Saturday, July 7, 2012

Me, Me, Me, I

Pride, one of the seven deadly sins, is actually the basis for all sin. Pride is mentioned 297 times in the Bible, most often in a negative connotation. When pride drives the self, it causes one to have an inflated opinion of one’s importance in the grand scheme of things. Pride, overdone, will eventually lead to vanity where one cannot pass by a mirror without admiring oneself and produces an undue desire to be admired by others, sometimes overwhelming reason. Vanity leads to conceit that manifests itself as an overinflated assessment of one’s status in this world. Then conceit leads one to fall in love with one’s self and suffer from the malady known as egotism. Unfortunately, all of humankind falls into this trap sometime or another. Our selfish human nature compels us to place our needs first. The First Commandment states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Who then is our god when we decide to worship ourselves, our possessions and our identities? For we certainly worship ourselves when we place ourselves before God.

LGTBQ activists have long advocated for full inclusion in the church. Apparently, acceptance as a child of God, sinful and unclean, like all of God’s children is insufficient. The sin of homosexuality must be accepted as not sinful in order to properly love and welcome this misguided class. Oh, how much easier it would be if God’s church affirmed my misbehavior by decreeing that it is no longer a sin. Too bad it would do nothing to make me right with God. In the Lutheran worship service there is what is known as confession and absolution where we confess our sins and the pastor affirms that God does indeed forgive us. 1 John 1:7-10, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” When one claims that the sin of homosexuality is no longer a sin, he deceives himself and makes God out to be a liar.

Are those that choose a lifestyle that is prohibited by God any worse than any other child of God? Absolutely not! Just like the rich man that would not follow Jesus because he did not want to give up his wealth, those who selfishly cling to the things of this world fall into the same trap. Each and every one of us commits the gravest of sins every day. Rather than give our God the first of ourselves, our time and our possessions, we selfishly take the first fruits, relegating the leftovers to God. God has given everything to us. Nothing belongs to us, it all belongs to Him. Yet, we cling to the notion that whatever we decide to give to Him is acceptable. Those that tithe simply give 10% to the church. Is that sufficient? “Gracious God, we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us - ourselves, our time and our possessions - signs of your gracious love." When one invokes their bound conscience to usurp the authority of Scripture, they withhold themselves from God. They do not freely give themselves to Him. They withhold what the selfish nature wishes to retain. When Jesus told the parable about the rich young man, attaining the kingdom of heaven is not only difficult for a rich man to attain, the selfish will also find it difficult to attain.

The leadership of the ELCA has abdicated their responsibility to preach sound doctrine. They look at the world and have become enamored with it. They not only live in the world, they love the world. And this love of the world turns them away from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

The pursuit of social justice instead of the pursuit of souls for Christ cements this wayward denomination’s place in this world. No longer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed to the world. Now the leadership of the ELCA determines that the love of the neighbor is paramount in their effort to repair our broken world. The gods of tolerance and acceptance are placed upon the altar to be worshipped. What is called sin by God is overruled and affirmed as no longer sinful by the leaders of the ELCA. Romans 6:11-14, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Offer yourself fully to the Lord. Love Him with all your heart, mind and soul. Love your neighbor as yourself, subservient to our Lord, not above Him.

Faith in the Risen Savior allows God’s grace to cancel your debt to sin. Even though we all fall short, our love and appreciation for what Jesus did for us compels us to please him in all we do. What pleases Him most is our willingness to serve Him with our obedience. The leadership of the ELCA has betrayed their call to serve the Lord. The leadership of the ELCA must reconcile with God in order to lead their membership back to the Lord. Their penchant to falsely affirm sinful behavior only widens the chasm between God and humankind. Pray unceasingly for the leadership of the ELCA to return to the Lord and once again do God’s work by reaching out to save the souls of the lost.

1 comment:

  1. In his apology to the augsburg confession, when speaking of original sin, the writer speaks of concupiscent lusts which we of ourselves are powerless to resist. As a recovering alcoholic, I get to ask God on a daily basis to give me the ability to resist the urge to drink. The LGBT community would have us accept them as they are because "they were made that way by God". I do not have the right to say to the church, should I go back to drinking, that I want to be a pastor, and that I should have the right to preach drunk from the pulpit. I have the obligation, as a christian, to ask god for forgiveness for my sins, not for approval of them.