Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth….” [Genesis 8:21, emphasis added]*
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. [Psalm 51:6]
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. [Psalm 53:1]
The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies. [Psalm 58:3]
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. [Romans 3:23, emphasis added]
But the Scripture has confined all under sin…. [Galatians 3:22a, emphasis added]
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. [Ephesians 2:1-3, emphasis added]
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. [Ephesians 5:6]
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. [Colossians 3:5-6]
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. [James 4:4]
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [1 John 2:15]
In my last blog, we examined the attitude with which God regards those who engage in practices which Scripture defines as “perversion” or “an abomination.” In summary, the teaching of Scripture is that God finds such practices so repugnant, that He has basically turned away from any measure of more than common grace toward those so engaged.
In this blog, we go further because, contrary to the assertions of the cult known as Westboro Baptist Church [aka the WBC], God has not singled out those engaged in one single sin as special recipients of His judgment.
As seen from the Scriptures cited above—every single person stands condemned because, by nature, we wish to live our lives in opposition to God. In this sense, it can be said that homosexual behavior is something which is in the genes. But in exactly the same sense, it means that every single sin of which humans are capable is something which is in our genetic structure. The nature which we inherit from Adam disposes and impels us toward sin, whether that sin expresses itself in outwardly manifested sins such as sexual perversion, theft, murder, gossip, slander, drunkenness, witchcraft, or whether that sin expresses itself in hidden ways such as covetousness, lust, and hatred. Even though they may never exhibit themselves in outward behavior, it is the condition of our hearts and wills. As James observes, if we fail in one point of the law, we fail in the entire law. So it doesn’t matter whether a person is engaged in sexual perversion or slander. All are equally guilty of failure to keep the law. All have sinned and fall short of God’s perfection.
Falling short of God’s perfection, we are all “sons of disobedience” and are “by nature children of wrath.” And being by nature children of wrath, we are by definition, enemies of God.
In other words, contrary to the pernicious lie of those who promote cheap grace, we are not, in our unregenerate state [without the Holy Spirit], merely creatures who do sinful things, we ARE sin. In other words, we are not sinful because we sin. We sin because that is our nature. That is why, apart from being regenerated by the Holy Spirit as children of God, we cannot enter heaven. God will not tolerate the stain of sin in His kingdom. He will not allow for even a second those who defiantly cling to their sinful nature to enter His presence.
What is the hope for those who are sin? As I noted in the previous blog, both sides present a false gospel. The WBC would have us believe that the only hope for the sinner is to clean up his act and thereby present himself as holy before God will impart any measure of grace. In other words, the WBC presents legalism as the answer. The homosexual community presents an equally horrendous false gospel, erring in the opposite extreme by advocating antinomianism—that God has no standard apart from some nebulous, warm-fuzzy “love” and as long as a person is “loving,” God will accept him.
Both show false understandings with regard to holiness, righteousness, justification, and sanctification.
The truth of the Gospel is not found in the legalistic denunciations of the WBC cult, which simply trades one form of bondage for another – without ever addressing or curing the problem. The WBC cult message is one of despair, offering no hope to the heart broken by sin.
Nor is the true Gospel found in a warm-fuzzy “love” which states God only hates sin, he does not hate sinners and preaches a cheap grace which offers a fire insurance policy without the need for regeneration, repentance, or walking in holiness. The warm-fuzzy false Gospel presents a lie – that God does not require holiness from His people and that one can be as sinful as he likes and still enjoy the hope of heaven.
Both false Gospels stem from the facts that (1) people do not really understand the meaning of “hate” from the standpoint of how God views sin, and (2) people do not really understand what it means to be regenerated [or in the popular terminology “born again”]. “Hate,” as God uses the term and its semantic equivalents, is not a foaming-at-the-mouth, red-faced rage. Nor is it an irrational fear response. When God says He “hates” something [or someone], that means he utterly, totally, completely rejects them. He turns His back towards those who willfully persist in clinging to their natural state.
And if He hates all sin, which we ARE [not merely what we DO], it is only because we, in our arrogance and pride, first hated Him and rejected His will and rule for our lives.
The true Gospel is found when men realize their total and utter unworthiness to stand before a perfect and righteous God. Realizing that, they also realize their complete and utter inability to approach Him in their own merit, relying only on His mercy and grace.
The promise of God is that He will not turn away the broken and contrite heart (Psalm 34:18; 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2).
This is the paradox of Divine grace and mercy: God hates sin because it is an affront to and a rejection of His nature, which is holiness. But His nature is also to love; and therefore in eternity past, before the world was even created, He knew man would rebel against Him. He knew of sin and the ugliness it would bring to His created order. And He therefore DECREED that He would become the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice, reconciling those He calls to Himself, regenerating them, sanctifying them, and once again conforming them to the image He created for them so long ago in the Garden.
In this regeneration, our stubborn, arrogant, prideful hearts and wills are broken before our Creator. In this regeneration He then gives us new hearts, with new desires and a will to please Him. With His ultimate end being that we are glorified and enjoy eternity forever in His presence.
This is the Gospel which should be preached, not only to those who engage in sexual perversion, but to all in the bondage of sin—however it is expressed in their lives. Whether sin is expressed through greed, envy, malicious words, theft, murder, any form of sexual activity apart from heterosexual monogamous marriage, or lying—the penalty is the same—DEATH. The remedy is the same: we must repent, calling on Him to save us through the blood shed by Jesus on the Cross. He has not offered any other means by which we can be saved—so it must be on His terms alone, or not at all. [John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6]
That said, if we truly come to Christ, in repentance and solely dependent upon Him for cleansing and pardon from sin, we have the promise that He will not deny us what we seek. [Matthew 10:32-33; John 6:37; John 10:28-29]
Moreover, in giving us pardon from sin, we are made into new creatures, with new desires conformed and conforming to His will and image. [1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:4-10]. Now that is good news. We are saved not through keeping a list of rules and regulations, nor by a “warm fuzzy” feeling. But we are saved through the grace and mercy of a righteous God, who makes us into new creatures and provides us the power to live righteously before Him.
* Unless noted otherwise, all Bible references are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.