Some of these social issues that are at the forefront of public debate in our time include abortion, same-sex relationships, and the definition of marriage. Even our president has apparently “evolved” on these issues through the course of his term in office such that many view him as now being on the “right side of history”.
In many areas of our lives it’s true that we’ve made advances and improvements in our understandings and practices, and we’ve benefited as a people. The medical profession has long since abandoned bleeding their patients with leeches (at least I hope so!), computers have replaced typewriters, and cars are used instead of buggies.
But there are certain laws and principles which have never changed. If you jump off a high building today, you will get the exact same result that someone jumping off a high building 200 years ago would have gotten, because gravity hasn’t changed.
The use of the terms “right” or “wrong” side of history seem to imply a moral dimension to one’s view, and there are moral laws which haven’t changed. For instance, it’s still wrong to murder and it’s still wrong to steal. But why is that so? How do I know that? Am I just relying on how I feel about these issues, or am I simply influenced by the majority of public opinion and practice?
The Bible has a lot to say about right and wrong moral practices. Included are very specific statements regarding marriage, same-sex relationships and abortion along with fearful warnings for those who choose to go their own way.
There was a time in ancient Israelite history when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). In other words, it was a time of moral relativity when God’s law was ignored, and God ultimately judged them for it. At a later time, the Apostle Paul wrote of those who ignore God as ones who “did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools… even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:21-22, 28).
These ancient words from the Bible sound a lot like our present condition as a nation. We see what was once considered right to now be wrong, the guilty are now the ones who are wronged, and the innocent are now viewed as oppressors. And if you don’t agree with these new views, then you’re accused of being on the wrong side of history.
Some who profess faith in God and the Bible have decided that the best approach is as one religious leader put it; “to talk less about social issues, and more about the positive benefits of a relationship with Christ”. At first glance that may sound reasonable, but how is it possible to disconnect Christ from social issues?
The Bible makes clear that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and therefore, what’s in the Bible regarding these social issues comes from Him. The Apostle John wrote of Jesus Christ, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14). Further, for one to be in a relationship with Christ is to not only believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, but to serve Him as He is God. And to serve Him as God is to have His mindset and practice regarding these social issues. Social issues, therefore, go hand in hand with a relationship with Christ, and cannot be separated.
Those who claim to be on the right side of history tell us that we should be tolerant of other social views and lifestyles. That position apparently is the new definition of what it is to be humble. If you’re not of this mindset, then you’re just labeled as being narrow-minded and arrogant.
As it turns out, there is much in the Bible which is non-negotiable. Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). That’s pretty exclusive. It seems to be that man is too proud and stubborn to come to God on God’s terms. Man sets out on his own path and decides for himself what it is to be on the right side of history.
But what is it really? Is it being on the right side of history, or is it to be on the wrong side of God?