|Vol. 15 No. 8 August 2013||
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Our current world is changing very rapidly in many ways. Recently, Julene and I brought quite a laugh to our children’s faces when we explained how we used to have to get off the couch to “change the channels” on our parents’ television sets. Our children could not imagine a time without remote controls! While the Internet has taken the world by storm, many can recall the “ancient” encyclopedia as the source for learning interesting facts. The world never stands still, and in many areas, change is a benefit to society. However, sadly, our world is changing in the arena of sin. Even once religious folks are “caving” to the world’s pressure cooker.
Author and well-known “Christian” speaker Brian McLaren recently led a commitment ceremony for his son Trevor Douglas McLaren and his same-sex partner Owen Patrick Ryan. According to a Christianity Today blog, the ceremony was held in Chevy Chase, Maryland at the Audubon Naturalist Society after the couple’s formal wedding, which was held in Washington D. C. earlier in the day. The New York Times reported the commitment ceremony contained “traditional Christian elements.” There are some needed truths we must divulge from this sinful union!
Firstly, people do not define sin! McLaren was once opposed to homosexual unions. However, he is recorded as saying, regarding his changing mindset, “I was a good kid, I believed what I’d been told. And as a pastor, I started having gay people come out to me, and what became clearer and clearer to me is that their experience was not explained by the theology I inherited.” While I am not sure what theology Mr. McLaren inherited, I do know that it is not in accordance to God’s theology! God alone has the authority to define what sin is (Romans 4:15; 1 John 3:4)! The only theology that has any authority at all is that what is found in the Sacred Text (Matthew 28:18)! People do not define sin!
Secondly, popularity does not define sin! There is no question that society is rapidly changing its attitude toward homosexuality. In fact, many people are now “tolerant” and “accepting” of this sin! Noteworthy is the fact that most of the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah were more than willing to accept and engage in homosexual practices. In fact, so much so that God (at Abraham’s request) could not even find 10 righteous souls (Genesis 18:24ff)! Did the majority change the sin? Even if the entire population in America “accepts” homosexuality as alright, it will still be sin! God was clear to Moses, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil…” (Exodus 23:2a; cf. Proverbs 4:14).
Thirdly, pleasure does not define sin! Far too many use pleasure as a guide when it comes to right and wrong. In fact, the sin of homosexuality is opined by its proponents as “it does not hurt you, and it is what makes us feel good.” Just because something “feels” right, does not make it so! “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). For some today, homosexuality “seems” alright, but oh dear reader, its destruction is sure! It may feel good to club your enemy, but does that make it right? It may be pleasurable to drive a new car every week, but that certainly does not take away the consequence of the payments! Pleasure does not define sin!
Our world is changing every day. What constitutes sin is now being mocked and ridiculed. “Tolerance” is the word of today’s society. However, God’s laws have not changed one bit! People, popularity and pleasure will never be safe guides in determining sin. No matter what an ever-changing society says, sin will always be sin!
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
To a dispersed, discouraged and dying group of Christians, Peter wrote, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). What a wonderful encouragement this must have been for first century saints. In the midst of the greatest struggles they ever had faced, they were reminded of God’s care for them! Surely, one of Satan’s most powerful tools is to cloud the Christian’s thinking, so that he forgets that God is “cheering” for us to win salvation. When we forget that scriptural fact, we become discouraged and overwhelmed as we attempt to run the race of faith (cf. Hebrews 12:1-3). Thankfully, God cares for us! In what ways does God show His care for each of His children?
Firstly, He has listening ears. Peter demanded that his readers cast their care upon God (1 Peter 5:7a). One of the truly wonderful encouragements we must center on each day is that God wants little old me and you to talk to Him! That is extra special! Repeatedly, Scripture divulges that God desires communication from us (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Philippians 4:6, et al.). Someone has correctly written, “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” God’s ears are open to the righteous (1 Peter 3:12). In the midst of your busy, daily schedule, stop often and remember, God cares for you, and His listening ears are waiting to hear your voice!
Secondly, He has helping hands. Sadly, some face each day with the erroneous belief that God is not interested in nor can He do anything about the daily affairs of life. However, Christians know that is false! We know that God’s hands are involved in the daily affairs of life through the means of providence. While we know that God does not work through miraculous means any longer (1 Corinthians 13:8ff), we believe that He does still work. Consider God’s providential power in the life of Joseph, Esther, Daniel, Paul and other biblical characters. God’s hands are involved in our lives (Romans 8:28), which proves God cares for me!
Thirdly, He has watching eyes. An amazing Bible narrative that talks about God’s eyes watching is Israel’s affliction in Egypt. “…I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows” (Exodus 3:7b; cf. Acts 7:34). God sees our struggles and heartaches from His magnificent throne room in heaven. I am reminded of the Lord’s watchful eyes as His faithful martyr Stephen died (Acts 7:55-56). Just imagine, God cares so much that His eyes are continuously watching you (Psalm 34:15; Hebrews 4:13).
I am humbled when I think that God really does care for me. Someone has written, “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.” The holy, eternal, most powerful, all-knowing God, who created heaven and earth, cares about you and me! “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:4). While I cannot successfully answer that inquiry, I believe it and am strengthened day and night by its encouragement! Awesome; He careth for you!