The first post of this little series was an attempt to point out some of the historical references regarding the Christian understanding of sexual immorality. It is an attempt, no matter, in some people's eyes, a pretty simple one, that showed the early church adopting the important part of the Jewish law that spanned across all time and culture as a witness to God's plan for His children. There have been some more discussions about morality and differences in definitions throughout the centuries that does not necessarily mean that what was considered sexually immoral thousands of years ago, may not be today. I am not one to ever give in to a form of moral relativism that says it is ok to have pre-marital sex or homo-sexual sex because it has become more acceptable in today's culture than it was in the past or because of some debate about a specific definition used in the past as opposed to today. That is all semantics. Until God came and gave the laws and commandments to man, they were not aware that their practice of men being with men and women being with women was immoral. God told them otherwise and, to me, that is not a cultural thing, but a moral thing. There are some very straightforward cultural issues that occur within the OT and NT, but sexual immorality, as it stems from the 10 Commandments, transcends time and culture as a witness to God's plan for His children, just as I have stated above regarding the OT laws of morality. Rich Atchley in his book "Sinai Summit: Meeting God with Our Character Crisis," he makes the following point:
"Character is important. And the quest for character will be frustrated as long as we continue to use ourselves as the standard for right and wrong. That is why we need to return to the Sinai Summit. There, as we encounter the holy presence of God, we begin to understand that he alone is the moral center. God is the only eternal standard of good, the only source of real values. And in his instruction to Moses we find the ethic we need to become people of character." p. 31, emphasis added
I have point this out before, and Jesus said it Himself, that He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-20). Jesus himself was a good Jew that followed the law, but tempered His dedication to it and taught in His ministry that the law was a guide from God to understand His will. It was important, but was not to become a god in and of itself, like is had for the Pharisees. But fear of the law becoming an idol should not cause us to abandon it. (Just like fear of Church traditions becoming the main focus of our faith should not keep us from continuing them.) God gave us these laws so we knew what was right and what was wrong. They are to be guides for our lives as Christians and they do not change because the world's views change. Remember, in all this, for those that fight for Orthodoxy and Truth, Jesus himself told us that we are to live in the world and we will not be of it:
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.'
"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning." John 15:18-27 (NKJV)
With that comment, Part 2 will be posted shortly.