Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Laws Cannot Change Flaws

            The five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court in India is hearing petitions that demand the scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes gay sex. One of the reasons offered by the Supreme Court to hear these petitions is the changing ‘social morality.’1

            The judiciary may decide to uphold Section 377 or it may decide to decriminalize gay sex in India. Even if the court decides to uphold the law criminalizing gay sex, the continuous uproar from the pro-LGBT section of India’s populace would, in the near future, succeed in decriminalizing gay sex in India. So it is a mere matter of time – possibly a few years – when gay sex would be legitimized in India.

            Would the endorsement of gay sex by the Indian constitution (at any point in time) motivate us, Christians, to change our view on gay sex?

            A worthy Christian response is two-fold:

            First, hating the gay people is out of the question, so let us love them. But remember that our love for the gay people is not an endorsement of their sinful lifestyle.

            A gay lifestyle is an abomination.  However, we should love the gay people. By doing so, we hope and pray that they will see God in and through our love and allow HIM to change their lives.

            Second, let us, as God-loving and Bible-believing Christians, be strong in our biblical convictions. The Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin. So let us uphold the biblical teaching at any cost.

            Significantly, let us not commit the error of diluting the biblical teaching because of the changing ‘social morality.’ Today our society may decide to decriminalize gay sex and tomorrow our society may decide to decriminalize other offenses.

            Let not the changing mores of our society dictate our response to sins. Sins are an assault against God, so sins ought to be hated and rejected at all costs because we are God’s people.

            We reject sins because we love God. Remember that the commandment to love our neighbors is always preceded by the commandment to love our God.

            If the Lord Jesus wanted us, HIS disciples, to declassify sins as acceptable practices, then HE would not have reduced the laws to two. Instead, HE would have reduced it to one. But the Lord did not!

            Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias articulated this thought wonderfully, “For living together in harmony, Moses gave 613 laws to help build their community. About half a millennium later, David, in the fifteenth psalm, reduced them to eleven. Isaiah, in his opening chapter, reduced them further to six. Micah, in his sixth chapter, narrowed them down to three: “To do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God.”

            How much further could one go to find the essence of the law? Jesus, in the 22nd chapter of Matthew, was asked which was the greatest commandment. The point was to see if he would earn the wrath of the political or religious leaders who dictated social or religious practice with scores of laws. Jesus, knowing their intent, surprised them. He did not reduce the laws to one. He could have done that. Instead, he reduced them down to two: “To love the Lord your God with all our heart, strength, soul and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” “On these two,” he said, “hang all of the laws and the prophets.”2

            Ascribing preeminence to God is the bounden duty of an honest Christian. Such a Christian would not endorse sins. Instead, he will reject sins but will love the sinner.

            Let us then love the gay people but let’s reject gay sex because it is a sin against God. Let us always love the Lord our God and continue to follow HIM all through the days of our life.

            But that’s not it! This situation in India is a classic case that reveals the incompetence of the law to change the hearts of the people. As Ravi Zacharias said, “Laws don’t change flaws.”3

            The law to criminalize gay sex has been in existence for around 150 years in India. But that law did not succeed in convincing people that gay sex is immoral.

            When India decides to decriminalize gay sex, I would like to think that India would have moved over from the side of the law to the side of grace. When grace is in effect, sins would be condemned but sinners would be offered a second chance to repent and reject their sins.

            Those practicing gay sex (not only them but all who sin voluntarily, which includes you and me) are being swayed by the powers of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Ephesians 2:2). The law is incompetent to save us from sins. Only the blood of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can save us from sins, says Ravi Zacharias:4

All the platitudes of political double-speak remind us that if we hope in politics and laws we will make the suicidal blunder of thinking that laws change hearts. They do not. Societal laws are always at the mercy of power brokers, as language without integrity of heart lends itself to the machinations of demagogues. Oftentimes those machinations will dress up their own violations with noble purposes. Few evils rise to the insidious level as those that mask reality with purportedly benign intentions, cosmetically hiding a cancerous, self-serving motive.
We see again and again in the ebb and flow of history how laws have the power of letters but they never win the soul of a person. Courts, agencies, police, military, EPA, FAA, FTC, IRS, the politically correct enforcers…my goodness, we have enough laws to make Rome look like a toy shop. All over the world we hear more talk about brotherhood and yet in reality we see more hoods than brothers.
But, thank God, there is a law above our laws. There must be a law above our laws that gets to the innermost being of a person and breaks the pursuit of autocracy within. That happens when we admit that the heart must humble itself before God, and this brings change. That surrender of the heart to God disarms the individual and engenders a love from God and for His will.
We look around today at the environment and mourn the abuse. Fair enough. But here is the greatest mystery of all. Why do we never think of the “invironment”? What stalks us within? Is there nothing sacred about this body? Is it only the trees that need protection? Is there nothing sacred about my relationships so long as I can pop something into the mouth to negate the behavior of the night before? Is there nothing sacred about work so long as the government will pay my bills? Is success all in the power to enforce and not in the power to change for eternal truths? Has the family no place in the building blocks of a society? Is politics purely left and right without any up and down? Ah! There’s the question.
Having left that question unanswered, we are producing a generation of young people that are ready to cry “justice” when wronged but seldom think of what is right in personal responsibility. They know everything about outer space and very little about inner space. They know how to hate; they simply don’t know how or why to love…
… we see the love of God at work. He sends and gives His Son so that we might not have to live with mere laws. We hear enough that we are a nation of laws. Laws don’t change flaws. They just reveal them. How about becoming a nation of grace? In Him, law and love converge. He brings the work of grace within us to make us hunger after the true, the good, and the beautiful. That rises beyond mere laws…
Several years ago, terrorists broke into two hotels in Mumbai and opened random fire. So many were killed. The carnage was bloody. One Indian actor was found alive amidst the pile of bodies under a table where several had dived for cover. In an interview he was asked, “Why didn’t they also shoot you when they walked by?” He said, “I was so covered with someone else’s blood that they thought it was mine and left me for dead.”
He didn’t know it but he hinted at the Gospel. The blood of our Savior saves us.

            The law cannot change your heart and mine. But Jesus can. But we need to allow HIM to rule us. We need to commit our lives to HIM and HIM alone. When Christ rules us, we will repent of our sins and HE will make us new again. The blood of Christ shed on the cross of Calvary will heal and save us.






Websites last accessed on 11th July 2018. 


Mathew Santhosh Thomas said...

Excellent write up - may be one more worthy Christian response - we approach these issues not from a moral high ground or “holier than thou” attitude, but from the realisation that we are “sinners saved by grace”. We come alongside others who are in this journey of being transformed into God’s imag

Unknown said...

Quite appealing and thoughtful.

abins varghese said...

Valuable information