Words have meanings. Back in 2015 the Supreme Court decided that states had to recognize same sex marriages as valid marriages. In essence, the Supreme Court decided to redefine marriage. The meaning of marriage was changed. Many Christians were mocked for standing against this ruling. We were labeled as haters. Even well meaning Christians said, “Why not just let people marry regardless of their sex?” “What harm is there in letting people marry who they want?”
Part of the reason the church stood against this redefining of marriage is because once you change the meaning of a word that is so basic and fundamental to society you begin to lose the building blocks of society. When a court can redefine marriage it is not only marriage that is at stake but everything is fair game. What do I mean?
When the definition of words can be changed by certain groups of people in a society then they control what is legal and acceptable at their whims and opinions. When the meaning and definition of words are flexible then the law becomes selective according to the ones who are in control of the meaning of words. If someone in a place of influence doesn’t like you they can redefine who you are according to the law. Rights are no longer recognized as being given by God but by those who define the terms.
When we were laughed at for saying the redefining of marriage was just the beginning of the slippery slope the church did not give up her stance. Some churches didn’t stand firm, they allowed for same sex marriages but others did stand firm. Now we have people redefining their biological sex to fit whatever their current desires are. Even “pastors” in these so called churches that accepted the change in definition of marriage now say you can change your very identity. Now a person can change the definition of man or woman so that they can move from one group to another depending on who is protected under the law and who is targeted under the law. Redefining marriage was just the beginning.
This is why in Christian faith we must be taught the meanings of words according to the will of God. We learn words like “justification” and “sanctification.” This is why we ask the question about teachings in the scripture, “What does this mean?” and then we have an agreed upon definition according to God’s revealed will in the scriptures. The reason the world and the devil want to be able to change the definition of words is because the gospel, which is words, is under attack.
Everything the devil does is to undermine the gospel. Even convincing our government officials that words can’t be trusted or that the meaning of words can be altered, his goal is always the same. This last Sunday in our liturgy we sang, “Lord to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.” Words have meanings. Our Lord has seen fit to use words to teach us about who he is. He works through words and that word of pardon and forgiveness never changes. Can you imagine if we began to change the meaning of the word of God?
What if we began to act like the outside world when it comes to definitions of basic words? What if we said marriage is whatever you want it to be, what would become of St. Paul saying marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship to his church? Would Jesus then only die for someone who is like himself, perfect and without sin?
Indeed the devil would like to convince us that that is the case. That you have to prove to Jesus your worthiness in order for him to forgive you. Or even worse, that our judge, the Lord Jesus Christ would change his judgment of us! That he would no longer see his offering on the cross for our sins sufficient to redeem us from our sins, this is blasphemous and contrary to what God says about himself. In our Tuesday Biblestudy we are taught from Malachi,
“I the Lord your God do not change.” Malachi 3:6
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Heb. 13:8
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
God will not change on us. He does not change his word and he does not change his promises to be with us. Even if society or rulers of the world try to change the meaning of words, we know God will not. We can trust him. Jesus fulfilled the law, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Luke 5:17 He gave His only begotten son so that we would have a promise to believe in. That we are granted the right of eternal life and the resurrection of our bodies and souls because he has made us his people by a new birth of water and the Spirit. He made us members of his kingdom. We are members of his family. He defines the terms and words and his word for us is not guilty. Forgiven. Redeemed.
So learn his words. Learn his definitions, for in his word is eternal life. Life not only in the resurrection but even now.
See you on Sunday! In Christ,