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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Wait? Reflecting on the Christian's Call to Sexual Purity.

 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,  while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. -- Titus 2:11-14

 There was a point in my life where I understood it would never be worth it to have sex outside of marriage.

  I have never been to a “True Love Waits” conference or heard a sermon or youth group lesson on the importance of sexual purity.

  I have never sat in on a health class detailing all of the horrible diseases I could get by sleeping around, nor was I shamed into chastity by my parents.

  Though my heart breaks to hear stories of emotional baggage and scars brought into relationships due to extra-marital sex, that wasn't what moved me to solidify me commitment to sexual purity.

  And I wasn't won over by the claim that Christians who wait have the best sex.

  Comforting though it may be to believe that every person who has sex outside of marriage is a broken, emotionally scarred, STD ridden, degenerate doomed to a life of bad sex, it isn't the full truth.

  There was no magic formula involved, no knock-down, drag-out argument; no shame or scare tactics.

   I simply realized that a moment of passion would never be worth taking from me the one thing that so many believers crave to see from their fellow Christians, the same thing that the world is totally convinced that the Church doesn't have: authenticity.

  I don't want a faith that goes this far and no farther.

  I don't want a faith that moves me to read my Bible, but not obey what it says.

  I don't want a faith that tickles my brain, but cannot move my hands and feet to flee from sin.

  I want an authentic faith: a faith that works.

  If a burning desire to see our faith and trust in Jesus Christ lived out daily to God's glory, so that others might see us and turn and glorify Him does not under-gird our sexual ethos, we will not be moved remain sexually pure or else we will do it for the wrong reasons, such as shame and fear.

  On the opposite end of the spectrum, a chorus of post-conservative evangelicals seem to want remove from sexual sin, especially extra-marital sex, the fact of its dishonorableness (1 Corinthians 6:18-20), defilement (Hebrews 13:4), and carnality (Colossians 3:5).

  One author writes

...I’m done with virginity....Virginity is just another way that people in power talk about who’s in and who’s out of favor with Church, that we set up winners and losers in a Kingdom supposedly of equals. It’s just another way we try to make God like us more than other people.”

 While I understand and sympathize with the sentiment behind this statement, I have to say that it's horribly na├»ve.

  If you pretend that something doesn't exist does it go away?
      If you act like a word or concept has no meaning does it make it so?
    Rather than waging a war of words or trying to scare people into "waiting", let's focus on distinguishing the nature and consequence of sin from our primary motivation for not sinning (ie: our Christian faith).
  I maintain that if our disgust with our own sin is not rooted in our unabated love for God, not only will we have lost our best and surest motivation for holy living, we will have set ourselves up for a shallow faith that any non-Christian will see right through.
    We must strive to live for God, surrendering our whole wills to Him, “beating our bodies” for the cause of Christ, and all the rest will follow.