April 18, 2013
Sex and Revival
I came across this article in the past few days. A man asked Tim Keller at a conference what he thought the main barrier to revival was in our day. Keller answered by saying that most young Christians were engaging in illicit sex. I think there’s something to that. There is nothing as alluring and controlling as sexual sin. If most single Christians are mired in fornication, it’s no wonder that they’re not passionate about God.
This morning I was reading through 1 Thessalonians and I came to chapter four.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
First, what is God’s will? It’s that His people would be holy, set apart, devoted to Him. This is an example of God’s “will of desire.” People everywhere are breaking this command, yet this is still within God’s “will of decree.” The point here, though, is that the Lord wants His people to be holy.
Second, what does that look like? It looks like us controlling our bodies. Anyone who has struggled and sinned in this area has no doubt experienced an almost animal-like loss of control. The Lord doesn’t want His people acting like this. He wants His people self-controlled, or rather Spirit-controlled, seeking to live holy and honorable lives.
Third, why does He want this? He wants us to look different from the “Gentiles,” from non-Christians around us. The fact that we know Him should make us not so desperate for sexual sin. We have delight in Jesus. The gospel motivates us to holiness. But mission also motivates us that way. We must be different so we can have an impact.
Fourth, what else happens when we sin in this way? We hurt our witness, but we also damage our community. This transgression, the passage says, causes us to wrong our brothers and sisters. We harm each other. That’s one thing we usually don’t think about. In sexual sin, we are also injuring our brother or sister’s soul. If we really love a person, we won’t do this to him or her.
Fifth, what will be the result of this sin? God will judge. Those who don’t repent, who show themselves over time to be unbelievers, will be judged one day by the Lord. Believers, as well, will undergo a judgment at the last day. Their works will be exposed, yet through Christ they will still be saved. We should desire to honor Him on that day.
Sixth, what is the ultimate problem? We dishonor our Lord. We disregard Him. We grieve and offend His Spirit. All sin is first and foremost against Him. We sin against our Creator and Lord, but we also turn our backs on our Redeemer, if we’re in Christ. We disregard Him and what He has done. We don’t thank Him for the gift of His Spirit.
To be clear, there is much, much grace for those who have sinned in this area, even as believers. However, if we are in Christ, we should be motivated to fight against this sin. The gospel grants us forgiveness, but it also gives us motivation.
Check out the article above and read Keller’s words. Also, notice the connection between sexual sin and doubts among young people, as well. It gives much insight in helping us think through apologetics. It’s great reading.