Rev. Patrick Slyman
---- — The rainbow was given by God as a sign of His mercy upon sinful man.
It signified a divine promise that “all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there be again a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11). The rainbow signifies the grace and mercy of a holy God.
Yet, in light of God’s mercy and grace, one must not forget that God is holy and hates sin with a passion. He abhors sin. In fact, it was because of sin that God destroyed the human race (save Noah and his family) with the flood in the first place.
His holy anger is stated by God Himself in these words, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (Genesis 6:7).
Why? Because “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Wickedness is what fills the heart of man—wickedness that has infected all parts of our being, continually — the very wickedness that God hates.
Fast forward to June 1, 2013, when Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk raised the very symbol of holy God’s mercy and grace at the Gloucester rotary — a symbol that has been altered from its original meaning to one that exalts the very thing that God hates: sin (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Jude 1:7).
It is frightening to think, but on June 1, Mayor Kirk (representing the city of Gloucester) actually shook her fist in the face of God—supposing that God’s hatred of sin has dissipated, presuming that God’s grace will always be upon this town, thinking that God’s hatred against sin has changed. In effect, it was a mocking of the holiness of God — taking the very symbol of his grace and flying it proud in the exaltation of sin, the very reason why God judged the earth previous.
There are some things one never wants to do: stir a hornet’s nest, wake a sleeping bear, etc., etc. Yet infinitely more serious than those— one should never seek to rouse the holy anger of God. Yet, that is what happened just a few weeks ago. The very flag that would have flown high and proud in Sodom was raised in Gloucester. And what was the effect on Sodom? Fire (not water—God will always keep His promise of never destroying the world with water again!) rained down in destruction and judgment (Genesis 19:24).
Many will say that sin is sin, that no sin is worse than another sin. Well, according to the Bible, that is not true. Sexual sin is the product of a mind turned over to “degrading passions,” a mind abandoned by God (Rom 1:26).
Is there forgiveness for sexual sin? Absolutely — there is forgiveness of all sin! Jesus Christ was sent to save sinners from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He was sent to take upon himself the sins of all who would believe in Him as Lord and Savior and suffer the full wrath of God’s holy judgment (2 Corinthians 5:21).
God has never and will never wink at sin. Sin has and will always demand payment, and that payment will either be experienced by the sinner or experienced by the perfect and righteous Jesus Christ.
My plea for Cape Ann is to turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Confess the wickedness that infects your being, turn to the holy and merciful God for salvation through his resurrected Son.
Do not presume on God’s grace any longer. Do not suppose that His anger against sin has burned out. Peter’s words ring true today as ever, “Mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying … ‘For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’
“For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7).
Is there hope? Yes. As Peter continues, “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Dr. Patrick Slyman is pastor of Pigeon Cove Chapel.