Hillsdale College Newsletter has an impressive slogan. The newsletter is named “Imprimis” which means of first importance or maybe of highest priority. The tagline to this newsletter is “because ideas have consequences.” The first 11 chapters of Romans are full of Christian ideals. They present us with the importance of the Gospel followed by explanations of salvation by grace through faith followed by some of the most profound insights regarding God’s love for man and his purpose and plans for us even through trials and suffering. But when Paul opens chapter 12, he begins with a “therefore….” From there he introduces the consequences of the doctrines that he explained in the first 11 chapters. The truths of our Christian faith have consequences with respect to our choices of lifestyles. Ideas have consequences!

That one word “therefore” links our behavior to our convictions. James M. Boice said it means, “How shall we live in light of the fact that God has redeemed us from sin’s penalty by the death of Jesus Christ and freed us from sin’s tyranny by the power of the Holy Spirit?” Whether we admit it or not, the basis of all our life choices is rooted in concepts and ideas. These ideas form our world views from which our lives proceed. Boice goes on to quote one of my favorite authors, Francis Schaeffer, “As Christians we are not only to know the right world view, the world view that tells us the truth of what is, but consciously to act upon that world view so as to influence society in all its parts and facets across the whole spectrum of life, as much as we can to the extent of our individual and collective ability.”

Now, getting back to the “idea” of family values, let me quote Boice once more. He says, “Unless we acknowledge God and God’s saving acts as the source and basis for our values, anyone who thinks clearly may refute our concern with such questions as these: What kind of family values are we talking about? A nuclear family? A single-parent family? A homosexual family? Why should any one be preferred above another?” It is all just a matter of personal opinion. John Calvin wrote, over 500 years ago, “This is the main difference between the Gospel and philosophy. Although the philosophers speak on the subject of morals splendidly and with praiseworthy ability, yet all the embellishment which shines forth in their precepts is nothing more than a beautiful superstructure without a foundation…” After explaining the primary doctrines of our faith, Paul expresses the consequences. He writes, “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)