This week we witnessed perhaps the furthest overreach of judicial authority in my lifetime. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision has declared that the United States of America has been violating its own constitution since the document was penned, or at least since the 14th Amendment was written.
What may be most upsetting is that this is a movement in our judicial system most of us have seen coming for some time now. To say I wasn’t surprised by this week’s ruling is an understatement. Frankly, I’m impressed that 4 of our SCOTUS justices were so vehement in their objections. For their vigorous attempts to defend the biblical definition of marriage and the right of states to define something that they, not the Federal Government are going to be called upon to enforce, I have the utmost respect.
The ball is now rolling and what will be far more disturbing for most Christians will be the slow but inevitable acceptance of unbiblical definitions of marriage and morality that will seep into our political parties, families, neighborhoods, and churches. Do not be surprised when in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead many we thought stood for God’s definition of morality defect to definitions created by the world in the last few decades.
Having said all of this, if asked what changed after the latest SCOTUS decision, my answer is, “Not that much, actually.” Sure, the legal system is moving in a direction I reject and I’m curious to see where this decision leads. But, the Supreme Court is really only reflecting the rejection of God and His word that has been percolating in our nation for years now. In some ways this decision makes it very clear, much like Roe v. Wade, where we stand as orthodox Christians. Do we stand with culture’s ever changing definitions of morality, or do we stand upon the unchanging nature of God’s word which is a revelation of God’s unchanging nature? We must “choose this day whom [we] will serve.” As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! That was true before the Court’s decision and will be long after this nation and world fade into history.
Interestingly, the quote from Joshua 24 I referenced above is in a context where the people of Israel were in danger of turning back to the false gods they had served in Egypt or turning to the gods of the Amorites they were encountering in the land of Canaan. Joshua calls upon them to reject the gods of their enslavement, to reject the gods of the pagans, and to serve the God of their salvation! We are called to nothing less. As Christians our allegiance is not to the sin and wicked desires of our past bondage. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery,” (Galatians 5:1). We are also not to be enslaved to the whims and wickedness of our current, yet temporary residence. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever,” (1 John 2:15-17).
So we find ourselves in the same position many of our fellow believers have found themselves over the history of this world. Whether it was Joseph in Potiphar’s house, the Israelites under Pharaoh’s rule, Daniel and his friends facing the trials of Babylon, or early Christians under the foot of Rome – the people of God have often been called to serve and worship God in a foreign and wicked land. Even now we cannot compare our persecution to millions of Christians who have come before and millions who live today in much more antagonistic environs.
So how should we respond. Let us not panic. We shouldn’t be too surprised when a lost world acts very lost. Let us not despair. Christ has risen from the grave and sits at the right hand of His Father in heaven. Conquering death is much more impressive to me than a vote of 9 people in black robes. Let us not hate. May we mourn for this country and world in which we live. May we pray for our Supreme Court Justices, especially those 5 who made the ruling. May we pray for those who think that embracing an unbiblical lifestyle will make them whole and fulfilled. Let us not quit. We have the same commission we’ve had since Christ ascended. We are to preach the gospel of the forgiveness of sins through the finished work of Christ our Savior and Lord to all people everywhere. Let us rejoice. Despite our circumstance may we rejoice in the fact that we have been redeemed from our sins, we are secure in the arms of Jesus, we have peace with God through the cross, and we have a real home/country/world being prepared for us. Nothing the Supreme Court or any human power does in an attempt to redefine marriage can change the reality of THE marriage that marriage was created to point to. For one day, we the Church, will walk into glory robed in white to meet our Bridegroom named Jesus to be united to Him for eternity!