Column for Local Paper

This was published in our local newspaper, the Times Citizen, Wednesday, February 26. 

You know, life used to be really simple. There were boys and there were girls. Boys and girls had crushes on each other, dated each other, and got married. If you were having a boy you painted the room blue. If you were having a girl you painted the room pink. No confusion. No gender identity issues. This was normal, natural, and good.

Fast forward to the 21st century and things have gotten really confusing. Now there is a gender identity for everyone. It’s not just gay, lesbian, or bi. Recently Facebook opened up their options for gender to about 50 different choices. Fifty? Really? The world has grown very confusing indeed. And my question is, how is this better? How can this be considered “progress”? How is this helping our society?

We live in a time when an “alternative lifestyle” is getting married at age 22 or 23, and having children right away. What is considered “normal” and “natural” today is moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, sending intimate pictures to your boyfriend or girlfriend, and celebrating gay marriage. And we mustn’t criticize, lest we be accused of bullying!

In many ways, we are quickly becoming, if we haven’t already, a society that more closely resembles 1st century Rome or Greece. Talk about sexual permissiveness! One could find every kind of lifestyle under the sun in that culture. Temple prostitution was as common as coffee houses are today. Historians document that it was not uncommon for adult males to have young boys as sexual partners because they were “soft” of skin and without physical blemish. Perhaps public morality and common decency in the U.S. haven’t yet eroded quite as much as we think. But one wonders how long it will be before American culture has completely given itself over to its basest desires.

Now consider this: it was into that world that the Son of God was born to the Virgin Mary. It was within that dark world—a world sick with sin and perversion—that the light of the Gospel first began to shine. By God’s grace, many people were rescued from their former ways which bore fruit leading to death. God did not turn his back on sinners, but out of great love for the fallen sons of Adam He willingly endured the shame of the cross for us. Paul’s words to the Christians in Rome perhaps say it best: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

Many of those in Paul’s audience had once lived in the passions of sinful lust. Before they were converted to faith in Jesus Christ, many of them were guilty of shameful lifestyles. But by the power of Christ’s Spirit working through the implanted Word, they had renounced those former passions and had been set free from the Law’s accusations. They were no longer “slaves to sin,” bearing fruit leading to death, but through faith in Christ they had become “slaves to righteousness,” bearing fruit that leads to life.

As our culture continues to disintegrate and common decency erodes, we do well to bear this in mind. Christ came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” God did not send His Son to make the world a better place to live in, but to rescue sinners out of the world and to save them from eternal death and destruction. Rather than disengage from the world and wash our hands of it, God calls us simply to trust in the renewing power of the Gospel, and make known to all the love of God in Christ Jesus. If it can bear fruit in the immoral culture of 1st century Rome, then surely it can do the same in 21st century North America.

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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