By Fr. Jay Rice
Does God Change? Does He change according to the times and what is considered right or wrong in a given society?
I was forced to ponder this question today when I was called an “ignorant” clergy member. I was called this because I hold to what the bible teaches, what Christ taught, the Apostles preached, and the Church has preserved as truth for over 2000 years (longer than that when you consider the Old Testament writings). It was over a discussion about homosexuality. Apparently a Roman Catholic Priest last Sunday in England announced to his parish during his sermon that he was “gay” and that he believed in “marriage equality.” When I made a comment that rebuked this clergy members stance in a discussion I was called a ignorant clergy member. I was also asked by the person “since when has homosexuality become a sin?” I was slightly taken aback assuming the person was a Christian given the format the discussion was in. I thought, what bible are people reading? Do people who engage in Christian discussions or go to church even read their bibles? The argument I constantly hear is that God changes. Times change, therefore God must change also. I am told we have to adapt to the changing morality of the times. Is this true? Is this what the Bible teaches? The answer is a resounding NO! Now don’t get me wrong. I am not singling out one sin over another. This mindset applies to how we view all sin and if we believe the word of God to be just that, the holy word of God. First, let me address the character of God that is revealed in holy scripture concerning the unchangeable nature of God. Malachi 3:6 states “For I am the Lord, I change not…” James 1:17 says that with God there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Hebrews 13:8 says of our Lord “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” There are many more verses that describe the unchanging character of God but these shall suffice to make the point. Next we need to understand how God views sin. Psalm 5:5 states “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” Proverbs 8:36 says, “But he that sinneth against me wrongest his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” Isaiah 13:9 says, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Proverbs 6:16-19 speaks of Gods hatred toward sin. Again, there are many more verses that describe Gods hatred of sin. All one has to do is read the bible and this becomes clear. The whole redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ is because of mans sin. Why does God hate sin? Because He is Holy. Gods standard is absolute holiness. 1 Peter 1:16 says “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Of course none of us can live up to that standard which is why we have redemption through our Lord. However, that is still the standard. That is what we strive for by repentance and amendment of life. In fact repentance and conformity to God is required for the Christian. Acts 2:38 says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Jesus Himself said “saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2). The whole point to all this is that the scriptures are clear. There is sin. Sin is what God says it is. It is not for us to pick and choose. We are not God. God is God. We must be conformed to His image. We, His created beings cannot demand that God be conformed to our image. Conformity is required by us toward God, not God toward us (Romans 12:2). The scriptures are clear. The teachings of the prophets, our Lord, the Apostles and all the saints that proceeded us are clear. If I am to be labeled an “ignorant clergy member” for adhering to the faith once delivered and for preaching what the word of God reveals about sin, repentance and our obligation to be conformed to Gods image, not our own, then let me be so labeled. I would rather be in the company of the Saints in my so called ignorance than in the company of the so called wisdom of the world.