Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christ-Like Gift

I wrote the following for the local Herald Journal newspaper as a response to someone who commented on the recent same-sex marriages that took place in Cache County, saying that they couldn't think of a more "Christ-like" gift.


You mentioned that you couldn't think of a more Christ-like gift. But let's think for a moment about what would qualify a gift as "Christ-like".
A Christ-like gift would not be a gift that disregards the Word of God. It would not be a gift that disregards right and wrong, and that conforms to whatever is popular. For this very reason a Christ-like gift would not be much appreciated by a God-hating world.
When we read in the Bible about Christ (which is where we learn about Christ and what a Christ-like gift is) and when we read about the gift that He gave to the world, it was the gift of Himself dying on the cross for our sins. His gift is the forgiveness of sins, not the ignoring of sins; His gift is reconciliation to God because of a violated law, not the nullification of the law of God. Christ was rejected because of His stand for the Word of God. Christ upheld the law of God and therefore no Christ-like gift would condone homosexuality, which is explicitly condemned in the law (Lev. 20:13). These are simply the facts.
Before it is pointed out that the law also supports certain things that we don't practice anymore (such as stoning and not eating pork), it is essential to understand that there are many things in the law that were strictly ceremonial and with the coming of Christ they have ceased to be obligatory. But the moral aspect of the law never changes because it is the expression of the righteous character of God who never changes.
The reason we don't stone people anymore is not because sins have ceased to be sins, nor have they ceased to be serious. The reason why stoning shouldn't happen is because, as Jesus said, "He who has no sin cast the first stone." (John 8:7) We are not to think that today nobody deserves death according to God, but rather, according to Romans 1:28-32 we ALL deserve death and therefore no one is qualified to be the judge but God alone. God alone is the judge of the world and He has every right to throw stones, but at Christmastime we remember that He sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to die for the world, on the cross for our sins, so that we would not have to die but can have eternal life. This is God's great mercy towards sinners, which includes all of us.
So a true Christ-like gift would look like forgiving others even though they are sinners and don't deserve it. Forgiveness isn't about worthiness and deserts, but, as the Bible shows us, it's all about grace. Let's all give the Christ-like gift of forgiveness this year and always. That doesn't mean nullifying the law and saying things aren't sins when they really are, but it does mean forgiving and embracing each other as sinners, and helping each other through our trials and temptations. I can't think of a more Christ-like gift than that.

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