Friday, 28 August 2015

What is this Ashley Madison thing all about?

Romans 1:24-25 "Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!  Amen."

You may have heard in the news recently that a certain online adultery website had its database hacked and exposed.  The name: Ashley Madison - a site for married people to intentionally find other people to have affairs with.  Swaths of people were exposed in their adultery when hackers broke into the information database and leaked it all to the public.  Government officials, corporate leaders, all sorts of prominent figures have had their pants pulled down and a big spotlight shined on what they have been unfaithfully doing to their spouses.  Fetishes, sexual preferences that are not worth repeating, and a host of other shameful information was laid bare before the world.

Now, there could be any number of things you could say about such a ridiculous situation.  But perhaps the most important is what Paul says in the opening chapter of his letter to the church in Rome.

False sex is false worship.  It is idolatry.  It is what someone does when they think wrongly about the Creator - the true God.  It doesn't matter if someone is a Christian or not - unauthorized sexuality, or sensuality or attention given to sexual things even in one's mind - reflects an error in how they understand God.  God is pure and He desires for us to be pure, and when we convince ourselves otherwise we are deceiving ourselves - exchanging the truth about God for a lie.  We have fashioned for ourselves a god we can worship that lets us be fleshly, and lustful and dishonourable to our bodies.  And we are in grave danger.

Now, let me be clear.  ALL of us are included here.  We are all equally guilty of this perversion and falsehood.  It is the natural inclination of the heart of man.  False worship.  False sex.  To make matters worse, sex seems to be the devil's weapon of choice right now.  It is the main headline in the news every night!  Not war, or disease, or economy - but SEX!  Sex with this or that or whatever it is that makes you feel good (for a time).  The world is screaming: Sex is happiness!  Sex is success!  Sex is your identity!

And the world is not even trying to hide that sex is worship.  In Bruno Mars' latest song "Locked out of Heaven" he intentionally uses religious words to describe sex.  And in Hozier's hit "Take me to church" again we have the message - sex is church, sex is worship, sex is god and goodness and blessing.  These songs show what Paul says later in that first chapter, that we "not only do these things, but brag and approve of those who do them."

In other words, do not be surprised.  This is why judgment has been proclaimed against mankind. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

And yet, this is also why God sent His Son.  Not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  The groom has come to save His bride (humanity), and what do we do??  We cheat on Him.  We whore ourselves out to false gods, and false worship and falsehood.  All our sins are unfaithfulness - but still we have a groom who comes to make us pure.  We have One faithful to us despite our unfaithfulness to Him.  We have a God who comes to take our judgment.  We have One who is One flesh with us - to take our pain and our punishment and our death.  Even Jesus.  Christ is the One who carried our impurity to the cross - the groom dying for His bride.  The groom cleansing His bride.  The groom sacrificing Himself for His bride that she might live and be divorced from her adultery and sin. 

Thanks be to God that our purity is found only in Christ - as a gift.  Thanks be to God that we are not locked out of heaven.  Thanks be to God that when we get taken to church Christ proclaims His forgiveness to us - not His judgment or anger or wrath.  We have all sinned and fallen short, but Christ has come down in purity to take us home, to wash us clean in His blood and make us His own.  Sex will not save you, Christ will - and He calls you to purity as you wait.  And so the Christian strives and struggles against the world and the sinful nature inside - the Christian says no to unauthorized sex - the Christian looks in faith to Christ - the true God - the Creator blessed and finds rest in Him alone.  May the Lord shape your mind this way, and strengthen you with His Spirit to this end.

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