A Nationwide Call for Spiritual Awakening

The Need for Repentance (Part 1)

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While we are all sinners and in need of grace, it seems our arch-enemy is shrewd in fashioning unique temptations to sin that take into consideration each of our individual weaknesses. Beyond that, each generation has its own strengths and weaknesses, making us more vulnerable to temptations that cater to our specific generation’s blind spots.

As a Baby Boomer, I have different strengths and weaknesses than those in generations that follow. Being aware of our generational weaknesses or blind spots can help us be more vigilant to counter the enemy’s lies and the spirit of this age.

What are the blind spots that exist in today’s culture? Because they are different for each generation, I intend to explore the blind spots of the older crowd this week, and those of younger Americans next week. My goal is not to point the finger of blame; it is to encourage us to look at ourselves as God sees us and let the Holy Spirit lead us to repentance and a greater measure of truth that sets us free.

To understand some of the factors that impacted us Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), consider what many of us faced growing up. For the older Boomers like myself, the 1960s were truly turbulent. After the fairly placid 50s, the 60s became a time of massive rebellion against established norms. In the words of Bob Dylan, one of our cultural seers, “The times, they [were] a’changin.”

Not surprisingly, one of the most significant areas of change occurred in the area of sexual expression. New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church Pastor Tim Keller says that during times when society is fragmented, people become confused about what they believe, what life is about, and who they are. During those times, says Keller, sex always becomes an issue. He says it becomes glamorized: “Romance is the ultimate philosophical and psychological narcotic.”

The ’60s were definitely a time of great fragmentation. So in desperation, while many sought and found God through what we now call the Jesus Movement, many more gravitated toward sex and romance in an attempt to find meaning and purpose.

Slogans were bandied about like “Free Love” and “Make love, not war.” Movies, romance novels, and magazine articles emphasized how just finding my soul mate will provide me with the endless peace and joy I long for.

Regrettably, though predictably, all those who chose this route to fill the hole in their hearts ultimately experienced disillusionment. And all too many also faced divorce, substance abuse, and despair.

It was bad enough for non-Christians to embrace this sex and romance solution. But the cultural pressure for people to find ultimate life in sex and romance impacted those in the church as well. And that pressure continues today, negatively impacting our lives and families.

But it also neutralizes what should be our positive witness to the world around us. We are supposed to be the salt to preserve our culture. But when we buy into our culture’s unbiblical view of a subject—even we when do this unintentionally—our salt loses its saltiness, and culture deteriorates.

The apostle Paul faced this issue with the compromised Corinthian church that likewise lived in an immoral culture. But they were apparently questioning why sex was such a big deal. He quoted their slogan, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food” (1 Cor. 6:13).

In other words: “Sex is for the body and the body is for sex! Why get so religious-sounding and negative about a wonderful biological drive? Sex is fun; sex is healthy; sex is natural. Don’t be such a fuddy-duddy! Enjoy your body!” Has not this sort of thinking also impacted much of our thinking today, not just outside but inside the church?

Let’s clear the cultural fog from our minds and consider God’s clear perspective on the subject. In Genesis 2:24 we read, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” In Genesis 1:28 we read, “God blessed [the male and female] and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’”

Sex, while a wonderful creation of God, was never intended to be an end in and of itself. Nor was it designed as just another human appetite to be fulfilled whenever or however we feel like it.

God makes it clear from these and other passages that sex is to be limited to the confines of a monogamous marriage between a man and a woman. It is also to be the means to two much more important ends: (1) to provide an ongoing deep marital bond between husband and wife; (2) to provide the process God uses to create children in the womb, each made in His image.

But when we worship the means (sex) and, by comparison, diminish the value of these more important ends, we set in motion some unintended but tragic consequences.

The first is this: If we agree that sex is desired behavior for all healthy adults, it shouldn’t really matter the context in which that sexual activity takes place—being stimulated by pornography, engaging in relations with the opposite sex, or relations with the same sex. And what difference does it make if my partner and I are married?

While we Christians can verbalize our opposition to all non-biblical forms of sex, our arguments will ring hollow if at the same time we are sympathetic to our culture’s view of the great importance of sexual expression. This then leads to the cry for changing definitions of marriage.

Trust me, it will not stop with just two married partners. When we disregard God’s view of biblical marriage, there is no logical reason to stop at two, three, or even ten people becoming “married.”

What about God’s other purpose for sexuality? God uses sex as the miraculous means to create children in the womb. But where sex itself is the goal, we will feel blindsided and distraught when pregnancy occurs. The obvious solution to correct the problem? Abortion!

It’s really that simple. While we Christians may oppose abortion because it cruelly takes the life of a boy or girl God is forming in the womb, our rhetoric is contradicted by our own lives and attitudes, with our own esteem for sex versus our relative distaste for bearing and raising another child.

Does this not feed the abortion mentality in our world? Bear in mind that people don’t have abortions because they want to kill babies. They simply want sex without children.

What’s the answer? A number of years ago, God brought me to the place of seeking His forgiveness for my unbiblical and ungodly views of sexuality that I now must concede have supported a godless culture that worships sex, redefines marriage, and kills unborn human beings.

If we all sincerely repent and yield our entire bodies as living sacrifices to God; if we choose to make Him Lord of every area of our lives, including the areas of sex and childbearing; and if we cry out to God for our hurting cities and nation, will not our merciful God hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land?

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