It seems I cannot go more than a few days without someone telling me I’m ‘casting stones’ or being ‘condemning’ or ‘judgmental.’ It also seems that more and more ‘Christians’, for whatever reason, are becoming more and more accepting of sin. “It’s not my problem.” “It’s between them and God.” They would be right, however, this does not mean it’s okay for us to condone it. It does not mean it is okay for us to take active part in sin or the celebration thereof. Today Brother David Scullins preached on faith, and how the modern church has departed from the faith. I cannot help but agree with him as I see it all around me.
What has brought on this post, though, is another discussion centering around the case of a New Mexico photo-journalist who refused her services to a female homosexual couple. Why? Because, the photo-journalist in question said to do so would go against her religious convictions. No big deal, right? Private business deciding not to engage with two private citizens. It’s not like she’s the only photographer in New Mexico (I would hope not, otherwise she’s going to be very, very busy). Unfortunately the couple decided their rights were infringed upon (despite the photo-journalist not being an agent of the government and her services not being so wholly uniques as to not be offered by someone else) and filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission (say what?). Long story short, the photo-journalist and her husband, both Christians unwilling to be a part of this couple’s ‘special day’ (a commitment ceremony not recognized as legal in NM to begin with), have lost their case in the court system all the way up to the 10th Circuit Federal Appeals court (their lawyer has prepared an appeal to the SCOTUS). I’m not sure why any court even considered the case. This isn’t an issue in employment discrimination, the couple didn’t ask for a job. There are definitely photographers in New Mexico aside from this one woman.
For some reason, though, by following godly conviction and not having anything to do with what God considers an abomination, others – including some ‘Christians’ – feel as if the woman is being condemning or judgmental and the same of myself in defense of this seemingly godly decision. They feel that the woman should be forced to take the photos, regardless of her own personal beliefs. They feel that, somehow, because it’s the way the world is today, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with it.
Fortunately that is not the example set for us by Christ. That is not the example set for us in any of Scripture. God did not call us to be a passive people. He told us to go out, live our lives for Him and proclaim His gospel. Not some powerless, watered-down imitation of His word. He has told us what is sin, if His word is true than proclaiming it as such has nothing to do with us being condemning or judgmental. It is godly fact and nothing less. In Matthew 28:18-20 we have been given the greatest calling of all: That once we receive the power of the Holy Spirit, once we are truly born-again, we are to go out to all the world to proclaim the gospel, baptizing people in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. All of the New Testament after the gospels is our example from those first disciples and apostles on how to do that. Paul didn’t send a wishy-washy letter to Rome that was all rainbows and unicorns. He reminded them of what God had already made known. He spoke to them of sin, he spoke to them of righteousness, of holiness, of setting oneself aside from the cares and the morals of this world – which are still a twisted, ugly, imitation of reality – and to cling to Christ whom was already proclaimed to them. In Paul’s letter to Ephesus, he spoke as clearly as he has ever spoken on the issue:
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
Emphasis and bolding added by me.
“Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light[.]” How much clearer is it than that. Do not partake in their sins with them. Sure, the photojournalist wasn’t asked to engage in sexual acts with the couple, but how is not helping them celebrate that which God Himself has called an abomination not partaking in the ceremony? She was being asked to be part of the ceremony in some way. The last judge to rule on the issue actually had the nerve to tell her that, as part of her so-called civic duty, she had to compromise on her deeply held faith in the words of Christ Jesus. She had to deny the life which was given to her so that some couple might have a few pictures. She is still holding strong the faith of Christ, though, and I pray for her sake she is not forced to go against them.
Elane Huguenin – the photojournalist in question – is in many ways reminiscent of a guy I have come to love. Whose example to me of unshakable faith even in the eyes of certain death is such a reality to me that I too can take a hold of the reality that – regardless of what the government says – I will honor God first. Not out of some idea of legalism, but because He is my God and I love Him more than my own life. Of course I’m speaking of Daniel – and his three friends – who in the first 7 chapters of the book of Daniel show how we as Christians – living in the very heart of Babylon – can stand for God. How we can take a hold of the promise – which they didn’t even know the full measure of it – that as long as we keep God’s requirements in our hearts and serve Him willingly out of love that He will take care of us. I do not know what Elane’s Daniel moment will look-like, but I’m certain she feels like she’s being raked over those hot coals or getting ready to be locked into that lion’s den. Elane’s battle, too, is a battle for all of us, and a sign of coming persecution. We can now officially say that Christ is persecuted in America, and the only thing that will change is Holy Spirit-led revival. Leonard Ravenhill wrote a book (which I own and love, it’s a great insight) called Why Revival Tarries. The simple answer is because no one is listening to the Holy Spirit and praying in anguish over it, and in the face of over-whelming liberalism, of hell-inspired doctrine in the churches, and a willingness of so-called ‘Christians’ to bend over and reject the faith they are called to, to reject the Messiah they claim to love, in the name of toleration. Christ did not tolerate sin. Paul did not tolerate sin. James did not tolerate sin. God does not tolerate sin, nor should we. Our churches should calling this spade what it is, it should be instructing us in how to properly seek after God instead of seeking after the world.
In Psalm 1:1-6 the psalmist writes:
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
If this homosexual wants to have their ceremony, so be it. Let them choose a different photographer, though. Elane isn’t standing in the way of this couple having their ungodly ceremony. Just as the pro-life sidewalk counselors cannot stop a woman from getting an abortion if she wants it, we cannot stop people from sinning, but by all that is holy, we should not be willing to take any part in such unrighteousness. Paul is clear in Galatians 2:15-21.
We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
If it is no longer we who live, but Christ in us, then so to is His righteousness imputed upon us. Does it instantly make us perfect? No, but we should have such a conviction of it in our own lives that when it happens it grieves our very soul such that we no longer have any desire to partake in it. There is such a clarity of thought and reality in the Scriptures, I am taken-aback by those who claim to be Christians but who would reject the very claims of Christ Himself. In John 8:1-11, we find a woman caught in the act of adultery, whom by under the laws of Moses she should be stoned. So many people only come away with an understanding of all of us being sinners and non-perfect. You are right, the crowd that would have condemned her were not perfect, so they left after challenged by God Himself. Yet we almost always forget Christ’s command to the woman: Go and sin no more. Not, “Go and try not to do that again.” Not, “Go and try not to sin anymore, but don’t worry because my grace will cover you.” No, He plainly and clearly told her, “Go and sin no more.” Christ had forgiven her, and by example we should forgive others when we have been wronged, and had cleansed her of her sin and told her not to sin again. He didn’t even tell her, “Go and do not commit adultery,” but left it broad enough to cover all sin. For a long time I’ve struggled with the idea of sinless perfection. I certainly know in our own, human power it’s impossible. It’s utterly unattainable. I get that, because I can look back at Israel of the Old Testament (and modern times, too) and see that no matter how much they tried to do it on their own, they couldn’t. They failed each and every time. Yet when God move and the remnant responded, who what a movement it was!
In 1 John 5, as in the rest of 1 John, he speaks of our one, overriding goal: Being like Christ.
I’m just going to leave you with the rest of the Scriptures I had prepared for this post, without any further explanation. I pray that the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to you. I pray I have provided you with enough direction to get you started.
2 Corinthians 5:9-11,14-21;6:11-18