The battle lines in our Christian warfare have been drawn. Whose army are you in? God’s army, or satan’s army?
Sexual Purity, in Sex and Gender
The battle lines specifically are drawn around our sexual purity. I didn’t decide this. I would much rather prefer that the battle lines between God’s kingdom and satan’s kingdom were about football, with God’s kingdom all being fans of the New England Patriots. That is what I would want. (Click here to see my weekly Patriots predictions.)
Now you guys scoff at that idea, that somehow the battle lines between the forces of good and the forces of evil are about football, but how many Christians are passionate about Tim Tebow being the starting quarterback? I want to let all Christians know in America that the battle lines between satan and Jesus do not revolve around whether or not Tim Tebow is the starting quarterback for whatever team he’s on. If you think that’s the case, then it’s likely that Tim Tebow will never be the starting quarterback. He’s like Doug Flutie, and Doug Flutie was never really accepted by the NFL. So what are you going to say, that Jesus lost because Tim Tebow wasn’t the starting quarterback?
But I’ve seen evidence of this in the Bible. On page 1 of the Bible, we read that God created man and woman. They were to leave their mother and father, and become united to each other, and the two would become one. This is talking about sex. Not only the act of sex, but also sex as in male and female, which we now call gender.
On thelast page of the Bible, we see the kingdom of heaven, the actual city of heaven. The last page describes the wall of heaven, and says that outside are the sexually immoral. Every page in between reaffirms God’s commandment for us to be sexually pure. Not only in our sexual behavior, but also in sex as in gender. God draws a distinction between man and woman. This is reaffirmed through key passages. (see Bible, page 657, page 692, page 655)
The battle lines. Do you see them?
Even if we choose not to fight along those battle lines, that doesn’t mean the battle is not being waged there. If you lived in Paris, France, during World War II, you could choose to ignore the fact that Hitler was marching through. You could insist that the battle between France and Germany had to do with sausage and cheese. Hitler could be walking through the Arc de Triomphe, and you could say, “Hey Germans! I want to talk to you about sausage and cheese!” Hitler would laugh. He just took over Paris, and you’re still battling over sausage and cheese. In fact, Hitler could have sent an advance team to get the French all stirred up about sausage and cheese. Then when he came through with a blitzkrieg, you’d be caught off guard because you’re busy banning “wurst” and feeding everyone “fromage.”
Privates in the Sex War
Those of us in God’s army would like to think of ourselves as having a lot of decorations on our chest. We like to look at our shoulder to see what rank we are.
Unfortunately for us, there aren’t really a whole lot of ranks in God’s army. There are two, maybe three. You can be a teacher, preacher, or pastor. That’s one level. You can be a follower. But really, we’re all followers of Jesus. So we can be a follower of Jesus, we can be a teacher-follower of Jesus, or we can be Jesus. And only Jesus is Jesus.
In human warfare, the privates, corporals, sergeants, they don’t decide where the battle lines are, or the strategy, or how the warfare will play out. They’re only left with the option to either obey or disobey the commands of their commanding officer. When their commanding officer says , “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes,” they can obey, they can start firing from a distance, or they can decide to NOT fire when they see the whites of the Redcoats’ eyes.
There are a lot of ways to obey or disobey.
That’s the way it is in our Christian warfare. Do we obey God or not? None of us are generals. None of us decide when that moment is to fire. That’s the responsibility of our king-general, Jesus. He’s the type of general who is and was on the field. He is out there on the front lines taking all the arrows and deadly blows from the enemy. In fact, technically, He took them all for us. The bullets that were traveling straight for us, Jesus took them. He’s the general and the king, and we’re nothing but privates.
We just have a choice to obey God or not.
Why, though, are the battle lines drawn around sex? Well in human warfare, there’s a lot that goes into where two armies meet, like the terrain, the time of day, how quickly the army can march, what type of strategic plan they’re trying to unleash.
Ultimately God’s in charge. So if the battle lines are drawn around sex, why would God allow the battle to be waged about sex? Here’s why.
Because what’s unique about the true Christian religion is that through Jesus Christ, we have access to the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the only way that a human being can restrain his sexual desires. There is no other way.
Which leads me to why satan is willing to fight the war around our sexual behavior. It’s because that’s our weakness. The Bible says that satan tempted Eve and deceived her (page 5). The Bible calls women the weaker sex. The woman was man’s weakness.
False Religions and Sex
Other religions only attempt to corral man’s sexual desire through rules. But the Holy Spirit gives us more than rules. The Holy Spirit gives us the fruit of self-control.
Every other world system and world religion does have restraints around our sexual behavior, but they’re only rules that people observe to keep society from breaking down. I daresay that this was true about the Old Covenant, the Jewish religion. When Jesus was conducting His ministry on earth, He was in a society that had rules about sex. God’s rule for sex is that one man will marry one woman. The two will have sex with each other exclusively. That marriage relationship only ends when one of them dies. But it doesn’t say anything about “checking” other women out. And so when Jesus was on earth, He said that even if you look at a woman lustfully, you’ve committed adultery in your heart. That’s shocking. The Jews also had a number of reasons that a man could divorce his wife. But Jesus reiterated the standard that if a man leaves his wife while she’s still alive, marrying again is adultery.
The Buddhists seek to extinguish sexual desire by concentrating on nothingness. But this doesn’t bring their sexual desire into obedience; it merely oppresses it. And they’re left with an ineffectual and unproductive life. The only way for them to not check out a woman is for them to live by themselves on a mountaintop with no women around.
In Islam, you can get a marriage contract that lasts for one day. So if you want to have a one-night stand, get a certificate from Allah.
The issue of sex and gender is where the battle lines are drawn.
The Bible, understanding that, has roles defined differently for men and women. Our value is no different whether we’re a man or a woman, but our roles are different. The Bible says on page 762, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Our value is the same.
If you were a slave when you became a Christian, you wouldn’t stop being a slave. Like the Bible says on page 693, “Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you–although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freeman; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave.” If you’re a Greek and you’re called to be saved, you don’t need to be circumcised to become a Jew.
And if you’re a woman when you become saved, you don’t stop being a woman.
But satan seeks to undermine that. He wants to subvert everything that God has created. He wants to cause chaos out of the order that God has ordained. The order of each person’s life has to do with their gender.
Missing the Point in the Mainstream
Now the Presbyterian Church (USA), along with the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, and the Lutheran Church. Their response to the battle lines being drawn around sex and gender is to wave the white flag, and give up the fight. They don’t believe that these are the battle lines.
But that’s not what God has decided.
The PC(USA) waves the white flag when it comes to sex and gender, and would much rather have the battle lines be about, well, does evil even really exist? It’s not good vs. evil. It’s “good” vs. “not as good”. And the battle lines between “good” vs. “not as good” are that, well… maybe we need to feed the hungry. Jesus said to feed the hungry, right? But we can’t feed them just any food. Health food. We need healthy food options for poor people. That’s what the battle lines are. That is what the PC(USA) fights for. Their website has a blog all about health food for the poor. They do not have a blog all about sexual purity.
Why is that? Because satan wants to distract God’s army from fighting where the battle is. They are fighting where the battle is not. Food is not the battle between good and evil.
Jesus Christ said, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” (Bible, page 599) It’s the Bible that says food does not bring us closer to God. And food in and of itself is not what separated us from God. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil didn’t have to do with the health quality of that fruit, it had to do with the obedience quality of our heart. And we proved to be disobedient through sin.
We have a choice right now whether to obey our commanding officer, if we count ourselves in God’s army. And that is we must remain sexually pure. That battle lines are about sex. If we ignore this, we’re going to lose the battle.
When we deny God’s wisdom and truth, we cloud our minds and darken our hearts purposefully. Will you submit your life to God’s wisdom, or continue to live in your own folly?