Let’s face it. We don’t live in a “Christian” culture. Since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, change is undeniable. We’re bullet-proofing our policies and statements of faith. We’re bracing ourselves for lawsuits, involving sexual orientation, gender identity, and who knows what else. I admit, it feels unreal. But whatever is ahead, what should we do now?
Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs. – Jonathan Edwards
Some say we should “reclaim the culture for Christ,” but what on earth does that mean? And even if we could resurrect the 1950s, would that actually be a fix? Or was the problem still there? I think we need more than the mere appearance of old values.
Decades ago, Jonathan Edwards prayed, “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” He is spurring our gaze upwards – up from our culture’s churning waves to the God who is sovereign over the storm. Maybe we’re not called to “fix” America. Maybe God is calling us to something greater.
Should we be engaged in our culture? Yes. Should we stand up for biblical standards? Absolutely. But the enemy isn’t the Supreme Court or the LGBT movement. And this war didn’t begin with Obergefell v. Hodges. This war traces back to Genesis. The enemy is our own sinful hearts. But we can live with hope because the victory over sin is already won. Christ rescued us from sin and rose again, triumphing over death. We’re not called to fix anything, but to be fixed, to rise again, and to live today like that future, eternal reality means something. Because it does.
Paul wrote, “. . . let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27, ESV).
Maybe we’re not called to “fix” America. Maybe God is calling us to something greater.
Our marching orders are simple: “Stand firm.” How? Here are three basic suggestions:
- Pursue Truth
Desperate times call for robust truths. So dig deep into God’s Word and read it openly, humbly, and on its own terms. The truth held in Scripture and echoed in the hymns, creeds, and catechisms of the church has carried saints through much darker times. And it will carry us.
- Give the Gospel
In our culture, “love” and “acceptance” masquerade as “tolerance” and “equality”. But Christianity gives us the shocking truth. Romans 5:8 says, “. . . God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is a scandalously inclusive love. It gives no excuse for sin, and beckons us to repent and receive forgiveness. So share the gospel with your gay and lesbian neighbors. With gentleness and respect, let’s always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks us for a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet. 3:15). Because the gospel is the most shocking message of love and acceptance the world will ever know.
- Do What is Good
The gospel sets us free to do good things (Tit. 2:11-14). So chase after what God says is good. Be submissive to rulers and authorities. Be obedient and ready for every good work (Tit. 3:1). Because the world is watching. Peter wrote,
“. . . this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Pet. 2:15-17).
Our marching orders are simple: “Stand firm.”
We are not home yet, but we are free. And we should live like it. Let’s not grow weary of doing good (Gal. 6:9). And when we suffer because we cannot bow to our culture’s demands, let’s count it all joy (Dan. 3; Jm. 1). Because at that point, we’re suffering for the cause of Christ, and it so much “better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3:17).