As Long As We Love God...
I recently spoke at an apologetic-themed event that focused on helping middle schoolers and high schoolers develop a biblical worldview (the only accurate worldview) in every sphere of their lives. After preaching a sermon on how to be a Christian in a culture that sees Christianity as oppressive and close-minded, I was approached by a rather “open-minded” young lady who asked me a very important question. “As long as we love God, and love other people, why does it matter who we are in a relationship with?” I knew immediately that she was referring to same-sex relationships. In my sermon, I had highlighted that Christians should not conform to such behavior, in particular, believing the lie that God sees this as permissible.
I wanted to be fair to her question and bring clarity to her as best I could. I decided to answer her question directly by addressing her words in the exact manner she asked me. This is also what I will attempt to do in this article. Along with providing some false assumptions that served as the motivation for her question, I will also provide some handles to use in answering future questions.
“As long as we love God…”
FALSE ASSUMPTION: We can love God and simultaneously not abide in Him.
In our current culture, particularly among "cultural Christians", there is often an illogical disconnect between "loving God" and "obeying God." Jesus clearly says in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” 1 John 5:3 also says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” Loving God and obeying God CANNOT be disconnected from one another. To love Him is to come underneath His authority. Doing so is not a burdensome task to a true believer, but rather, we embrace it with great delight. To love God is to deny anything that He denies and to adore everything He adores. We have been catechized and deceived by a culture that teaches us to believe that real love has no rules. This is far from the case. To love God and His teachings is to despise the world and its teachings.
“...and love other people…”
FALSE ASSUMPTION: Genuine love to others entails helping them conform to the world rather than conform to Christ.
We saw earlier that many believe that can love God while disobeying Him. On the other hand, some believe they can obey man and truly be loving them. If we get “loving God" wrong, then we get the concept of loving wrong altogether, because God is the very embodiment of love (1 John 4:8). Christ sets the standard and foundation on how we are to love. That biblical love is the type of love we must demonstrate to one another. The love of Christ to His bride was not ignoring or supporting their sin, but rather, dying for and defeating their sin. Truly loving others is pointing them to eternal life, not eternal wrath.
Besides, if loving others meant accepting their reckless, God-dishonoring lives, then Jesus would have stepped out of Heaven to give us high-fives instead of going to the cross in our place.
“...why does it matter who we are in a relationship with?”
FALSE ASSUMPTION: God will suppress His holiness and support my sinful desires.
What does it matter? How about your eternity? Your eternity hangs on it. Ephesians 5:5 says “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Paul says that we can be sure of this reality, that the sexually immoral has NO INHERTANCE. The wrath of God will be poured out on the unrepentant, sexually immoral person and we can be sure of it. What will it profit us if we physically enjoy 100 years of sexual immorality, only to endure the eternal wrath of God? I’d take that as a very serious matter.
May we be both warned and encouraged by Paul’s words, “3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”
Abstaining from sexual immorality is for our sanctification, our constant and necessary conformity to Christlikeness in every sphere of our lives. When lust wages war, we must lean on the God we know, who has given us His Spirit to stand firm against it. What if we loved God enough to flee from sexual immorality? What if we loved others enough to point them to God’s objective truth that is for their flourishing? What if we walked in a manner worthy of the calling we received? May we do so to the glory of God and submit to what He says is good.
Larry is the Next Gen Pastor at The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN. He is a frequent speaker for student conferences and camps. Larry is married to Madison and has two children, Eloise and Arlo.
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