Commentary on "Integrity: Wholeness and Holiness"
Day 5: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - Sexual Integrity
The opening texts, Romans 1:26-27; 1 Cor., 6:15-18; 1 Thes. 4:3, and Jude 7, warn against sexual immorality and declare that God’s wrath falls on those who suppress the knowledge of God by their wickedness, and this wrath is expressed by the unchecked sexual immorality at work in many unbelievers. Believers are to refrain from sexual immorality.
The lesson gives an example of a girl who goes to college and “slowly but surely” compromised her sexual standards, one step at a time, and eventually found herself with an incurable sexually transmitted disease. The lesson further warns against the physical, emotional, and spiritual toll immorality—including pornography—exacts from those involved.
The lesson ends with the question of what the readers struggles are in this area of life, and it concludes, “Whatever your situation, how can you better avail yourself of the promises of God to see you through them?”
The concerns expressed in this lesson are valid and germane. Sexual purity is a serious issue, and pornography is a problem that is widespread.
The irony in this lesson is that within Seventh-day Adventism, sexual immorality is widespread. While families make every effort to appear healthy and happy, the incidence of adultery and even of incest is far more prevalent than anyone wants to admit.
Added to this hidden but pervasive problem is the fact that Adventist hospitals and many Adventist physicians perform abortions. While on the surface Adventism attempts to teach sexual purity, in practice the “walk” frequently does not match the talk. Moreover, the profound lack of respect for life, demonstrated by the fact that Adventism quietly endorses abortion (a reality easily approved when one believes that a living human is merely body plus breath and possesses no immaterial spirit apart from the biologically living body), illustrates that the Adventist worldview cannot adequately explain the seriousness of sexual immorality.
When one realizes that people have real but immaterial spirits and that the spirit is where the Holy Spirit resides and testifies truth to us, then one also realizes that sexual immorality would, in the case of a believer, be literally uniting God’s Spirit in an illicit relationship. This sort of alliance would be a profound insult to God.
Interestingly, Romans 1 describes unchecked sexual immorality as an expression of God’s wrath on those who suppress the knowledge of God by their wickedness.
Sexual immorality is not just about emotional and physical stigmas and diseases. It is a defacing of the relationship that the Lord Jesus has with the church, His bride. The Bible describes us as Christ’s body (Ephesians 5), and Revelation 21 describes the marriage supper of the Lamb when the betrothal period is over and we, the body of Christ and His own cleansed and spotless bride, are finally united for eternity.
The marriage relationship is sacred and reflects the reality of Jesus knowing us intimately, indwelling us by His Spirit and giving is Himself personally and giving us His life eternally.
It is a moot point to attempt to “avail ourselves” of the promises of God to see us through sexual temptation. Unless we are born again and filled with the Spirit of God Himself, we cannot avoid temptation. When we are united with Christ, we must live in that identity. We can only have one identity; when we have immoral habits, we must surrender those to the Lord Jesus and accept His identity, allowing Him to convict us and to give us victory over the habits of our natural state.
God asks us to submit to the Lord Jesus and surrender to Him our habits and sins and allow Him to do in us what He knows needs to be done. When we are born again, we can then trust Him and hold loosely the things to which we have been bound.
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