The Supreme Court of the United States passed a ruling yesterday that is very unpopular among Christians because it goes against Scripture and against our beliefs. There has already been much discussion on what our response to this ruling should be. Some Christians actually seem to be surprised by the court’s decision, but I don’t think we should be surprised at all. I am afraid that at times we have become much too comfortable here in America and we forget where our true citizenship lies (Phil 3:18-20).
The apostle Peter wrote that we (the church, followers of Jesus) are “foreigners and exiles” here (1 Pet 2:11). A foreigner (paroikous) is one who “dwells somewhere without national rights” (TDNT). That is diametrically opposed to our views here ---Americans are all about “our rights.” That’s how we got to this court decision in the first place! But according to Peter, Christians do not have national rights in any land on earth.
Think about exiles in a biblical context and when the Jews were hauled off into exile in Babylon (2 Kings 25:11, Esth 2:6, etc). While they were in exile, away from their home country, they did not expect the Babylonians to set up laws in that land that reflected the Israelites' beliefs, nor did they expect the Babylonians to outlaw all pagan gods and rule that all who lived in that land should live according to Yahweh’s commands and moral code. Why do we expect this to happen in America?
God’s instructions to His people while in exile were to “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters…Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jer 29:5-7). Do we pray for the peace and prosperity of this nation or just complain because our rights are being violated?
Peter gave us, as Christians, similar instructions as we live in exile in a land not our own. He does not tell us to try to change the laws of the land or to complain that the government does not reflect the teachings of Scripture. He does say that we are to “abstain from sinful desires, which war against you soul” (1 Pet 2:11). He also tells us to “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Pet 2:12).
When those in authority in this country or those within the LGBT community look at us, as followers of Christ, although they accuse us of doing wrong because we believe that marriage is one man and one woman, will they see our good deeds and glorify God? Will they see us living up to our beliefs on marriage? Will they see us praying for the peace and prosperity of this nation?
"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God."