Last week the U.S. Supreme Court officially profaned the institution of marriage, usurping the rightful authority of the individual States to preserve it by striking down any statutes or amendments which define it correctly. It goes without saying that this is yet another manifestation of God’s judgment upon America.
I’m not going to get into the constitutional issues and that’s not the purpose of this blog. Yet it needs to be said that the destruction of the rule of law is most definitely indicative of God removing His common grace from our land. Along with this, our political and economic systems are inherently corrupt. Racial tensions have increased dramatically. Population projections portend a coming demographic winter. Marriage is on the decline and the family has become unstable as never before. Civil society itself is becoming harder and harder to maintain. In the midst of all this, we have become foolish in our thinking (Rom. 1:21). On Friday afternoon, I said this on my Facebook page:
“Today is one of the darkest days in Western civilization. This unconstitutional ruling by the Supreme Court is symbolic of the collapse of our culture. The truth of Proverbs 14:34 couldn’t be clearer. It is symptomatic of the broader, more general collapse of the institution of marriage itself which has been ongoing for decades.
For Christians, this is a day of mourning. Sackcloth and ashes. There will be very difficult days ahead for us. Our lives will become simpler in many ways, but at the same time things will be harder. While the wicked are celebrating, we need to humble ourselves, confess our sins to God, and ask Him for the gift of repentance. We need to faithfully work on our own marriages, bearing witness of God’s grace.
The good news is that God is still sovereign over all things and He will use this evil to purify His church. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is still going out to a lost and dying world. Consider history. Ancient Roman society was immersed in sexual immorality and hostile to Christianity. And it was this very environment in which God planted the New Testament church…turning the world upside down.”
What I said in this post about our lives becoming simpler and yet harder was a topic upon which I didn’t have the space there to elaborate. Our lives as Christians will become simpler in the sense that much of the things we complain and squabble about today will seem largely irrelevant when we are forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder for the sake of the Gospel. Many of the things we deem important today will be perceived as unimportant when the hammer of the broader culture hits us hard. Our priorities will be less superficial and more in line with what the Word of God requires of us.
Put another way, a church today may have on its agenda deciding what color carpet they will have in the sanctuary. Tomorrow their agenda may be finding a tree to meet under.
That last statement may have been a bit of an exaggeration of the things to come (we might hope so), but the point is made. Things will be harder for believers in Christ in almost every aspect of life. Individual churches may lose their tax exemptions and other protections. Anyone who officiates wedding ceremonies (to include clergy) may be required by law to officiate same-sex unions as a condition of licensing. Our employment will be negatively impacted (in some places/situations, that’s already the case). In things like child-custody disputes and CPS investigations, our beliefs will be used against us. How we educate our children will be under attack like never before. Our statements and beliefs will be largely censored by the mass media. The list can go on.
I’m not trying to engage in fear-mongering here, but we need to understand what the cost may be for our obedience to the Lord Jesus. He may rightly require everything of us. We are not our own. Even as we count the potential costs of obedience to Christ, we must remember that we have not been given a spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1:7). Here in the Western world, the church has grown accustomed to being the dominant culture. We have no idea what even soft persecution looks like. If every one of those possibilities I mentioned above were to come true, then it would still be far, far better than what many Christians around the world are enduring right now. We’ve had it too good for too long.
Our increasingly pagan culture will come down hard on us precisely because, as Romans 1:18 states, they are actively suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. The witness of the Christian church rightly draws out the voices of their consciences which they are trying to blot out. Hence, they want us to shut up and desist from the faithful proclamation of God’s law and His gospel. Indeed, if the witness of God’s people didn’t provoke such a reaction within the hearts and minds of the unregenerate, then there would be no persecution.
Some have argued, with great merit, that the church’s soft existence in the West is largely to blame for why we’ve become so lackadaisical in our theology, discipleship, and the governing of the body itself. Are the truths of Scripture precious to us now while we still have the freedom to peaceably meet and proclaim them? They should be. Indeed, our theology, discipleship, and ecclesiology are about to be tested in very real ways. We can no longer take for granted the borrowed capital of centuries of Christian culture. Ultimately, our faith itself will be put to the test. As we see from 2 Timothy 4:7, our goal should be to finish our course by remaining faithful in all things.
On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, I received a message from a friend of mine whom I had known in college. I hadn’t talked to him directly like this in years. After telling me of his frustration with the ruling, he said that he and his family were going to leave the Methodist church they are now attending to seek a new church which will be faithful to God’s word. I researched his area and gave him several recommendations. Even on a dark day like that, here was a clear sign that God is faithful and will preserve a remnant in every age. The cultural slide into utter depravity will serve to purify the church and the Lord will be glorified in it.
We must increase our prayer and our evangelistic reach. We must endeavor to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. We must labor in discipleship and war against our own sins. Now is not the time for shrinking back or remaining silent. Let us boldly proclaim the Lordship of Christ and call the nations to repentance. May the Gospel go forth with power and the Holy Spirit work in the hearts of men.