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Love Wins

Last week, as the Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges was announced, many people celebrated this ruling by using the phrase “love wins.” The Supreme Court decision was represented as a victory for love over against (presumably) hate and bigotry. And yet, the all-important question concerns which love won, because not all “love” is created equal. In John 3:16-21, we see two opposite loves mentioned: a divine love in v.16 that leads to eternal life, and a dark love in v. 19 that leads to condemnation and death. Which love won?

As the Bible reveals, God Himself is love (1 John 4:8), and His actions define love and show us what love is, most clearly through the sending of His Son to secure our salvation (John 3:16, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10). If you want to know what true love is, the Bible directs your gaze to Jesus. And when we look to Jesus, we see that Jesus was sent into the world to deal with a particular problem: not simply to be kind to people, to do generic nice things for them, or to have certain feelings for them, but to rescue people in danger of perishing. Love is fundamentally opposed to perishing and to the evil works or sins that lead to perishing. Love means seeking life for another. Love rescues people from sin and death.

And so as we consider the Supreme Court decision we need to ask: is homosexual behavior sinful? Is this one of the evil works that Jesus came to rescue people from? And in Lev. 18:22 and 1 Cor. 6:9-11 (among other places), God clearly says “Yes it is.” Yes, it is sinful, which means that it corrodes life and leads to eternal death.

But John is not simply looking to the distant future. In verse 18 he says that those who do not believe in Jesus are condemned already. There is no need to wait and see what God thinks, since He’s already spoken. But notice that what condemns a person is not simply the reality of sin, but the fact that they reject the only remedy for sin, the blood of Jesus Christ! Homosexuals can be saved from their sin, just as any other sinner can be saved, but all sinners can only be saved by repenting of their sin and believing in Christ. This means that when you choose any sin instead of Jesus, then love for God and love for sin had a battle in your heart, and the wrong love won.

In light of this, we are better able to evaluate the slogan and the Supreme Court decision. Of course love won, but the really useful question is not whether love won, but rather, which love won. Was the Court’s decision a victory for divine love leading to life, or the dark love that leads to death? God’s answer is clear: the decision of the court to inventively discover a new right for members of the same sex to “marry” each other is a triumph of the love of death. This decision will lead hundreds and thousands of men and women into soul-destroying, image-of-god-defiling, judgment-incurring death, instead of the eternal life that God intended His creatures to enjoy. This decision is a rejection of Jesus Christ and the love He came to show, that is to say, a rejection of real and true love.

Proverbs 8:36 says: “All those who hate me love death.” This dark love enslaves every man, woman, and child apart from Jesus Christ. As for Obergefell, those who have advocated for this decision, those who have enacted this decision, and those who celebrate this decision demonstrate by their behavior that they love death and darkness and hate God and His image-bearers. But God in His mercy will not allow their hatred to have the last word. The good news of the gospel is that while we were still sinners, Jesus died an atoning death for us and in His resurrection He abolished death forever, for all those who believe in Him. The good news is that God loves us too much to let us go on loving death. God’s love wins because God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Posted on Wednesday, July 08, 2015 by CJ Bowen