Thank you for allowing me the attempts at answering some of your questions last week during the message. At best it is a difficult endeavor. At worst it could be an extreme failure. Any time questions are asked there exists an aspect of interpretation that is imposed upon the question. Upon reflection, I may not have answered all questions satisfactorily.
There were 2 questions that were not answered and I want to take a few moments to address these via this post. If they don’t appeal to you – no need to read any further – however if they do. I encourage you to read and maybe it will stir up our hearts more deeply for the things of God.
- With the definition of marriage becoming blurry, even within the church, how can Christians who stand for truth speak to unbelievers or those in “alternative marriages” when others who proclaim to profess Christ say something different?
- How does Romans 1:24-25 differ from original sin in all of mankind?
- Answer: To begin to answer the HOW of this question I would like to reference Ravi Zacharias. He says that we cannot begin to understand the questions people pose without having wrestled with them intellectually and personally. Those answers must be internalized through a lifelong process of spiritual transformation, that is to live those answers out with compassion for the lost and passion for the gospel.
In other words: we have a responsibility to relate to the questioner in a way that our answers are couched in a relevant context while founded through well developed convictions. The most important aspect of this is to connect with the questioner.
So, now for a short answer to the question above: We must have a well-developed Biblical definition and understanding of marriage (this will be one of the topics covered in our series). Second we must have a reasonable definition and ability to present the Bible as authoritative. At the heart of the question is the matter of interpretation of Scripture.
Hermeneutics is the study of the proper methods of interpreting text (in this case Scripture). It is important for every Christian to have a good understanding of how the Bible should be studied and interpretation developed. It takes a good handling of Scripture, not just taking one verse and using it as a “proof text” for one’s opinions or beliefs.
The first rule of hermeneutics is to have Scripture interpret Scripture. When this principle is followed well, most seeming incongruities and questions about the veracity of Christ’s teaching and dispelled. In terms of a view of marriage we need to apply the principles of hermeneutics appropriately to have compelling and compassionate convictions to communicate through gracious word and merciful attitudes that would provide hope to the hurting and confused in our friendships.
2. Answer: Romans 1:24-25, reads, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
The question addresses the nature of sin (note: this is not the same as sin nature of man), comparing that of the original sin of Adam and Eve to that which is described in Romans 1:24-25 (or for that matter other parts of the chapter as well).
Carefully considering Genesis 3:1 and the question posed to Eve by the serpent, the meaning is to cast doubt on the promise of God. Genesis leaves little room for question that original sin was not merely a moral defect, rather it was Eve’s disbelief in God’s word. In Adam, as he watched Eve’s disbelief passively he acted in disobedience and rebellion to the law of God (do not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Genesis 2:17).
Romans 5:12 says that sin came into the world through one man. That man was Adam who was disobedient to God’s command. Paul later writes that Adam was a type of Jesus, the one who was to come. Jesus provided salvation because of his obedience to the will of God. His obedience is a stark contrast to the disobedience of Adam.
So when we look at original sin it is couched in disbelief and disobedience (both assumed by Adam). Romans 1:24-25 (or any of the other lists of sin in Romans) describe what sin eventually entails and what is at the core of its nature. Note that verse 24 says, “God gave them up…” This is an indirect judgement of God established by his personal withdrawal of protection. Therefore it presupposes sin, that sin in an ongoing rebellion and hardness, which leads to greater rebellion. This, unlike the original sin of Adam and Eve, has a form of impurity at its roots.