That Ye Might have Hope

By C. Eldon McNabb

Every effort to prevent the abominable act of homosexual marriage which is scheduled to occur on May 17, 2004 has been thwar­ted. Since the Massa­chusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the legalization of the mar­riages, Governor Mitt Rom­ney, a Mormon, has been staunch­ly op­posed to them, and has explored every possible avenue to prevent them. At his very best, all he has been able to do is order the municipal clerks to enforce an obscure 1913 ordinance requiring marriage license applicants to prove resi­dency, as their unions will not be valid in most states.

Political and religious conservative groups have been equally powerless to prevent this social disaster from happening.

The most recent attempt was a suit filed in federal court by 11 Massachusetts legislators and a vice president of the Catholic Action League. They claimed that the Massachusetts court had overstepped its Constitutional bounds to "interpret" the law, and had, in effect, enacted new legislation - a power reserved by the Constitution for the Legislature. It was thrown out by the U.S. District Court, as well as the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston. Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court itself refused to hear the case. (It is, of course, not surprising to find the federal courts sympathetic to the actions of a rogue state court system. The federal courts have been enacting legislation in the same way since at least the Supreme Court's landmark decision in the early sixties to revoke the citizens' Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, when it prohibited prayer and Bible reading in the schools.)

There may be the opportunity in 2006 for the citizens of Massachusetts to vote on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but by then it is most likely that the public will have been properly conditioned to accept this wickedness as a viable alternative to the "traditional family." Even if such an amendment were passed by popular vote, the courts could very easily rule it unconstitutional, nullifying the will of the people to promote the new status quo.

So there it is. The first legal, homosexual unions in the U.S. will be performed in Massa­chusetts on May 17, 2004. From there, it will no doubt spread like a cancer through American society, much as they have spread through the entertain­ment industry. Homosexuals are now the main characters on nearly every television show and movie in America, while Christians are presented as perverts, fundamentalist wackos, or just plain stupid.

Christians from this state, and no doubt from others, have protested, prayed and petitioned. They have explored every legal, moral and spiritual option: and have come up empty. It is disheartening and demoralizing to many brothers and sisters, who have been helpless to overcome the enemy in this spiritual war.

The land in which we were born and have enjoyed such unprecedented religious freedom is slipping away. Is there hope? Can we find comfort? If so, is it found in our successes on the political playing field? Are our victories numbered by the nations of the world that hold to the ideals of Judeo-Christian morality? If that were the case, then we - as well as our Lord - are statistical failures.

The Handbook for Christian Living - the Bible - contains every answer to every question. What does it say is the source of hope? That answer is plainly found in Romans 15:4.

"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."

Though the word "aforetime" now looks back to include the writings of the New Testament, Paul was actually referring to a portion of God's Word that is often overlooked, if not outright despised, by the modern Chris­tian with regards to doctrine and daily living: the Old Testament. It is those scriptures, the Law and the Prophets, through which the early Christians found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is those passages of precious text that guided the formation of doctrine by the Twelve Apostles of our Lord. It is from those pages that Jesus' great commission was originally fulfilled, as the disciples went forth to "teach all nations."

And in this dark hour in modern history, as all hope for decency in America seems to fade, the Apostle Paul urges us to find hope and comfort in the pages of God's Holy Word: specifically the Law and the Prophets.

The Bible describes the condition of mankind in the days of Noah in Genesis 6. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." No doubt, the Lord would feel the very same way if He tried to watch television today. Virtually every program promotes or presents the basest qualities of mankind in one way, shape or form. Were it not for His promise, one evening of channel surfing would likely be sufficient to bring about a second great deluge.

Because of that incessant wickedness, and its total perme­ation into every facet of society, God destroyed the world that then was, an action seeming­ly out of character for a loving God. Contrariwise, it was out of love that He wiped it out, for had He not, all flesh would have been consumed with evil and perished. Nevertheless, one just man named Noah, perfect in his generations, walked with God and found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Because of His righteous­ness, God spared his life and the life of his family.

The nature of recent events in Massachusetts bring to mind the history of the cities of the plain of Jordan, especially Sodom and Gomorrah. Although often connected with homosexuality - so much so that its name is the root of "sodomy," the very act itself - that was not what the Bible described as "the sin of Sodom." "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy" (Ezek. 16:49). Certainly pride, gluttony, abundance of leisure time, and greed have been characteristic of American society long before the homosexual community "came out of the closet" en masse, so the similarities of this nation with Sodom have long been visible.

God never changes. Just as God had warned Noah before the flood, and revealed to him His intention to spare the righteous, the Lord visited Abraham before pouring His wrath out on the cities of the plain. I recently met an Israeli who told me, "In the Middle East, everyone negotiates." It would seem that that has been true for all of recorded history, for when Abraham heard God's intention to destroy those cities, he immediately began the negotiation process. The Lord agreed to spare the cities if there were even fifty righteous among them. "And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there." This continued until finally they settled on ten. If God could find ten righteous, He would not carry out the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Sadly, there weren't even ten righteous in all the cities of the plain. Only one man, Lot, was found, and because of his righteousness, he, his wife, and his daughters were led out of Sodom. While Lot saw himself as a stranger and pilgrim, his wife, his other daughters, and his sons-in-law considered themselves Sodomites. Therefore, they shared the wrath of God with the rest of the citizens of Sodom.

Peter said, "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes [God] condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly" (2 Pet. 2:6).

These two great, Old Testament examples of the flood and the fire were given to us that we might not follow after their way. By them, we are plainly shown that God will not allow a society consumed by wickedness to continue.

Paul said that the Old Testament was written that we, through patience and comfort in them, would have hope. What possible hope can the believer acquire from these two stories? The hope that wickedness will not enjoy enduring success. The hope that God will deliver the righteous, both from the wrath of the wicked and from the wrath of His own indignation. These great example give us hope that God is just and powerful, and merciful to those who seek His face.

America should mourn and lament. America should repent of its wickedness. It may be that, as Nineveh, God will spare her from His wrath, if even but for a moment.

More importantly, Christians in this land must separate them­selves from this corrupt society, or they too will find themselves partakers in the outpouring of the Lord's wrath. We must cry out to the Almighty. We must de­clare with the Saints though all the ages that we are not Americans, British, Greek, or Filipino. We are Christians: stran­gers and pilgrims on this earth. The land which we claim as home is not of this earth, but heavenly. Until we declare our separation from this world, we will be part of it, and will reap with them the wrath of the Most High. When asked your nation­ality, if your first thoughts proudly proclaim, "I am an American," your thinking needs adjusted.

God is preparing to punish the wicked of the earth, including the children of disobedience. If you desire to find your place among the rest of Americans, then there it shall be: in the midst of God's fury.

I challenge you today to join me and all those faithful that have gone before us and be sold-out citizens of a heavenly country, and patriots of the Kingdom of God.