Points to Ponder: The Roots of Mortality Still Apply

Points to Ponder
The Roots of Mortality Still Apply
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer

Several years ago, a Senior Sunday school class asked me to join a discussion on the issue of sexual morality. I began with an emphasis on scriptural holiness and the chief purpose of humankind - to glorify God.
In both the Old and New Testaments, the standard we are to pursue is to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy (Leviticus 19:2 and Matthew 5:48). And scripture tells us that without holiness "no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14b).
Suppose I took the Communion pallet and chalice and used it for a common meal of pizza and soda. "What would be wrong with that?" I asked the class. These are vessels that are holy, special. To carry the lesson further, I asked what their opinion of me would be if I actually used those vessels in that way. The response was universally negative.
We call marriage "holy matrimony" for a reason. Marriage is the reason for which God created the genders (Genesis 2:22-24). Jesus emphasized this original purpose.
"..., 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning "made them male and female," and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two become one flesh'" (Matthew 19:4-5).
Back in Genesis, God created male and female in the image of God (1:26-27). He made of the one Adam, two separate and complimentary individuals. The gender differences are particularly designed to equip the two to become one union. There is no such thing as same-sex marriage except in the mind of man. Nowhere does scripture speak of this concept as anything other than sin. And sexual relations outside the bond of marriage (homosexual, incestual, or with animals, or even heterosexual cohabitation) are called fornication. The term is from the Greek pornea, from which we have "pornography," or immorality in print.
The prophets of the tolerance culture like to credit Jesus with their idea that today's enlightened society is not held to that Old Testament standard. But Jesus said,
"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man..." (Matthew 15:19-20a).
The higher purpose of living a holy life is for the sake of those whom we influence. To have a godly influence one must live a godly life. To spread scriptural holiness one must conform one's values and lifestyle to the scripture. Consider the new Christian minority in the major city of Thessalonica. Their values were very counter cultural. In Roman society, sexual freedom was the acceptable norm. But Paul says we live to please the Lord:
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,...For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5 and 7-8).
Why is this so unpopular and unheeded in today's Christian church? What does the bible say?
In Ephesians 5:3-7, we're told to not let "fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness...be named among you." He goes on to warn, "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them."
(Colossians 3:5-6; I Timothy 1:10; and Jude 4-7 also speak in a similar way.)
How shall we read this one:
"Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).
In the Bible, God has consistently approached His relationship with His people as either Father to child (Exodus 4:21-23; Isaiah 63:16; John 20:17; Matthew 6:9) or as husband to wife (Hosea; Ezekiel 16:8-28; II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:30-32; Revelation 19:7-8). So, a Christian marriage of a man and a woman made in the image of God therefore glorifies God in that union. Because the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:15-20), celibacy in singleness and fidelity in marriage is the holiness standard to which each believer is called; "possess (your) own vessel in sanctification and honor" (I Thessalonians 4:4).
The point is we are vessels of the Holy Spirit of God, not for the common temporal pleasures of a lost and dying culture; but for the higher purpose of glorifying the Lord as a light in a dark place. Dare we be like Esau (Genesis 25:29-34), selling our birthright to satisfy the hunger of the moment?
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
(Proverbs 14:12).

Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.