Last week at MTC our theme was Total Gospel: How the Gospel Changes Everything. We looked at how the news of Jesus, crucified, risen, returning, touches every area of life – leadership, work, ambitions, relationships and sexuality. And each of these are touched and transformed in a number of different ways by the gospel. So for example the way the gospel transforms work is partly by showing that we are not justified by our work and busyness but also by showing that we were saved for good work. We need both these truths. It’s similar with sexuality. On the one hand the gospel pronounces complete forgiveness and cleansing to sexual sinners. On the other hand, we saw that the very same gospel calls us to live worthy of our holy calling, we are bought with a price, we know the God of love and light and faithfulness, we live under the authority of Good King Jesus, we want to please him in the way we use our bodies and affections and to reflect his goodness in our relationships. We need both sides of this wonderful gospel. The book Married for God, which we reviewed before and which many of the apprentices will be reading between now and the next MTC, captures very well both aspects of the gospel impact on marriage – grace which lavishly forgives and grace which changes us. Here is something from the book on the first aspect:
The first truth is this: the Bible speaks to men and women who are spoiled in the area of sex. We tend to think Christianity is… for those who are respectable, or those who have clean histories. Quite the opposite is true. Writing to the young Christians in Corinth, Paul, gives a terrible list of wrongdoing, including sexual mess-ups. And then he says, ‘And such were some of you.’ If the stories of the men and women in the Corinth church were told… they would include the most terrible stories of moral messes in the area of sex… They would have included casual sex, abuse… homosexual practice, and probably much more.
Jesus the great doctor came for the sick, not for those who thought they were well (Matt. 9:12-13). This book is not for the Pharisee who thanks God that he has a clear record in sex, unlike those rotten people he reads about in the tabloids. It is for the failure who says: ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (Luke 18:9:14).
The good new of Jesus Christ offers forgiveness to those whose sexual pasts are spoiled. Sexual sin is not the unforgivable sin, and sexual damage is not irreparable. Whatever we may have done, seen, or thought, and whatever may have been done to us, the Bible speaks to us ‘the Word of [God’s] grace’ (Acts 20:32).
It was the sexual failures who entered the kingdom of God ahead of those who thought they were clean (Matt. 21:31-32).
Whatever our pasts, our thoughts, our desires… Jesus offers you and me forgiveness and grace.
More resources from MTC:
- Living out the gospel: Sexuality and relationships
- When and how to use a Bible commentary
- Festo Kivengere and the East Africa Revival Movement
- Biblical Womanhood