Most people in the world would know more about what the church is against than what it is for.
Nowhere does Christianity and the world contrast more than on the message of sex and sexuality. The sexual revolution of the sixties and onwards opened the door the Victorian era had long worked to keep hushed up and out of the spotlight. Now the genie was out of the bottle and it wasn’t going back in.
God is the creator of sex. It’s one of His best ideas in a long list of great achievements. Along with sex, God also put some guardrails around it to protect it’s specialness. In God’s eyes, there is something more to sex than just two pieces of matter coming together, it’s deeper and even more mysterious than that. In Genesis 2:24 God said:
Two becoming one. Two separate people becoming one person. The term better half has been used to describe a person’s spouse for many years, usually a man referring to his wife. God’s original idea of sex being the glue in marriage is something Christians hold dear to.
In our world today sex has become an idol. It is bought and sold, it is used like a commodity. In today’s culture it has become so much so that it is now seen by some to reflect their identity. Having a sexual preference in one way or another is now actually a reflection of someone’s identity.
Following Jesus means a call to purity. Purity in mind and body. The call to holiness is counter cultural. We must also understand that we cannot hold those outside of our faith to the same standard of purity we have signed up for.
Identity for the Christian is not based on our sexual preferences or even on how ‘good’ we might think we are or appear to be. Our identity is based on Jesus, the one who came to seek and save the lost. That call to salvation is for everyone; every race, every gender and every sexual orientation.
Jesus, when he was in the temple in Jerusalem, had a woman brought to him by the religious leaders of the day. A woman caught in the very act of adultery. Where the guy was who knows, but to test Jesus these religious leaders demanded judgement from Him. The Jewish law of the time stated that the death penalty by stoning was the requirement. Jesus didn’t utter anything, but stooped down and started writing in the sand (John 8:8). “He who is without sin cast the first stone’ Jesus said, and carried on writing in the sand”.
No-one knows what Jesus wrote in the sand that day, it wasn’t recorded, but one by one the crowd accusing the woman dispersed, starting with the older ones and leading down to the younger ones.
The sheep and oxen to be sacrificed for sins at the temple altar could be heard from where the woman lay on the ground. She knew what the punishment would be. To be buried up to her chest in the ground and have stones hurled at her until she stopped breathing, a process done so that no individual stone thrower could carry the guilt of the fatal blow. One by one the accusers all left until it was just Jesus and the sobbing woman. Jesus straightened up from writing on the ground and said to the woman, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”
“No one, Lord” she said, and Jesus said to her, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more”.
The only sinless man who could have thrown a stone didn’t. Jesus was more interested in the heart of this woman. He knew full well that, like the sacrifices going on behind them during this, it would one day be Him dying for the sins of this woman, and the world.
Identity for all humanity is found in being the image bearers of God (Gen 1:26). In this beautiful exchange Jesus offered the woman what no one else would or could. He offered her unconditional love and acceptance, despite the sin she was clearly guilty of.
Living the Christian life out is counter culture. It is also counter religious. When done right though, Jesus’ love changes lives.