September 22 Reflections

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) God’s benediction includes human sexuality. It is a good gift from God to be celebrated within the covenant of marriage. Sounds so easy, but the brokenness of human life makes it complicated. Money, sex and power are the three aspects of human life where the brokenness of humanity often shows itself most clearly. When it comes to money I believe, as followers of Jesus, we are called to be faithful stewards. As far as power goes, we   are called to be humble servants. When we talk about sex, as followers of Jesus, we are called to covenant faithfulness. The 7th commandment is about this covenant faithfulness. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)

The key, as in all the commands, is to see this command through the eyes of grace. The people are released from slavery: this is how free people love. Love looks like covenant faithfulness. As I did in the command to not murder it is important to see the continuum of the command to not commit adultery. It begins with the same truth: God’s unconditional love…live in covenant faithfulness (with me says God and with one another)…seeing a beautiful/handsome person of the of the opposite sex(this is not necessarily part of the sin continuum away from God’s love; it is part of being human)…instead of letting the seeing of the beautiful/handsome person out the back door of your mind, you begin to nurse this image, fantasize, dwell in it…this is called lust…the heart and mind are absorbed with this person…(which Jesus called sin, just as the act of adultery is sin…remember all sin is sin, but not all sin is equal)…you begin to intentionally engage this other person in conversation (flirting); seeing if there is an opening for a deeper physical relationship…the relationship intimacy deepens…the act of adultery. Each step on the continuum is away from the unconditional love of God. At each step you can stop, turn back to the Father, confess the sin and received forgiveness.  The forgiveness is extended to adulterers if they see their sin, turn back to the Father, resting in his unconditional love. (John 8:1-11) On the continuum if the matter stays in the heart (it still is sin) but the human community consequences are not nearly as devastating as actual physical adultery. One counselor emphasized at a minimum at least 100 people will be affected.

This is a deeply intimate command, which in my mind can only be approached with God’s grace. Issues of sex before marriage, rape, incest, unfaithfulness, sexual abuse, pornography (for women as well as men), same sex attraction, same sex marriage, fantasy and acting out the fantasies are all included in the command. All of them cannot be covered in one message, but what I hope to do is cover some foundational truths in grace.

On Sunday we are going to think about the command, “You shall not commit adultery.” Some passages to read and reflect on: Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:27-28; John 8:1-11; Hosea 11.

Grace upon Grace,

Verlyn