The Wicked Crisis of Sexual Identity
The following is written by one of our gifted members. It discusses directly a crisis for many in today’s society. On her website, you will find other inspirational writings that give the views of a devout Christian who is simply offering her talents to the Lord and His Church.
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As the teacher said in the wisdom literature, nothing is new under the sun in this depraved and fallen world. In a powerful chapter of the New Testament, the apostle Peter pronounces divine judgment on false teachers and false prophets among God’s people as a warning to His church. Nestled within this impassioned exposition of God’s sovereignty in the midst of rebellion, pride, arrogance, deception, and evil is a comment about the character of Lot when he was rescued from one of God’s most infamous and fiery judgments: the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah. Peter writes,
“If by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, God condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.” (2 Peter 2:6-10)
Lot lived in a city that is very similar to the United States today. It was filled with the sexual immorality of the wicked. Lawless deeds were displayed arrogantly in the streets. Rebellious people indulged their corrupt and defiling passions without a conscience. Everyone despised the authority of God.
We’re not overreaching this point. Consider the flood of sexual sins that fill every corner of our society today, even the church, for it is not immune. Ever since the unleashing of sexual liberty in the sixties, America’s idol has become the free expression of the sexual self and the instant gratification of sexual appetites. The adage “You are what you eat,” has become “You are whom you have sex with.” The sexual revolution wasn’t about the act of sex. It was about a revolution of identity—of mankind remaking its own image and rejecting the authority of God. It was a cosmic act of rebellion about the very nature of self. German philosopher Rüdiger Safranski, who wrote “Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography,” was more than right when he said, “These days, sexuality is equated with the truth of the individual, which is arguably our era’s most prominent fiction regarding the nature of truth.”
Loss of Truth
Truth. That’s what’s at stake in these controversies about sexual freedom, sexual orientations, and sexual identities. It’s not about prudish sensibilities. It’s not a war on the authentic expression of the individual as they express that individuality in sex. Christians who are troubled by the sexual immorality around them are not “obsessed with sex” or fearful of those who are different from them. No! They are distressed by the wickedness of their culture that defies God’s holy love—a wickedness that isn’t content to lie in dark corners, but demands recognition, legitimization, acceptance, and worshipful celebration.
As Christians live day after day among the lawless deeds that surround them, that press in upon them, they are like Lot. They are tormented in their righteous souls. They are distressed because they love God. They love His holiness. They love His ways. They love God’s creation and those made in His image. They love His law, and they love His truth, because it is the source of all liberty. All else leads to the slavery of sin, and they want people to be free from it. The grief of it weighs on them, a heavy burden that weeps of grief, like a tear that hangs in the soul forever—a powerful lyric by singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley.
At least this is how some Christians feel, though many do not. They are either unaware of the wickedness that presses in on every side or asleep in their ease and comfort. They’re either outright supporting it because they’re more afraid of men than God or have become corrupted by the wickedness. They’ve bought into the lies and believed man’s truth rather than God’s.
We certainly see this among so-called conservatives in the media. They fight political adversaries for the game of it and push against socialism so they can hold on to their stuff, but they don’t fight the sin and wickedness around them. They don’t fight for the culture; they’ve already abandoned it. Instead of speaking out against the social rot caused by moral relativism and subjectivism, they thoughtlessly embrace it and indulge it, calling it good. Again, they seek the praise of men rather than God. They are not like Lot who was greatly distressed and tormented in his righteous soul, because they are not righteous. They are deluded and corrupt and, if they don’t repent, they will suffer the same fate as the wicked.
Crisis of Identity
Every several hundred years since the dawn of Christianity, the church has been embroiled in particular controversies that have defined each age regarding the nature of “identity.” The first few hundred years, the church struggled against heresies to hold on to the truth about the identity of Christ. Was He God or was He man, or was He merely a spiritual emanation? The next few hundred years, the church struggled against violent forces to hold on to the truth about the identity of the church. Schisms formed, sects broke away from established ecclesiastical authorities, and armies from the East turned their might against the church to level and supplant her. Later, after hundreds of years, the church struggled against internal error and corruption to hold on to the truth about the identity of Christianity itself. What was the heart of the Faith? What did it mean to be saved? What was the nature of justification? What part did the ecclesiastical authorities play in the redemption of souls?
Now, the church is facing another crisis of identity, and no doubt it will go on for many, many years, for it is just beginning. The church is struggling against subjectivism and groupthink to hold on to the truth about the identity of man. What does it mean to be human? Do we determine our own truth? What does it mean to be a man, to be a woman? What’s the nature of sexual identity and the role of sex? What is truth about God and creation, and how does this relate to human relationships, to human self-perception, to the very essence of the modern identity? Of course, the thread weaving its way through each of these controversies is Truth and its ancient foe—anti-truth. They’re locked in an epic cosmic battle that will go on until judgment day. It started in the Garden when a lie took hold of Adam and Eve, and they catapulted their feelings, passions, and desires over the eternal, never-changing truth of God. They set themselves up as the Authority, not God. The lie took root, and it has never relinquished its hold on the human imagination.
Today, Christians will either rise to stand against the lies, or they will falter as so many have in the past. In every epoch of revolutionary struggle, Christians have either faced the crisis with courage that comes through faith in Christ or have failed and suffered God’s severe judgment.
In God’s Image—Male and Female
Two pillars of foundational truth regarding human nature that must not be forgotten or rejected, if we are going to maintain a free and civil society—and a thriving, God-pleasing church—are: 1) human beings are made in God’s image, and 2) human beings are made male and female. Both of these have a divine purpose. Human beings are made to be holy as God is holy and to be in a relationship with Him, and human beings as men and women are made to be in fellowship with one another. Both are based on love—a holy, righteous love, not love that has been defined and corrupted by sinful desires.
The most foundational of those human relationships is between a man and a woman in marriage. In this relationship, they serve God as one, they bear fruit, they build societies, and they fill the earth to please and glorify their Creator. Sex, therefore, has a very specific place in human relationships. It is solely reserved for marriage between one man and one woman for the creation of children and the loving, respectful unity of a husband and wife. Sex, erotic relationships, sexual attractions that are outside of this narrow space of God’s created order are contrary to His design for creation. Anyone who deviates from this design is living a false reality, an inauthentic expression of the human life—a lie. It leads only to misery, if not in this life then certainly in the one to come.
God made us male and female, to be one flesh, to be fruitful and multiply, to love in a way that reflects God’s unity with His people. Any sexual engagement, any sexual impulses that are entertained in the imagination, any self-gratified sexual indulgences, any self-defined “loving” relationships, any so-called marriages, and any sexual feelings that replace God-designed sexual identity and purpose for human society are sinful and dishonor Him and His image in man.
We live in a time when the sexual revolution that once focused on women’s sexual liberties has broadened to encompass lesbianism, homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, and any other “sexuality” people can think of and call true. They call it true because they have rejected objective truth. Whatever they deem to be true about themselves and about the order of nature is truth to them—this is the essence of subjectivism. Anyone, therefore, who agrees with them, who applauds their “truth,” has denied God’s truth and embraces the chaos of subjectivism and moral relativism. They are living in rebellion against God.
We could go through the Bible and list all the verses that cite the evils of fornication, unlawful divorce, adultery, bestiality, homosexuality, and sexual perversion of every sort, but it’s not necessary. When you have established the foundational premise that determines the conclusion of everything else, you don’t need to cite all the particulars. You see that they all flow from the same source and are interpreted in that light. Jesus knew this when the Jewish leaders pressed him about legal loopholes for divorce. He didn’t haggle with them about exegesis and scriptural interpretation. He pushed through all the rabble and said one thing:
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 10:6-9)
All questions, all thoughts, all controversies, all desires about sex, family, children are answered in God’s creative authority: God is our Maker. He made us male and female, not to have sex with whatever or whomever we desire, no matter how strong those internal impulses are, no matter whether we’ve felt them from birth, and no matter what society says is right. He made us male and female to become one flesh in the covenant of marriage by His Authority, not by our own. God created sex for a purpose—for the union of a husband and wife to raise their own children in His holiness.
This is God’s will. It is His right. It is His truth. He has joined them together. He has declared this truth. Let no one separate their actions from His truth. If they do, it will be as if they had cleaved themselves in half. There is no joy there. No peace. No holiness. No unity with God. And no eternal life. Sex outside of God’s created order and truth is a culture of death. It’s sterile. It’s lifeless. It is death to the children caught in it. Think of abortion that kills millions of helpless babies. Think of children purposely and selfishly denied a relationship with their biological mothers and fathers through surrogacy and sperm donation, as if they were mere goods to be exchanged, like keys to a house. Think of single motherhood and how it separates children from the love and security of fathers. And think of unbiblical divorce that devastates the family, breaks the hearts of children, and weakens the fabric of society.
The world calls this array of self-gratifying behaviors love. But it isn’t love at all. It’s the opposite of love because it is a rejection of the God who created love. The God of love stands against the ways of the world and calls them hateful and wicked. The world scoffs at this, just as it scoffs at Christians who speak truth in an age of lies. They say Christians are the ones who are unloving, but they are redefining the very identity of love. It is wholly subjective, based on fallen desires, feelings, and imaginations. Such love isn’t love at all. It’s hate. It hates holiness. It hates God’s law. It hates God’s people. It hates God’s word. It hates the Cross of Christ. It hates truth. It hates it because it prefers self-worship over God-worship.
Paul explains this in Romans 1, and it’s no accident that he follows his comments about truth, lies, and self-worship with homosexuality. This is because homosexual acts and indulged feelings are very different from other sexual sins. Not in their measure of condemnation, for all sins are worthy of hell, but in their nature. Homosexuality is not about doing something contrary to God’s will, but being something contrary to God’s design and purpose. Here’s Paul in Romans 1:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth… For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:18-27)
Beware of Lies
Unbelievers, of course, don’t have ears to hear this truth. Believers, however, do. May they not let the power of the flesh keep them from it. May they see the truth and repent. If they do, Christ will forgive and shower them with blessings of joy unlike anything the world can deliver or sin can promise as it whispers in the darkness.
Beware of Christians who call evil, good and bitter, sweet. Beware of Christians or even religious conservatives of any stripe who embrace sin that the world is celebrating—all for personal gain and social acceptance in the name of “tolerance.” Peter says they are “like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed.” His words are harsh, and he doesn’t relent. We should listen and take heed:
“They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
“These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.” (2 Peter 2:13-21).