Moses writes that on day six of creation, the Lord God made man in his own image (Genesis 1:26-27). That brief revelation about human nature is all we need to understand the Bible’s demands for Christian living.
Kurt Vonnegut summarized humanism with his famous statement, “Being a humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.” We will set aside the question of where Vonnegut got his idea of “decently” for another article, but for now I would like to challenge the presupposition beneath his quotation that Christians and other religious people are good only because they want to receive rewards in the afterlife, or because they want to avoid punishment after they are dead. That may be part of it, but that is not the complete picture.
Because we believe we have been created in God’s image, life for us is a pursuit of God more than a struggle for rewards. We were created for God’s glory (Isaiah 43:47). Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Only God is good (Matthew 19:70), and he sent his Son to die for us so that we could become “a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). Paul said that the Christian life is a process of transformation “into the same image [of the Lord] from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18) and that God “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus died for this. Accordingly, Peter writes, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18).
True joy is found in being what we were built to be. That is our reward. Psalm 16:11 reads, “…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.” Christ makes it possible for us to pursue God and find him, and in that place where God is we discover our true nature.
The homosexuals are telling us that coming out of the closet is liberating because they are able to be true to themselves. One part of that is actually true. Being true to yourself is liberating. There is joy in that. But God did not make us to be homosexuals or adulterers or selfish narcissists or addicts or self-righteous blind men or materialistic idolaters. He created us to be like him. He is our Father, and the apple is happiest when it falls close to the tree.