We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. 1 Timothy 1:9-11 I am an optimistic and hopeful person by temperament. But I struggle with where our culture is trending morally. I have friends who have an orientation toward homosexuality, but are not practicing. I love a family member who is a practicing homosexual and I have a good friend whose son is transgender. John Piper explains how our orientation to pride is not the same as committing the sin of pride. In the same way, an individual’s orientation toward homosexuality is not the same as practicing homosexuality. But the institutionalism of sin is another level of concern. What does it mean to institutionalize sin? It's when the rule of law in our land recognizes as acceptable behavior what God and civilization has called sin for thousands of years. When abortion became legal our government institutionalized the murder of innocent children. When same-sex “marriage” was declared right—our nation institutionalized a redefinition of what God defines as one man and one woman through vows to: one another, their community and their Lord. The institutionalism of sin solicits the judgment of God on man’s shameless arrogance. Paul understood the serious nature of seeking to conform the gospel of Christ and the glory of God to sinful behavior. The gospel was entrusted to him by the Lord to steward vigilantly in fierce love and obedience. An emasculated gospel is no gospel at all—it is only a place holder for hellish consequences. Yet 2,000 years later the church is still tempted to compromise truth in the face of relentless and radical persecution. Believers in Jesus are called bigoted for defining marriage as only heterosexual. Religious liberty is subject to therights of a sinful society. Even so, light shines brightest in darkness. We are the light of Christ to help our confused culture. “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7). The practice of homosexuality is sin. To elevate it to the level of what God intended for marriage is to desecrate a divine institution. We cannot continue to dishonor holy God and not be judged. Sodom and Gomorrah received a temporary reprieve from the Lord’s wrath, because His righteous remnantremained faithful. But eventually, the cities were severely judged for their open endorsement of sexual immorality and perversion. What sins await institutionalization by our country? Prostitution, polygamy, transgenderism and euthanasia? Lord have mercy on us! There are other sins listed as serious acts of rebellion against God: murder, sexual immorality, slavery, lying and perjury. But sins against the body are most grievous. So, in the midst of our country’s moral crisis—what is our role as Christ followers? Daily we pray and repent of sin in our hearts so we can reflect the heart of a righteous God to those who need Jesus. Moreover, we arenot ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God to those who believe in Christ. We are bold to stand against sin with loving firmness. We overwhelm dark institutions with millions of lights united around the Lord Jesus. We face temporal trials with trust in our eternal Father. Sinful society scoffs at saints who hold true to truth. But the last word comes from The Word. God’s institution of righteousness—the church—will weather gale force winds from evil forces. Jesus the bridegroom takes care of His bride the church. Persecution from the world will purge the world from the church. Our role as Christ followers is to grow in grace and truth. When we love well, we are attractive to those seduced by inferior lovers. When we hold firm to truth, others are drawn to Christ’s saving faith. Jesus is and always will be the answer. Let’s stand on God’s truth by obeying His truth. Let’s represent our Lord well by loving everyone well. “Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that” (Luke 6:31-33). Prayer: Heavenly Father, deliver us as a nation from our pride and arrogance in redefining what You say is wrong and making it right—and rejecting what You say is right and making it wrong. Related Readings: Romans 6:12; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 5:3;2 Timothy 1:8 ~Wisdom Hunters Devotional!