George C. Hammond
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that “gay marriage” was a constitutional right, the advocates of that perversion celebrated that decision with signs proclaiming “Love Wins!” Sometimes people speak the truth in spite of themselves (as Caiaphas did in John 11:49–50).
Love does win, because God is love (1 John 4:8). Love was the root of God sending his Son into the world, so that all who trust in him would not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). God expressed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
When Jesus was crucified, it didn’t look like love had won. It looked like evil, injustice, and hatred had won. But it didn’t. On that dark, discouraging day, love won.
Love continues to win, and it wins today in the way it’s always won, by supernatural grace. You shouldn’t be surprised that modern culture has given its blessing to the murder of unborn children, sexual perversion, easy “no fault” divorce, and other immoralities. The consciences of those who practice these things sting them, to a greater or lesser degree. They hope that by making their behavior legal, it will quiet their consciences. Certainly when what is wrong is also illegal, there is more weight on the conscience. But the conscience is independent of legal enactments.
The gospel is liberating in the only way it has always been liberating: by supernatural grace. Think of what it takes for someone to become a disciple of Jesus, to bow to him as Lord and Savior. It requires that they recognize, confess, and forsake their sin.
Yet forsaking sin is the very thing all people know in their heart of hearts that they are unable to do, so we pretend that it is not sin, pretend that our consciences do not hurt, and try to desensitize them by engaging in the behavior over and over again.
The gospel is glorious and offensive because it requires us to respond to it. The forces behind the pandering decision of the Supreme Court do not like the law and light of nature, let alone the revealed law of God, because it suggests to them that something is wrong with them. It is to that proposition that people react with viciousness.
The Times once invited essays on the subject, “What’s wrong with the world?” The editor received this famous response: “Dear Sir, I am. Yours, G. K. Chesterton.” The gospel demands that each of us make such an admission.
This is what everyone who would find true peace in life, peace with God, must do. There is something wrong with every one of us, not just homosexuals. To admit that takes supernatural grace. Without such an admission, healing is impossible.
But by the grace of God, everyone can be healed, regardless of their sin. The church needs to be ready to offer the grace of the gospel to those who practice homosexuality and who had desperately hoped that their consciences would now stop hurting because the Supreme Court made it “legal.”
Peace and a good conscience cannot come through any law, human or divine (Gal. 3:21). But it can and does come through the gospel of grace. It can change us, beginning with the realization and sorrowful admission, “There’s something wrong with me.”
First Corinthians 6:9–11 says:
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
That is what some of you were. You are no longer. By the grace of God, you can be changed. The grace of God can overcome any sin. And the evidence of grace in our lives starts with the admission, “Something is wrong with me.”
God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor. 5:19). He loved the world and sent his Son into it for people just like you. Thousands—millions—can testify that he has delivered people just like you.
The author is the pastor of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Leesburg, Va. New Horizons, December 2015.