Called to Sexual Integrity: Process by which Sexuality Redeemed – 2

Called to Sexual Integrity
“The Process By Which Our Sexuality Is Redeemed”

Article originally appeared in “Get in the Game”
a periodic email communication from CEP
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March/April 2007 Vol. 3 No.2

Christians are those whose sexuality is in the process of being redeemed–set free from the corruption and slavery of our sinful nature. Sexual purity is therefore only possible as the gospel transforms us. This transformation process can be thought of as a spiritual combustion cycle consisting of repentance, faith, and obedience. (From Steve Childers, DMin Course, “Spiritual Dynamics for Leaders”)

Since our sexuality is so deeply rooted in us, this redemption can take a very long time. There are no simplistic answers or easy steps to sexual purity. Such purity is the result of our growth in holiness, what is called our sanctification. That is why real sexual purity only comes from the Biblical growth process of repentance, faith, and obedience. Although these three concepts may seem familiar to us-we often make little progress in our sanctification because we have such a superficial understanding of what they mean.

So, let’s begin with “repentance,” (METANOIA). True repentance engages our head (affirmations), our heart (affections) and our hands (actions.)

Repentance begins with overcoming rationalizations and mentally agreeing with God’s verdict that what we have done is wrong. Here are some of the common excuses for sexual sin that must be exposed to God’s Word: “I can’t help it if I like the shape of the female body,” (see Job 31:1), “the Bible says pre-marital sex is wrong, so anything but intercourse is okay,” (see Ezekiel 23:3, Song of Songs 2:7), “I have to indulge in lustful fantasies and “self-pleasure” to relieve the sexual pressure that builds up every few days,” (see I Cor. 10:13), “I look at porn as a necessary outlet because my wife isn’t interested enough in sex.” (see I Cor. 7:5)

Steve Gallagher points out that sin causes us to suppress the truth and rationalize. “There exists an interesting correlation between a person’s involvement with sin and his awareness of it. The more a person becomes involved in sin, the less he sees it. Sin is a hideous disease that destroys a person’s ability to comprehend its existence. It could be compared to a computer virus that has the ability to hide its presence from the user while it systematically destroys the hard drive.” (At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry.)

Repentance requires us to bring our sin into the light. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” I John 1:8-10. Exposing ourselves to the light means submitting ourselves to God’s judgment concerning our behavior, i.e. agreeing with God’s verdict.

True repentance engages our mind-agreeing with God’s verdict; but it goes beyond the mind to engage the heart. Repentance of heart means grieving over our sin, recognizing that the root sin is spiritual adultery (looking for satisfaction to another god), and learning to hate sexual sin. James describes a repentant attitude when he says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up,” James 4:8-10.

A central part of grieving over our sin is realizing that our sin is personal. We have grieved our God. We have wounded him by our rebellion. It is his face into which we have spit in our defiant rebellion against his law. When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, Uriah, he clearly sinned against two humans. Yet, it is his personal betrayal of his God that looms much larger in his mind. “Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight….Hide your face from my sins and blot out all of my iniquity,” Ps 51.

Just as our sin is a personal offense, so our redemption is at a personal cost to our God. It is the blood of his own son. Peter writes, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” I. Peter 1:18-19

Repentance that transforms us begins by agreeing with God’s verdict about our sexual sin. But it goes way beyond that, causing a deep inner sorrow over the wound our rebellion has inflicted on the heart of the God who loves us.

In the next issue, we will continue looking at repentance of heart, as we consider the sin that lies beneath the sin of sexual impurity and examine how to train our hearts to hate evil, which is what Paul commands in Romans 12:9

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Rev. Gary Yagel began his ministry as a volunteer Young Life leader, served 4 years as a youth pastor and over 20 years as a church planter and senior pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America. He has led various men's discipleship ministries, including Top Gun, and spoken to numerous men's groups. He is a Field Network

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