This is the 2nd post in a series on how to date as a Christian. Click here to read the first post containing the 1st four principles.
5. Their identity is in Christ, too. So act like it.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
This one was a game changer for me. When you begin to see members of the opposite sex as equal bearers of the image of God, equal temples in which the Spirit of God dwells and equally ones for whom Christ died, it changes everything.
You no longer see girls as a collection of body parts or guys as the key to acceptance and worth.
This changes how/if you flirt and it changes what you do on dates. This is ultimately the heart of the Gospel: before anyone is your boyfriend or girlfriend, they are first and foremost a child of God and God cares deeply about how his kids treat one another.
6. Sexual sin damages in a unique way.
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. – 1 Cor. 6:18
Paul is writing to a culture in 1st century Corinth not unlike 21st century America. It is a very distracted city with lots of different worldviews and religious thoughts all mixing together. Notice the way Paul starts the second sentence in v. 18, “every other sin.”
Paul is explaining that sexual sin has a different set of consequences than other categories of sin. This is not to say that it separates us more or less from God; all sin is equal in that regard. Instead, Paul is explaining how sexual sin damages and creates baggage that we must deal with long after that sin has been forgiven by God.
It is not hard to see this play out both inside and outside the Church. How many times have you seen a 2nd marriage not stick so a 3rd and 4th are attempted with similar results? Porn addiction has been linked again and again to lower sex drives and less intimate sex lives. Those sins have already been forgiven and fully paid for by Jesus on the cross and in his resurrection, but that does not mean we get to avoid the consequences of bad decisions.
7. Jesus redeems ALL our mistakes.
10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more. – John 8:10-11
At first glance, this principle might seem to contradict #6 but this encounter in John 8 will help explain. John 8 begins with a group of religious hypocrites who were tired of hearing about the less than respectable reputation of a promiscuous woman in town. One day they decided they had heard enough of this 1st century reality show and decided to do something drastic.
They Bible says they caught her in the act of adultery which means they laid in wait for her, like a bunch of self-righteous peeping toms, as if there could ever be such a thing.
They literally ripped her out of bed and threw her, naked and ashamed, at the feet of Jesus and demanded Jesus to tell them what to do, since the law said they should stone her to death.
Jesus then uttered some of my favorite words in the New Testament, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
Jesus dropped the mic and the religious haters dropped their stones and walked away.
Even if you haven’t had sex before marriage, everyone knows the burden of sexual sin. The reality of redemption is that you’re not doomed to have a bad sex life inside marriage if you’ve had sex outside marriage.
Jesus said two things to the woman and every single one of us always needs to hear at least one of them:
- “Go and sin no more.” – Jesus has reminded this woman who she truly is, who he created her to be. Far too often, Christians can label all the ethical teachings of Scripture we don’t like as “legalistic” but here Jesus gives her a clear, loving command to simply go and live out that identity. But we can’t live out that identity and never let it affect the decisions we make, people or ways we date, and ultimately where our hope lies.
- “Neither do I condemn you.” – These words are necessary because principle #6 is true. Sexual sin produces a unique shame that can spiritually cripple you and allow you to start to believe lies about your acceptance in Christ. Since God, who knows everything about you, more than you even know yourself, refuses to condemn you we can go out in celebration and live like it! Live like you belong to a God who created you, loves you, and knows all your secrets and still refuses to condemn you.