“I didn’t know anything different...part 2”
By Rev. Tom Tuura
Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church
Last month’s Focus reminded us marriage is no longer the majority type of household. We reviewed the disastrous impact of the sexual revolution because it promises personal autonomy but delivers slavery.
Married or single, the Bible teaches God created you for His purposes—you are his. He is our loving Father who gives us meaning and purpose. We all begin life as single solitary individuals cared for by God, and will end life this way, before His throne, not autonomous, but accountable.
For those who haven’t known anything different other than the Hollywood influence, the Sex Education influence, and have embraced the pervasive influence of the sexual revolution, consider something radical.
God understands you, because He made you. He further sent His son to this earth as a baby, and Jesus lived as a single man experiencing first hand all the temptations of youth and adulthood (Heb. 4:15). Singleness involves our attitudes and opinions about our own life and relationships, through adolescence and life. It is learning self-control over all things, including our inner desires, including raging hormones. It is learning to strive for self discipline and also purity and chastity. It is learning that we are not capable of these things without grace. God understands these very real internal struggles and battles even if we don’t. We take these attitudes into our future relationships and marriage. The Bible particularly emphasizes, teaches and warns about this subject speaking of our “conduct”. Peter, in his brief epistles, uses the word 9 times, “but as He who has called you is holy, so be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). This is in contrast to what he calls “filthy conduct” of the residents of Sodom, “and delivered righteous Lot who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:7).
To repeat, we are not capable in and of ourselves to overcome these urges, or what the Bible calls the “flesh” without God’s grace. So as this relates to our subject, and sexuality, the biblical sexual ethic consists of “The thou shalt nots...” They get a bad rap. But God is no kill-joy simply to be cruel. The commandments are for our good. He gives us tough love, and warns us as a parent does his precious child about to run into traffic, Stop!
The sexual revolution of the last 50-60 years, emphatically says “Go!” Our sinful flesh agrees.
And people are jumping on board. Church participation rates are plummeting in mainline congregations. The bad news goes on and on. Albert Mohler Jr. president of the SBTS in his program The Briefing is correct when he makes this distinction quoting from and article by Noelle Mering in the Federalist entitled “Is sexual autonomy worth the cost of human lives?” It says, “The promise of the sexual revolution is that sex can be meaningless. Indeed it has to be meaningless to preserve our autonomy. If it has intrinsic meaning independent of what we want it to mean, then that might signify that we have duties independent of our autonomy.” This society insists upon treating everyone as completely autonomous. Is sexual autonomy worth the cost of human lives? This autonomy brings slavery, not liberation.
Perhaps the biggest threat to this autonomy is a little baby who is reliant upon his mother and father.
Marriage isn’t autonomous either.
What is marriage? Marriage is another box to be checked on a form. It is practiced in every culture since the beginning of time. It has been described as a contract. The state issues you a license. It allows you to have various, tax considerations, insurance, and pension benefits. It profoundly affects business, estates, partnerships and property. And now the Supreme Court of the United States, says, that it is also for two men, or two women. It is limited to monogamy—for now. Marriage is big.
This month we want to reflect on the radical ideals of sacred matrimony, not just an ordinary contract. We move from the cultural, legal, and the clinical to the biblical; from marriage to Holy Matrimony. This is God’s plan, not man’s plan. Its not autonomy, but submission and accountability.
I suspect many people today see marriage primarily from a cultural, legal or clinical sense. But there is so much more. Look into the face of Christ, and the marriage supper of the Lamb we wrote about a few months back. But is it too late?
Jacob Lupfer in a June 2018 opinion piece, in Religious News Service, (religious news with a liberal slant) writes, “Religious congregations hosted 22 percent of weddings in 2017, down from 41 percent in 2009. Churches are losing ground to banquet halls, hotels, country clubs, wineries, rooftops and museums...Clergy are solemnizing fewer and fewer marriages. Instead, couples are turning to civil magistrates or even loved ones who obtain credentials. In 2009, 29 percent of couples had a friend or family member solemnize their wedding. That number had increased to 43 percent by 2016.”
Then he asks, does it matter? Some of the same data reports that less than 25 percent of weddings are actually held in a church.
A larger question is does anyone care about sacred matrimony? Parents, we need to teach our young people about sacred matrimony and not let Hollywood and the University have all the influence.
In Paradise, Adam and Eve, literally single man and woman needed to become “one flesh” in the marriage bond where they experience the beauty of being one, “flesh”. Sexual union within marriage is ideally a beautiful pleasurable bond with an end outside of itself, not as Ms Mering writes in her Federalist article, “I tried casual relationships a handful of times with guys I had chemistry with, but I realized that they just made me feel bad about myself. I was always so painfully aware of the fact that the only reason these guys were talking to me was because I was letting them sleep with me…” .
Christian marriage is unique—a whole new worldview. It is a picture of redemption and Christ and His bride the Church. Marriage here on earth is a special, blessed and sacred estate between a man and a woman becoming husband and wife. God created marriage at creation. In the New Testament then it is a spiritual picture of Christ’s redemption of solitary man and woman at Calvary loved and precious before God. He is the groom and we are his glorious bride.
Marriage has a very large cultural, legal and societal footprint. But the Christian marriage worldview is too important to be lost. There is too much at stake, namely the very young.
Children are a heritage from the Lord. But now seen as mere biological “choices” of the expression of rights in the sexual revolution, they are to be prevented, and then possibly eliminated by whim and circumstance because they may hinder the precious autonomy of the individual.
Instead they are true miracles from heaven, ideally conceived in love, and as David says, “Your formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...your eyes saw my unformed substance; and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:15)
So many people, young and old, have never known anything different. And consequently they have never thought these things through. Well this is not only different, but radical. The sexual revolution, packaged by formal education (and now even by mainline churches), and delivered by Hollywood, welcomed by our own sinful flesh, does not bring autonomy or liberation. It brings instead, bondage and slavery (Rom 8:34). True liberation is found only in Christ.
There are two very different paths today that are battling for predominance. Which will you choose?
That’s my view from the Blackberry Patch Pulpit