These days, many are concerned about how society seems to be getting increasingly vocal and supportive of alternative views and lifestyle choices which are against the teaching of the Bible. As a result, some felt that it was necessary for Christians to have a concerted response, as seen in the call to participate in the Wear White campaign or more recently, in signing a petition to support the National Library Board’s (NLB) decision to withdraw three books.
Admittedly, it is heartening to see Christians, Muslims and other like-minded citizens standing together for the sanctity of marriage and family and seeking to safeguard our nation from the erosion of moral values. However, as followers of Christ, we should guard against developing a siege-mentality. God’s kingdom will hardly be threatened by some books on a shelf. On the contrary, going around demanding books to be removed will not exactly change the minds of people.
Likewise, we cannot afford to be too simplistic in our responses without first understanding where others are coming from and acknowledging the strength of their arguments. Just because some have decided to wear pink or are petitioning against the NLB’s decision does not necessarily mean they are hell-bent on destroying the moral fabric of society. Ironically, they view themselves as protecting society against legalistic tendencies and divisive religiosity.
Christians will do well to avoid giving people the wrong impression that we are single-issue people. It would be most unfortunate if our voices are perceived to be the loudest only on matters regarding sexual immorality and little on anything else. Hopefully, in our interaction with others, our words and actions will demonstrate that we are also concerned about matters on social injustices and other moral ills.
More importantly, we must strive to communicate clearly and lovingly that according to the Bible, there is no hierarchy of sin, as if the sin of sexual immorality deserves greater judgment from God than the sin of pride or greed. In John 3:36, God’s Word clearly states that “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
The truth is, whether it is someone who remains unrepentant of his homosexual lifestyle or a heterosexual person who places his trust on religious observances and good works apart from Jesus Christ, both of them stand equally condemned before God. They are just as spiritually lost and separated from God’s love despite the latter sharing similar worldviews with Christians on marriage and family. The Bible is clear that salvation comes only to those who believe and trust in Christ and his substitutionary atonement for our sins (Jn 14:6, 1 Pet 2:24-25).
As much as we want to defend biblical marriage and family, we need to recognise that ultimately these are temporal institutions. In Matthew 22:30, Jesus taught that “at the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”
While God has called believers to work for the good and flourishing of the nation, He has also entrusted us with the Gospel. It contains a message which is even far more urgent for us to proclaim, since it is of eternal significance. Indeed, we cannot lose sight of the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20, Lk 24:46-49). We would be sorely mistaken if we think that by being a zealous social activist, God’s kingdom is being advanced and somehow the precious souls of men and women will be saved through our advocacy.
If we love our neighbours, we must learn to speak faithfully and graciously what we believe to be true (Col 4:6, 1 Tim 2:24-26). We should not be surprised or be easily offended when those who differ express their indignation with vehemence and accuse us of bigotry and promoting hate. After all, we do inhabit different and irreconcilable worlds since Christians believe only God has the sovereign authority to declare what is good and evil.
To a large extent, nothing much has changed since the days of Adam and Eve who ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Humanity had always thought they could be happy and still be right apart from God. We did not trust God and thought we could do without Him telling us how to live our lives.
Thankfully, even before Adam and Eve left the Garden, God already had a wonderful plan to rescue his people and to bring them back to Him again. God himself came not wearing white or pink. Neither did he come offering salvation through books or a list of moral values. Instead, Jesus came bearing the Cross because who we all need is a Saviour.
July 20, 2014