A while back I had a conversation about sex before marriage. The focus of the conversation was pertaining to how to teach your kids about pre-marital sex and why they should wait. This blog is not about pre-marital sex, but I am using it as an example to reveal a bigger picture.
Sex is not a bad thing. However, sex outside of the security of marriage is damaging. Sin is not about what you do. It is about what the doing does to you. The damage is found in the consequences. It is found in the aftermath. Sin is like a pebble thrown into a body of water. The water ripples further and further out. The ripples disrupt the peace of the water. I lost my virginity when I was 16. I never held sex to the standard that others do. My biological mother was a prostitute and I was a victim of sexual abuse. Sex never meant anything pure or beautiful to me. The result of my formative years left me with a flippant view of sex and that view removed many of the typical obstacles between point ‘a’ and point ‘b’.
Sex is like surgery. Marriage is like anesthetic. Sex before marriage is like surgery with no anesthetic.
My view of sex enabled me to shrug my shoulders at the idea of religious restraint. My attitude was that I could do what I wanted and my distaste for religion made it even more of a total slough-off. Religious rules, I later found, were not about God, but rather an attempt to be godly. Despite the fractured fumblings of religion, God’s design and order to things remains. Disregard for the design does not make you immune to the order. Though I did not care about keeping myself sexually pure, I did experience the pain of rejection, uncertainty, and vulnerability of stepping out of order. What little self-worth I had plummeted.
You don’t have to be a Christian to experience the pain of going outside of God’s order.
It is not about stepping out of order, it is about the pain that comes from doing so. It is about the lies you believe when you fail. The damaged self-worth, the fear that everything is ruined, and the overwhelming sense of hopelessness are all lies. The power in the message of the Gospel is that what Jesus did wins in the competition of what sin can do. Consequences are not to be confused with punishment. Punishment was taken care of by Jesus. Consequences are like the law of gravity. If you throw something into the air, it will come down. God has made it so that the crash landing cannot destroy you.
The Christian community tends to abandon the failure in the aftermath and even uses the unbearable hopelessness to pound home the belief that they are further from God than ever. However, hopelessness is the fertile soil ripped open and ready for the seeds of hope. Hopelessness reveals the need for hope. Sin reveals the need for Jesus.
Mistakes are made when professed ‘believers’ fail to believe that the dead can be raised to life. The message that people perpetuate is that if you experience the death of sin, then you are dead, done-for. The logic is that avoiding the failure is the key to salvation. People who have suffered their own sin are faced with the self-oriented message that they cannot be made new. They cannot be raised from the dead.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. -1 Corinthians 15:12-17 ESV
The message of grace is under attack by those who fail to believe in the finished work of Jesus. The attackers refuse to see grace and spend all of their time magnifying the sin of those who received it. They are “misrepresenting God.” The Giver of Life is glorified in the spaces where compatibility with life is hopeless.
If you are the equivalent of the girl who gave herself away and you are crushed under the death of your innocence, the message of grace is for you. Your failure revealed a truth about God and life that you didn’t know before. Do not believe the hopelessness that you are damaged goods and ruined forever. You cannot go back and make different choices and that fact is the glaring stamp of “guilty” across the pages of your future. Guilt is the the prerequisite for salvation. You do not reach for what you do not need. The understanding of bitter failure increases the comprehension of grace. The greater the thirst, the sweeter the water. The more you have been forgiven, the more you love. Consider that what you learned from this is the key to understanding your purpose. With that in mind, consider God’s purpose in the big picture and let that blow your mind for a little while.
“I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” -Luke 7:47 ESV
It’s a mind-boggling twist to not only understand a fresh start, but to know that the fresh start would not exist without what should have destroyed you forever.