I was recently on a Christian college campus in Ohio. A friend of mine and I were there speaking on the subject of homosexuality, specifically how Christians ought to be more kind to LGBT+ people, even as we hold true to the historical Christian understanding on that issue.
One student thought she would settle the question of same-sex, sexual relations and marriage using the age-old solution we’ve all heard; “Well, it’s not a salvation issue.” That takes care of that!
Here’s the question, I’m going to try to answer: If a moral issue does not directly prevent us from salvation, does that mean God is indifferent to our moral choices? Disputable Matters First of all, there are all kinds of issues in scripture that are what Paul calls, disputable matters. What foods we eat, drinking alcohol, infant or adult baptism, Sunday observance, women in leadership, etc. These are issues on which serious Christians, who love God and have a high view of scripture, have taken different positions on, almost since the early church. What makes these issues different from other moral choices? Because there is solid biblical evidence to support all of these different views.
Indisputable Matters However, there are some moral teachings in scripture that are so clear, so compelling and so grievous, that the church for 2,000 years has believed they either disqualify a person from salvation or seriously hinder their ability to call themselves a Christian. The church has always considered adultery, murder, having sex with someone in your own family besides your spouse, and (until recently) same-sex, sex serious sins. Why is it Christians have always considered these activities sin? Because the Bible always and consistently condemns them.
We have this warning from God in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
God, through Paul, is not referring to those who struggle with committing various sins, repent of them, seek forgiveness, make a serious effort to resist temptation, and call on the Holy Spirit to help them in these areas. Instead, God is warning those who have given up the struggle, who no longer call it sin, and have given themselves over to and embraced, accepted, or celebrated these behaviors. God warns that in so doing, individuals prove themselves not to be children of God, thereby disqualifying themselves ftom inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Our indifference to God’s moral commands may very well be a salvation issue.
So Christians ought to be very careful using the “it’s not a salvation issue” to dismiss anything other than the teachings covering how sinners come to salvational faith in Jesus Christ. Using the salvation issue rationale relegates all God’s moral teaching to a disputable matter. God would dispute that.
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