As the redeemed, we received a reminder this week by way of the U.S. Supreme Court of a truth in Psalm 146:
“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry” (Psalm 146:3-7).
This country’s highest court issued a decision Monday (June 15) that was no less than a watershed, a landmark. In a 6-3 opinion, the justices ruled federal protection against sex discrimination in the workplace includes the classifications of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” This means people who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender have the same civil rights based on their status as ethnic minorities and women.
The fact four liberal justices voted in the majority is no surprise. But two of the justices in the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, came to the court with reputations as conservatives and with strong support from many evangelical Christians. The presidents who nominated them – President George W. Bush in Roberts’ case and President Donald Trump in Gorsuch’s case – gained the backing of many evangelicals because of their belief these men would select conservatives for the high court if they were elected. And there was reason to think Roberts and Gorsuch fit the bill.
Hence God’s reminder: “Put not your trust in princes.”
Certainly, we should participate in elections in an informed way and seek the enactment of God-honoring policies through our representative form of government. But we should also realize our knowledge is limited -- office-holders and judges can act in ways that undercut our beliefs and best intentions.
But this decision is more than a reminder of whom we should trust ultimately and of our finite nature. It also is a loud announcement – if we had not heard it before – that this is a new day. In the last five years, the Supreme Court has given us new definitions of marriage and sexuality. Its decision-making reflects the massive transformation that has taken place in our society in a short time. God’s created order regarding sexuality and marriage has been rejected in court and largely spurned in culture.
How should we respond? Here are some brief recommendations:
-- Mourn the distortion of God’s design in creating human beings as male and female but confidently trust in the One who has made us for this time.
-- Prepare for what could be a lengthy, legal battle over religious freedom for Christians, as well as for an increasing societal pressure to compromise biblical convictions.
-- Love, serve, and evangelize our neighbors, including those who are trapped in lifestyles that grieve a holy God and harm them.
-- Live and grow as part of a covenant community – a church – that is committed to following Jesus and becoming more like Him no matter the cost.