Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Homosexuality Isn't the Problem, Love Is

As Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky, has recently stated in his political commentary we have seen a "seismic shift" in our nation's acceptance of the concept of gay marriage.   But as I think about this I realize that the background for this shift has been in play for a long time.

The shift began in America when our nation lost the understanding of what real love is.  Real love is a decision of the will that leads to benefitting others by righteous attitudes, thoughts, actions and words in view of their best good for eternity.  Societies that are rooted in a Judeo-Christian ethic have a sense of this.  However, our culture believes that love is a matter of intense emotion or feeling. Certainly emotions and feelings are involved in love, but true love is really decision and action surrounded by and followed by emotion.

The Bible defines love for us this way:  1 John 3:16 (NASB95) 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  

This is speaking of Jesus, the Son of God, who freely offered Himself up in the place of sinners on the cross.  Jesus chose to love us by sacrificing Himself for us.  Certainly there was emotion and feeling in that choice, but the emotion and feeling was not about being irresistibly drawn to us.  Instead it was about His desire for what He would do in us and who He would make us for all eternity.  In other words His decision to love with ultimate love was driven by a pure desire to bless us and bring us into His joy for the glory of God.  

This love, then, had to be thoughtful, pure, righteous, and good.  This is what has been lost in our understanding of love.  Today most people think of love as something that you fall into and sometimes fall out of.  We think of it as an intense feeling or emotion that overtakes us.  We are overwhelmed by it and can't control it.  No doubt these kinds of feelings do come over us at times.  But most of what is considered love is actually just lust or "like."  

Lust or "like" are not a good moral bases for what is thought to be love.  Because of this misunderstanding, people use and abuse each other all over the place in the name of love.  Teenagers hop from one relationship to another leaving a path of carnage and stolen purity in their wake.  Heterosexual adults sleep around and, driven by lust and "like", use one another based on shear emotion getting what they can from the other person.  Homosexuals also, believing that the passion that they have for the same sex gives them the right to pervert God's design, use one another for gratification in that way.  In all of this there is no decision of the will to benefit another by righteous thoughts attitudes actions and words in view of eternity, but instead theirs is a self love that says I must have what I must have now and you must give it to me.  

But what makes righteous love, righteous love?  It is the fact that it was created by a righteous God.  he designed love.  He designed that people be made in His image to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him.  He loved them by giving them all that they needed and allowing them to walk in fellowship with Him and behold His beauty and glory.  He also designed marriage.  In the garden the woman was given to the man and the two were to be one flesh.  They were to be joined together in such a way that they complemented one another.    From this union they were to multiply by procreation and fill the earth with people who loved God and loved one another.  When mankind rebelled against His creator and decided to be His own God, pure love was lost.  Ever since that time our natural setting is self love.  Self love says, "If I feel this way, then it must be right and I must be fulfilled."  All of us are permeated by this problem known biblically as "sin."  I am naturally drawn to prefer myself and that includes how I view love and sexuality.  It is true that homosexuality does not bring blessing but trouble to children, culture or society, but neither does fornication, adultery or any other kind of sexual sin.  Our culture thinks that if it is natural it is good, but not so when nature is fallen.  

The good news is that Christ came to restore what was lost.  In Christ we see pure love and glory.  

John 1:14 (NASB95)14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus was the first human being since Adam and Eve fell who finally displayed what real love looks like.  He was a perfect reflection of God in human form.  So when we look at Jesus Christ and how he treated God the Father and how he treated others, recorded in the New Testament, we are seeing pure love.  Then He died in our place on the cross.  This was God's great demonstration of love to us unworthy sinners.

Romans 5:8 (NASB95)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  

The Bible says that everyone who turns to Him in faith is transferred from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of His beloved Son and they are bought back out of slavery to selfishness and their sins are forgiven.

Colossians 1:13–14 (NASB95)
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  

For all those who know Christ He has put His Spirit within us so that we can be restored to love as we were made to love!  

Romans 5:5b (NASB95)
... the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

So in this day where the world has turned upside down as it relates to marriage, we must remember that homosexuality is not the problem, love is.  We sinners need to be restored from selfish autonomy to loving worship of the One true and living God through His Son, Jesus Christ.  We need to be re-calibrated to love with His love.  To love Him and to love others.

1 John 4:7 (NASB95)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.