DO NOT TAMPER OR TEMPORISE WITH THE WORD OF GOD
Jesus had a running battle with the Scripture interpreters of His day. They were the Scribes and the Pharisees. That battle hotted up through the years of his ministry and his final speech he roundly denounced them. He cries “Woe” against them seven times (Matthew 23:13-28). He particularly notes the way they played games with the plain truth of the Scriptures. Intensifying some things and diluting others (Matthew 23:16-23), evading, temporising and tampering with what God had said.
- This is a profound danger for us today. Adapting as no longer relevant. Changing to suit the climate of our day.
- Jesus said their fundamental problem was that they were in neglect of the “weightier matters of the law” (Matthew 23:23).
- JUSTICE, MERCY and FAITHFULNESS.
- We run the same risks. Some of us are light on justice and heavy on a sentimental mercifulness.
- Others of us heavy on justice and light on the mercy. Justice is thus corrupted into a judgmental spirit.
- If we fall into either of these traps we will neither be Faithful to God or to those we are trying to help.
- Faithfulness to God, to His truth and to mankind involves the need to embrace of justice (righteousness) as God states righteousness and justice to be.
- Faithfulness involves the necessity of justice and truth to be held together in their appropriate relationship. Only then will we be pointing the way to the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.
THE IMAGE OF GOD REVEALED IN MALE FEMALE RELATIONSHIP
Although we have considered a little concerning man created male/female as being the image of God another aspect must be pondered. When we look at the way the Word (Jesus) is introduced to us in the Gospel of John we find something important. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” (John 1:1). In the original language there is a clear idea of the Word being FACE TO FACE with God. If this is the Divine original mode of living, nothing in between, eye to eye and face to face it has an important lesson as to the relationship of the male and female in their human sexuality as God’s image bearers.
- Virtually all romantic poetry speaks of the face of the beloved. The eyes, the lips, the mouth, even the nose, it seems that all is face to face first and other parts of the anatomy of the beloved are second, third and so on.
- There is a poem of human love between a man and his spouse in the Bible. It is called, the Song of Songs. The song of love is the song of all songs, there is no other song like it!
- There are, embedded within the poetry of this song, words in which the husband gives some highly graphic descriptions of the beloved. Almost all of them begin with some aspect of her face (Song 4:1, 1:15).
- The same is true when the spouse describes her husband. She begins with his face, his eyes and lips (Song 5:10-13).
- If we followed the description that each give of the other they would lead us to other parts of their beloved’s body, but all starts where it should, with the eyes, with the face. “Turn away your eyes from me, for they overwhelm me,” He says (Song 6:5) is just one example.
- “Yours eyes like doves behind your veil,” (Song 4:1) suggest the sacred wonder of human love.
- Yes, the lovers also glory in the parts of the anatomy associated with the genital sex, but all is steeped in a sense of wonder, mystery and glory.
COMPARE THE SHABBY SEXUALITY OF OUR DAY
Where lays the glory and beauty of love today? It seems to be a dim and distant shattered dream, almost obliterated by the triumph of the body beautiful, the body sexual. Advertising and sales executives act as pimps making available their wares. We are able to scan all sorts of the female anatomy as it is used to advertise virtually anything. Occasionally we see only the torso of the female or the male, all we have is faceless sex. It is an apt symbol for the degeneration into the merely animal lust that is intentionally stirred in order to sell goods in a merciless commercial environment.
a, Women walk the streets afraid to look anyone in the eye, especially a man.
- They walk in fear of rape or other abuse.
- Men are becoming predatory, if they look at a face their gaze quickly falls to other parts of the female anatomy in order to make their assessment.
- Thus the image of God as love and of human love between male and female is all but erased and replaced by that which is lust, lust and more lust.
- Should we be surprised at the increase of pornography and its results (that mainly fall into two categories), either the drying up of real sexual relations with the spouse and the decline into mere voyeurism, or its opposite where men (and sometimes women) go forth to conquer as they have seen in the pornographic scenes on their screens. This accounts for the brazen pride found on some TV shows when either men or women declare how many sexual encounters they have ‘enjoyed’ in their recent past.
- There is no eye to eye here, only eye to body parts. All degenerates into lust, sex for personal satisfaction, not the fruit of profound and deeply felt commitment of holy love. A body becomes a mere tool for use unto momentary satisfaction.
- Nakedness is no longer something of two lovers bound together by the holy covenant of marriage in the privacy of their own bedroom.
- Nakedness is now displayed openly, in all kinds of ways, on beaches, on advertising hoardings and the public eye.
- It may be said that surely there are tribes that still are more or less naked in their daily life, but anyone watching National Geographic programs will note the honour, dignity and rituals both seen and unseen that regulate the life of the tribe together in community. These act as restraints that relegate sexual promiscuity and same sex relationships as totally counterproductive to the common good of the families than make up the community.
- To destroy the dignity of the body in the way that was done in the Hitler death camps and practiced today in the rampant commercialised use of the male and female form in advertising leads to the destruction, rape and enslaver becoming more and more commonplace in our day.
- The public nakedness seen today at almost every turn involves an absence of honour, the abandonment of self to self-exploitation and the exploitation of others.
- The privacy that should be accorded to sex is being systematically eroded and that erosion further leads to the ruin of family and destroys society.
- If we had eyes to see, we would recognise that sexual vanity is inane, stupid and totally unproductive and opens the way to all sorts of bizarre activities in the lives of those who become proud of their sexual prowess. These bizarre activities include all kinds of bondage and other such about which we do not want to write.
THE INEVITABLE LACK OF FACE TO FACE AND BODY TO BODY
Consider this inevitable lack in same sex relationships. In one, man with man, of necessity there is no face to face. The organ of generation is placed where it ought not to be placed. The precious seed of life is thrust into the place where waste is put forth from the body. There is no face to face here. And with woman and woman, the pseudo must be used for there is no real and genuine union of bodies. There is no marriage, only partnership in distorted sexuality. There is no matching of body with body, how can there be when there is only same with same? It is a shame to even think and speak and write of such things. They should never be practised by Christians and if others choose to do so, they do so at their peril. Because Man is made in the image of God, the practice of such is blasphemy against Him.
The contrast between the travesty briefly discussed above and what God intended is a gulf so wide it beggars belief.
- God gave one woman to one man. This was His ideal (Genesis 2:24).
- They shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
- Perfect complementarity. A man and a woman face to face in what should be the ultimate union between them when heart, soul and body meld into one in uttermost intimacy and perhaps, in God’s good pleasure, there would be fruit from that union.
- It is probable, that at no other time in the life of a husband and wife are they more like God than when, in their pure adoring love for each other they come together in physical union during which the beginning of a new life is conceived. Thus the fruit of the womb is the result of a holy love between one man and one woman bound together in heart, soul and mind, not simply the outcome of a moment of passion.
DEVALUING MARRIAGE LEADS TO SEXUAL CONFUSION
Although it may not be readily perceived or acknowledged by some, an honest assessment of history will show that when a society rejects the union of one man with one woman as God intended it is sure to eventuate in the allowance and even promotion of alternative ‘life-styles.’
- Examine the history of mainline church denominations.
- First the sanctity of marriage is eroded by the allowance of divorce and remarriage.
- Over a few decades this leads to a more liberal interpretation of reasons when divorce can be permitted.
- Although at first church denominations may not sanction remarriage of persons divorced, new law is passed that permits it, and a writing of special services help facilitate this.
- Some years later greater consideration to the ideas that homosexual liaisons have some room for credibility and the church should consider them.
- After a while the church adjusts its position to accept such who practise these alternative partnership arrangements into their communion.
- Soon it is decided that full status should be granted to these ‘unions’ God expressly forbids.
- Now they can be ‘married’ in the church.
- The next step is that we must accept homosexual and lesbian clergy and church leaders.
- All this can take place in a space of about eighty years and as the church bows to the noisy and persistent voices that have weighted the media and parliaments who run ahead of the churches on all these matters mentioned above.
- The only ‘main line’ denomination holding out at the time of writing is the Roman Catholic church and it is severely under attack for being so ‘homophobic’ and archaic, intolerant and unkind. The usual accusations against any who stand against the apparent right of any to do exactly as they please!
- It should be noted, that in the Western world, as the churches have gone down this slippery path they have lost credibility, authority and memberships have declined alarmingly.
FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE
It is fundamental to God’s work in creation that He gives to all things life and breath (Acts 17:25).
Each human being is unique. Even those who are born as identical twins are different persons.
The whole teaching and tenor of Biblical Scriptures tells us that we are, “Fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14-16). No one is an afterthought, a fluke of evolutionary processes. Each person is not only a body, but a living soul, precious in God the Creator’s sight. In the sometimes apparent random sexual union of promiscuous persons God gives life and when He does so the gender of that babe is fixed by Him as in all cases.
- The medical profession knows that there is a fundamental chromosome difference between male and female. Gender is distinguished by this fact.
- The rejection of God as the Giver of Life and breath to each living person inevitably leads to the notion that “If I do not like my gender, there is surgery available and drugs to assist me to become the other. It is part of my human rights to choose.”
- Sometimes a foolish mother who had a son but wanted a girl will be at pains to dress the boy in girls’ clothes and make him play with dolls. Just one example of what can occur. This, in time leads to significant gender confusion in the child.
- Unwillingness to accept our gender is further facilitated by the general norms of the society around us.
- Gender confusion will become epidemic in such a society, especially where easy access to ‘advice’ is found as it is in our day and families already shattered and broken are not exemplifying true manhood and womanhood, fatherhood and motherhood.
- Much could be considered about this but, always, the bottom line is the rejection of God and the sexual identity He created me with.
SALVATION IS IN CHRIST
Throughout the New Testament the salvation that is found in Christ Jesus is spoken of. Outside of Him there is no salvation. But, consider that included in that salvation is our identity. The “I” that “I am” had become distorted and confused by sin. Jesus saves from sin and its effects which include gender confusion. “Our life (and that includes our identity as persons as male or female) is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). The famous verse (Galatians 2:20) speaks of us being crucified with Christ and yet living. Hidden in this is the emergence of our true identity. Among the many things Jesus spoke forth in His ministry upon earth was the fact that if we would find our life we would have to lose it and all this in complete abandonment to Him (Matthew 16:25). The trans-sexual of today is attempting to ‘find’ his or her life. Groping in the dark of his or her own mind and not in Christ. They attempt to decree their own identity, to play at being their own god. If a great American sportsman decides he will become a woman, undergoing all the necessary surgery to make him a ‘she’ and so successfully that he makes the front page of a prominent glossy magazine! All this does not make him a woman for gender itself lies deeper than such serious and cosmetic changes accomplished by money making ‘groundbreaking’ surgery. All is testimony to the confusion that lies deeply in the unregenerate human heart.
SOME THINGS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONFUSION OF OUR DAY
The most significant factor leading to the sexual promiscuity of our day is the free use of the birth control pill made available first in the days of the ‘sexual liberation’ of the 1960’s. It successfully detached the sex act from the responsibilities of bearing children and becoming parents and the forming of a family in which the young are loved and cared for and raised in wisdom unto the good of the future and the stability of the human race. With the advent of the pill nothing would be withheld. Passion without thought could be indulged in by both sexes whenever the urge came. There was ‘free sex’, sex without the stigma of an unwanted pregnancy. But, the ‘sexual liberation’ thus brought into the West in the 1960’s has not produced the expected freedom. It has robbed, not enriched society. Now girls give themselves away cheaply in the school and boys pride themselves in their sexual conquests and all become imprisoned in a pattern of life that increases sexual diseases and breeds fear on the streets, rape and abuse increasing almost every where.
Although the more ‘conservative’ politicians and people deplore this terrible decline and the increase of the sexual aberrations seen on the streets and towns and cities, along with the exploitation of women in movies and advertising. At times, these conservatives are even joined in their denunciation of these ‘horrible’ things by the left leaning political establishment and liberal thinkers in universities, neither the right wing or the left wing of the political spectrum is courageous enough to put some curbs on the commercial money making consortiums that utilise and exploit sexual promiscuity to the service of monetary gain. Moral curbs are not put upon the greedy pimps that are filling our shopping malls with more ‘goods’ that we desperately ‘need.’ These words may seem extreme but double standards are everywhere. And alas, there is serious lack of discernment in churches and their leaders to perceive the connections. Sex has become a tool for the exploitative business and advertising executive, a beautiful girl can sell a car, and so it goes on. A sexy voice can help market a product.
Obviously the rise of materialism externalises worth. What we wear, what we drive, the house we live in, all promotes the outward life at the expense of the realms of true worth, the inward life. So, we have the cult of celebrity, the stars followed avidly in their fashions and style. Is it any wonder that the outward leads to the maximising of the external bodily parts, especially those associated with our sexuality? So, the value of the soul is trampled in the dust by the pursuit of the merely outward and as people age and become ‘unproductive’ and lose their usefulness and their youthful beauty they shall become expendable.
We could not really have the commercialism and materialistic life style we have if the industrial revolution had not altered society forever. The god of production, the forging of new products the immense shifts of population into the faceless loneliness of the cities where the industrial sections and the downtown areas and the poor sections and the affluent suburbs are to be found. All this contributes to a rootlessness and a sense of lostness (although many would claim to be found!). All contributes to the soil in which the sexual confusions can multiply.
SUPPRESSION OF TRUTH IN INFLUENTIAL PLACES
Perhaps we should ponder the hidden agendas and influences on political figures. In the medical field the use of surgery in the service of commercial interests, drugs and the like and the suppression of known facts as to the incidence of HIV in those who practice homosexuality, by doctors and politicians, speak volumes about the wickedness of the human heart by some in places of influence. Some in the medical profession are thoroughly backward in showing known facts as to the sad results of sexual promiscuity and do not openly speak of the fundamental male and female chromosome differences. Those in the psychiatric profession avoid truth as to human responsibility wherever possible. The loading of Hollywood and the media by those of same sex relationships is out of all proportion to the figures among the ‘common populace.’ This paints a false picture of what is acceptable and beneficial for the human family. The militancy of those living aberrant lifestyles in their use of the internet targets the young. The hidden agenda of what used to be the Communist Party in the USA reinventing itself under other names has promoted absolutely anything that would undermine the basic building block of society, namely marriage between one man and one woman and the raising of children in that family.
The incredible population movements have been initiated by industrialisation and thus the regulating life of community has been hard hit. It goes on apace. The destabilising of family is commonplace. Children live far from parents, the extended family and its caring and security disappears and necessitates care homes for the elderly and many other facilities now under the auspices of the State. The sense of ‘belonging’ to a community is not found in large cities. The ‘community’ is replaced by two things, firstly the voice of the faceless ‘public’ and secondly the prominence of the idea of ‘my human rights’. Gone is the sense of communal responsibility that provided a privacy and an honour for one man and one woman in holy matrimony. This regulated sexual life in the community and promoted stable family life as being central in its life. Now, people would hardly know or care if a divorce occurred. The voice of the faceless ‘public’ can exhort government to be more lenient, thus more things counterproductive to the common good become the norm. Distant governments, and members of the faceless public are not threatened like those in a close living community, there, life and well being is dependent upon wise controls that if ignored will cause community to self destruct. Divorce, people partnering one another in temporary arrangements and same sex relationship do not apparently impact the lonely life of the street in the lonely city. However, it really does matter if a same sex union takes place between two men or two women in a small close knit community. Such a union is counterproductive to the health of society where all depends on mutual dependence responsible behaviour for the good of all. This is one of the reasons why same sex relationships are not tolerated in rural Africa. They contribute nothing to the life of the village and are a contradiction to the future of the community which can only be assured by marriage and family in which the next generation are raised and nurtured into responsible continuance of the whole. The systematic destruction of community, of rural life has been continuing in the name of progress, but in that progress the moral confusions are given room to grow and flourish. Commercial giants, in time, absorb the ‘cottage’ industries’, local and intimate and responsible life regulated by the nearness of loved ones in family and friends is eroded and so we head to the kind of scenario sometimes pictured in science fiction movies and in literature such as The Lord of the Rings. All this may seem to be overstatement. But a fraction is written here of what could be said. In such an atmosphere the disciplines of the various sciences and medicine are free to cut loose from moral values because the distance is great between the perpetrators of policy and the people affected down the track. The owner of the large conglomerate exploiting the poor worker producing the material goods that “we all so much need,” is half a world away from those he is using as cannon fodder in his or her quest for success. In this continuing atmosphere all manner of poison weeds of moral confusion are free to grow and produce the squalor of moral degradation being accepted by a ‘tolerant’ public.
Although the more militant forms of feminism of the 1950’s through 1980’s has mellowed a little, still its impact has been profound in the Western world. Some of its impact has been unto good, but the ill it has done to society far outweighs the good. Fundamentally it teaches that there is no real complementarity between male and female. One of the significant indicators of the drive to equality is women in the military. This is taking place and signifies a degradation in society growing to dreadful proportions. Women have the privilege of giving birth to life, when they desire to take it as in war they demonstrate a betrayal, not only of their own sex but of mankind in general. Alas, the male is demonstrating his weakness as he allows the woman to leave her appointed place. The abdication of the male responsibility demonstrates the growing gender confusion that comes to the man under the weight of the rampant feminist agenda. Feminism leads to the effete male we are seeing today. The unisex hair salons are an example. The young American male spends immense sums on lotions for the body and hair styles that make it difficult to detect male from female. The young are sexually confused, the absence of true male figures to ‘model’ what manhood is all about in family contributes significantly to this confusion. There are ample examples in Western society to demonstrate the confusion that leads to a questioning of a young male as to his sexuality, this opens the door to notions of bisexuality and same sex relationships. Natural male friendships in childhood that are healthy in such an atmosphere of peer pressure and internet are more prone to the crossover into genital relationships and improper affection.
THE CHURCH TO SHINE AS LIGHTS IN A CROOKED GENERATION
Our final paragraph must be one testifying to the sure and certain hope that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. There is power in the gospel unto everyone that believes. So said Paul in the first chapter of Romans (Romans 1:16). “To the Jew first, also to the Greek,” he says, and we could say, this gospel of power in Jesus Christ is to whomsoever in our society is lost in the wilderness of personal gender and marriage confusion too. Paul desired to visit the Christians in Rome. It was a place of every degradation, including sexual sin of every kind, a city, indeed, the chief city of the most ruthless and cruel empire the world had ever seen. He was not ashamed of the gospel knowing that Christ got under and destroyed the root and power of all forms of sin and iniquity. He later writes that sin shall not have dominion over us and brooked no exceptions (Romans 6:14). Note the context of this, he mentions, “Sin in our mortal bodies” (Romans 6:12), remember the context of the abuse of the body mentioned in chapter one (Romans 1:24-27). Carefully mark the fact that he links deliverance from sin with being crucified with Christ (Romans 6:5-6). It is right at this point that the watered down gospel preached in many churches has no power to encourage an expectation in the hearer that there is deliverance in Christ Jesus, they can be changed. Paul went to the sink hole that was the port city of Corinth and spent a longish period there during which he saw the power of the gospel so deliver and change people that he was able to write to the them saying, “The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality (both the passive and active partners in such practices), nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE SOME OF YOU. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Paul had seen it all, it had been present and was still present in Corinth. But he had witnessed the transforming power of the Living Christ delivering, changing people, no matter their former states. Is deliverance and change possible for same sex people, for transsexuals, are those who claim to be bisexual able to find their true place in Christ, their proper identity as persons? A thousand times yes, yes, yes. Through Jesus Christ the Lord it shall be done in those who call upon Him. There will be complications to be worked through but to the man or woman committed to Christ, ready to be crucified with Him, there is the gift of New Life indeed. Jesus came to save us from our sin. We must not fall into the trap of viewing one kind of sinful life style as worse, more impossible of salvation than another. Look with care at Paul’s list, there are plenty of men in suits in high places in their penthouse offices who are swindlers, and thieves. They too need the power of Christ to deliver them from their addictions to money and power. We are not to be ‘homophobic’ as the church is often accused of being. We all must walk the same path to the Christ of Calvary, die with Him, rise with Him into a clean and holy life. Let God be God and Saviour and every man a liar in whatsoever excuse making we try to engage in. Let the church cease being ashamed of the gospel. Today, it is still the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes.