this world (Romans 12:2) for I am “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). I do not seek to gain man's approval (Galatians 1:10), but rather, I seek to live a life that is brimming over with much love, faith, hope, and steadfastness. I believe that Christ is glorified in me when I love and obey the truths of Scripture. I esteem to follow the commands of Colossians 3:12-17:
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
My life will never be perfect. I will struggle with sin until my eyes close in death and open to the Word of God in the flesh. Often I do not long for what is good and right and I seek after things that are foolishness. I struggle with pride, anger, bitterness, selfishness, gluttony, laziness, the approval of others, and discontentment . . . among many others. Yet, God's Word tells me that I am no longer enslaved to that sin (Romans 6:12-19) and that I can run to God who is rich in mercy and grace (2 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 4:16). We all need the grace and forgiveness of Christ Jesus our Lord. Sin is sin. We all need “new hearts” (Ezekiel 36:26).
We have been talking through the Supreme Court's decision (to recognize same-sex marriage) with our children over the past few days. We have emphasized that God's Word is very clear on the matter of “marriage” (Genesis 1:27; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:26-27; Leviticus 18:22); just as it is very clear on a deceitful tongue, stirring up strife, worry, hate, etc. We reminded them that God commands us, above all, to love. Remember when the Pharisees asked Jesus (in Matthew 22:34-46) what was the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” So what does this look like when we are faced with neighbors who struggle with sin that is different than ours? We love them. We don't shame them. We don't ignore them nor make fun of them. We look to God for our example, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We should never condone anyone's sin. We should never encourage others to explicitly go against the Word of God. But rather, we put on the Lord Jesus Christ and look to his example in Philippians 2:1-11, as well as the many encounters we read about in the Gospels where Jesus lived & taught among “the tax collectors and sinners” (Mark 2:15). Our life must be governed by the truths and commands of Scripture if we claim to be born again.
I have several friends on social media who are in same-sex relationships. I would never want to shame them publicly. Is this how I would want to be treated? We all need Jesus. Perhaps they do not even know Jesus, or the truths of Scripture. How helpful is it when believers are judging and condemning others on what they might see as truth? “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14) Show them Jesus. Show them the Jesus of Scripture.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
When in doubt, love.
Love like Jesus.