Friday, May 16, 2014

Redeeming LGBTQ in Christ: Straightforward compassion from Tyler Blanski

I am generally unimpressed by Christian writers who adopt the vocabulary of  "LGBTQ people" in an attempt to sound compassionate and understanding. This article by Tyler Blanski, however, is a most welcome and refreshing exception. Here is a brief excerpt, but you will want to read it all, by all means.

H/T Chip Edgar
For a number of us, it can be shocking how utterly hetero (other) biblical sexuality is. It’s because Adam and Eve are different that they have such a profound unity—“one flesh.” The perfect “fit” between man and woman is the foundation for all marriages (Gen. 2:24). Sexual polarity is why we have marriage in the first place. Marriage would not exist if men and women were identical. We are male and female: “for this reason a man will leave…” (Gen. 19:5).

Sexuality is not a mere human idea.

Sexuality is God’s idea.

Jesus says marriages are something God joins together (Matt. 19:3-6). And Jesus is clear that sex is meant for a lifelong, monogamous, male-and-female marriage (Mark 7:20-23; cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-10). God is opposed to any kind of sexual activity outside of conjugal marriage—not because he makes random rules, but because he made us for something glorious.

The fruitful one-flesh union of marriage is how men and women can fulfill God’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Even more, human sexuality, typified in marriage, is meant to reflect the profound mystery of Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:31-32). And the marriage between Christ and his Church is complementary. We are not Christ, and Christ is not us. Because Christ is other, he is able to draw us to himself in the ultimate one flesh union of heaven and earth. Human marriage (and therefore all human sexuality) is a living, breathing parable of the heavenly marriage between the Lamb and his bride (Rev. 21:9).

A man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or any sexual relationship outside of wedlock, cannot reflect the union of Christ and the Church. To be faithful to the way God made us as male and female, to obey his command to be fruitful and multiply, and to reflect the supreme marriage of Christ and the church, our marriages (and therefore our sexuality) must be between one man and one woman, open to life in the bonds of holy matrimony.

Now, it is true that the constant Bible teaching is very clear that homosexual activity is a serious sin (Gen. 19:4-5; Lev. 18:22; 20:13). Given what the Bible says about God’s mission for sex and marriage and all creation this should not surprise us. Paul even breaks all twenty-first century rules and says homosexuality is “unnatural” (Rom. 1:18-32). Homosexuality is a sign of God’s judgment (Rom. 1:19; 2:5). Those who practice these desires “will not inherit the kingdom” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

But homosexuality is not a unique sin. In the same list of sins Paul says will render us unable to inherit the kingdom are also sexual immorality and adultery and drunkenness and theft. This does not make it less of a sin, but it reminds us that homosexual behavior is in the category of adultery or pornography or any other sins that might be heterosexual. It’s just one of the many sins of our fallen nature in the fallen Adam that we must put behind us as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Paul goes on to say about homosexuals and adulterers and thieves, “and that is what some of you were. 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 Cor. 6:11). Homosexual behavior is not appropriate for Christians because it is not who they are anymore. Clearly some of the Christians in Corinth were once active homosexuals. But not anymore. They have been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus and by the Spirit of God.

Whether or not you think you were born this way, you were not re-born this way. You have a new identity in Christ. You have been made new. Attractions and feelings may still persist. But in Christ we are no longer our old selves. What defines every baptized Christian is no longer our feelings or attractions. God is who defines us now. Only “in Christ” is anyone righteous in God’s eyes (2 Cor. 5:2). “In Christ” we are presented holy and blameless (Col. 1:22). All of us are weak! But Christ is strong! If this were not true, the Gospel would be one big sham.

So “T” is for transformation.

You have been given a new identity, a new self (Eph. 4:24). In Christ, you are a new creation (2 Cor. 4:17). At the bedrock of your personhood you have been “born again” (John 3:3). “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2).

But we still wait for the “redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). Temptations very well may linger on this side of the new creation. This is because you are not at the final goal yet. You’re still in a process of transformation. But as the baptized faithful, all of us, all broken and in need of the Savior, are “being transformed … from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18).