Monday, May 02, 2005

Sexual morality

Christians are often portrayed as being particularly anti-homosexual. Sometimes we conform to this stereotype, and it is particularly useful to people who want to discredit Christianity, which can be portrayed as intolerant/discriminating/prejudiced against homosexuals and lacking in political correctness.

However, Christian sexual morality isn't particularly anti-gay - it should be anti-sin. The basis of Christian sexual morality predates the OT law, including the ten commandments - it is what men and women were created to know - as written in Genesis 2:24 -
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
In other words, Christian sexual morality is that sexual relationships ought to exist as part of a lifelong, heterosexual, monogamous relationship. This is the foundation for everything that is said about sex in the whole Bible. Sexual relationships outside this pattern are sin - that is, they deviate from God's original intention.

Furthermore, Jesus extended the concept of sexual relationships from sexual acts - in Matthew 5, Jesus says:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
So sexually immoral behaviour is thought as well as action.

Notice that all three of the adjectives are inherent in sexually moral behaviour. A sexual relationship should be part of a lifelong relationship - in other words, the standard is that a couple should already be committed to one another for life before their relationship becomes sexual. This is probably the most radical break with the sexual morality of Western society today - because it is so different, it is what Christians feel most self-conscious about. However, research shows that this is the best pattern for human relationships.

The truth of the matter is that, if this is the foundation of sexual morality, then we find ourselves all to be guilty. Nobody has conformed perfectly to this pattern of sexual morality.

But we all have a built-in tendency to justify ourselves. We are willing to condemn sexually immoral behaviour in other people - but what we discover from what the Bible says is that we are all sinners - we have all failed to live up to God's standards. The Christian approach should rather be to acknowledge that we are sinful as well - I have failed to live up to God's standards. I am not going to condemn a homosexual - because I know that I have sinned - deviated from God's standards - sexually as in every other area, and deserve God's judgement as well.

But the good news is that if we accept that we have sinned - that although society might think our behaviour okay, our lives are immoral in God's sight - then God can forgive us. He has forgiven me - not through anything good or praiseworthy about me - not because I was a moral person - but because of his grace. If we come to him, then he will dwell within us and help us to live sexually moral lives.

PS I love the "Recover post" option!!!

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