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Posts Tagged ‘first commandment’

God says: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”  It is His first commandment (Exodus 20:3).  But, when we label ourselves “sexual beings,” we are tempted to put our “sexuality” — our flesh side — before God.

Doubt me?  Take an honest look at the culture.  Only one thing is “holy of holies” above all other things; only one thing is untouchable, my “right,” and to be revered no matter the cost.  That is “human sexuality.”  Beginning early in sex education, children are told: You are a “sexual being.”  Therefore: It is who I am.  It is me.  It is what I do.  It is even my excuse for what I should not do.

Telling ourselves and others (especially children) that we are “sexual beings” is bestowing the wrong identity.  Bestowing the wrong identity, we put ourselves in God’s place.  We call ourselves something that He did not.

God does not identify us as “sexual beings.”  God clearly identifies us a “human beings” or “humankind” or “man created in His own image” (Genesis 1:27).  Reading on, we learn that God created mankind to be “male and female.”  Is this where some Christians get the notion that God made us to be “sexual beings” or to possess “sexuality?”  Well, I don’t think Martin Luther or other church fathers would agree.  Luther writes, “Moses put the two sexes together and says that God created male and female in order to indicate that Eve, too, was made by God as a partaker of the divine image and of the divine similitude, likewise of the rule over everything.  Thus even today the woman is the partaker of the future life, just as Peter says that they are joint heirs of the same grace (1 Peter 3:7).  In the household the wife is a partner in the management and has a common interest in the children and the property, and yet there is a great difference between the sexes.”  (The Lutheran Study Bible, commentary on 1:28, p. 14).  How interesting that Luther did not take this opportunity to proclaim: Look, here, believers!  God has made humans to be sexual beings!  It is who we are!  Luther does, however, point to our real identity: Bearers of God’s divine image.

We do not bear the image of animals.  (Thus, we are not captive to animal instincts.)  We do bear the image of God.  God’s image is holy.  Even though we no longer bear the perfect image of God, He still calls us to holy living!  The kind of living that honors His name and reflects His glory rather than our own.  The kind of living that does not tempt others to sin but, instead, guards both our soul and the soul of our neighbor.

Ahhhh.  Now, we’ve come even closer to our true identity.  We are more than body or mind.  We are spirit, created by God who is Spirit.  We are immortal souls.  “Sexuality” has nothing to do with our souls.  Our souls will live forever.  (In heaven, Jesus tells us, there will be no marriage; in other words, no expression of “sexuality,” no “one flesh union” [Matthew 22:30].)

There is spiritual danger in choosing to identify ourselves as “sexual beings.”  True, we are male or female creations of God.  As male or female believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are God’s children.  Even when we fail to act as His children, He is still our Father.  The Father-Child relationship doesn’t change because of our sin.  But, when we sin against God by calling ourselves what He does not; when we focus on ourselves as “sexual beings” and not His children with immortal souls, then our wrong identity shapes our behavior and our behavior changes our attitude toward God.

A changed attitude toward God can dangerously tempt us to put ourselves in the place of God; to, in fact, become our own god.  A god who defines “self” and “sexuality” as being supreme.

The pagan defines himself and lives however he pleases.  But, the believer proclaims: It is God who made us and not we ourselves.  God says: I have called you by name; you are Mine.  In Jesus Christ, God calls us His children.  We are treasured souls bought with a price.  That is our identity.  Anticipating Jesus’ return, “sons” and “daughters” live their lives as male or female: two eyes of the human race.  Both are needed for a clear understanding of life.  It is folly to think of every interaction of male and female as being sexual in nature.  What an abhorrent mess that would be!  Being male and female is not so much sexual as it is the partnering of our complimentary differences to bring glory to God, proclaim Jesus Christ, and affect the culture for good.

Only in marriage does our “flesh side” – our “sexuality” – find its home.  Only in marriage is the “one flesh” union a divine gift to humanity.  It is a power from God.  Who, but the Creator God could join with man and woman to procreate, to bring new life — new body, mind and soul — into existence?  Husband and wife respond to God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.”  Yes, in the act of sex, male and female are “sexual.”  They procreate sexually.  In Scripture, all things “sexual” pertain to the act of sex.  It is the “will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his (or her) own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like [those] who do not know God”  (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).  The commentary on verse 4 found in the Lutheran Study Bible brings clarity.  “Our sexuality is God’s gift for use within the parameters of marriage.”  Do you understand what is being said here?  Our gift of sexuality, or the ability to have sex, is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman.  To be male or female, however, is a gift for daily use in glorifying God.  We are not to abstain from being male and female.  We are not to do battle with the attributes of maleness or femaleness, but with “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry . . . [T]hose who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:19-24).

It matters how we identify ourselves.  It determines our behavior.  It can become the argument for homosexuality.   It can help – or hinder – our neighbor.  It honors – or dishonors – the sanctity of human life.  When we identify ourselves as “sexual,” we may be tempted to give ourselves license; to, in fact, worship and serve ourselves rather than God (Romans 1:24-25).  But, re-created in Christ, male and female identify themselves in a different way.  A Christian’s body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit who enables the believer to turn away from a “sexy” life to a “holy” life.  When we identify ourselves as “holy” and “immortal souls,” we are encouraged to guard the treasure that Jesus bought at tremendous price.  “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17).

We “are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh” (v 12).  In Christ, our fallen nature has no claim on us.  Our “flesh side” may tempt us, saying: “This is who I am,” or “I owe it to myself,” but we aren’t obligated to obey its impulses or satisfy its desires.  Why?  Because we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” or idolatry.

We cry: “Abba Father!” (v.15)

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