(Another Bible Subject Where Holy Ghost Baptism is the Game-Changer, 5.17. 12)
Genesis 1,1-2: "In the begining God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primordial, watery chaos]. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Genesis 1,27-28a: So God created man [human beings] in his own image, in the image of God created he him [as opposed to the animals just listed]; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them...
Romans 8,12-14: "...we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For a many as are led by the Spirit of God. they are sons [and daughters] of God.
Lost in the political chum of the national sexuality debate in the Presidential race is the fact that local churches' are charged with ministering Jesus' salvation to folks whose lives are caught up in sexual sin.
The surprise for me isn't that sex and gender are now all the way political. This has been a building for fifty years. The surprise is that most of us Christians are so ill-prepared biblically and pastorally to mininster in this area. Perhaps this contributes to why we seem more eager to jump into the sexual politics debate- it's easier than pastoring.
But take heart fellow brothers and sisters, we're not orphans with no one to teach us- we have a brother and a savior and teacher who promised to teach us all things.
How might Jesus begin to teach sex ed?
I think he would turn to the first page of the bible, the first two verses of which tell us that God's Spirit ordered, and finished, physical creation by ordering the chaos out of it. Thus, right from the very start, there's a rock solid biblical principle- God's Holy Spirit can order the deepest chaos.
Anyone remember the emotions of being a teenager? A lot of chaos. But now the present world encourages fifteen year olds to publicly declare all their preferances, even when science tells us that a young person's brain isn't fully formed until his or her mid-twenties.
I think Jesus is saying "put on my mind dear young person, and let me finish you."
The first thing God specifically says about gender and sexuality follows closely thereafter. It's that, unlike animals, we human beings belong to a higher order that shares a spiritual likeness with God (Genesis 1,27-28a above). In other words (and we all love dogs), we can experience a vital and wholesome and knowing spiritual connection with God (who is Spirit John 4,24).
Now it gets even more interesting here at Genesis 1,27, in that God then directly relates our vital spiritual likeness-connection to Him with our genders, which he also gave us. So spirituality and sexuality, and male and female, and the blessing of these are connected and backed up not by what any good old boy pastor says, but by both God's word and Spirit (please note that just because God's plan is great and orderly, and he stands behind it, doesn't mean there are no difficulties or heartaches and intrusions on the plan- a major topic for another day).
In fact, God backed up his promise of a better Spiritual connection whereby he'll wash us clean of any condemnation and give us a new heart if we faith on Jesus and give him our sins (Jeremiah 31,33). This new heart comes by his pouring into us His Ghost into our hearts ( 1John 2,27, and John 3,5 and Romans 8,12, and the Book of Acts).
This is about as solid Spiritual connection as any us can have, short of heaven, or Zion's Hill in Jerusalem, whichever comes first.
Now the bible was written from begining to end by Jews (save Luke and Acts), who knew and taught that our hearts rightly organize and inform or everything we say and do. Our hearts organize our bodies, our souls, our spirits and our minds- so that everything about us is integrated into one personality.
So when the bible says God Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts, or we get a new heart, it's saying that our spirit to Spirit connection with God is strong enough to re-order any type of sin-chaos in our lives.
This idea of the human person as heart-based and Spirit led, one integrated personality, one"YOU," is not a small point. This is so because our modern highly sexualized world has adopted (root and branch) the dualistic, non biblical, Greek idea of exalting and separating our bodies from our souls, and spirits (which often get hooked into fallen spirits), and our minds (which often like human philosophies very much, thank you).
In contrast, there is God's design in that all our personality components are primarily informed, coalesce upon, and are organized by our Spiritual connection to God. That's the plan anyway, but we resist the plan, or it gets messed up.
For example King David tried to separate his body, his mind, soul and spirit from his adultery with Bathsheba, the gal he spied sun bathing. Then he tried to separate the same from killing her husband Uriah. He was a king in Judah, but he tried to be a Greek man of the world. But he couldn't do it. Pols call this compartalization, until it all blows up, then it's "no comment."
So David cried out to God "Renew a right Spirit with in me." (Psalm 51,10). "Get me re-connected, first and foremost to God, rather than all over the map."
And then after he had tasted the beauty and integrity of that Spirit connection again, he immediatly pleaded "Do not [ever again] take your Holy Spirit away from me." (Psalm 51,11)
Now I'm not advocating that everybody in the church exit the current political debates of the day (let alone surround the woman caught in adultery), but it might serve to remind ourselves that our primary task is not to win every political battle (but if you're led by God- go for it), but to witness to and follow Jesus, and by so doing, spread a gospel that demonstrates that it and Jesus can change anybody.
What I fear nowadays is that we as church will culturally hide away in our gated churches and then lob political and partisan cultural salvos, and as any pastor knows these often amount to nothing more than singing to the choir, and perhaps a form of fundraising or brand-building.
In contrast, we have the example of the Apostle Paul, full of the Spirit of God, who knew the full extant of the sexuality of the Greco-Roman world, and frankly and unmistakably called out some of that in his letter to the Romans (eg. 1,26-27).
But then again, he also compassionately corrected the church at Corinth, primarily for their sexual sins, with an otherwordly pastoral patience (a stout corrective patience apparently way beyond our present church practice), over many years, via multiple letters, and using all manner of inspiration and argument (eg. 1Corinthians 11,13-16).
Paul's worry was that the sexual mores of the day would either take the Holy Spirit, or the unity, or both, out of the church. And this is a real threat then, as it is now (and perhaps these desolations have already happened in some church places, and folks are having a tough time admitting it).
But Paul's faith was that God's power could transform anyone, regardless of any past sin. His faith was that God's church, with folks from all kinds of sinful backgrounds, could Spiritually thrive even in a culture with sexual mores no better than ours today.
In other words, Paul's example is a good one.
His example also reminds us that if we Christians are bold enough to call out wordly sexuality outside the church, why aren't we first of all better at ministering to it, and correcting it, inside the church?
And need I remind folks that God's judgment begins where- outside or inside it?
Somebody say Amen.
I heard that "Amen." Now how about an "Hallelujah?" If so, you must be connected to God already. If not, call on Jesus, get your Spiritual connection today, for yourself, for God's glory, in Jesus name I pray.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...