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10

Topic #1: 5 Things We Know the Bible Says with Clarity About Sexuality, Marriage and Sin
Posted by Clare
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(If you’ve not read the Talking Points Series Introduction, posted on June 22, 2015, please read that first or this blog my not make much sense (http://bit.ly/1H8Ufs7).

What does the Bible teach? Five key “Talking Points”

1.  Humans were created with specific intent
One of the central tenants of the Christian faith, is the idea that humans were created to be and to live a certain way, God’s created intent. This includes who we were meant “to be” and what we were meant “to do” sexually. And he declared what he created “good.”

Therefore, the standards of what is right or wrong, or normal or abnormal, are set by God, according to his intention, and not what humans feel are normal or abnormal. (Read Genesis 1:26-2:24).

2.  God’s original intention for human sexuality was to be fulfilled within monogamous and heterosexual, marriage.
When Jesus asked about divorce he gave this straightforward answer straight from quotes out of Genesis; monogamous (“what God joined together, let not man separate.) Heterosexual (“He…. made them male and female.”) Matthew 19:4-6. Marriage (“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”) Anything other than God’s intent is sin.

3.  “The Fall.” Sin has distorted our moral compass.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all have sinned” Romans 5:12

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.  The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8

These verses explain why some things that God declares sinful, may feel perfectly natural and good to us. While other things that God declares good and normal, may actually feel unnatural and even impossible. I love this quote from Kevin DeYoung “Worldliness is anything that makes sin appear normal and righteousness look strange.”

Everyone, even born-again Christians, have a sin nature, however that nature expresses itself differently in each person. Some have a stronger tendency to lie, others to violence, or alcohol and still others to unnatural sexual tendencies.

When homosexuals, or anyone who does what God has prohibited, say, “that’s the way God made me,” that’s incorrect. It’s the way we’ve become because of sin.

4.  Because of sin, God established moral laws to put boundaries on our behaviors.

To deal with these “not the way God created us, but it’s the way we now are,” issues (sins), he established moral laws, like the 10 commandments and others. If we actually lived the way God created us, there would be no need for moral laws! All these laws found in the Bible are meant to protect us from each other, and even ourselves, or to protect institutions established by God, like families and the church. Regardless of our feelings, impulse, or hormones, God says of some behaviors and thoughts, “thou shall not.”

A thief may not steal, or a husband beat his wife because “that’s the way God wired me.” And it doesn’t matter if sin happens behind closed doors and between consenting adults. God prohibits even consensual sins like prostitution and adultery, because it destroys marriages and families and sows distrust between husband and wife.

5.  God considers some sins more serious than others, especially sexual sins.
Some sins in the Bible, especially those in the Old Testament can be forgiven and resolved by paying the offended party a few sheep or oxen, making a sacrifice or even banishment from the community. However, for certain sins listed in Leviticus 18 and 20, mostly sexual sins, God required death. It’s important to note that most of these prohibited sexual sins are heterosexual in nature, like adultery, fornication or incest. So, God doesn’t “zero in” on homosexual sin. But, God includes the practice of homosexuality in that list as well.

Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22

“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Leviticus 20:13

Jesus reaffirmed God’s prohibition on all sexual sins.
And contrary to the claim that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality and homosexual sex, Jesus actually said in Mark 7:21: “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,” The actual word in Greek Jesus uses for “sexual immorality” is pornia. Pornia includes every sexual sin prohibited in the Torah, including homosexual sex! The fact that he never used the term “homosexual” is irrelevant. He never used the term “bestiality” or “incest” either, but no serious Christian doubts these sins, listed in Leviticus 18 and 20 as well.

More New Testament commands
Finally, we have God’s reminder in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 that some sins are so serious that those who give themselves over to them will not inherit the kingdom of God. “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

The most common interpretation of these verses is that committing these sins alone does not disqualify one from heaven. Paul is not talking about those who struggle with marital unfaithfulness, alcohol, or homosexual sex, call it sin, and repent and when they fail, cry out to God for forgiveness and are serious about resisting temptation. What God is condemning, is those who have given up the struggle, no longer call it sin, have given themselves over to, and embraced a life and lifestyle that celebrates these behaviors, in doing so, they prove themselves to not be children of God, thereby disqualifying themselves from inheriting the kingdom of God.

From the Old Testament to the New, God’s prohibition of sex outside of marriage stands. Later in Talking Points we’ll cover the arguments Christian gays put forward to explain away these texts or to nullify them by “getting married.”

How following Jesus works in real life.

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Comments (10)
Comments
  1. Celeste McDonough said...

    Thanks for having the courage to post this series, Clare. I hope many find it helpful in thinking and talking clearly through an issue that has seen more heat than light recently. I do want to point out, however, that in the vast majority of cases, prostitution is not a “consensual sin.” Most prostitutes are the victims of human traffickers; the ones that are not have often experienced such abuse that they no longer perceive themselves as worthy of anything better.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Celeste, thanks for pointing this out. My daughter actually works for a ministry that tracks down sex traffickers, on-line. I should have thought about that. Thank you. See, you can teach an old dog, new tricks!

      Reply
  2. Dan said...

    If I read you correctly, you put all sexual sin, heterosexual and homosexual, along with monogamy, etc. in the same eternally wrong bucket.

    So what do we do with a man who was said to be a man after God’s heart yet who had given up the struggle, no longer called it sin, gave himself over to, and embraced a life and lifestyle of polygamy? In doing so, did he prove himself to not be child of God, thereby disqualifying himself from inheriting the kingdom of God? Or was that just a cultural thing?

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Dan, I’ve never called polygamy a sin, in any blog. I’m not aware that it ever was prohibited in the Old Testament. God never expressly prohibited it, nor did Jesus.
      Having said that, all the Biblical evidence is that it was was God’s intention and ideal, reaffirmed by Jesus, that marriage was to be between one man and one woman. And, in every case of polygamy I read in scriptures, having more than one wife, ended badly. Just look at the messed up family David had, and then Solomon. Jacob had ongoing rivalry between Rachael and Leah. So I think polygamy was very unwise, but not a sin.

      Reply
  3. Bob said...

    Mathew 5:27-28 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    Claire – Jesus pointed out over and over again that sin is a “heart” matter, not a matter of actions. We still don’t seem to get that, and instead we focus on actions. You and I are every bit as guilty of sexual sins as are our brothers and sisters who physically commit them. Do you remember what a filthy disgusting mess you were when Jesus cleansed you and made you whole? Did you have anything to do with that, or was it all Him and His grace? I didn’t.

    Whether you are right or wrong about this or any other sin issue is really immaterial. The issue is love. Jesus loved us “while we were yet sinners”. Do you really love those terrible sexual sinners (like you and me), and do you embrace them as Jesus did? Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Where are those who would condemn you?… neither do I condemn you…(and then the part we Christians like) – go and sin no more.” I think our job is to love, not condemn. The Holy Spirit will convict each person’s heart, and until He does, we don’t condemn – we love.

    You do a truly wonderful job of explaining God’s law, but then, so did the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Jesus rarely said they interpreted the law incorrectly, He mostly just pointed out that it was love, not the law that mattered since He came to fulfill the law. He loved hanging out with prostitutes and other sinners, and didn’t seem to care much for those who pointed out sin in the lives of others. (Something about beams and specs.) Please tread very lightly my brother. Focus on love.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Bob, thank you for your reminder of grace.
      But here’s my response to your comment that, “sin is a heart matter, not a matter of actions.” While it’s true, that even sins of the heart, are serious sins, no theologian I know of would ever say that hatred, is just as serious as murder, or that lust is just as serious as actual adultery. Sin begins in the heart, but when it manifests itself in action, it rises to a whole other level. That’s why, in the Old Testament, people weren’t put to death for sins of the heart, but only when they acted it out. In I Corinthians 5 Paul commanded the church to punish certain sins. But all of those sins, were sins of “commission” Even Jesus in Matthew 18 commands the church to judge themselves, when certain sins were committed.
      Nowhere in scripture, that I’m aware of, are we told to dismiss immoral behavior. Also, if you look in your Bible you will see there is a footnote in your Bible, that the story you referenced about Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, may not have actually occurred. that story is not in any of the earliest manuscripts we have. And yes, Jesus did hang out with sinners and loved them, as we should. However, once converted he expects we will live by his rules.

      Reply
  4. Jack said...

    Surely you cannot be serious when you say that a practicing homosexual’s sin is no worse than a practicing heterosexual adulterer’s sin! People entering a second marriage after a divorce for no good (Biblical) reason are clearly practicing adulterers according to the Bible. Yet we would never suggest the same celibacy requirement (or second divorce) for them that the Bible requires for homosexuals. The church is full of practicing adulterers like these. They have been forgiven and are now allowed to continue in their life of adultery. There is no comparison here to practicing homosexuals. Clearly homosexuality activity is a far more serious offense than the continuing practice of adultery in these situations. You need to think this through a little further.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Jack, here’s my question for you. Can you find any place in scripture, where God says that homosexual sin is worse in his eyes than heterosexual sin? I I Cor. 6 adulterers and the sexually immoral are listed right there with homosexual sin. You might quote Sodom and Gomorrah, but then I’d quote Numbers 25 when God killed 24,000, presumably heterosexual men, for sexual immorality. We heterosexual Christians have a natural revulsion for homosexual sex, more so than for adultery, or fornication. However, I don’t think we got that from the Bible. It’s my experience, all of us have a habit of vilifying the sins we’re less likely to commit ourselves. I take, and the Bible takes, all sexual sin out side of marriage, seriously.

      Reply
  5. Jack said...

    Clare, you make some good points. Why, then, do Christians like you and me require celibacy from practicing homosexuals and not from practicing heterosexual adulterers living in sin in second marriages? If the sin is the same, shouldn’t the requirements for forgiveness and restoration be the same?

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Jack, I agree with you. My brother, a born again Christian, had an affair and left his wife and family and remarried. In my understanding from Jesus teachings, he has only one wife- his original wife. And he’s living in an adulterous situation with his new “legal wife” “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

      I’m an elder in a very large, but theologically conservative church. We still put people under discipline for adultery, living with their girl friend, and for being the cause of an unbiblical divorce. If they do not stop their behavior, and repent of it, we can, and do, excommunicate them. We’ve been accused of being unloving. But we don’t think following Gods commands to be unloving at all. besides we really have no choice, if we’re serious about the Bible.
      I blogged on this subject many time. just google. Clare De Graaf Should Christians Judge one Another?

      Reply
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