Archive for the ‘98-Current Events’ Category

As you know, unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, the Supreme Court of the United States of America issued its ruling on same-sex marriage earlier this week. I have not spoken publicly on this issue yet because I have been really trying to process my thoughts on this issue. My thoughts boil down to a couple of points. First, I have real concerns about the liberty of our society going forward when the Supreme Court our land steps out beyond its boundaries as the arbiter and interpreter of laws in relationship to the Constitution. Second, there is the issue that the rulings of the Supreme Court do not square with Scripture regardless of the spin that some place upon it. Finally, as Christ followers, we must approach this new world with an eye for pointing people to Christ, the same Christ that opened our eyes to our lifestyles that grieved the heart of God.

The first issue that I have been wrestling with in response to the Court’s ruling is that the Court made law this week instead of just interpreting it. Along those lines as well, did they interpret the Constitution correctly? I do not claim to be a constitutional law expert but there are some basic principles that I understand. I am a judicial conservative when it comes to the Constitution. In my opinion, we cannot make it say what it does not say just to solve a social problem. There are two linchpins on which this ruling rests. Those are the 10th Amendment and the 14th Amendment. Those arguing in front of the Court to preserve laws on the books argued under the 10th Amendment that the people of our country in causing this amendment to be added to the Constitution that there was a fear that the US central government could overstep its bounds if its powers were not specifically enumerated and limited to those that were enumerated. Progressively though over the past 150 years or so, the power of the 10th Amendment has slowly been eroding away by the courts, Congress and the Executive branches of government. Our Federal government has more power now than ever envisioned by the founders of our country. This week’s ruling again expands the power of the Federal government. The 10th Amendment expressly stated that those powers not specifically enumerated in the Constitution as belong to the central government were not to be its powers. Anything specifically stated as a power of the central government was specifically stated to be a power of the states and/or the people. I challenge anyone to find in the Constitution that the power of defining marriage as one of the powers of the central government. It has long been the purview of the individual states to regulate civil matters such as marriage, property, law enforcement, and other such matters that are so voluminous in nature that it would be impractical for the central government to process in a timely fashion. Therefore, one of the primary issues here to me is where does the boundary of what is federal and what is state end. That is one the scary aspects of this ruling is that it takes away another power from the states. Slowly but surely, every power granted to the states will be taken away so as to ensure that specific groups are protected. That is one of clear indications of the ruling is that the courts and the federal, central government is increasing taking away the power of individual states. Should not have these state laws have been invalidated by the Court and sent back to the states to be rewritten in such a way that is compliant with the Constitution. No, the courts decided to define for us what the law is. There was no remand order. Now, the real issue is where does the power of the central government end. The Federal government ripped a gaping hole in the 10th Amendment this week. The path that we are now on makes the need for state governments almost a waste of money and time. This is not what the framers of the Constitution envisioned. They so feared an all powerful central government that has every power imaginable that they fled to United States to free themselves from the tyranny of an all powerful central government. To enforce this ruling of the Court, even more power will be accorded to the central government. The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. This should be alarming to the average citizen of this country regardless of whether you see this issue as a spiritual or a secular one. Our country was founded on limited federal government. As Joey Tribianni once said to Chandler Bing on Friends when Chandler had kissed Joey’s girlfriend, “you are so far beyond the line on this one that the line is a dot to you!” We are so far beyond the line of limited federal government the 10th Amendment is completely gutted. It is a dot in our rear view mirror.

Those who argue for the legality of same-sex marriage before the Court made their arguments under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. This Amendment features the “due process of law” and “equal protection under the law” clauses under which so many issues have been argued before the Court. Proponents of same-sex marriage before the Court argued that the prohibition of same-sex marriage in the states that disallow it deprived them of the pursuit of life, liberty and property guaranteed by the post-Civil War enacted 14th Amendment. This amendment is the linchpin prevents persons from being denied access to rights under state law to declare laws that are in controversion to the amendment can be struck down. Brown vs. Board of Education that ended segregated public education was argued under this law among other landmark cases. In each of these previous landmark decisions, the arguments were to allow persons similarly situated to have the same rights under the law or that laws should be equally applied to all persons. The application of this due process and equal protection under the law is the troubling issue here. In cases of segregation, there was clear view a black man and a white man, a Native American and a white man, an Asian and a white man similarly situated should have the same rights and the same protection under the law. This concept is clear and unquestioned. The cases argued before the court were to ensure that all persons had access to rights. The issue of marriage seems more of a privilege than a right fundamental to the pursuit of life, liberty and property. Unmarried persons do not have any less protection under the law than married citizens. In case I was not married, I would still have guarantees of my ability to pursue life, liberty and property. The lack of marriage would not prevent me for enjoying equal protection under the law. Laws have not been enacted that prevent me from exercising my full rights as a citizen of a state or this country just because I am unmarried compared to married citizens. If I am unmarried, there are no laws that prevent me from passing on inheritance, voting, accessing basic human services, adopting a child and so on. Marriage, along these lines, does not appear to be an inalienable human liberty. It was not considered the purview of governments at all until the 16th century. Therefore, it was not considered something that had to be guaranteed by the government until some 500 or so years ago. It was always prior to that time considered to be the purview of the church. Marriage was a spiritual institution and not a government one. Our government was founded on the basis of ensuring that there are rights common to all mankind for all time that must be guaranteed. Marriage does not appear then to be a governmentally protected inalienable human right that must be protected by the government

Therefore, marriage at its very core is a spiritual issue. It is a God-ordained institution. According to Scripture, it is clear that marriage is reserved for the male-female relationship. According to Mike Riccardi, in the online magazine, The Cripplegate, in an article entitled, “Is it True That Jesus Never Addressed Homosexuality?”, Ricardi states,

“In Matthew 19, He [Jesus] goes out of His way to make this point in order to underscore that marriage, by its very nature, is a divinely-ordained institution—that the originator of marriage is the Creator Himself. He makes this point, which would otherwise seem superfluous, in order to make it clear that that divinely-ordained institution exists only between one man and one woman. God created man as male and female, and then brought them together in one flesh as the husband-wife relationship illustrates the complementarity and unity-in-diversity that characterizes God’s own nature as one Being who eternally exists in three Persons.” To legitimize marriage outside these boundaries is against God’s plan for marriage. To claim otherwise, one must rewrite Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 6:7-11, Paul says some controversial words in light of the recent ruling from the Supreme Court. Paul says,

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people – none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Paul speaks of sin and these are examples of sin. Each one of us fits into one of these categories. We probably can fit into multiple categories. The one that jumps out at us in today’s world is the one about practicing homosexuality. We are told today that it is not a sin. It is an alternative lifestyle. It is now acceptable behavior. We often hear the argument that we are no longer under the law of the Old Testament and therefore homosexuality is acceptable behavior in the post-Crucifixion world in which we live. Therefore, the 39 books of the Old Testament can be ignored. Bam. Over half the Bible thrown out the window. We, too, then have to throw Paul’s writings out too because he mentions homosexuality as being a sin. They argue that Paul created his own theology and Jesus never said anything about homosexuality being wrong. In order to get to the Bible being acceptable to homosexual lifestyles, we must get rid of 90% of the Bible. The direct quotes of Jesus Christ (the red letter words in many Bibles) comprise about 10% of the total words in the entire Bible. Jesus may not have expressly stated that homosexuality was a sin but his ministry was among the Jews for the most part and as such it was commonly accepted that such lifestyles were against Scripture. He had no need to preach to the choir. There was common agreement.

Further, Jesus himself said that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Paul’s theology is based on the fact that the law points us to our need for Jesus. We are all condemned by our sins. Therefore, we need Jesus’ grace through his death on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins that makes us right with God. God’s timeless truth is inconvenient to those who are reveling in their sin whether it be homosexuals, adulterers, thieves, slanderers, liars, cheaters, murderers, etc. When we refuse to call our favorite sin a sin, we begin rationalizing away God’s truth. We parce down the Bible to only the parts that we think are agreeable to the lifestyle that we desire to lead. We, thus, say that we are higher than God. We become our own gods. We define truth for ourselves. There down the slippery slope we go until all behaviors are acceptable because I myself determine what is right and wrong. No need for God ultimately. To revel in sin and call it not sin does not make it any less sin in the eyes of our Creator who is truth. We can go as far as to say He does not exist but that does not mean that He doesn’t! We are all sinners.

I have focused on homosexuality here because it is the hot button topic of our day. We hear it declared in public squares that it is no longer a sin. It is now given public validation in the highest court of our land. We are mistaken. It is a sin. Plain and simple. To refuse to see it as such is to ignore virtually all of God’s Word. If being forced to choose between the ever lowering morality of man vs. the timeless moral absolutes of God’s Word, I will choose God’s Word.

However, before you lynch me at the tree of today’s intolerant tolerance, let us remind ourselves that practicing homosexuality is part of a laundry list of behaviors that if unrepentantly practiced will exclude us from the kingdom of God. The adulterer who continually has sex outside of his marriage and has no remorse or repentance in his soul is just as condemned as anyone else before God. Our society is continually scarred by adulterous behavior. Broken homes. Single parent families. Multiple stepdads and stepmoms. Kids with different last names than their mothers. Baby daddies instead of fathers. Women with no regard for the treasure that they carry and who give it away like cheap dime store candy. And that’s just sexual sin. Murder is rampant in our society. Lying reaches the highest levels as we spin the world to be what makes us all look the best. Greed is on display constantly where charitable causes and churches struggle to make ends meet but yet we do not think twice about financing $50,000 vehicles and $500,000 homes that we cannot afford. The vacation industry is booming as we seek to indulge ourselves rather than helping the homeless. Alcohol sales are at an all-time high as we seek to numb our souls. Alcoholism equally is at an all-time high. Courts are full nowadays with claims of cheating. There are more lawyers per capita on the planet now than there ever has been as we seek to blame others for stupid mistakes that we make. At least with the homosexual contingent, they have spent time parcing down the Bible to justify the rightness of their cause so that they can continue to enjoy their sin without any guilt. The rest of us simply ignore biblical truth when we continue flagrantly to enjoy our sins. Unrepentant. Blatantly ignoring the Word of God. When it comes to the sin(s) that we do not want to give up, we simply ignore what the Bible says. Many quit reading the Bible altogether because of the conviction that it will bring concerning our pet sins. To say that homosexuality is the demon of all sins is incorrect for we are all sinners. The only way that we can justify homosexuality is to rip pages out of the Bible and move on to live that lifestyle unrepentantly. The only way to justify any sin that we wish to not give up is to rip pages out of the Bible. The only way to justify our flagrant disregard for our pet behavior that is against God’s Word is to out and out ignore it. In this age, it is easy for Christians to overlook or tolerate some immoral behaviors as greed and call it the pursuit of the American Dream. It is easy to ignore drunkenness and call it having a good time while remaining outraged at murder, theft, and homosexuality. All of it is sin. There is no one sin that is greater than another. All sin, one sin condemns us before our Maker.

It is this realization that changes the game. It is the law that exposes our utter failure to live holy lives before a holy God. We are condemned. We are all of us bound for hell without intervention from a loving but just God. He so wants us to avoid final judgment to hell that He sent His Son to be the sacrificial lamb for our sins. Through His substitutionary sacrifice, our sins are forgiven. That which on our own will condemn us to hell is washed away. The slate is cleaned. The only requirement for this cleansing of sin’s stain and sin’s sentence to hell is to repent from our sins and turn away from them. We must call out to Jesus Christ to deliver us from our own evil. When we profess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to die for our sins and proclaim Him to be the Lord over our lives, He will send the Holy Spirit of God to live and dwell in our souls. We must give over control of our desires, wants, and needs to a holy God through the action of the Holy Spirit in our souls. When we see what we were before and what we are now in Christ, that should change our perspective on how we must react to those who are actively practicing lifestyles of any kind that are in direct opposition to Scripture. We were there ourselves before we met Jesus Christ.

We are must be careful to point out that the lifestyles are in opposition to Scripture rather than making the person a demon. We were once unrepentant sinners ourselves until someone took the time to get to know us and talk to us about our life in comparison to Scripture. On the hot button issue of homosexuality, we must not fear them, ridicule them, or demonize them. We cannot make this sin any greater than any other sin. We cannot praise the unrepentant display of greed, a sin, while demonizing those who unrepentantly practice homosexuality. Their lives can be transformed just as ours were. The church should be a haven for forgiveness and healing for repentant homosexuals without compromising our stance on the unrepentant practice of homosexuality. We are all being transformed from the emptiness of sin into the fullness of life in Jesus Christ.

Even murderers such as Dillon Roof can be transformed by the healing power of forgiveness in repentance before Jesus Christ. None are too far gone that repentance and reaching out to Jesus Christ cannot save. We saw true Christ followers offer the forgiveness of a Savior to man who had just killed their family members. Murderers, rapists, homosexuals, sexually promiscuous men and women, drug addicts, greedy people, adulterers, idol worshipers, all those who actively participate in sins that are in opposition to Scripture should be treated no differently that the Emanuel AME church parishioners treated Dillon Roof. When they expect condemnation from us, we offer them Jesus Christ. Paul says,

“Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of Jesus and by the Spirit of God!”

Let us be that church. Transformed people reaching out to unrepentant sinners and helping them see their sins for what they are…in love, not hate. Transforming with love not hate. Not accepting lifestyles that are in opposition to Scripture but realizing that we once raised our fist at God too so that we come from a position of love rather than judgment or hate. Prayer instead of protest. Engagement rather than ivory tower condemnation. Leading with Jesus rather than our opinion.

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I am not usually one to comment immediately on news stories of the day with knee jerk posts. And, this post itself is not a knee jerk reaction to what is going on right now in Baltimore. It comes watching events such as this unfold repeatedly throughout the past couple of years. This post is to point out and praise the people of South Carolina in light of Ferguson, MO and in light of Baltimore, MD. Recently, we had a white cop who shot and killed a black man on video right here in South Carolina. The expectation because of recent similar events in other parts of the United States was that North Charleston, SC would explode in rioting just as these other cities have. However, the powder keg explosion never happened here. Say, what you will about South Carolina and maybe your perceptions of its backwardness if you are from some other part of the country. However, our people, both black and white, are both practical and rooted in the Christian faith.

We are a practical people. Just look back at integration in the 1970s. There was no violence here. It was tense but it was quiet. South Carolinians are practical people, black and white. We work. We believe, both black and white, that it is better to work than depend on the government. We work to provide for our families. We work to make a better life. To destroy property without personal cause seems strange to us. We realize that we are hurting no one but ourselves when we behave as Northerners do. We are too busy about making a living for our families than to descend into anarchy and then have to pick up the pieces later. In South Carolina, we, both black and white, have come to learn that our history is our teacher. The old South Carolina and its ways caused us great poverty and strife. Race relations are not perfect here, but we are practical people, both black and white. Our history is ugly and we vow to never be that South Carolina again. South Carolina is about work and making a living. South Carolina is about industry and raising the standard of living of all South Carolinians. We learned along time ago that if every man has a job, all of our boats are lifted. That’s why North Charleston did not explode. Yes, there were protests in North Charleston and that is our right as citizens to express our opinions right or wrong. That is the fundamental right of all citizens of South Carolina and our nation. The response by North Charleston residents was measured and appropriate. I can express my rage at police brutality without committing violence myself. I praise the community leaders of North Charleston for handling this in the practical way that South Carolinians approach life. Say what you will about South Carolina but we will not be rebuilding North Charleston for years to come.

We are a people rooted in the Christian faith. In our Christian values, truth is valued. On the surface the North Charleston shooting appears to be murder. However, the people of South Carolina are considering more than just what was scene on the video. The truth is that there was a reason that the man ran from the simple traffic stop in North Charleston. Honest people don’t run. Sure, the use of force appears to have been misguided. However, the people of South Carolina, both black and white, are waiting for the truth to come out. And the truth will come out. The cop involved has already been charged with murder and I expect that his use of force compared to the crime and compared to the fact that his life was not in danger will result in a conviction on this charge. But North Charleston did not explode. There is hope in the faith in Jesus Christ. There is the belief that life will get better. There is the belief that the truth will come out in the end. We wait for the judicial process to take its course. This is why North Charleston did not explode.

Think about it. There is truth in the words above. Say what you will about South Carolina but we, black and white, value where South Carolina is going and not where it has been. South Carolina is about opportunity. South Carolina is about work leading to a better life for all. South Carolina is about practicality. South Carolina is about if you burn it down you just have to come back later and rebuild it. We know that from history. South Carolina is my home. I have lived all my life here except for three years in California. I would live no place else. When I compare the reaction in North Charleston to the reactions in Ferguson and Baltimore, it confirms that I have the right place to call home. It is the state I was born in. It is the state that I am unashamed to say I am from there. It is the state that I am very proud of right now. It is South Carolina.

As we’ve already seen in God’s complementary design of man and woman for marriage (chapter 6), this prohibition also includes sex between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. On this the Bible is explicit. Right before prohibiting sex with animals, the Old Testament reads, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18: 22, NIV). Someone might say, “But that’s just Old Testament law, which also includes prohibitions against eating pork (see Leviticus 11: 7). Does that mean Southern barbecue is also sin?” This may sound like a good argument until we realize the clear and critical distinctions between different types of laws in Leviticus. Some of the laws are civil in nature, and they specifically pertain to the government of ancient Israel in a way that they do not necessarily pertain to governments today. Other laws are ceremonial, prescribing particular sacrifices, offerings, and festivals for God’s people under the old covenant . These civil and ceremonial laws applied specifically to Jewish people in the Old Testament, and we know this because these laws are not reiterated for all people in the New Testament. However, various moral laws (such as prohibitions against stealing and lying, for example) are explicitly reiterated in the New Testament. [67] These laws, based upon God’s character, clearly apply to all people for all time. [68] We know that moral laws include prohibitions not only against stealing and lying, but also against homosexual activity because when we get to the New Testament, Jesus himself teaches that the only God-honoring alternative to marriage between a man and a woman is singleness (see Matthew 19: 10-12). Moreover, the New Testament describes “dishonorable passions” with the example of women who “exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature” and men who “likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, . . . committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1: 26-27). God is clear in his Word that homosexual activity is prohibited. [69]

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Each of the Bible’s sexual prohibitions is encapsulated in the all-encompassing command “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6: 18). These words were written to a church in the sex-crazed city of Corinth, where singles were sexually involved before marriage, husbands and wives were sexually involved outside of marriage, homosexuality was condoned, and prostitution was common. (Not much has changed in two thousand years.) So to the church in that culture and to the church in our culture, God says, “Flee from sexual immorality—any and all sexual thinking, looking, desiring, touching , speaking, and acting outside of marriage between a man and a woman. Don’t rationalize it, and don’t reason with it— run from it. Flee it as fast as you can.” God says this for his glory. And God says this for our good. But we don’t believe God on this one. None of us do. By this point it should be clear that the Bible doesn’t speak simply against adultery or homosexuality but against multiple manifestations of sexual immorality in every single one of our lives.

Let me confess the obvious before I go any further. I represent the class of people responsible for the vast majority of sexual immorality in the world today: male heterosexuals. It is heterosexual men who fund the pornography and prostitution industries in the world, and I’m convinced it’s the lack of loving leadership and selfless sacrifice in heterosexual husbands and dads that has caused the majority of sexual confusion across our culture.

I emphasize this because when my initial questions about my gay family member drove me to the gospel, I was immediately convicted not about sexual sin in his life but about sexual sin in my life. My purpose in even addressing the issue of sexual immorality is not to rail against the dominance of sexual sin in the culture around us but to expose the depth of sexual sin that lies within us. I and every reader of this book are guilty at multiple levels of sexual thought, desire, speech, and deed outside of marriage between a husband and a wife. None of us are innocent of sexual immorality , and none of us are immune to it.

The gospel tells us why this is so. We all possess a heart of pride that is inclined to turn away from God (see Genesis 8: 21). One of the most significant passages on sexual immorality in the Bible starts, “Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. . . . Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity , to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1: 21, 24). These potent verses diagnose dark hearts as the root of sinful desires. In our hearts, we all have a sinful tendency to turn aside from God’s ways to our wants. This tendency has an inevitable effect on our sexuality . Note the fascinating connection made by these Scriptures. When we spurn praising God in our hearts, we are prone to sexual impurity in our lives. To make matters worse, we were born this way. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, every single person born of a man and a woman has inherited this sinful heart. We may all have different biological heritages, but we all share one common spiritual inheritance: sin (see Psalm 51; Romans 5: 12-21). This is important to remember, because not one of us can or should say, “God wouldn’t allow me (or someone else) to be born with a bent toward a particular sexual sin.” Instead, the Bible is clear: every one of us is born with a bent toward sexual sin. But just because we have that bent doesn’t mean we must act upon it. We live in a culture that assumes a natural explanation implies a moral obligation . If you were born with a desire, then it’s essential to your nature to carry it out . This is one reason why our contemporary discussion of sexuality is wrongly framed as an issue of civil rights. Even in the virtual absence of scientific evidence that proves homosexual desire is linked to DNA, the emerging cultural morality is now willing to elevate personal desires to the level of highest moral authority so that people have a “right” to fulfill their sexual desires however they prefer. Furthermore, it is now argued that to deny people that “right” is akin to racism. According to popular opinion, just as we must not discriminate between black and white people, we should not differentiate between heterosexual and homosexual preferences. We live in a day when saying that heterosexual or homosexual activity is immoral is equivalent to saying a white or black person is inferior. But this line of thought is fundamentally flawed, for it denies the obvious distinction between ethnic identity and sexual activity. Ethnic identity is a morally neutral attribute . Black or white is not an issue of right or wrong, and any attempt to say otherwise should be opposed (as we will explore in the next chapter). However, sexual activity is a morally chosen behavior. To be sure, similar to how we have different skin colors, we may possess different dispositions toward certain sexual behaviors. But where our ethnic makeup is not determined by a moral choice or contrary to a moral command, our sexual behavior is a moral decision , and just because we are inclined to certain behaviors does not make such behaviors right.

Platt, David (2015-02-03). Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography (pp. 162-163, 164-167). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

In the picture of marriage, God intends to portray Christ’s love for the church and the church’s love for Christ on the canvas of human culture. So how is this picture portrayed? The Bible explains, saying, “The husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Moreover, “as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5: 23-24). In other words, God designs husbands to be a reflection of Christ’s love for the church in the way they relate to their wives, and God designs wives to be a reflection of the church’s love for Christ in the way they relate to their husbands. But talk about countercultural! Or maybe more aptly put, talk about politically incorrect! The husband is the head of his wife? Wives should submit to their husbands? Are you serious? God is serious, and he is good. In our limited understanding, we hear words and phrases like the ones in Ephesians 5, and we recoil in disgust. But if we pause for just a moment to consider the picture of marriage from a gospel perspective, our reaction may be different. When the Bible says that “the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church,” we immediately need to ask the question, “What does it mean for Christ to be the head of the church?” The Bible answers that question by saying, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5: 25-27, HCSB). What a breathtaking picture. For Christ to be the head of the church is for Christ to give everything he has for the good of the church. Christ takes responsibility for the beauty of his bride, ready to lay aside his rights and willing to lay down his life for the sake of her splendor. So this is who God has designed a husband to be: a man who gives everything he has for the good of his wife. A man who takes responsibility for the beauty of his bride, ready to lay aside his rights and willing to lay down his life for the sake of her splendor. God has designed a husband to be the head of his wife like this so that in a husband’s love for his wife, the world might see a picture of Christ’s love for his people.

Likewise, “as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5: 24). As soon as we hear the word submission alongside the previous picture of headship, we immediately think in terms of inferiority and superiority, subordination and domination. But that’s nowhere close to what the Bible means with these terms. As we’ve already seen, God made clear from the start that men and women are equal in dignity, value, and worth. Submission is not about denigrating the value of another’s life. Instead, this biblical word means to yield to another in love. Such submission throughout Scripture is a wonderful, if not inevitable, component of human relationships. I am a dad, for example, with four children . They are in a position of submission in their relationship to me (though they unfortunately don’t always acknowledge it!). But this is a good position for them as I love, lead, serve, protect, and provide for them. Their submission to me in no way implies that I am superior to them. Instead, their submission shows that they trust my love for them.

This, then, is what the Bible means when it talks about the church submitting to Christ. As followers of Christ in the church, we are in a position of submission to Christ. Is this a bad thing? Certainly not. It’s a great thing! Christ loves, leads, serves, protects, and provides for us, and we gladly submit to him in the context of close relationship with him. God has designed marriage to display this relationship. God desires people to know that following him is not a matter of begrudging subordination to a domineering deity. God longs for people to know that following him is a matter of glad submission to a loving Lord. So he calls a wife to submit to the loving leadership of a husband who lays down his life for her good. And as this portrait of marriage is portrayed all around the world, God shows men and women that he can be trusted to lead them by his love.

This is why biblical marriage is worth defending in the face of cultural redefinition , and this is why biblical marriage is worth displaying even when it may mean cultural confrontation. For God established marriage at the beginning of creation to be one of the primary means by which he illustrates the gospel before a watching world. As husbands sacrifice their lives for the sake of their wives—loving, leading, serving, protecting, and providing for them—the world will get a glimpse of God’s grace. Sinners will see that Christ has gone to a cross where he has suffered, bled, and died for them, that they might experience eternal salvation through submission to him. They will also see in a wife’s relationship to her husband that such submission is not a burden to bear. Onlookers will observe a wife joyfully and continually experiencing her husband’s sacrificial love for her and then gladly and spontaneously submitting in selfless love to him. In this visible representation of the gospel, the world will realize that following Christ is not a matter of duty. Instead , it is a means to full, eternal, and absolute delight.

Platt, David (2015-02-03). Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography (pp. 138-143). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.