The job of churches is not to find a solution for dealing with a certain “special” group of sinners. “For the wages of sin is death…” The Scripture does not say, “sins” but it does say, “sin” in the singular. God’s emphasis for salvation was on the sin nature whose by-product is the plurality of “sins.” When we group sins we are unable to deal properly with the sin nature of man. Our eyes are then off of the prize. Confront the sin condition first and then deal with the sins.
Lessons Learned From Bruce Jenner
There is much discussion regarding the recent announcement of Bruce Jenner’s search for his “true” sexual identity. I have fond memories of Jenner as a great olympic athlete, but he nows says that he was tortured even during those times with his struggle. I contend that his struggles back then were nothing more than a missing identity that God wanted to give him through Christ. It was not a sexual identity problem, it was a sin identity problem. After all, how could Bruce Jenner or anyone else for that matter find their identity without finding the Lord, who created their identity.
The greatest shock to me in recent days has been the misguided response of so many Christians regarding this issue and how churches should respond to those like Mr. Jenner. Allow me to weigh in with a few thoughts.
1. A ministry should not be built on the demographics of a certain sin. When people ask me how we are ministering to those with a certain sinful lifestyle I cannot answer them because my goal is not to reach a certain segment of sinners. My goal is to preach the Gospel to every creature. I do not believe we should decide to start a ministry to any one group of sinners. As sinners cross our paths and the Holy Spirit leads them to us and us to them we present the answer, which is salvation in Jesus Christ. Jesus was led through Samaria to meet a fallen woman. He was led to a man possessed of devils. He was confronted with a woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus never made a ministry out of a segment of sinners, but came to seek and save all that are lost.
2. It is our job to preach the Gospel to every creature without preference or discrimination. Some people ask what churches are doing to reach the so-called “gay” community. I despise the thought of how our society has corrupted good words like “gay” and twisted them to glorify iniquity. However, I will tell you what we are doing. We are preaching the gospel to every creature, which would not exclude those in that or any other sin. Some ask how we are addressing those with sexual identity issues and once again I answer by saying we are commissioned to preach the Gospel; which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to every creature, and not one particular segment of sinners.
3. We should not elevate sin as a lifestyle. Sin is bondage not a lifestyle. It is a mistake to call the sins of men a lifestyle when the Bible says the wages of sin is death. Maybe we should call it the “gay deathstyle.” When we acknowledge it as though it is acceptable, we make the sin exceedingly less sinful, which is the exact opposite of how it should be treated. You do not win men by coddling men in their sins, but by convicting men of their sins because of their sin nature. That is accomplished through the foolishness of preaching the truth of the Words of God.
4. That said we are not to berate the sinner unkindly. Many have been guilty of and convicted by the Holy Spirit of sometimes being ungracious towards those who are sinners because of their sin. That is not our job. It is our job to preach against the sin nature, with its sins, exposing the fact that it brings death when one rejects the free gift of Jesus Christ. From there it is the job of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to those involved in any sin.
5. It is the power of the Gospel that frees men from sin, not solutions to their specific sins. Bring a person with any sin to the saving power of the gospel and that power can change them more effectively than our man made programs. Now please do not misunderstand me, there are things we can do to help a person who has a certain struggle, but first they must submit to the power of the Gospel and repent (change their mind) regarding that sin. Let me illustrate. If Bruce Jenner came to Christ, he would have the power of the Gospel to overcome his sin. He may have situations inherent to his particular struggle that must be dealt with, but that comes after the fact not before. In other words we do not deal with the sin problems before the Gospel, but after it.
6. It is never right to accept the sin with the sinner, nor is it right to reject the sinner with the sin. Jesus never condoned the sins of those he saved, nor did he condemn the sinner who was caught in that sin. The woman caught in the act of adultery was not told to go and not commit adultery any more. Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”
7. No sin is a God given one. In fact it is not even a God allowed one. God never does anything that leads us into any sin. God cannot tempt us with evil. If a person struggles with sexual identity they are struggling with setting themselves up as God. Our job is not introspection to determine what we feel we are, but to submit to God for what he made us to be. Anything else is idolatry. A person’s confusion is not their sexual identity, but their god identity. They are either submitted to God or they are making themselves as a god to determine what they are.
8. We must not allow society to make any sin respectable enough for us to acknowledge it as a lifestyle. Here is where we must not be badgered, threatened, intimidated, legislated or in any way pressured to cave in to sin. Sin is sin and we are not to make any sin respectable or acceptable. The sinner is to be treated with respect, but not the sin. There is little doubt that persecution is ahead for those of us who refuse to acknowledge sin as acceptable, but that is what it means to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Stop feeling we are out of touch because we are not addressing these “issues.” Our job is not to address issues, but to confront sin.
9. Where there is confusion there is evil working. God is not the author of confusion, but Satan certainly is. He began in the garden by trying to confuse Eve with what God really said. I am sorry Mr. Jenner is confused, but that is not God’s problem. God is however the only solution to that problem. People who say they are confused about their sexual identity need to realize that God is not the author of confusion, but Satan certainly is. When we say that some are born confused we are simply saying they are born into sin. The solution is not dealing with the confusion, but with the sin nature. The Gospel is the solution for all man’s confusion.
10. The root of all confusion is our sin nature, therefore the solution is the Gospel. Go to the root and you will find the cure. If we deal with the symptoms of confusion we will still have confusion, but if we go to the root which is found in Romans 5:12 we see that it is only through Christ that the confusion can be cleared away. The transformed mind cannot precede salvation because the carnal man cannot receive the things of the Spirit. We do not seek to deal with the confusion of man, whether sexual or otherwise, before we deal with their sinful nature and that can only be accomplished through the power of the Gospel.
I do not hate Mr. Jenner, nor do I wish him ill. While I do not sympathize with his misperceived confusion, I feel compassion for his need for the transformative Gospel of Christ in his life.