On June 26, 2015 the United States Supreme Court announced their landmark decision that gay marriage will be the law of the land. Today, false prophets will begin raising their voices in alarming proclamations of fear and promises of dark doom. Inevitably they will forecast the wrath of God to come upon our nation for such a dastardly decision. I'm not going to attempt to argue the merits of one side or the other as much as I want to try to bring some perspective to the debate and remove the "wrath" threat out of the equation.
People cannot have discussions in the context of love while at the same time holding a big ugly stick of wrath on the table as leverage. I pray there are fair minded readers who will open their hearts to another view.
Of course, the prophets of doom, will soon be threatening the end of the world and the end of America. (Please see my article Spiritual MythBusters: America in Eschatology)
1. The Wrath of God was tied Specifically to the Law
Romans 4:15, "because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression."
Where there is no law, there is no transgression. Is there still a such thing as sin? Sure. In fact, Paul's argument is that even before the Law people sinned, but in particular to the current debate notice two very important points:
In regard to wrath, it was the Law that brought wrath. But one cannot transgress the law when the law as a covenant has been removed. Plus America was not included in the covenant of Law. George Washington wasn't there to accept the terms, nor was he an Israelite.
Not only that, the Law as a covenant has been fulfilled. Even if someone wants to claim (erroneously) that the 10 Commandments are still valid today, there was no commandment in the Big Ten against homosexuality. The Law, as a covenant was made with Israel and that nation/people was to invite other nations into the same covenant, and only in that way they would be connected to it.
But in AD 70, the entire system of Law came tumbling down. The destruction of Jerusalem included the removal of the Levitical priesthood, the sacrificial system, and the temple as the center of covenant worship. That is why the author of Hebrews would say in 8:13, "In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." The cross made it obsolete but it began to fade away during that first generation until it was removed altogether. No Law, no national or individual wrath.
In fact, 2 Corinthians 5:19 says "that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." So our message is one of reconciliation not wrath but one that says, "God is not mad at you, he isn't punishing you for your sins, come to him and his love for you." Sin cannot separate anyone from the love of God.
2. The Wrath of God was Specific to that Age
Usually because some ranting red-faced Westboro type created a belief about homosexuality in the saints, it is hard to approach the topic without lots of fearful presuppositions. One of those is that Romans 1 is a description of the horrors of homosexuality and God's violent reaction and release of wrath for those practicing it.
The homosexual community would challenge the idea saying that the Greek word used in those passages are about the common practice of pedophilia with boys in the Roman world. It is argued that what Paul is specifically speaking of is the sins of the the Roman's sexual abuse of those children. There may be some merit to that but it misses the point really.
Regarding the wrath of God, please notice, that God "handed them over to their desires." In other words, the full extent of the wrath of God is not God exploding from rage and killing people, or destroying people with earthquakes and hurricanes. The greatest extent was allowing them to have what they wanted with the hopes in God's heart of redemption that in the pain of their own decisions they would return to the truth.
But let's not forget one more thing... the wrath of God in the NT was specific to the Jews in that day, as God was applying the Law to their own rejection of Jesus, good news, and handing them over to, none other than the Romans. He was giving them into Rome's hands based on their embrace of the Law and rejection of Jesus who warned them of the coming wrath.
This is seen clearly in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, "For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from THE JEWS who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. THE WRATH OF GOD has come upon THEM at last."
So when Paul is writing to the Romans, he is writing to the Jewish and Gentile believers in Rome. Romans 1 is most likely a direct reference to the Jewish nation still UNDER LAW.
3. What About Sodom and Gomorrah?
Ok, what about Sodom and Gomorrah. Was sexual sin rampant there? Yes, it seems to be so. Were the cities destroyed? Yes, they were. Was this before the Law. Yes it was.
But Christ has come and the Law, in any form, has been removed, therefore we are living in the everlasting age of grace.
But remember the story where Abraham says, "Lord if there are just 50 righteous people there will you spare it?" And the Lord said yes. Abraham continues to drop his numbers down but when he gets to the promise that it would be spared if there were 10 righteous people there, Abraham must have realized there weren't even 10.
Here is the point. A powerful one actually. Even if one were to ascribe wrath to God today... just for the sake of argument, then I would argue that there are way more than 10 righteous in America today. That righteousness is called the gift of righteousness and therefore no wrath would EVER come to America!
Interestingly enough, notice what it says in Ezekiel 16:49-50: "Behold, THIS was the guilt of your SISTER SODOM: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me." If selfish greed and abuse of the poor determined wrath along with sexual sin, America would have been destroyed a long time ago. In fact, if you go back and read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah you will find nothing there says it was destroyed for homosexuality.
At minimum we desperately need a view of homosexuality built on the finished work of Christ and what the implications of the New Covenant are to us today.
Remember, I am simply addressing the WRATH aspect of this topic. This isn't intended to be a moralistic rant on either side. Rather, it is an appeal to thinking and genuinely spiritual people to set the context for love for whatever debate there may be in the days ahead. Can brothers and sisters in Christ please not pull out hate, fear and threats and further smear the image of God- a God who forgives us before we even fail?
So let's not use Sodom and Gomorrah or Israel under the Law as some model of expectancy of wrathful judgment on America. I promise you, it isn't the end of the world.
As a person on Facebook said today...
“When America had slaves… no wrath of God. When America took land from Indians, murdering them, no wrath of God. When America had Jim Crow laws of severe oppression, no wrath of God. When the hate group the KKK had influence in the federal and state governments, no wrath of God. Legalize gay marriage, here comes the wrath of God? Just putting this in perspective for us.”
Here is some more perspective. Homosexuals who want to marry each other are less than 1% of our total population. (albeit, a very vocal 1%, making it seem like they dominate the landscape) And America is only 6% of the world population. (And a relatively moral 6% in contrast to most nations of the world.) Get a grip folks. You think this is the issue that is going to bring down the end of the world as we know it? Not only that, if God were really looking to pour out judgment on a nation, He has much bigger fish to fry than us.
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