It’s the Sin Stupid

Phil Robertson I remember the presidential campaign of 1992 and how the Clinton election team pushed itself to remember their fundamental and playful campaign message, “it’s the economy stupid.” When other issues would rise to divert Clinton from that message, staffers would forcefully remind the campaign staff that the election would hinge on the existing economic malaise at the time and the hope a fix through Clinton’s policies.

At the risk of beating a dead horse (or dead duck show in this case), I can’t help draw a comparison to the current situation with Phil Robertson recently pushed off the A&E hit reality television show Duck Dynasty.  Now I don’t really care about ducks, duck calls, beards or A&E for that matter.  What I do care about is the boldness of this man to take the platform the Lord gave him to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and clearly communicate the teachings of the Word of God.  Time after time I’ve witnessed God promote believers to a national platform only to see them compromise once they reached that pinnacle.  Phil and his family should be commended not criticized for their stand and for honoring the Lord for the gift of their platform.

The liberal media and activists groups want Americans to believe that Robertson’s language in a GQ interview was crude, vile, inappropriate, insensitive, and even hate speech.  What believers need to remember at a time like this is whenever a believer quotes the Bible on morality and sexuality it is not hate speech but the Word of God. What if GQ had interviewed the Apostle Paul?  Enough said.  The real issue here is that the powerful demonic spirit behind human sexual perversion goes ballistic (especially when it ends up printed in black and white) whenever it is called out and exposed for what it is – SIN.  Just like the irrational response of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot’s day when the men threatened to rape angelic beings (Genesis 19:5) or Herod’s violent treatment of John the Baptist for calling out his sexual immorality (Matthew 14:3-4), that spirit bristles today whenever the behavior is correctly labeled as sin.  One can attempt to quote and address these Scriptures with a gentle spirit, loving heart, a twinkle in the eye, and a smile on the face but the reaction of equating homosexuality with sin with always be met with the same ferocious response.

Notice Robertson paraphrased Scripture about drunkenness but no one called him a drunkaphobe.  He addressed idolatry but was not labeled an idolatorphobe. He mentioned the greedy but no one called him a greedyphobe.  He called out swindlers but no one said he was a swindlerphobe.  He spoke of slanderers but no one cared to call him a slandererphobe.  But when he mentions what the Bible says about homosexuality he is called a hater and a homophobe. In other words, it’s fine to label other areas of immorality as sin but one must simply not equate homosexuality with sin.  Make no mistake about it.  The modern persecution leveled at Robertson and others who dare to speak up is about identifying rightly sexual behavior that is sin. “It’s the sin stupid” and we would be wise to remember that everyone who will live a godly life in Christ Jesus and care enough to share that godliness will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).  

We should also remember that no one need remain in the clutches of sin – any kind of sin – for God has provided the remedy for all manner of sin, the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. The catch is that our personal redemption hinges on confessing our sin (saying the same thing God says about it) and not redefining or dismissing our sin.  It is unscriptural and naive to believe that we, as the modern church, can lead people to Jesus without addressing the sin issue.  After all, Jesus’ first message to the world was, ‘Repent (change your mind and corresponding behavior), for the kingdom of heaven is near’ (Matthew 4:17).  Repentance gives us access to the supernatural power that will set us free from the sins that we confess.  Consequently, there is no substitute for the place of repentance in our redemption, salvation, and deliverance.

Hijacking Jesus

passionhome“From that time on Jesus began to preach, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17, NIV).

It’s quite interesting to hear marginal Christians, the secular media, politicians, and liberal theologians describe Jesus’ essential message as one of tolerance without any expectation of change or conformance to his Father’s moral code and standards. In fact, the primary, essential, and original message of Jesus has almost been drowned out completely and hijacked (to divert from the original message, destination, or purpose) by a chorus of voices demanding that the Church of Jesus Christ cease its stand for righteousness. Jesus certainly came to this earth to die for the sins of mankind because of love, but Jesus’ first message was not tolerance or love. His first message to the world was, “repent” which means to change your mind with a corresponding change of behavior. People today want the love and favor of God but they do not want the message and mandate of repentance that goes with the broader message of the gospel. Jesus has been hijacked so that people can live how they want to live, justify that lifestyle, and decry any divine accountability for living that way.

Take, for example, the woman caught in adultery (John 8). Jesus knew this woman was being used to try to trap him into saying or doing something that the Pharisees could use as a basis to accuse him. Jesus’ response is amazing but it also reveals the connection between his love, compassion, and the need to embrace his requirement of repentance. He challenged her accusers to go ahead and throw the stones and let the one without sin begin the execution. Of course, one by one they withdrew starting with the oldest among them. Jesus then issued the powerful statement together with a caveat: “Then neither do I condemn you…Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:31). Notice he did not say, “I don’t condemn you and feel free to sin even more.” This is the missing element. Yes, there is grace, love, and mercy for the sinner – for all of us, but there is also the command to “sin no more” not to sin all the more. In one powerful moment Jesus gave this woman God’s compassion, God’s correction, and God’s power to make the necessary changes, for the Lord never gives us a command without giving us the power to keep that command.

In this current environment where what is wrong is called right and what is right is called wrong (Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil”), the Church needs to stand up boldly and declare that we do preach the love and mercy of God but we must also follow Jesus’ example and preach repentance as well, which means to stop the offending behavior (stop the behavior that is offending God’s heart and His Word). To preach mercy and love without repentance is to hijack both the message and mission of Jesus Christ and to totally misrepresent the truth (the misrepresentation of the truth is also known as a lie). In the end it is not loving or compassionate to let people believe a lie to their own destruction. The handwriting is on the wall and the moral trajectory has become clear – our society more and more is rejecting the clear teachings of Scripture and choosing a philosophy where everyone does “what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Yes, it would be less controversial and we could save ourselves from further name calling and vilification if we just say the “ship has sailed” on opposing the moral slide of this nation, but the consequences of this would be to hijack Jesus ourselves, dishonor His sacrifice, and then render ourselves completely irrelevant in the process.

God’s Thoughts on Sex – Part Two

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders…” (1 Corinthians 6:9, NIV). “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4, NIV).

Our culture has been on a downward slope of moral and sexual compromise for over forty years. The removal of the Bible and prayer from public schools together with the sexual revolution has resulted in a potent combination of influences that have forever changed the moral landscape of our nation. The over sexualization of our culture has led to the wholesale acceptance of several types of sexual compromise. From the former President of the United States, to U.S. Senators, Congressmen, businessmen, school teachers, and ministry leaders, the new sexual morality of anything goes has produced destruction in countless lives. Because of the rampant devastation I will be intentionally plain in my blogs about God’s Thoughts on Sex because Christians should be getting their moral training from the Word of God and the Church and not from the world. It seems Christians will gladly welcome every vile thing from the world but bristle when Christian leaders speak boldly and plainly about the topic.

There are many forms of sexual compromise and deviance (which suggests obviously that there is a standard defining what is deviant – and there is – the Word of God) but I want to briefly discuss four that have permeated our society. First, pornography, the sexual stimulation through media, print, and the imagination, has become a multi-billion dollar industry and is at the root of the destruction of lives and marriages (in and out of the Church) all over the nation. Job said he had made a covenant with his eye not to look at a girl in lust (Job 31:1). Jesus equated illicit sexual fantasy with the actual physical action of adultery. Pornography perverts healthy sexual attitudes and behaviors, victimizing those involved in its production, and enslaves and ultimately destroys those snared by its allure.

Second, promiscuity, sexual stimulation before marriage, has to be clearly defined because young people especially think that if there is no actual penetration than they have not been promiscuous. The reality is that any sexual stimulation before marriage is promiscuous behavior including intercourse, oral sex, humping, fondling, and petting (See 1 Corinthians 7:1-9; 10:8; Ephesians 4:19; 1 Peter 4:3). Exacerbating the problem is the fact that there is little to no shame associated with promiscuity and virtually no accountability. On the contrary, the virgin or morally pure man or woman is made to look like a freak in today’s media for holding to the “ridiculous and unrealistic” notion that abstinence can really work.

As most cultures throughout time and around the world, adultery, the sexual stimulation by or with someone in a marriage covenant, is still viewed by many as out of bounds even though the majority of men and women in America, it is said, either have or will commit adultery in their lifetime. We need to revisit the Scriptural admonition once again that warns us that to engage in this behavior is violent in its destruction to marriages and homes and results in a shame that will never be wiped away (Proverbs 5:1-5, 11-18; 6:27-33; 7:21-27). Because sex is a covenant act that confirms the sacred oath between two married heterosexuals, adultery is the highest and most egregious form of betrayal in a marriage relationship. A man once told me who had over twenty affairs on his wife that his problem was an inordinately high testosterone level. The issue with adultery is not blood testosterone levels but character level born out of a conviction that human sexuality is sacred and covenantal, not animalistic.

Finally, homosexuality, the sexual stimulation with someone of the same sex, is clearly denounced in Scripture and no amount of creative Bible interpretation can change that truth. From the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:4-9), to the clear list of unapproved sexual behaviors in Leviticus 18, to the warning in Romans 1:26-27, homosexuality is a perversion of God’s standard for human sexuality which is good, heterosexual, marital, purposeful, holistic, temporary, and covenantal. It is important to remember that Jesus never set aside the moral and sexual code in his teachings. In fact, he tightened the screws when he said that sexual sin starts in the mind and the heart rather than in the body.

The sexual libertarians and allies have produced a fairly sophisticated strategy and process (with evil spiritual inspiration for sure) for influencing the culture to accept sexual sin and perversion in response to the voice of biblical morality. The first step is rationalization – that is the ones practicing the sin begin to make excuses and demand tolerance for their life choices. The second step is desensitization where the culture plays down, jokes about, and portrays the sin in a favorable light in media, etc. The third step is indoctrination or the deliberate attempt to win the hearts and minds of the next generation through misinformation. This is being accomplished today through the courts, the schools, and through liberal theologians who are altering biblical interpretation to fit the cultural demand for indoctrination. The final step is vilification or the systematic attempt to marginalize the standard (the Bible) and those that proclaim the standard (Bible believers) calling good evil and evil good. It’s usually at this point that the world, the activists, and the liberal church begin to chime in with protests labeling the believer with traditional moral and sexual values as narrow minded, bigoted, out of touch with reality, ignorant of their creative Bible redaction, judgmental or homophobic. But the ire of the spirit of this world does not and cannot change the integrity and authority of the Word of God that makes plain the true and holy nature of human sexuality.

In my third installment of God’s Thoughts on Sex I will be outlining a simple strategy for building a firewall to protect yourself and your family from the sexual onslaught in this nation. For now, make up your mind that you will take a stand for traditional moral values and that no amount of vilification by this world will force you to back down. We need the body of Christ to raise its voice like never before. We should not allow the world to fill the vacuum of knowledge for our children and people, but we should be intentionally and bluntly speaking the truth in love and boldly teaching God’s thoughts on human sexuality.

God’s Thoughts on Sex – Part One

Isaiah 55 makes plain the tendency of people to adopt and maintain thoughts on every subject that are contradictory to God’s thoughts. Our job is to allow the Lord to identify those erroneous thoughts by His Spirit and the Word of God and then cast them down or reject them (2 Corinthians 10:5). The Scripture teaches us that we are what we think so if we think wrong thoughts we will live wrong lives. Ungodly thoughts or thoughts that contradict God’s thoughts in any key area of life will certainly limit us and hold us back, and in some cases, utterly destroy us.

One of those areas is clearly the area of human sexuality. The minds of believers, just like the world, have been polluted by the over sexualization of our culture. The thoughts of the enemy and the world have invaded the Church so that one can scarcely differentiate the attitudes of the world on sex from the attitudes of those that claim to be born again Christians. For example, 65% of Americans excuse sex outside of marriage, 33% believe premarital sex among teens is acceptable, and only 49% think homosexuality is wrong. In the Church, a whopping 28% think pornography is alright and 35%, that’s over 1 out every 3 Christians, think sex outside of marriage is acceptable. You have to wonder what kind of “born again” they got and what kind of Bible they are reading (if they are reading one at all).

Ephesians 5:1 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” The life of the believer must not contain even a smidgen of sexual compromise but be the bulwark against the encroaching tide of sexual lawlessness in the land. So much is riding on our ability to turn the tide around. Every major culture in the history of the world has lost its power and position due ultimately to sexual immorality. The prevalence, acceptance, and defense of sexual immorality is evidence of the decline and influence of that culture like our Western society today. Literally every aspect of our culture has become sexualized and if history is true, that does not bode well for the West. The Church must stand up and be wiling to take the heat for choosing to believe and espouse a traditional and biblical sexual morality.

The biblical morality on human sexuality is plain and forthright: First, human sexuality is good so make sure you have a healthy attitude about sex (Genesis 2:5). Second, human sexuality is heterosexual so understand that sex is exclusively between men and women (Ephesians 5:31). Third, human sexuality is marital so get married if you want to have sex (Hebrews 13:4). The Bible boldly stays that the marriage bed is undefiled but sexual immorality will be judged. Fourth, human sexuality is purposeful. Like everything else God created, sex was created with purpose as well so understand sex is for (1) companionship, (2) procreation, and (2) pleasure with no apology because God made it so (Malachi 2:15). Fifth, human sexuality is holistic so realize that sex binds and links human beings physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (1 Corinthians 6:16-17). Sixth, human sexuality is temporary – that’s right, I didn’t stutter. Jesus taught that in heaven we are neither married nor given in marriage but we are like angels (but not angels), that is we are asexual in our glorified bodies so don’t throw away your eternal life for just sex (Matthew 22:29-30). And seventh, human sexuality is covenantal so know that sex is something that seals the covenant of marriage. Married sex is the only sex endorsed by God. Sex is a covenant act that reminds the married person of the covenant and strengthens the covenant (Malachi 2:14-17).

Obviously by taking a stand in support of traditional values regarding human sexuality we open ourselves up to the scorn, ridicule, and persecution of a world that chooses to ignore and marginalize God’s thoughts on sexuality. But choosing God’s agenda has never been popular with a world at odds with God’s standards down through history. Perhaps we have been caught napping expecting that our nation would return to the days of Ozzie and Harriet if we just closed our eyes and wished it to happen. Those days have passed and our job now is to stand up and speak up because if the enemy manages to silence the Church and the pulpit he has effectively shut down the last line of defense to this nation plunging into a sea of total moral degradation.

Follow along in future blogs as I discuss areas of sexual compromise in the United States, the process of how our culture was influenced to embrace and accept sexual sin, and how to build a firewall to protect yourself and your family from sexual compromise. It is time for the body of Christ to push back on this societal plague with the truth of God’s Word.

The Un-Sin

“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22). “Even the women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Romans 1:26-27).

Confusion about sexual morality (and normality) in this nation is at an all time high (and that includes self-professed believers). Because of the social and political correctness environment in this nation right now, droves of people are accepting behaviors that are clearly out-of-bounds biblically. The pressure and influence is so strong that many believers who may have struggled with certain sins are now being influenced to embrace a lifestyle that totally contradicts the Word of God. Many more believers are exacerbating the situation through the development of an “oh, well, to each his own” attitude having been worn down by the constant drumbeat of the activist agenda trying to shame anyone holding to traditional biblical values and morality.

At the outset I want to be clear. Christians do not and should not hate anyone on the basis of a lifestyle choice, behavior, practice, sin, or stronghold (our mandate is to love the person without endorsing the sin). The genuine Christian is, however, committed to the integrity and authority of the Word of God and should not be expected to turn a blind eye to the teachings of Scripture on human sexuality just to keep from looking like they are intolerant or bigoted. The homosexual and the homosexual activist should remember that opposition to homosexuality by Christians is based in biblical morality and not hatred for any person or group.

Recently, an award-winning Christian recording artist announced that she was in fact a lesbian. She equated the ban on homosexuality in the Old Testament with restrictions on eating shellfish or wearing fabrics from mixed materials. To set the record straight, Paul himself denounced this behavior so the homosexual activists can stop pretending that the practice called an abomination in the Old Testament is somehow ignored in the New Testament. I would also point out that Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed for eating shellfish or mixing their wool with their polyester but because of the specific practice of homosexuality which resulted from selfishly rejecting God (Genesis 18:20-21; 19:5).

The truth is we are all born into sin and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Sunday School 101). This means in real life that we are all capable of doing just about anything in violation of God’s law and because of the fall, life experiences, and influences we each may have specific types of behaviors that we are particularly tempted to allow or pursue. Some people can’t seem to keep their hands off of the property of others and theft is a constant temptation while others find it hard to tell the truth even in the absence of a reason to deceive. Some people may struggle with alcohol or drugs. Some people may deal with a violent temper constantly on the verge of a wrong choice and a violent act. Some people feel hopeless and often tempted to end their own lives. There are people who have struggled with pornography. Others are tempted to engage in pre-marital or extramarital relationships. Some have struggled with homosexual feelings throughout their lives.

The point is that the temptation or the feelings toward a certain class of sin or behavior does not constitute the sin. The action or the behavior constitutes the sin (I also agree that not doing certain things is equally sinful). When a person says they were “born” this way or that way they are correct. We are all born sinners and wanting to sin. The liar, the thief, the adulterer, and the drug addict are all born with the possibility of yielding to those feelings but they can also find redemption in Jesus and the power as Titus reveals to say “no” to ungodliness. To say a homosexual was born that way and therefore incapable of living any other way is the same thing as saying that the person tempted to rob a convenience store was born that way and will inevitably rob the store. The truth is we are born sinners but through the impartation of the righteousness of God in Christ and the resulting transformation that takes place we are not destined or doomed to a lifestyle of moral compromise and sin of any kind including homosexual behavior.

This entire “coming out” phenomenon of people in the world as well as people in the church is actually a decision on the part of the individuals to accept the feelings and temptation and then yield to them. The phenomenon is also a blatant demand by political activists, educators, and liberal theologians that the world (and the Church) accept homosexuality as a perfectly normal and acceptable lifestyle. Saying people do not choose to engage in homosexual behavior but they are driven to it is tantamount to making homosexuality a special class of sin or the “un-sin” that denies personal responsibility for one’s life choices and actions. The growing and repeated chorus coming from governments, academia, the entertainment business, the liberal church, and now the courts that denies homosexuality is a sin and demands special protection will never trump, alter, or change what God has said about homosexuality.  We should remember that after Jesus refused to condemn the woman taken in adultery, he nonetheless commanded her to “go and sin no more.”  We too can demonstrate compassion for the sinner without ignoring the plain teachings and commands of Scripture – stop the sin.

So what should we do as believers? First, we should without condemnation help people to understand that in a fallen world feelings and desires that violate God’s word will come, but we have the power and authority to reject those feelings and temptations and live the way God prescribes. Second, we must also speak the truth in love but speak the truth about the sin nonetheless, just as we would do if we were dealing with the liar, the thief, the murderer, or the adulterer. Third, our attitude toward the homosexual should be no different from the person who struggles with any other sin. If we can muster grace for the drug addict let’s have the same respect and love for the homosexual or any other type of sinner. Fourth, we must never succumb to the pressure of the growing chorus of voices telling us that the morality of the Bible is wrong, outdated, or misinterpreted. The Bible is clear and the only decision at this point is whether we are going to stand on the side of truth or be shamed into silence and allow our foundation to be decayed by the changing culture around us.