God accepts gays by divine fiat.
The Letter to the Romans has material for two sermons. The first sermon is the most popular sermon on earth and it is summarized between Romans 1:18-32. The second is found in Romans 9:10, and it hardly ever gets preached.
Both are straight from the bible but they are in direct contradiction to each other because they represent two different perspectives, the first one being a human perspective. The true Gospel is found in only the second perspective. And no wonder, for man can only originate bad news and God alone can declare a Gospel – and he has, but it is a Gospel that no human mind could have conceived of and few can truly grasp. For the sake of brevity I have not discussed the material between or around these two sermons. It is enough to note that the inspiration of the bible does not preclude it’s accurately stating a mistaken perspective in order to later reveal the truth.
The first sermon reads as follows:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
According to this immensely popular sermon in all its manifestations, God looked down at the world and what he saw shocked him. It’s evident that God is indeed angry with the world and this anger has resulted in the compounding and multiplication of sin in it. And for everything we’re told about tolerance, some cultures, diets, lifestyles and moral codes – more like amoral codes – are simply disgusting.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
It’s the most popular sermon on earth and it condemns everyone on earth. It condemns the abortion clinicians, those who have sex-changes, the pork-eater, money-changer and tax-collector. It condemns even those who keep their sons’ foreskins intact – the list is endless, and there is little or no room for trying to find the humanity of these people. They are just a list of (allegedly) evil acts.
This is every sermon on every sin God has ever counted, and he is counting. He has a list, and like Santa he knows whether you’ve been naughty or nice – but if you’ve been naughty nobody can spare you from the horrendous penalty. The wrath of God is continuously being revealed from heaven against this ungodliness of men, and because of their idolatrous hearts God compounds their sinfulness and hands them over to keep sinking deeper into this cesspool of filth.
Now let’s listen to the other sermon. God’s sermon:
Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort (bold mine), but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea:
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
“In the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
Before there was time, space, culture, society, respectability, normality – before anyone could impress or depress or anger God with their behavior – God made a choice to save some, not out of anything he anticipated or foresaw in them but entirely because he chose to. This doctrine is defended and explained in the blog series on predestination.
Nothing in the behavior, nature or disposition of those so chosen actually changes God’s view on the matter. In principle, these people have always been and shall always be perfect in his eyes. And if they were not so even for one moment, God would have no power to realize in “real life” or in time what he knows to be true of them in eternity.
Corresponding with this choice was his choice to set his love, blessing, approval, infinite patience and grace on them.
This choice was not, nor could have been, a response to anything God saw in the chosen, nor in their nature, nor in the relationship between the chosen and nature, or anything at all under heaven.
Nor was this choice dependent on how well these people fit in, or conformed to the expectations of any person or society in the world.
For if it had been such a response, God would have been acting beneath his sovereignty as God by waiting for some or other circumstance to condition his sentiments and resolve.
But God is not a creature, and God is conditioned by nothing outside himself.
Nobody can make God happy, nor delighted with them, or anything else like that. God, who is before and beyond the world, does not love in accordance with the beloved’s diet, sexuality, naturalness, normalcy – nothing like that – but rather, imparts love as a gift to his beloved in Christ.
So no amount of gold-star behavior can justify anyone before God.
Rather, certain people have been the recipients of God’s justification, love, sanctification, grace and glory from eternity and will learn of it in time. If anyone brings a charge against these people, fingering them as the source of God’s wrath revealed from heaven, God just isn’t listening. God’s joy and wrath are not responses to something he learns in creation but are expressions of his sovereign choices over creation.
Therefore, the glory of the first sermon is completely eclipsed and outshone by the glory of the second just as the glory of the First Covenant is completely outshone by the glory of the Second as it glows brighter every passing moment.
The implications for gay believers will take a while and a few blog posts to flesh out. Please stick around. It could make all the difference to the way you understand God or relate with gay people, as people. This is a conversation that the Reformed tradition needs to have if it is to remain true to its roots.