This week both Barak Obama and Joel Olsteen made comments about homosexuality. The views were diametrically opposed. President Obama talked about how wonderful it was that homosexuals would be able to serve in the military. Pastor Olsteen stated that homosexuality is a sin, and has been backed up by several other pastors.
Now Pastor Olsteen added some what, saying basically that all sins are the same and that homosexuality is just as bad as pride. Now I am not sure just why Olsteen chose pride, but it is an interesting choice. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins, deemed by some churches as a sin that can cause one to lose their salvation. Pride is a sin roundly denounced in the Old and New Testaments, and by many is considered among the worst of sins.
Now, I will agree that all sin is equal in God’s eyes; after all, sin in one sense of the word is something that separates us from God. On the other hand sin is any action that is not in accordance with God’s will. In either case, we are all sinners in need of a redeemer. On the other hand, Paul in I Corinthians 6:18 tells us to flee in particular from sexual sin, as sexual sin is against one’s own body. Indeed, if we read the rest of the chapter, we discover that when we corrupt our own body with sin, and we are Christians, that we are defiling the church, which is the body of Christ.
Again reading I Corinthians chapter 6, (and indeed the whole Bible) we begin to realize that the dichotomy of spiritual and physical may not be such a great divide. Yeshua came into the world. He healed the sick, he raised the dead, he brought sinners to repentance, and died to set us free. Do we regard healing as a spiritual or physical thing. The church is called to be spiritual by feeding widows and orphans, by striving for justice, by proclaiming the word of God. Good Christians will find themselves, standing, kneeling, fasting, sacrificing their time and money. Again, little dichotomy between spiritual and physical. All actions should involve prayer, and study of God’s word.
Today we live in a world where many proclaim themselves to be spiritual, but have no real idea of what the word means. In the Epistle of James, we are told, “Faith without works is totally dead.” In other words, someone who has true faith will demonstrate that faith by obeying Yeshua (Jesus), by casting sin out of their lives, and by working for the kingdom, healing the sick, raising the dead, proclaiming liberty to captives, working for justice and by being part of the kingdom. To be a Christian is not only about heaven. It is about working for the kingdom here on earth.
Our confusion about spiritual and physical is added to by our concept of kingdom. We live in a time where most sovereigns (that we are familiar with) rule over democratic nations with parliaments elected by the people, who make laws in the sovereign’s name. The only sovereign to have gained any power in the last several years is Hanz-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein. This idea of kingdom is totally alien to the Bible.
In the Bible, the Sovereign is truly king. For Israel, the sovereign is Yahweh, Lord God of the Universe. He made the laws, the earthy kings and government carried them out. The people had no say in the law. Actually neither did the Hebrew kings. They were required to copy the law (Torah) down and read from it, to endure their obedience. Kings, even King David ignored the law to their own peril. In Romans 13, we are told that the rulers are appointed to enforce the laws. (Let us note in passing, there were many very good kings who were truly worried about the welfare of their people and worked tirelessly for them) The sad thing today is that even Christians have forgotten that we are part of a kingdom.
Some of this deterioration began some 160 years ago, when people started getting confused about the meaning or the word love, confusing it with emotion. Love, as used in the Bible is an action word. To love someone was not only to have a physical or mental attraction, but to provide for those persons when in need. Yeshua described this in the story of the Good Samaritan. Confusing feeling with action, people decided that if they fell out of love, they did not need to remain married, and so ignoring promises of until death do us part and what Yeshua said about divorce, the divorce rate began climbing.
Fifty years ago, people decided that what God said about marriage no longer applied. Thirty years ago, we decided that we no longer need to keep the Sabbath. At this point in time we ignore the first five commandments, and commandments seven, nine and ten. What if we to feel as strong about commandment four (keep the Sabbath) as we do about commandment six (do not murder)? And of course, this leads to homosexuality, one of the things forbidden in both Old and New Testament, and a sexual sin to boot, which is worse because it contaminates both the human body and the spiritual body (the church).
In the book of Acts we are told that gentiles are to keep the Jewish sexual laws, i.e. stay away from fornication, which includes adultery, homosexuality, extramarital sex of any kind. Why don’t we do it? It is because we have forgotten that we are part of God’s kingdom and that it is his right as sovereign to make the rules since he created us. We also forget that since he did create us, that he actually knows what is best for us as well. As Yeshua said, “man was not made for the Sabbath, but Sabbath for the man.” God required that day of rest because we need it. All of his laws are there for our benefit. It’s a bit like a football game. Everyone needs to obey the rules for the play to progress. If everyone invented their own rules as the match goes along, there could be no real play.
For those of us who believe ourselves to be Christians, it is time that we began living like we are members of God’s kingdom. Go, teach, make disciples, heal the sick, raise the dead, feed the hungry, visit those in prison, proclaim liberty to the captives, work for justice, be salt to the earth. Do not be afraid to tell people when they are wrong. If God punished David and the people of Israel, how much more will he punish this country for lack of justice and for ignoring his word to us? If your church is not empowering you to do this, or telling you the Bible is wrong on some issues, find a new church! Remember, if Yeshua truly is your Lord, you will walk in obedience to him.