The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
Last Sunday Dave took us on a tour from the garden of Eden to the cross of Christ in a sweeping epic that began with two lies: 1) God didn’t say it, and 2) even if He did, it isn’t good.
I’ve felt so grieved over this past week, and yet also encouraged. You see, I believe that God has been orchestrating the timing of what we study at Awaken, and with last week’s U.S. court decision to legalize gay marriage, this passage of Scripture couldn’t come at a more relevant moment. Relevant because the arguments of the serpent in Genesis 3 are the same ones used in support of the gay lifestyle: 1) God didn’t really forbid same-sex unions, and 2) If He did, that commandment wasn’t good.
For the first lie, we have passages like these…
Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people––none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
––1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Notice what these two passages don’t say. They don’t say that someone who feels sexually attracted to people of the same gender is committing sin. Rather, it is the person who acts on that desire––with their imagination or their body––and practices homosexuality who sins against God. You could apply the same idea to those who are tempted to commit adultery. It is not sin to feel attracted to another woman. Sin is when you act on that feeling––with your imagination or with your body.
But now that we’ve seen what God has said, let’s take the second lie, that His commandment isn’t good…
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.”
God gave us the gift of gender so that the sexual union between two people would result in something fruitful: the bearing of children. But when a man is united with a man, or a woman is united with a woman, no child can be born. This is a basic truth, and an obvious one, but it’s so often overlooked in our morally blind culture.
What all of this comes down to is a decision that each of us has to make for ourselves: Will I worship the true God––the one who’s revealed Himself and His character in His word and His Son? Or will I make up a more convenient god––someone who will validate me in whatever direction I want to live? The answer we give and live to that question will determine whether or not we belong to the people described in Romans chapter 1…
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
After reading all of that, you may be left wondering, “But where is the love?” And that brings us to Dave’s passage from Colossians…
God made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it…”
God’s love for all of us sexual sinners, both the potential adulterers and the potential homosexuals, is found in the cross, where Jesus laid down his life for us. But to benefit from that love, we must live in that love, and the truth that goes with it.
May you live in God’s love this week and forever!
Pastor Daren Redekopp