This last Sunday evening, I preached on a Christian sexual ethic. This topic is filled with landmines if for no other reason than that most of those in attendance, myself included, had transgressed God’s standard of sexual expression. I wanted to be kind and compassionate for this reason, but I also wanted to convey God’s counsel on the matter as our guide in holiness and righteousness.
I spent only a little time on polygamy, bestiality, and incest simply because I was singing to the choir on those fronts. I spent a bit more time on premarital sex/cohabitation, adultery, divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality because those are the sexual sins that Christians often commit. Again, I add the caveat that I was once in the boat of this sort of sinfulness, so I speak with my past in mind, but also with the assurance that I’ve been forgiven my past transgressions—something all can obtain (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9–11).
This topic itself is rather taboo given how much we Christians have excused. It seems, and I’ve seen it done this way, that these are sins until we or someone close to us commits them, and then there are legitimate excuses. I’ve heard Christians, some preachers, and elders, justify or rationalize their way around some of these iniquities only when their loved ones have been embroiled in them.
The reality is that God determines what is holy in these and all regards. Just because society says something’s alright doesn’t mean that it is. We aren’t permitted as subjects of our King of Kings to alter His spiritual counsel. It doesn’t mean that He loves any person in one of these states less than those of us who haven’t done these sins. Rather, I see sin as a transgression of divine protocol and heartbreaking to our Father in heaven.
Knowing all the temptations that are out there, I believe topics such as these ought to be preached in love and compassion. Christians have loved ones whom they hope and pray will turn from their sinfulness in this and other areas of their lives. We mustn’t teach that one sin in one regard is worse than any other, which is often how the topic is addressed—extensive attention being paid to homosexuality. God’s divine mercy and His benevolent kindness towards us all is what we must trust because we’re all subject to it.
While preaching this topic, I saw faces of those I dearly love and care about who had done, were doing, or had loved ones doing one or several of these sins. My preaching on this didn’t indicate in the least that I view them as subpar Christians. Rather, they, like us all, are doing the best we can to please God and live faithfully. However, we all must be reminded of His holy ordinances. Plus, a generation sitting down front (our youth) needed to hear this too. If we avoid the hard topics because of discomfort, we rear a generation who can use the excuse, “I never knew.”