by Pastor Lehmann
Posted on May 27, 2018 7:13 PM
Anyone who loves the gospel prefers to focus on God's love in Christ rather than on the demands and judgments of God's law. Unfortunately, our sinful natures like to take advantage of that and convince us not to think or speak about the law at all when it might make us uncomfortable. Or even more: when it makes those we love uncomfortable.
But just as we know that "the Word of the Lord stands forever" (1 Peter 1:21), we also must remind ourselves that "the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35) and "It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law" (Luke 16:17). And to anyone who is tempted to believe that Jesus' coming means that we are set free from God's law, he himself says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17).
So while we rightly, lovingly, and generously preach the grace of God that forgives sinners, we dare never give any sinners the idea that the things God used to call sinful are no longer sinful. Yes, we are set free from the ritual and civic demands of the Old Covenant the Lord made with Israel, but not one "jot or tittle" of his moral and spiritual standards has changed or been amended. What was sin when Christ walked the earth with his disciples is sin today and will be sin tomorrow - all the way through to the day when all believers are taken to paradise and made eternally perfect, incapable of sin.
Think of all the things that our culture today has proclaimed not just permissible but worthy of celebration, and how so often churches and Christians have given into the temptation to ignore or even bless what God declares impermissible and worthy of damnation. But neither God nor the demands of his holiness have changed - nor can they. So yes, it is still sin for two people, no matter how much they love each other, to have sexual relations when they are not properly married to each other. It is still sin for people of the same sex to do what belongs only to marriage between people of the opposite sex. It is still sin to use oneâ€™s eyes or imagination to engage in adultery (so the popularity of lust, "fantasy", and pornography has not done anything to make those things any less soul-killing). It is still sin to dishonor and disobey those God has placed in authority over you - no matter their politics or opinions. It is still sin to end the life of another human being, whether you find that person in the womb, the nursing home, or suffering in pain - only God has that right (though he has delegated it to the state in limited circumstances). And it is still sin - in some ways worse than all the others - to take what God has said and call it wrong, irrelevant, or untrue, or to change or twist it in order to make it say what God would never say: that wrong is right, that bad is good, that the abominable is holy, and that what was formerly sin is now a healthy option for his or any people.
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked" (Galatians 6:7). It is not a little thing to presume to redefine the demands of Godâ€™s law. Saying - directly or indirectly, actively or passively - "Things have changed; I guess that thing youâ€™re doing is OK now, even though it wasnâ€™t before. Arenâ€™t we wise to have left all that old-fashioned stuff behind?" puts into danger - the danger of the eternal fires of hell - the souls of anyone we deceive with such self-serving untruths.
But just as God's law has not changed, God's prescription is also unaltered. He gives us his message to preach, same as the prophets and apostles, same as Jesus and John the Baptist: "Repent and believe the gospel. Turn away from your sins and turn to Christ, and have all your guilt washed away in his blood." We are eager to pronounce forgiveness to the penitent, and the grace of God is what every sinner needs - ourselves included - but no sinner will understand what grace is or how much it is needed unless he first hears the unadulterated law of God and its judgments.
So for the love of God and the love of sinners, do not give into change or compromise. His Word endures. No changes. Not yet - or ever.