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February 2006

The tip of the iceberg

With the ‘civil partnerships’ legalisation now in force in the UK, our nation has embraced a sin long associated with the names of Sodom and Gomorrah.

While homosexuality is not an unforgivable sin in the sight of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), it is unambiguously condemned in Scripture (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:18-32). Because of their homosexuality, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were swept by fire and brimstone from their cities (Genesis 19). No amount of ‘reinterpretation’ of the Bible can disguise God’s outrage at this sin.

Unbelief

How has our once thoroughly Christian nation fallen into such wickedness? The Bible makes it clear. Romans 1 repeats phrase, ‘For this reason God gave them up…’. This demonstrates that homosexuality is as much an expression of divine judgement as a cause of it. ‘Civil partnerships’ are the tip of the iceberg.

The greatest provocation of all is that we have failed to give due glory and honour to our God as the one who both created all things and in love sent his Son Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer. This attitude of denial flies in the face of overwhelming evidences – evidences clearly revealed to and intuitively understood by all humanity (Romans 1:19-21).

Sodom’s sexual proclivity was not, in the last analysis, its most damning sin. Opportunity was given to escape God’s wrath; the people only had to pay attention to Lot’s warning: ‘Get up; get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!’

But Lot’s sons-in-law thought he was joking. They proceeded with life as usual; their doom sealed as much by their unbelief as by immorality (Genesis 19:14).

In the UK today the gospel usually encounters outright disbelief. Warn people that they are on their way to hell if they are without Christ and they will either think you are joking or, more likely, that you are the joke! It is this attitude that incurs God’s deepest displeasure.

Capitulation

It seems a very long road from espousing an evolutionary explanation of origins and a mythological view of the Book of Genesis to accepting homosexual ‘marriages’, but the pathway can be readily mapped out.

Nearly 150 years ago an increasing number of Christian ministers in Great Britain began publicly to doubt the historicity of Genesis, the reality of hell and the penal substitution of Christ, because, they claimed, human reason and science give us more reliable insights.

They corrupted the minds of numerous churchgoers with their unbelief and eventually emptied the churches. They had lost the gospel and lost the plot. Today we reap the bitter fruits of this capitulation.

Unbelief towards the teaching of the Bible has marked most of our population and many of our churches for a century – little wonder that today some ‘churches’ actually tolerate civil partnerships for their ministers!

Response

What should be our response as churches to this tragedy? Partly we need to do as Paul says to Timothy: ‘I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season’ (2 Timothy 4:1-2). And partly we need to cry to God that he will visit our land again, not in that judgement which we so richly deserve, but in undeserved mercy.

God can save the worst of people from the worst of sins. The New Testament witnesses to his abounding grace in Christ towards the vilest of sinners – read again what happened in Rome and Corinth!

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