A number of times I have sought to reinforce the biblical principle that you become like what you worship. This is an inexorable law; there are no opt outs. The passage I have cited most often in this regard is where the psalmist says that those who make idols are “like unto them” (Ps. 115:8) — blind, deaf and dumb.
But there are other aspects to this, and that would include the shamefulness of shamelessness.
“Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved” (Hosea 9:10, ESV).
The sexual disintegration of America over the last generation is a direct function of idolatry. It is no isolated sin. This is not something that happened all by itself. No, we have our very own Baal-peor, and our rulers are busy dedicating themselves to it. Social conservatives have set themselves the impossible task of fighting the effects of all this without dealing with the cause of it. Our Baal-peor, in case you were wondering, is secularism.
So our elites have found out the shameful thing, and they have consecrated themselves to it. They are so dedicated to it that they will fiercely persecute anyone who dares speak the truth about what they are doing. They are setting themselves apart, in a twisted parody of holiness. They are becoming like what they worship, and that means they are becoming detestable. And that means, in its turn, that we should detest them.
Wait a minute. Hate the sin, love the sinner, right? While we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). We were by nature objects of wrath, just as they are now. We are all taken from the same lump of damned clay, right (Rom. 9:21)? Right. No high horse for us. Any grim views of the depravity of others that does not take into account that we were all delivered (by grace) from the same appalling detestable condition is a view that is part of the problem.
So that is all correct, but we do have to make sure we understand something important about this before we set ourselves up in the high office of hating the sin and loving the sinner. Here it is: “and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 23). It is not enough to see your way clear to loving the sinner. You must do it while hating the filthiness that has ensnared him. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Prov. 8:13), and sinners don’t need any more love from people who don’t fear the Lord.
Such were some of us. That does mean there is nothing to be proud about. But this would have to include the kind of pride — than which there is no pride more sleek and insolent — that wants to rewrite God’s Bible for Him, making it more conducive the overwrought sensibilities of the detestable.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9–11).
There is real hope here for the sexual detestable, but it is not to be had for anyone who is indignant over the word detestable. Anyone who is offended when their sin is called detestable is still a drowning swimmer trying to fight off the lifeguard.
One last thing. Does the act of detesting, or any strong emotional reaction (to something the Bible says is worthy of that reaction), reveal that homophobia really is what is going on? No, not at all. God has made the world in such a way that detesting certain things, and being attracted to others, is normal. But we now have federal judges decreeing that when anyone puts powdered sugar on a turd, the rest of country must call it fine pastry or face a stiff fine. In addition, any obstinate soul who is still in the grip of common sense is identified as being pastryphobic.
The sin of Baal-peor is when rebellion against God is so advanced that the people consecrate themselves to the “thing of shame,” calling it their glory. That is where we are now. And they are getting all the cool kids to go along with it. They worship at Baal-peor, hoping to become really gross themselves, if they are not there already. Social conservatives are looking for a respectable “fall back” position, which is an attempt to get them to not prosecute us for thinking our wayward private thoughts.
Social conservatives are adopting this defensive posture because nobody is about to propose that we do to Baal-peor what the Eastern Europeans did to all those statues of Lenin when the wall came down. What we need are some cables and tractors. Oh, and courage. We might need some of that too.
The real phobia involved in all is theophobia — fear of the living God. And that is an irrational fear that really should be looked at.