Separate from the Sexual Fray

God takes all sin seriously, though sexual sin is regularly referenced as a remarkable reason for God’s judgment. Paul did say, “every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). There are additional, personal consequences.

The world has a long history of relational disaster. Our generation is a troubled one but not the first one to be troubled. God rained a flood worth of punishment down on the ancient world marked by unnatural desire. Christ came a couple millennia ago to a confused and corrupt culture. Paul told the Ephesians,

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:5–6)

God’s law is clear and the inheritance of His kingdom is for those who are separate from the sexual fray.

The good news is that Christ died for sinners of all stripes. The wrath of God is coming, but it also did come already on God’s Son. Are you a sinner? Yes. Have you done things that don’t belong, that ought not even be named among the saints? Yes. Were you in darkness? Yes. But the death of Christ really took your unrighteousness. Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, ESV)

Our worship does not depend on covering our sin but on the cross. “You were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). Confess your sins, whatever they are, and come worship in light.

Sharing in the Symbols

When we partake of the cup and the bread we partake in the nature of the Lord. To share in the symbols of His sacrifice is to identify with the God who sacrifices.

This is one of the reasons why Paul forbids idolatry before he gives instructions about communion in 1 Corinthians 10. Many of the Jews were idolators and he warns the believers to “flee idolatry” (verse 14). Behind idols are demons and “you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons” (verse 21). Be careful to choose the right table.

When we eat the bread we participate in the body of Christ. We worship one who gave His physical life for us and we learn how to do the same. When we drink the cup of blessing we participate in the blood of Christ. We identify with dying to bring life.

This is how it must be. We either serve demanding idols and become demanding of others or we serve the God who gives grace and become merciful. We either identify with false gods who consume or we identify with the true God who was crucified for others. “Those who eat the sacrifices [are] participants in the altar” (verse 18).

Our sacrifices are not original. We cannot save another man’s soul. But we can imitate the ultimate sacrifice. The lesson is on the Table before us.

We Call It Choice

Every culture can be identified by its worship and all worship can be identified by its sacrifices. Some of the most grotesque, almost unimaginable sacrifices were offered by Israel’s pagan neighbors in the Old Testament. In order to please Molech, the Ammonites slaughtered their own children. We are horrified that any society could condone this sort of religion. What kind of god accepts child sacrifices as worship?

Our society doesn’t call it religion or worship, we call it choice. We call it reproductive freedom. We call it surgical procedures. And most Christians appear only mildly disturbed that our culture murders unborn children at the rate of over 3000 per day for the last 39 years.

These sacrificial killings are performed at the altar of the god of self, the god of pleasure, the god of convenience. Our culture’s god isn’t Molech, the god is almighty Me, and the people love her, or him.

What should we Christians do about abortion? We should start with worship, the foundation of our anti-idolatry campaign. People will not stop serving sin apart from repentance and belief in gospel of Jesus Christ. We who proclaim the gospel must believe it and worship Him as Lord.

The first thing we should do in our worship is confess our sins. We also are tempted to serve the gods of self, pleasure, and convenience. We ought to confess our own abominations, including our apathy for the Triune God and life in Him. Judgment is already on our country and the household of God should get right first.

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For more on our culture of death, read Abortion Is as American as Apple Pie by Al Mohler.

He Gets What He Wants

John Calvin wrote that the heart of man produces idols like a factory, like Detroit produces cars: many makes and models that require more work than their worth. You and I were made to worship, and we will supply something or someone to meet that demand.

One of the gods of men that comes off the product line is the god named Attention. He has other names, too: Fame, Recognition, Approval, Popularity. Attention talks about sharing, assuring everyone that there’s enough to go around, but he never seems to actually know when his turn is done.

He’s a fantastic contextualizer. He wears different clothes among junior high girls than professional academics, he works differently at ladies’ Bible studies than in Hollywood. It’s surprising how well he gets around. He sneaks into car leases, prayer requests, hair styles, social media statuses, diets, good grades, bad grades, employment titles, political campaigns, military campaigns, even Bible reading programs.

It’s also surprising how much damage he can cause. From backstabbing whispers to international battles, he starts wars. “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?” “You covet and cannot obtain” (James 4:1-3). Of course, Attention has siblings, such as his older brother Materialism. But Attention wants more than the thing, he wants people to know that he has the thing, or that he doesn’t. He can get what he wants either way.

Interestingly, James follows up by saying that we don’t have because we don’t ask (James 4:3). Why wouldn’t we ask? Because that gives someone else the attention.

Attention is a mean and expensive idol, with heavy taxes and high repair costs. He steals joy and peace. He splits churches and spouses and friends. He must be toppled, and Christians should fight him by confessing and then by turning from him to serve the living and true God in Christ.