Archive for June, 2016

If you ever took a class on expository preaching, you would have heard the line about the preacher who had written a great sermon and now needed a scripture to go along with it. Unfortunately, that scenario gets played out too often. The Scriptures become something to use instead of the Word of God to heed.

The Bible gets especially abused by professing Christians who seek scriptural support for their agenda, and one of the most egregious abuses concerns their utilization of Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (ESV).

“Christian” apologists for homosexuals and transgenders emphasize the “no male and female” part of that verse. Their claim is that since Christians “are all one in Christ Jesus,” God has demolished the categories of male and female. Sexual categories are irrelevant, so if a person is born female and believes she is really male, what the person feels is more important than what her biology reveals.

Such cherry-picking of Scripture to validate one’s cause reveals naiveté at best and dishonesty at worst. First, the Scriptures affirm the categories of male and female. God created humanity in his image and defined them as male and female (Genesis 1:27). As David writes, from our mothers’ wombs we “are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14). Those who refuse to submit to the sex in which they were created are telling God that his work is flawed and they are going to fix it. The creature “corrects” the Creator.

Second, Scripture condemns attempts to invalidate one’s manhood and womanhood. This is why homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testament. Romans 1:26-28 leaves little doubt: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:26–28, ESV).

Third, Galatians 3:28 is not speaking to gender but to status. In Christ Jesus there is nothing that distinguishes one believer from another as far as those things we use for status. A Jew is not superior to a Greek, a free man is not superior to a slave, and a male is not superior to a female. In Christ we all have equal standing. That does not change our ethnicity, social position, or sexuality, but we cannot use our ethnicity, social position, or sexuality to claim a superior position over others.

In Luke 11:28 Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (ESV). We are to conform our will to God’s will, and we do that only as we submit to his Word. God, however, has expressly warned against misusing his Word:

“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2, ESV).

“Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32, ESV).

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18–19, ESV).

Frankly, people who use Galatians 3:28 to affirm what Scripture condemns are guilty of dishonesty. They read into the text what they want it to say, not what the author of the text intended. Forsaking legitimate exegesis, they are guilty of eisegesis of the worst sort. And God will not hold them guiltless, for they have dared to reduce the holy Scriptures to the status of clay, fashioning it after the likeness of their fallenness, and have subsumed God’s will to their own. Claiming that the Bible says what it clearly does not say merely compounds one’s guilt for choosing to condone what God has condemned.


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