Why We Care

I wrote the following for our church newsletter. Perhaps it may be helpful to others. 

Why We Care

I can imagine that there are many in the Church, and even outside of the Church, who wonder, “Why do you care?” Why do you care about this or that court ruling? Why do you care how other people live their lives? Why does it matter? And probably, under their breath, they are saying, “And who are you to judge, anyway?”

It can appear as though the Church is all about trying to win battles here on earth. It can appear as though our chief concern is morality, and how other people live their lives. I get it. I can see how for some it may appear that we who call ourselves Christians just want to see everyone follow our “rules.” That we are all just a bunch of control freaks who want to squelch everyone’s freedom.

The truth is, we do care about how people live their lives. We do care about morality. But this is only because we care about souls. We are not about trying to improve the condition of this world. We know it is dying. It is a terminal patient. There is nothing we can do to stop that from happening. We do not believe, as some do, that if we can just elect the right people and enact the right laws, then all will be well. We are not about making this a nicer world. We know the reality. Sin has corrupted everyone’s hearts. The only way out, the only cure is the blood of God’s Son, which purifies us from all sin.

In order for souls to be delivered from God’s eternal judgment and damnation, however, there must be repentance and faith. People must be shown from God’s Word that they are sinners, and that their only hope for salvation is in Jesus Christ. When any sin is pridefully celebrated and embraced as if there was nothing wrong with it, as if God didn’t care one way or another, repentance cannot happen and souls are lost.

Here’s the deal: One may say he believes in Christ. One may say that he has a relationship with Christ. But when someone persists in what is sinful without remorse or sorrow there is a certain hardening of the heart against God that eventually results in a loss of faith altogether. That is assuming, of course, one had faith to begin with.

Our motivation in telling people the truth about sins such as homosexuality or same-sex “marriage” is that we do not want anyone to perish eternally. We earnestly desire the salvation of all sinners. It is not just about being “right” or about winning an argument or about making the world a more comfortable place to live in. Our hope is not in this world or what it offers. Our chief concern is always the salvation of sinners.

There are churches and pastors that do not think it is necessary to tell people that they are sinners. Many Christians believe that if you are just nice to people, they will eventually want to worship God too. They believe that the worst thing you can do to people is make them feel bad about themselves. That, so they say, is what really keeps people from heaven.

We beg to differ. The most unloving thing anyone can do is affirm people in their sins, and act as if there will be no divine Judge to face at the end. God had some pretty strong words to say about the false prophets in the days of Jeremiah who cried, “Peace, peace!” when there was no peace. We do not want people to go on in the lie and the delusion that all is well with God when it is not. That doesn’t help our neighbor one bit.

So, why do we care what people do? Why do we care about court rulings? Is it because we just want everyone to behave? No. It is because we want to be able to proclaim the Gospel of free forgiveness for sinners. We want to share with people the wonderful news that God has reconciled the world to himself through Christ. We want other people–including  our LGBTQ (and whatever other letters there may be) friends and neighbors–to join us in confessing Christ as Savior, and to live eternally with Him in heaven.

As long as they go on living under the delusion that there is nothing wrong or immoral about what they are doing, as long as they are enabled and encouraged to celebrate sin, then it becomes that much more difficult for them to enter the kingdom. That is what saddens us the most. We know this world is full of evil. It always will be. This is not ultimately what drives us to proclaim both God’s Law and Gospel to sinners. What drives us to do this is our desire that all sit at the heavenly banquet table, having turned away from sin and turned in faith to our Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s not about morality. Well, it is a little bit about morality. But it is mostly about the Gospel. It is about sinners coming to know their sins, and learning to believe that Christ, out of great love for His Father and for us, died for their sins, and rose again from the dead. If anyone tries to tell you differently, then they are probably selling something.

May God grant us faithful and loving hearts, that we might both cling to Him and His Word, and also desire to share that saving Word with those who do not know His love in Christ.

Pastor Beisel

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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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