Holiness Isn't Important Anymore
I have watched, listened and read about Bruce Jenner, LGBT inclusion in the church, and the emotional issues of gender identity. There are plethora of voices adding to the clamor to express their opinions. Should the church be inclusive, accepting, nonjudgmental towards people who believe their true sexual identity is outside the traditional, conservative views? The reasonable answer, I am told, is YES, because that is the loving thing to do, and Christians are to love.
But something doesn't resonate deep in my soul with the tacit acceptance of something that the scriptures has condemned. I know there has been reinterpretations to walk a fine line between identity and act, identity and DNA, and whether the scripture really spoke to the issues as they are presented today. It is said that the passages in the New Testamemt speak of idol worship and child moleststion. The Old Testament is written off as out of date and out of touch with modern science and enlightened understanding. There is also the deflection and justification that the scriptures talking about homosexuality also include other types of sin, and therefore, people are hypocrites if they don't condemn the others as strongly.
There was a time when God's holiness mattered, ask the guy who touched the ark when he wasn't suppose to or the priest who tied a rope to his ankle before entering the holy of Holies. God's holiness set him far above his creation. His holiness was pure and sinless. It could not be touched by the sinfulness of his children. His holiness demanded sacrifice if his people were to approach him, and condemnation on those who did not meet his exacting standards. He wasn't cruel or unloving, it is just what holiness required.
"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God." Hebrews 14
Gods love tempered his holiness. He provided a way for people to enter into his presence, and ultimately secured our entrance to his throne through the blood of Jesus, once and for all. He didn't set aside his holiness, but rather satisfied it. Jesus said that we are to be holy just like him, we are to shun sin and seek righteousness, and we are not to do away with an iota of God's law. It is true that we can not live up to God's holiness. Hard as we try we will fail, but that doesn't mean we should not set our standards high. It is because of God's grace that there is no condemnation for those in Christ. That means, as we seek holiness we do not fear failure, because repentance opens the flood gate of God's forgiveness. But holiness still stands.
There have always been Christians who have forsaken the world, drawn lines of propriety that seem extreme, all for the sake of holiness. Evangelicalism often calls them legalistic. Many wouldn't see it that way. They would say they are striving for holiness. Legalism is working for God's favor. Striving for holiness is being like Christ in all that we do.
Then there are those who latch on to God's grace. Since God is glorified in our weakness and his Grace abundantly displayed, then holiness is an option not a requirement. The Apostle Paul's response was clear, "May it never be, how can we who have died to sin live in it?"
There is a third category. Those who view that love is triumphant over holiness and Grace. God is love therefore his holiness won't judge anyone. Grace isn't needed because it presumes that God judges. In regard to homosexuality the love for same sex relationships proves that God is love because he wouldn't have created them this way if it were not so, and to judge them otherwise wouldn't be loving and, therefore, abrogates the dissenters right to the conversation.
There were early warnings that giving in to permiscuous behavior would be a gate through which previously abhorrent behavior would become the norm. Gays make up around 2% of society and 46% percent of TV programs show it as common as heterosexuality. It is politically correct to be Pro LGBT. People are sued, business ruined, and lives turned upside down if acceptance and submission are not forth coming. Christians are ridiculed if they say they love the sinner and hate the sin. To the Gay community there is no love without approval. However loud the voices of politics and society are, they are not the standard by which believers ought to live. Our standard isn't love, but rather God's holiness.
I hear the objections. "If we know God we know love," "if you are my disciples you will love," "without love we are banging cymbles," "God is love." Yes, and all this is true, but still love is not the Standard. God's holiness is the standard, love is the attitude and act by which it is applied. Holiness condemns our sin, love leads us to the cross.
All this sounds judgmental and Christians are not suppose to judge. That of course is the biggest lie and misapplication of scripture that Satan has perpetrated on the church. The bible says that judgment starts with the household of God. The Apostle Paul told the church to excamunicate an unrepentant brother. We need to excessive judgement and discipline against those who persistently live immoral lives, and that includes adulterers, sexually permiscuous, and yes, homosexuals.
The church must resist inclusion of homosexuals, not because we are unloving, but because God's holiness matters. God's grace is lavished on the repentant. Without the acknowledgment of sin there is no forgiveness. The church opens its arms to all who would seek God through Christ, but like Jesus said to the woman, "go, and sin no more."
If God's holiness matters, and I think it does, than we need to stop coddling the "gay" Christians for fear of being labeled. We need to hold to God's standard, loving lead people to the cross, extend grace to the errant, but not bend to the world, bow to culture expediancy, lest we burn in the fire of God's judgment. Which is a lot worse than mine. I'm just saying.