Rob, I hope you can bear graciously with my poor communication skills here, it may be a bit rambling though I don’t intend it to be. I’m not interested in promoting GLBT issues or even debating over them since that is not what God has called for. What I am interested in and what all people are commanded to be interested in is the glory of God and conformity to His purposes, which is to say, submission to His Lordship and surrender of our will, purpose, thoughts, motives, actions to Him. John says that to love Him is to obey Him, not to obey is to demonstrate that we don’t love Him.
As regards troubling Scripture, we need to let it speak for itself and take God at His word. Scripture testifies of itself and is not subject to our judgements of it, rather we are subject to its judgements:
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and the the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (implication being there is no reason to listen to them – their thoughts are futile
And we could add Heb. 4:11-13 about its power to discern our thoughts and motives; 2 Peter 1:3-4 about the power of God’s word – absolute sufficiency – for all things pertaining both to life and godliness, no area of need left out of that; Jesus promise to his Apostles that he would sovereignly and supernaturally enable them to complete Scripture through the work of the Holy Spirit who He Himself would send after His ascension – see John 14:25-26 & John 16:13-16.
In light of Jesus enabling of the Apostles to relay truth fully and accurately to us, and in light of His high priestly prayer in John 17 where he implores the Father “sanctify them in the truth, Thy Word is truth”, read the following bold statement by John about the authority and truth of the New Testament:
1 John 4:6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
God is Lord and He will not give His glory to another (Is 42:8). This is the overall purpose of Scripture, to point us to the glory of God and His truth. His holiness is on display throughout, and the total uselessness of the mind of man apart from God is also on display. Romans 1:22 says that when we ‘profess’ our own wisdom we become fools – that is a reference to our putting ourselves in the seat of judgement as to whether God’s word is reasonable and then relying on our own so called wisdom. But God’s welcoming response is “Those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb 10 or 11)
Having said all that let’s take our focus off ourselves and dialog seeking self-affirmation, this is not about us, it is about God.
God is love. Is this an overlooking love, like a father who winks at childish transgressions saying ‘boys will be boys?’ Or is this a purifying love that sees the transgressions and deals with it for the sake of the child’s good?
Here’s what Paul says in Titus 2:11-14:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
And Peter quotes the OT “You shall be holy, for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:13-16 gives the context and its very instructive, we are to be obedient children, putting away the former lusts which were ours in our ignorance, preparing our minds and setting our hope completely on grace yet to come at the revealing of Jesus Christ.
God’s love is a purifying love, that is His will and intent for us. That runs contrary to any notion of God ‘accepting’ us, but then not changing us.. Our purpose is to glorify God forever by enjoying Him forever.
Now, God is not a respecter of persons “for there is no partiality with God, for all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law” (Rom 2:11-12).. Person ‘A’ is not a worse sinner because he is homosexual any more than Newt Gingrich is a better class of sinner because he has ‘only’ committed adultery or Jimmy Carter is ‘commendable’ because he only thought about it. In fact, look at the condemnation Jesus has for the pharisee in Luke 18:10-14. This pharisee even gave credit to God with his lips thanking God that he was not like this other man, this sinner. The pharisee failed to see the depth of his own sin and that mere outward actions and prohibitions do nothing to change the heart and make us acceptable to God. He looked to the sin of others to make him feel better about himself, rather than being humbled and crushed by his own sin against God (dealing with the inside of the cup). Paul warns against reliance on outward acts as well in Colossians 2:20-23, they actually deceive us by blinding us to our own sin. The point is that it was the societal outcast, the lowlife, the crook, who didn’t even deem himself worthy of coming near and who beat his chest crying out “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” who Jesus said went down to his home justified. Don’t miss the point – this man did not justify himself in anything, rather was truly crushed by his sin against God and cried out with complete submission, making no demands but falling on God’s mercy. And God is merciful and would not deny him.
There is no drawing near to God apart from seeing ourselves as sinners before a just and holy God. John says two things in 1 John 1:9-10:
1. The repentant are saved by Christ
2. The ones who say they’ve not sinned have two problems – critical problems:
a. they are calling Christ a liar
b. they do not have His word in themselves, and that is an eternal problem
Someone has written (and I’ve lost the reference) “the contrast is simple: the ones who do not recognize their sinfulness in a way which causes confession and lease us to be ‘cleansed’ are apart from Christ, and the ones who do confess are ‘cleansed’ and are in Christ.”
Christ came to save sinners, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Pet 2:24)
“in repentance and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength”
The purpose of the gospel, in fact all of creation, is for God to display all of what He is in His fulness, by purchasing a people for His own possession from among sinful, defiant, enemies who blaspheme His name even while He is drawing them to Himself. And those people He will justify and He will purify and glorify by His own power.
We are all experiencing the mercy of God with every new day, every new breath and heartbeat. He is long-suffering in delaying the judgement we are due in His justice and hatred of sin. He is patient toward us, not willing that any would perish but that all would come to repentance. The writer of Hebrews says “there remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (speaking of the rest in Christ’s salvation that was foreshadowed in the Sabbath day), and “today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart…” ( a repeated warning that is patiently held out in mercy – for a day will come – act now)
It is not about GLBT issues, it is not about social reform, it is not about creating moral laws in society, it is not about electing a moral government….it is about acknowledging that we are sinful and need to repent and submit to the sovereign Lord…it is about dying to self and being raised to new life in Christ. His kingdom is not of this world, His children are called specifically to live holy lives with thanksgiving, praise, and dependence on Him alone, and to bring the message of repentance, reconciliation and deliverance to all who will hear.
Sorry to disappoint you if you’re hoping for some lengthy dialog over GLBT issues, at best it is an issue of debate that distracts from the real issues, at worst it attempts to ask ask again Satan’s question to Eve: “…did God really say…”
So, to come back to Julian (and by implication you can plug any and every other person in as the name), she does not have some special, unique, God-stumping problem or situation that is different from any of us. Her problem is the same as my problem is the same as the Canaanites’ problem, we are sinners at our very core, enemies with God, our thoughts, reasoning and motives are impure, and God would be right and just to blot any of us off the face of the earth at the moment He has determined. But God in His mercy has provided a time of mercy and calls on us to repent and put our trust in Him – we are without excuse if we will not because He says “there is salvation none other”.
The Lord’s response is to call us to repent and submit our hearts to knowing Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. Putting all confidence in Him who is able “to keep that which I’ve entrusted to Him” and to complete what He has started.
I would urge you to flee to open hearted searching of Scripture to prayerfully look to the whole counsel of what God has revealed about His priorities and His salvation. When you come across people who mock God, especially in the ‘church’, and do not reverently exposit God’s word to understand and explain it as God intended it – run away as fast as you can – do not run into their disaster with them. I will take God at his word that it is a matter of both immediate and eternal priority.
I write this with brotherly affection and a concern for God’s glory, please consider.