In recent days, five justices of the Supreme Court reversed 237 years of American history and the moral path of the ages by redefining marriage as no longer exclusively between one man and one woman. Now, marriage can be defined as one man and one man or one woman and one woman. Without question, it was a sad day in American history.
I suspect Americans may look back on this decision as the Roe v. Wade of marriage law. While the decision was not as wide sweeping as the abortion decision, I doubt we can imagine the far reach of this act by five judges of the court.
Much has been written in response to the court’s decision to change the definition of marriage and, thus, affirm immorality as the order of the day in America. In this issue of the Messenger, you will find excellent articles by Russell Moore and Albert Mohler. These two articles are only samplings of some very articulate statements in regard to this dark day in American history. I would not try to set myself on the level of these sagacious and erudite men; however, that has never stopped me in adding my own two cents. But I want to take my comments on a different path.
What can I and my church do in the midst of the constant attack on traditional Christian and biblical values in this country where the Christian worldview once held such strong influence?
Can an individual Christian or a church really impact the moral decay and frontal attack on biblical moral values? Should we, as Christians, just concede that the moral climate of America has changed and there is nothing we can do? Is it time for despair and handwringing?
My answer is a resilient yes and no. Yes, we can do something to turn the tide of immorality in this nation. Yes, we can make a difference. No, we do not need to concede or wring our hands!
Note that the same Sovereign who was seated on His throne the day before the Supreme Court decision has not gotten up and bent His knee to the Court. He is still in charge and will one day set all things in order. His Word has not changed. A Supreme Court can render decisions as fallible men and women, but only the Sovereign can declare infallible, inerrant and immutable truth. So trust Him, no matter what happens around you.
Believers, and the congregations they are members of, have too often forgotten their mission. Our task, as believers, is to be salt and light. We must restore our faith in the power of a life changed by the Gospel. When living a Gospel- and grace-filled life that is obedient to the teaching in Scripture, we become applied salt and shining light.
While we should not stop flexing our muscles in the political arena or stop working to change leaders who defy our values and laws, we must understand that our greatest impact comes from Christ-centered living. Moral decay is not stopped, nor the darkness dispelled, by yelling at either of them. We must apply salt and shine the light.
When Christians demonstrate in real life the blessing of biblical marriage and its permanence, the salt is applied. In an immoral culture where “shacking up” and living without the benefit of marriage is rampant, a strong marriage shines the bright light of the Gospel into the darkness. Healthy heterosexual marriages, lived according to God’s Word, will speak louder than our protest of wrongheaded laws and will shine light into the lives of those who change the natural into the unnatural.
It is important to realize that the most significant change agent in a decaying and dark culture is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. America is best changed from the inside out. Instead of believers and churches being satisfied to curse the darkness, we must shine the light of the Gospel on one person at a time. When we share the Gospel, lives will be changed and, thus, culture will be changed. When we disciple new believers by teaching them the life-changing truths of God’s Word, the culture will change. Note I did not say might! It will change!
As the church goes, so goes the culture. Where the church is vibrant, evangelistic and committed to teaching and living the truth, the culture will change. The future of our nation is not dependent upon the Supreme Court, Republicans or Democrats, but is dependent upon the church living out the faith delivered to the saints once and for all.