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Life

Gender, Sexuality, and the Gospel (Part 2)

In this second post on gender and sexuality, I want to address what gospel-driven and Scripture-based principles give us a foundation for practicing a life of love and truth in the midst of cultural opposition when it comes to gender and sexuality (and many other issues, mind you). The general culture is quickly becoming more and more hostile to Christianity. While people’s values (i.e. what their heart truly loves and desires) in the culture have always varied and, typically, been opposed to the gospel, the norms (i.e. accepted behaviors) have not. We have had Christian norms for many decades. How do we respond now that our culture is not as favorable to Christian norms as it once was?

Our current cultural situation gives Christians an opportunity to not just tell a better story of gender and sexuality (that was the point of my first post), but to live a better story. To do this, we need to listen to a first century pastor who wrote to his beloved churches when they lived in a time of fierce opposition (much more fierce than what we are experiencing today). The pastors name is Peter, and his first epistle is all about holiness, submission, and suffering. It’s as instructive for us in the 21st century as it was for Christians in the first century.

There are probably dozens of themes and principles we can extrapolate from this letter which would help us develop wise and winsome gospel-centered practices. But I’ll pull out just three of them. 

  1. Holiness in exile. Peter shows his readers that the gospel makes you a new people who live in a new way (1 Pet. 1:15). Because we have been saved by a holy God, we are called to live exemplary lives even while we are surrounded by people who are not following and obeying God.
  2. Submission in suffering. Peter shows his readers that the gospel frees you to model the submission of Christ and suffer with him because you are the people of a better nation (1 Pet. 2:1-12, 13-17). Even if human governments do not honor God, we are still called to honor the government. This doesn’t mean we disobey God, of course. But it means that even in suffering, we are called to submit, not disparage, slander, or overthrow our leaders.
  3. Expect trials and respond graciously. Peter shows his readers that the gospel reveals that if we belong to Christ, we should expect suffering and be gentle and respectful of opponents (1 Pet. 3:8-22; 4:12-19). In Peter’s words, it is not strange when hard things come! What is strange is that biblical norms were accepted for so long.  We should have expected the kinds of things we are seeing in the culture to have happened much sooner than they did. And while this decline happens and continues to worsen, our job is not necessarily to change the circumstances but point people to true hope in Jesus.

If these truths sink down deep it will lead to a radically different way of approaching the issues of gender and sexuality and, more importantly relating to the people who hold views which are at odds with the Scriptures. That will be our final post.

Categories
Life

Men, Grab Your Cup…You’ll Need It

Most men don’t know how to be men.  Honestly, most men are boys and they treat women like garbage.  Mark Driscoll preaches on 1 Peter 3:7 and talks about 8 different kinds of men he has observed.  It is particularly intense.  May God spur all of us men to be more conformed to the image of the ultimate Man — Jesus Christ.

I highly encourage you listening to this sermon.

And by the way, grab your cup.  You’re going to need it.

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Theology

Election Shouldn’t Cause us to be Afraid. It Should Cause us to Spread the Gospel.

Somewhere down the line in history, people began to develop various responses to the biblical truth of God choosing people for salvation.  Some people argue that God wouldn’t do that because it doesn’t seem fair.  Others say that evangelism would be pointless and ask how election could then be true.  Still others think that the Bible clearly doesn’t teach election.  Then there are those who think that God chooses some (and that they are chosen), so we don’t have to evangelize at all, because those whom God chooses will come to him eventually.

May I be so bold to say that they are all wrong?  The biblical truth of God’s electing people to salvation is a cause for rejoicing!  How wonderful that a holy, just God would save sinners!  How beautiful that we are invited into spreading the great news of the gospel that others might come to know Jesus.  First Peter 2:9-10 says,

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

God has made a people for himself.  This people consists of everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior.  God has made this people so that they can declare his glory to all the other peoples of the world, so they too might experience the joy of a relationship with Christ. 

All of this is grounded in one, marvelous, unbelievable thing: God’s mercy.

 

 

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Theology

Grudem on 1 Peter 1:15-16

To be holy ‘as God is holy’ includes a full and pervading holiness that reaches to every aspect of our personalities. It involves not only avoiding outward sin but also maintaining an instinctive delight in God and his holiness as an undercurrent of heart and mind throughout the day.

– Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter,  p. 79 

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Life

Maybe We Should Concentrate on Our Holiness More Than Our Methods

Perhaps if we walked in holiness, treasured Jesus supremely, and were continually filled with the Spirit, we wouldn’t have to be concerned about the different methods, tools, and strategies in evangelism.  Isn’t our best strategy a life that reflects Christ? 

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

– 1 Peter 2:11-12