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Voting: Marriage and Family
Decision Making in the Voting Booth Lesson #04
October 26, 2008
“Father, Your Word reveals to us that which is absolute truth. It is revealed by You by the process of inspiration where by You have breathed out Your Word through the human writers of scripture guaranteeing that what they wrote would be without error. Your Word, therefore, is absolutely true and infallible. It is also sufficient, and as the Word of the Eternal Creator God who created the heaven, the earth, and the seas, and all that is in them. It is Your Word that addresses every issue in life.
As the Psalmist said it is in Your light that we see light. It is in the illumination of Your Word that we are able, therefore, to understand and to properly interpret the data that we experience around us in our day-to-day lives, and it is Your Word, therefore, that provides us with that eternal framework for truth. And as our Lord prayed before He went to the Cross, Your Word is truth and that we are sanctified or set apart by Your Word by truth.
So Father now we devote ourselves in this coming hour to Your Word. We pray that you would use that to challenge our thinking, to shape our thinking that we would think Your thoughts after You and think about Your creation as You made it and not as we would have it.
We pray this is Christ’s Name. Amen.”
This is our fourth session in a series entitled, Decision Making in the Voting Booth.
The early part of the 1600s, when a colonist first came to establish British colonies on this continent, it was a standard procedure in local assemblies, in colonial assemblies, and down through the decades and centuries up to the early part of the 20th century to have what was known as an election sermon. Not dealing with the biblical doctrine of election but dealing with the fundamental issues that faced a society, a culture, that faced a nation, that faced lawmakers, and in these sermons, the local pastors would be invited to the assemblies to address a sermon from the Word of God, not some 10 or 15 minute emotional devotional, but these were often very challenging, forthright sermons that revealed a tremendous amount of courage on the part of the pastors as they truly did challenge, attempted to correct what they perceived to be flaws in governmental policy down through those ages.
This tradition of the election sermon, along with other sermons that were standard in most churches throughout this era, have sort of fallen by the wayside. We do not always have these kinds of specials, and I thought it was important, in light of the election coming up, to address what the Bible says about fundamental issues that we can and should go to the Word of God to find a frame of reference in order to evaluate the candidates that we select to govern our nation. This has precedence biblically and precedence historically.
We understand also that the Word of God is the revelation of the One who created all things, addresses all things. If God says anything about anything, He says something about everything. That is—I don’t have time to explicate that. Go home chew on it for a while—but that is something that is bedrock truth.
We can go to God’s Word, and while He may not be addressing a political treatise in some place or economic treatise in some place, that the groundwork, the foundation of the parable, the laws, whatever, are grounded in certain principles which are embedded in those laws or those principles, the parables, or whatever. And those things do not work, those parables, stories, those principles that are being elucidated by a prophet or by the Lord or by an apostle in the New Testament do not work unless there is the assumption of the validity of the political and/or economic principles underlying those particular assertions.
So we’ve had a three-fold summary that I’m going to put up here on the board. Unfortunately, the video on Thursday night [Lesson #3] was attacked by the video recording machine, and so that video is gone, the sound; the mp3 and slides, though, are available.
I gave a series of rationales last week that led to three conclusions. That’s all I’m going to give this morning:
First conclusion was that “all Christians who are citizens of the U.S. should vote wisely and intelligently to preserve and defend the Constitution for this glorifies God.” Scripture says everything that we do, whatever we think, whatever we do, whatever we say, should glorify God, so that would involve any responsibilities we have in the civil arena.
“Therefore, the U.S. citizen, in order to vote intelligently and wisely, must understand the thinking embodied in the U.S. Constitution, so that he can vote in a way that preserves and protects our heritage—and preserves and protects the constitution.
And by understanding this biblical framework—which I established, I took two sessions to establish, that the founders operated in a self-conscience biblical framework—“a Christian can then vote more intelligently and wisely to preserve and protect the Constitution and the freedoms it recognizes.”
Foundational verse for our study that we’ll see in terms of some application later on:
Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach [disgrace] to any people.”
Understanding that righteousness is something that is available, in terms of experiential righteousness and in terms of law, to any nation not just Israel.
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous rule, the people rejoice …”
I pointed out last Sunday morning in our first session that there is one issue that is foundational to any election process, especially a national process, national election, because it involves the appointments, numerous appointments, thousands of appointments to the judiciary. I also pointed out that there is a fundamental issue that faces the entire legislative/judicial process today, and that is the issue of interpretation. Same issue that you face in much of theology, and that is, do you interpret the Bible literally, historically, and grammatically as the writers intended, or do we assign some new meaning to the text that did not even enter the thinking of the original writers.
With the advent of liberal philosophy and theology as a result of the Enlightenment shift that occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries, theology in Western Europe and America shifted in the 19th century, rejecting literal interpretation and original intent of the authors and replacing it with modern man’s ideas, assuming that modern man knew more, understood more, and could interpret things better than the original authors. This did not only affect theology, it affected things across the board, including the interpretation of law.
Last week when we talked about this I did not have this quote. Somebody emailed it to me, and I used it during the week.
Justice Clarence Thomas, in a speech a week ago, said, “Let me put it this way; there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution—try to discern as best what we can what the framers intended or make it up.”
Now that is the same issue in biblical hermeneutics; it’s the same issue across the board. You read your real estate contract, your read your contract with the credit card company, do you interpret it as they intended or do you just make it up? So we almost intuitively realize that original intent is significant.
But then there’s a second quote there which someone sent me this last week, and I checked it out that back in July 17th, addressing a Planned Parenthood conference, Senator Obama addressed the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion. In that speech, he said, “The Constitution can be interpreted in so many ways—”
See the contrast? Thomas says interpretation is based on original intent. Obama says, it can be interpreted so many ways. Just like liberal theologians think: Oh, you can interpret the Bible all kinds of different ways. There is a connection between liberal politics, liberalism in politics and liberalism in theology.
Then he went on to say, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”
So the criteria isn’t legal education and the ability to understand the law in terms of its original intent, but feeling. So that emotion, feeling, and empathy now becomes the criteria for him for interpreting law.
Let me put this in terms of theology. This is the political equivalent to trading in your Scofield Reference Bible or a Ryrie Study Bible for a Joel Osteen Bible. Feeling and emotion become the criterion rather than what the text says.
We moved on from there to look at the basic criteria that we should have which was embedded in the thinking of the founding fathers. And that comes from a doctrine we’ve studied many times called the divine institutions. The divine institutions provide a framework for thinking about society and culture and making decisions.
Whenever you make a decision and go into the voting booth and you select the candidate, you are making a determination that this person or that person is good, better, best, or the other person perhaps is bad or worse. So you make these value judgments, and whenever you make a value judgment, you are assuming that there is an external standard by which you can evaluate a candidate’s positions and their beliefs. If you are going to say this person is better or that person is worse, you have to have some sort of guideline.
The Scripture says that it is the only guideline, the only framework for a believer to use in evaluating anything in life. While the Bible is not a political science textbook, there are crucial passages in the Scripture that address political theory. It is not an economic textbook, but there are crucial things in the Scripture that have been understood throughout the years to make certain economic assertions and implications. And these have been systematized and understood in terms of this category of the divine institutions.
We began to look at those, so just make a couple of observations by way of review. That the term “divine institution” has been used by Christians, by theologians, to speak of absolute social structures established by God and embedded within the social structure of the human race from its inception. Thus, these are for the entire human race; believers and unbelievers alike. They are unbreakable realities. Once you go in and try to start changing these things, you’ll have all sorts of negative consequences.
In contrast, modern paganism or human viewpoint thinking views them as by-products of man’s psycho-social evolution and thinks of them as “cultural conventions.” Conventions can be changed, but institutions cannot be changed. So these divine institutions are, therefore, embedded in the Scripture.
Now as we look at these divine institutions, I pointed out that there are five. There is a 6th criterion, in case you’re wondering, and that has to do with how any Gentile nation relates to the nation Israel, and I’ll be addressing that as a subcategory related to the fifth divine institution when we get there on Tuesday night.
So we have individual responsibility, marriage and family, which are established before the Fall. Now it is very important to understand that. Prior to the Fall, these three are established, so this is part of God’s original intent for mankind before sin.
Second, we have the establishment of two more divine institutions after the Fall. After the flood government and judicial responsibility are delegated to man in the Noahic Covenant, and then nations, the distinction of nations, and national identity are established after the Tower of Babel.
The first three are pre-Fall, and they are designed to promote productivity and advance civilization. When these three are working together in their most efficient way, then that society or culture is going to be advancing and is going to be productive.
The second two, which come after the Fall, are designed to restrain evil so that one, two, and three can function efficiently. Now there is a real limitation there when you think of government and nations being designed to restrain evil so that individual responsibility, marriage, and family can be promoted and go forward.
Now the first Divine Institution we looked at Thursday night is individual responsibility, comes out of God’s initial mandates to Adam after He had created him primarily Genesis 1:27–28, 2:15, 25).
Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
So male and female are both equally in the image of God.
Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them; and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ ”
Here you have five mandates: be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule the fish of the sea and rule over basically all the creatures God set upon the earth.
In Genesis 2:15, God places Adam in the garden to tend and keep it.
The word “to tend” is the Hebrew word “to work,” and the word for “keep” is the Hebrew word SHAMAR, which means to keep or to protect or to guard. I believe that the idea here is he had work to do to serve the Lord; it is not laborious. You see a lot of people just stumble over this because they think that Adam sat in the garden and twiddled his thumbs until he sinned. But that is not what happened. He had responsibilities to carry out. This is the foundation for the doctrine of responsible labor.
And labor, though, in a post-Fall environment, we just cannot get past the idea in our little experience-oriented brains that work is laborious and that labor is toilsome. But before the Fall, labor was not toilsome, and work was not hard, it was not difficult, it was not painful for us, or toilsome for us. That happens only as a result of sin when there is antagonism set up between creation and the creature outlined in the curse of Genesis 3.
So I pointed out that under individual responsibility, there are three key ideas that are developed from this. The first is spiritual accountability and authority—that man is under the authority of God, and every individual is accountable to God for what he does with the resources that God gives him.
The second thing that comes out of this is man is responsible in the area of labor, to take care and protect the garden. As he takes care of the garden and does what God has told him to do, a result of that is that it develops wealth. It would develop numerous products as a result of responsible labor done correctly, and this then would lead to private property.
If you go back and you read many of the early writers, such as Blackstone in his Commentaries on the English Laws, or you read John Locke, you read any number of other thinkers that came out of that period, they go back and they locate the principle of private property in Genesis 1 and in Genesis 2. They understood that private property and individual responsibility were foundational to the whole concept of liberty.
So we addressed these issues on Thursday night and towards the end as I was running out of time, I pointed out that there are several principles that are articulated again and again in the Scriptures and that are embedded within teaching in the Scriptures, and I’m going to run through those again very rapidly right now.
In Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 20:1–16 on a parable related to stewardship, and this is a situation where the landowner is addressing the steward and deciding and hiring men, goes out to the local labor pool down on Gessner and Longpoint and hires various people to work on his project at different times during the day, promising them at the beginning a denarius for a day’s work, and then each one after that, he just says he will do that which is righteous.
He hires the last ones about 5:00 in the afternoon, and at nightfall—notice it’s not an eight-hour work day—at nightfall when he comes back, he begins to pay off his workers. And the ones he hired last and only worked a couple of hours, he pays them a denarius, which is what he promised the ones he hired at the beginning of the day.
Now there are various principles that being taught there doctrinally, but those do not work unless the underlying principles related to economics and employment are true because at the end of His discourse, Jesus makes the statement “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?”
As the landowner, He’s making a statement, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?” That a business owner has the right to do what he wants to do with what are his assets. He has the right to do that without interference of government regulation telling him what kind of insurance he should have, or how long the workers should work, or any of the other things that hinder business and destroy capital today. So it is very strongly in favor, very strongly in favor of the employer, the landowner.
Second passage that I pointed out was in Matthew 18:23, which also emphasizes a steward and this time he owes money to his employer. And this just emphasizes the fact that of both accountability, personal accountability of each one to the landowner—who in this case is God, so it reinforces the first divine institution—but it also re-enforces the prerogatives of the employer to do what he will and make the decisions he will.
Third passage is Matthew 25:14, we looked at the parable of the talents. You have three different groups of people or three different groups of servants rather, each given a different number of talents. The first two invest them and make a reward or make a profit rather.
And the third one is afraid of his master, so he is lazy and he does not do anything with it, he just buries it in the ground. The when the master comes back, he digs it up. When he digs it up, the evaluation is this that those who made a profit are praised and they’re given more. And the one who was lazy is called wicked and lazy, and what he had was taken away from him.
What we see here is the principle that those who risk, those who work should be rewarded, and those who do not are condemned. Therefore, laziness is seen as a vice, work is a virtue. Jesus does not come back and say, “You poor person, you were afraid of Me? Let’s take from the one who made the investment and share the wealth and give it to the one who didn’t do anything.” So it shows that the Bible cannot be interpreted within a Marxist or socialist framework.
Fourth principle we saw from a couple of passages in the New Testament was that those who do not work, do not eat.
Ephesians 4:28 “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10–12, “… If anyone is not willing to work,” Paul says, “… he is not to eat either.”
This is reinforced again and again.
Fifth point I made was that in the Scripture from the beginning to the end, there is an emphasis on various things related to taxes. Inheritance taxes are condemned in Proverbs 13:22 and 1 Chronicles 28:8. Inheritance taxes, by the way, were developed by Marx and implemented by Lenin in order to prevent wealth accumulation, take wealth away from the wealthy and transfer the wealth to the poor.
Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
2 Corinthians 12:14 says, “Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”
In other words, parents should be accumulating wealth that they pass on through inheritance to the children, so that over time, the family accumulates wealth.
Sixth, we saw that in the Scripture there are no property taxes in the Mosaic Law because property taxes prevent wealth accumulation and imply that the government owns the land, and the people do not have actual true ownership. In Israel, that was not allowed.
Seventh, we saw that the tithe related to the income tax in Israel was a flat rate tax of 10 percent that applied to everybody—rich or poor. If you did not make much, you still gave 10 percent. You did not have a progressive income tax. It shows that there was an income tax—that is legitimate—but it is only legitimate if it is equal for everyone.
So we take these principles and apply them to our two major presidential candidates. We discover that both of them rate rather badly on this.
Senator Obama is worse because he is still proud of his share-the-wealth view, which he gave famously now in that interview with Joe, the plumber. When he was interviewed by some news person on Friday, he was asked if he still would give the same answer, and he rather proudly said that he would. So that’s the real issue, not Joe, the plumber, is that Obama believes that those who have should forcibly give it up for those who do not have.
And, in fact, this whole idea of a progressive income tax was first attempted in the 19th century, but the Supreme Court declared that it was unconstitutional. It was not until 1913, with a Constitutional amendment, that made it possible to have a progressive income tax.
So the idea that we get from socialism and from Marxism is the whole theory of labor and wealth that is contradictory to the Scriptures and contradictory to the first divine institution, which has to do with individual responsibility.
So that brings us to the second divine institution, which is marriage. The second divine institution is marriage.
Marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. This begins in Genesis 2. Now what is interesting is if we look at Genesis 2—I want you to open your Bibles there. Highlight this one particular verse—as we look at Genesis 2, we see in this chapter the details of what happened on that 6th day when God created man.
I want to remind you, I pointed out from Genesis 1:26–28 that God created male and female in His image. Now He does not create them at the same time according to Genesis 2. First He created the man, and then He creates the woman. In between the creation of the man and the woman, He gave the man certain guidelines related to his role responsibility to work and protect the garden.
By the way, the idea of protecting the garden is a foundational verse for understanding the right of self-protection, the right to protect your property with whatever you deem necessary and is foundational to the whole principle of the 2nd amendment that we have a right to keep and bear arms.
I evaluated that the other night and pointed out that Senator Obama has a record of increasing gun control, whereas Senator McCain does not.
But the principle of self-protection and being able to have weapons, even access to the latest technology to protect your property, is embedded in Scripture. In Luke 22, Jesus made sure the disciples were armed with swords when they went to the Garden of Gethsemane, recognition of this right to have concealed carry without a concealed carry permit. It is an embedded right, all part of that first divine institution.
So the man was to keep and guard the garden. He gives him the responsibility to begin to name the animals, as exercising his role to rule over the animals and to subdue the animals. As Adam goes through this process, which God was using to show Adam he did not have a comparable mate, he gets to the point where God is now going to create the woman.
Down in verse 21, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ ”
When we look at this, what we discover is that the woman is created in order to be a helper to the man. The word that is used for the woman being a helper in verse 18 is the word ezer, a word that is commonly used to refer to God. It is a word that is even comparable to the word PARAKALEO or PARAKLETOS in the New Testament for the Holy Spirit, an assistant.
This is not a lowly position; this is a very high position. In fact, the only being that is assigned the role of an ezer in Scripture, other than a woman, is God. It is a rather high term, as opposed to the feminist agenda, which wants to make a helper into something that is subservient and low and of lesser value. This just again is an agenda that runs counter to what the Word of God says.
This takes us back again to something I talked about on Thursday night, which is it’s important to understand the basic nature of God in understanding these things, because God exists as a Trinity, a tri-unity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are three distinct Persons. There are two different ways in which we can look at the Trinity.
One has to do with the essential, and by that I mean the essence or being of God, the essential relationships of the three Persons in the Trinity, and that is sometimes referred to by theologians as the ontological Trinity. Ontology is just the fancy word for essence or being.
God in His Being, You have three Persons who are co-equal: They are equally righteous, equally omniscient, equally omnipotent, equally loving. Iin their essence and their being, which shows a society of three Persons, they are co-equal. You have at one level, at one way of looking at the Trinity, a social dimension related to their essence.
On the other side, you can describe the relationship of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit in terms of what they do, in other words, their work or their labor. When we look at it that way, that is called the economic Trinity.
So you have the ontological Trinity and the economic Trinity, and you cannot separate them. They are inseparably connected. One has to do with the relationships—the social structure of the Trinity. The other has to do with the economic structure of the Trinity. You can’t separate the social from the economic.
We hear people today—someone recently said to me as he’s cutting my hair that I am a fiscal conservative but a social liberal. See that is the idea that you can separate the social from the economic.
You cannot do that in God, and you could not do that in man as he was created initially in the garden. For he is given an economic purpose to rule and subdue, to work the garden and to keep it, and he is given a wife—that is social if you didn’t guess—that’s social in order to help him in the economic function.
As man and woman were originally created, they had both social and economic just as God did as part of being in the image of God. So the woman is created to help the man as an ezer, she is to enable him to fulfill and to assist him in the fulfillment of these God-given mandates that we have seen in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.
Now after the Fall, there are problems that enter into marriage because of sin, and only through salvation can those problems be overcome. That is the purpose of the New Testament passages in Ephesians 5 related to husbands loving your wives and wives being obedient to your husbands—addressing areas of tension that result from the Fall, but that’s not the purpose of our discussion this morning. The issue here is on marriage.
What we see from the Old Testament is that God protects marriage through various laws that we have in the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law is just one instance of a legal system that reflects a higher divine standard of righteousness.
Going back to that initial verse that righteousness exalts a nation. So there is this assumption of righteousness that is defined in one way in the Mosaic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was given just for Israel, but it gives us a certain pattern and model for understanding the relationship of law. And it was a good thing.
Deuteronomy 4 through 8 is a crucial passage for understanding this. God, through Moses, is addressing the people, and He says, “See I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it.”
In other words you are going to take this law code, and you are going to implement it when you are in the land as a nation.
So Moses says, “So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding—in the sight of the what?—In the sight of the peoples—the goyim, the nations, the Gentiles—who will hear all these statutes”—and what will they say?
When all these surrounding nations look at Israel and hear about the Mosaic Law what are they going to say? Wow! What a rigorous, legalistic servile system! They’re just enslaved to God. Is that what they say? No! They say Wow!—“Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
Verse 8, “Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you this day.”
Defining the law as righteous. Okay? Now does that mean that other nations should just come and take the Mosaic Law whole hog and apply it to their government? No, of course not. Because there were certain things that were unique and distinct about the Mosaic Law related to Israel because Israel was the select people of God, and He was entering into a specific kind of contract with them.
But what is embedded in the Mosaic Law for our purposes is that it reflects certain universal principles that God embedded within society and within the human race that endure and should be applied without respect to culture, or nation, or background.
One of these has to do with the protection of marriage. There were prohibitions against adultery, against fornication, against homosexuality, bestiality, and all of these things because they would attack the basic institution of marriage, which is foundational to family. If marriage and family collapse, then ultimately government and the nation collapse. So each of these divine institutions we see build upon previous ones, and when the foundational ones start to fragment, then those that are built on them fall apart.
We see that historically in our nation for the past 150 years, the move has been away from personal accountability and holding people responsible to work, to provide for themselves, to take care of themselves. And marriage is that there is accountability within marriage, and we have seen marriage fall apart and then families fall apart, and this just escalates from one decade to another.
In the Mosaic Law, there was one commandment, the 7th commandment, “You shalt not commit adultery.” Within the Mosaic Law itself, there were various other laws related to fornication, or related to adultery, related to these other sins that attack marriage. A key passage on this is Leviticus 20:10 and following, and the key verse here, verse 13 that relates to homosexuality, but I want you to notice that it is within a context because in the current debate over gay marriage, same-sex marriage, it’s as if they respond to this as if it is just singled out as some heinous, horrible sin. There is no understanding of what sin is, that sin includes all kinds of things, not the least of which is homosexuality. It is not some super sin, but it is an attack against basic divine institutions of both marriage and family.
In Leviticus 20:10 and following we read, “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
So it is a capital offense. Why is it taken so seriously? Because if allowed permissively to continue, it will destroy marriage, destroy the family, and fragment the culture.
“If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death, their blood guiltiness is upon them.”
Verse 12: “If there is a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed incest, their blood guiltiness is upon them.
Verse 13: “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.”
Verse 14: “If there is a man who marries a woman and her mother, it is immorality—you can’t marry both the woman and your mother in-law, just a warning guys—both he and they shall be burned with fire, so that there will be no immorality in your midst.”
Verse 15: “If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal.”
So all of these relate to the foundation in the Mosaic Law. It’s restated in the New Testament; passages like Romans 1:26–27 that homosexuality or sodomy is an ongoing part of God’s judgment on a nation that has already rejected Him.
“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”
It is a self-judgment.
1 Corinthians 6:9 again lists this, but it is in the context of a grocery list of sins.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”—which isn’t salvation, it has to do with rewards in eternity. “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
It is not singled out as some sort of unique, special sin; it is though listed in a series of sins. Just as we do not want to legitimize thieves and murderers and idolaters, we do not want to legitimize homosexuality or being effeminate—has to do with the female side of homosexuality; homosexuality, the masculine side.
Then we get into other passages, like 1 Timothy 1:9–10 “Realizing the fact that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.”
Okay, so the point that is understood from the Scripture is that these are acts of sins. In the New Testament, they do not have a death penalty imposed upon these particular sins of homosexuality, or adultery, or fornication. The reason is is because in the Old Testament that is part of the law code for a nation, but in the New Testament, the issue is giving ethical principles that are to be instantiated in the lives of believers. It is not related to a nation. Does that mean that there should not be death penalty? That depends on the nation and how they want to make their laws.
The New Testament is not making the statement that the death penalty is removed, because it is not addressing that question. It is addressing another issue and, that is the ethical foundation of what is sin and what is not sin. It is not providing a constitution for a nation or a law code. A nation could make them capital offenses or might not make them capital offenses, but the principle is that marriage and family have to be protected legally because that is the role of government.
Those last two divine institutions—government and nations—which are given after the Flood and after the Fall are designed to protect the first three divine institutions so that productivity can be ensured.
This was understood by our founding fathers. Zephaniah Swift, who was the author of one of America’s first legal texts in 1795, wrote “It [sodomy], though repugnant to every sentiment of decency and delicacy, is very prevalent in corrupt and debauched countries”—no country has ever legalized homosexual marriage and been productive or survived. I do not think any nation has ever legalized it anyway—“It is very prevalent in corrupt debauched countries where the low pleasures of sensuality and luxury have depraved the mind and degraded the appetite below the brutal creation.”
Charles Carroll recognized as did many other founders that “without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time.”
Morals are related to responsibility, and if people do not live responsibly, then a government based upon people acting irresponsibly cannot survive, so then government has to turn itself into a “nanny state.”
James Otis, another founding father, wrote, “When a man’s will and pleasure is his only rule and guide, what safety can there be either for him or against him but in the point of a sword.”
When everyone does what is right in their own eyes (as stated in Judges), pure post-modern cultural relativism, then the fabric of the culture will completely deteriorate.
The early decisions of the courts of this country upheld this kind of thinking consistently throughout the 19th century. New York’s Supreme Court said “The morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity. The people whose manners and morals have been elevated and inspired by means of the Christian religion.”
Florida’s Supreme Court said, “The Christian concept of right and wrong, or right and justice, motivates every rule of equity. It is the guide by which we dissolve domestic frictions and the rule by which all legal controversies are settled.”
One of the early legal tests used in the United States was published in 1814, the author is Johann David Michaelis, and was entitled Commentaries on the Laws of Moses. In that he wrote “For if it [sodomy] once begins to prevail, not only will boys be easily corrupted by adults, but also by other boys; nor will it ever cease—more especially as it must thus soon lose all its shamefulness and infamy and become fashionable and the national taste; and then … national weakness (for which all remedies are ineffectual) must inevitably follow; not perhaps in the very first generation, but certainly in the course of the third or fourth …
Whoever, therefore, wishes to ruin a nation has only to get this vice introduced for it is extremely difficult to extirpate it where it has once taken root because it can be propagated with much more secrecy … and when we perceive that it has once got a footing in any country, however powerful and flourishing, we may venture as politicians to predict that the foundation of its future decline is laid and that after some hundred years it will no longer be the same … powerful country it is at present.”
How prescient of him to observe exactly what has happened over the last hundred years or so in the history of this nation.
In reference to this, in light of scriptural framework and in light of the political history of the U.S., we can evaluate our two prominent candidates. What I am going to read to you is a quote from Senator Obama’s open letter to homosexuals, which is located on his website.
“Throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans—that’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite Americans if you’re not up on the latest acronyms. That’s the proper term they use today, LGBT Americans—
“In Illinois, I cosponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation [a church is a workplace, folks].
“In the U.S. Senate, I have cosponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees.
“As President, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully-inclusive employment non-discrimination act [that applies to churches and Christian organizations, as well, to any organization who employs anyone] to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws.”
That’s Senator Obama’s position.
In another place, he writes “I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.”
In 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act by a vote of 342 to 67 in the House and 85 to 14 in the Senate, and President Bill Clinton then signed that into law. So what Senator Obama wants to do is completely overturn that. Even though he says he is in favor of traditional marriage, what happens here is once you lower the bar, once you open the door to, in effect, civil union, letting same-sex couples have all the privileges, legal privileges and rights that married couples do, it does not matter what you call it, a marriage is marriage, and it leads to the further collapse of the culture.
Along with this, Senator Obama supports Gay Pride celebrations and school curricula that promotes homosexuality. He also opposes parental involvement in education where they could stop that.
He opposes traditional marriage amendments that are currently on the ballot in both California and Florida. Although, Senator Biden, his running mate, made the comment that he supports traditional marriage, when he was in California and asked what he would do if voting on the amendment, he said he would vote against traditional marriage. That gives their position.
In contrast, the views of McCain and Palin are really not all that great. Both of them hold to traditional marriage, but they have both allowed for certain civil union benefits to same-sex partners, which just begins to gradually eat away at traditional marriage. However, they both oppose supporting Gay Pride celebrations, and they both oppose education curricula that promotes homosexuality.
That gives us analysis of how you take what the Bible says about marriage. We’ll get into family a little bit on Tuesday night, but primarily Tuesday night I want to look at what the Bible says about the role of government and the limitations of government and nations to wrap up this particular study and apply that to what’s going on today.
“Father, we’re thankful we have this opportunity to study Your Word today to realize that righteousness and ethics are indeed important in relation to any nation as Your Word proclaims, and that we cannot separate all of these things out. Unfortunately, we’re often faced with the reality of a choice that is not between that which is good or better, but between that which is bad or worse, and it’s difficult to make decisions in those realms. But we have Your Word which gives us absolute guidelines and gives us a framework for addressing every single issue in life.
We’re reminded from Your Word that we’re all sinners. We’ve all committed all these sins, not just the egregious ones, but many of the worst sins are the sins of mental attitude, sins of arrogance, sins of pride, sins of judging others, but we know that all sins were paid for by Christ from the Cross, so it does not matter what sin any have committed. Jesus Christ paid the penalty so that they might have eternal life.
Father, we pray that if anyone this morning is unsure of their salvation or uncertain of their eternal destiny that they would take this opportunity to make that both sure and certain. Scripture says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but that the give of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The minute you put faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have eternal life. And whatever sins you’ve committed aren’t the issue. The issue is what do you believe about Jesus Christ? And that is the basis for condemnation, acceptance or rejection of the free gift of salvation.
Now Father, we pray that you would challenge us with the things that we studied today, that our thinking would have been challenged in light of Your Word and in light that we might have a better understanding of how to apply Your Word to the challenges we face today.
We pray this in Christ’s Name. Amen.”