This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why Bring Up the Judgment of God?

The recent terror attacks in Boston, the flooding in Central Illinois, the fire in the town of West, Texas, the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, the threats of nuclear war from North Korea, the debates over immigration, gun control and same sex marriage—all of these create a sense of pain, even of doom.  Are we right to be concerned, or is this merely the continuance of things as they always have been?

On the one hand, there are always rotten things going on in the world.  Anyone could have collected a bunch of bad news from any given time and concluded that the Apocalypse was upon us.  On the other hand, the kinds of departure from biblical morality and the speed of that departure are so alarming that it seems foolish not to consider the judgment of the Lord drawing near.   Optimists tend to minimize the alarm, while pessimists relish in it.  So, it is important to take a measured, biblical view of such matters.

The Bible tells us that there will be tribulations before the Great Tribulation (Acts 14:22).  The Bible tells us that there will be many antichrists before The Antichrist (1 John 2:18).  Whether or not we are right at the very end of this age or not is less important than the certainty of God’s judgment of evil.

So, I am writing this article to point out why I believe that I must increasingly speak of the judgment of God, if I am to be faithful both to the Word of God and to the needs of our world.

Consider the pace with which a collective understanding of natural law has receded.  “Natural law” means “a system of law that is purportedly determined by nature, and thus universal.  .  .  Natural law is a view that certain rights or values are inherent in or universally cognizable by virtue of human reason or human nature.” (  Romans 2:14-15 describes this natural law, written on the hearts of people:   For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.”

People do have the natural law written on their hearts, but I believe that the suppression of truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) is leading to a rebellion of this natural law as never before.  Their “conflicting thoughts” are increasingly excusing them.  That is, what people know in their hearts to be wrong, they work extremely hard to convince themselves that it is not wrong, so that they are finally convinced that wrong is no longer wrong.  In fact, they become convinced that wrong is right, and right is wrong, and those who believe the right are the worst enemy of all.

Human sexuality is the clearest illustration of what is happening.  Premarital sex was once universally acknowledged as wrong, even if people did engage in it.  Today, we no longer call it wrong.  Even so-called evangelicals are waffling on this issue.  Consider a blogger named Jamie whose blog is entitled, “Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary.” (  Her three sons are all teenagers.  In jargon that could only be charitably described as vulgar (such is the nature of blogging these days), she intones against the view that maintaining one’s virginity before marriage is all that big a deal.  “I  . . . want [my boys] to understand that the kind of sexual purity the Bible calls us to doesn't begin or end with Virginity,” she writes.  While Jamie is straightforward that premarital sex is wrong and she desires that her sons not have premarital sex, she also leaves the door open that failure is not only an option in this matter, it is almost a certainty.  With such convictions as these, I fear that her sons have no chance at morally pure lives.

There is too much left unsaid in the blog--the glory of God in chastity and the ruin of the soul that comes from sexual immorality in particular are ignored (see 1 Corinthians 6:18-- Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body). There is far too casual an approach taken with an almost "I know that I'm fighting a losing battle here with my boys, so I'm not going to get over worried" attitude. We have lost contact with the sacredness of the body in a Gnostic ying yang of alternately indulging everything or denying that any of it matters.  I understand that Jamie intends to be provocative and satirical, but in my judgment, she has missed wildly the biblical view of human sexuality.

The CDC's latest statistics on STD's are pretty daunting.  Over 110 million Americans are actively infected with some STD (there are approximately 250 million people over age 18 in the US).   There are 20 million new infections annually. See:
The physical, emotional, and spiritual harm of sexual immorality cannot be trivialized. God's grace to forgive is very real and true.  However, to trivialize the issue to say that it won't eventually matter or to say that defeat is inevitable or to say "forgive me God for the sin I am about to do" is to surrender to a lie. And that lie will devastate you, even when God forgives and heals.

A consequence of our failure to abide by natural law in human sexuality has extended into a debate over same sex marriage.  On this matter, the Apostle Paul makes a "natural law" argument against homosexual behavior (Romans 1:26-- For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.)  Wayne Grudem offers this helpful explanation of the phrase, “contrary to nature”:   Some object that the phrase “contrary to nature” in Romans 1:26–27 shows that Paul is only talking about people who “naturally” feel desires toward a person of the opposite sex but who then practice homosexuality. Paul says, “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another” (Romans 1:26–27). According to this view, Paul is not saying anything about people who “naturally” feel desires for a person of the same sex, for such desires would not be “contrary to that person’s nature.” However, this is reading into the text a restric­tion that has no basis in the actual words that Paul wrote. He does not say “contrary to their nature,” but “contrary to nature” (Greek para physin), a phrase that is used several times in literature outside the Bible to speak of all kinds of homosexual conduct as something contrary to the natural order of the world. In other words, Paul is not saying in Romans 1:24–27 that some people switched their innate heterosexual urges for contrived homosexual urges, but rather that people exchanged or left behind sexual rela­tions with a true sexual complement (someone of the other sex) to gratify their inward urges for sex with members of the same sex. Paul sees such people as choosing to follow their desires over God-ordained creation structures.  (See the whole article at:

However, today’s culture laughs and mocks this natural law argument.  The "common ground" of understanding precisely what is natural law keeps shifting, and quickly. The problem is that our nation's Founders understood (and the larger culture was in almost universal agreement) that rights derived from God, not from government.  As such, only God grants human rights, and government either is good and agrees with God or is bad and denies these rights.  This also led to cultural agreement that God, not government nor the populace, is the author of both rights and commands/prohibitions.  Now that we do not have a consensus on God as a culture, we cannot derive our rights from Him, and we cannot derive right and wrong from Him either.  We find our “rights” either in the tyranny of the majority or the tyranny of judicial fiat.  Either way, what is being trumpeted as a new birth of freedom will become heavy handed tyranny pretty quickly.  Basing our society on the principles of the French rather than the American Revolution will lead inevitably to the same results as the French.

Once rights derive not from God but from popular will or judicial fiat, the fears of the religious opponents to same sex marriage are not imaginary. It will begin by ignoring religious rights in the marketplace and mandating that wedding providers (photographers, cake makers, etc.) must make services available for same sex marriages. Then it will be restrictions on free speech and inclusion of any perceived slight against homosexuals as hate speech.  Finally, there will be restrictions and mandates on religious institutions.  In fact, these things are already here.

I have been called "nonsensical, bizarre and paranoid" for sharing such views.  My intention, as I noted at the outset, is not to be an alarmist.  However, I believe that this denial and suppression of natural law by what appears to be the majority in my culture calls for an increased emphasis of teaching on the judgment of God.  In my next article, I hope to share why a message of judgment, appropriately given, is the most gracious, loving thing we can do.  I hope to share Jesus’ message of judgment, the purposes of God in judgment, and the revelation of the grace of God in the judgments of God.  In all this, my purpose is that we ourselves might be a people of repentance, humbling ourselves before God, and calling upon His grace to save us.

With prayers for your growth in grace,

Scott Boerckel

No comments:

Post a Comment