If you watch the news or TV, or spend any amount of time on Facebook or reading blogs, or for that matter just leave your house in the morning, you are bound to encounter any number of controversial issues. There are people spouting their opinions on all sorts of issues, trying to convince others of their position. Many of these controversies involve what some argue is sinful behavior and others say is not.
I have opinions on most, if not all, of the controversial issues facing our society today. I could join the fray and spout my opinion about any one of them, or all of them, and try to convince others of my position. But generally, unless I am in a one-on-one conversation with someone, I choose not to expound on my opinion on some of the more controversial issues. That is primarily because my opinion on most of them is not a simple matter, but a complex set of beliefs based on my experiences and what God has done in my life. It is impossible from a bumper-sticker style quote or opinion to expect someone to really understand how I feel about an issue.
Interestingly, my opinion on and understanding of many of the controversial issues of our day have changed over time. I believe it is God who has changed the way I see things and understand the depth of the controversy surrounding the issues facing us. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
And so I have decided to take a stand on just one thing: the truth that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the saving grace of humanity. This is what God has called me to do — to preach the Gospel. He has not called me to preach about, against, or in favor of specific behaviors. He has called me to tell others that Jesus loves them so much that He was willing to die to be with them.
As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him [Jesus] will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:11-15.
I want to have the beautiful feet of one who brings good news. And the love of Christ for sinners is good news, indeed! “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. He died for you and for me. I’ve never heard better news in all my life.
So what of all those controversial issues and behaviors? That is for the Holy Spirit to deal with in the life of each believer. But first one must believe that they are a sinner in need of a Savior, and how will they ever understand that truth if those of us who believe spend all our time trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit? If we focus on controversial issues and behaviors, we make people feel like they have to agree with everything we do before they can be a Christian. But that is not what Jesus said. He hung out with sinners and then He changed them into His disciples. He didn’t say, “Change who you are and then you can follow me.” He simply called people to follow Him, and then as people are in His presence He does the rest.