Friday, February 06, 2009

Sex, Sorcery, and Sin

I was asked two good questions by a couple of different co-workers today.

1. Is sex sin?

No, sex is not sin. In fact, it is good for a husband and wife to please and enjoy each other sexually. God wants husbands and wives to enjoy sex with each other. This passage explains the biblical viewpoint very well:

"Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations?

"Certainly--but only within a certain context. It's good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality--the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to 'stand up for your rights.' Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it's for the purposes of prayer and fasting--but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I'm not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence--only providing my best counsel if you should choose them" (1 Corinthians 7:1-6, The Message).

2. I was thinking about going to a fortuneteller to get my palm read. Do you think that would be a good idea?

God warns us in the Bible against getting involved in witchcraft, sorcery, astrology, and other forms of the occult. He is concerned that we will be deceived by satanic forces. He does not want us to trust in spiritual authorities other than himself, because he knows that only he is completely trustworthy. God wants us to come to him with our deepest concerns, rather than going to someone who may be deceived by demons. Here are a few passages about the occult:

"Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons" (1 Corinthians 10:19-20).

"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).



Good post.

I think God's objection to Sorcery is even about something more serious than being deceived (or even overpowered) by Satanic forces.

After all, not every medium is tapping into whatever power Saul's witch at Endor was tapping:

Some of them are merely deceivers, but are no less dangerous for that.

It looks to me like God's love is the issue here.

Because God loves us, He is always against us blocking off His joy.

From a human point of view, a blockage to joy is always the major felt result of any kind of divination.

Putting up a block to God's joy is a serious sin, as it offends God, who is jealous, and whose right it is to create joy in us, whom He has graciously created for that purpose.

Moreover, divination offends God because it is a way of directly implying that His hold on our futures is somehow not good enough, and that we have to find some way of securing ourselves apart from Him.

This implication ruins our relationship with God, and prevents God from opening up His saving power to us, according to His nature, and our own. God always stands at the door and knocks. He never kicks the door in.

Looked at this way, we can see what the list you quoted has in common:

If someone is habitually cowardly, then they refuse to trust God to save them.

A coward refuses to accept that God is sufficient, and robs himself of the joy that comes from finding out that He is!

Exactly the same thing is true of the unbelieving person.

The vile and the sexually immoral person thinks in terms of receiving gratification from sources which God has made illegitimate, and therefore refuses to allow God to gratify:

Again, the joy of the Lord is gentle, and will never barge in, where it is unwelcome.

Murderers, as Jesus taught, are those whose anger refuses to let go of hatred.

They prefer to annihilate, rather than to forgive; they refuse to accept that God is sufficient to make forgiveness possible.

These people block-off the joy of God's peace and sufficiency, using anger or hurt as an excuse to gainsay God's sovereign will.

Those who practice magic arts *are* idolaters therefore (their idol is their own will), and have also become liars: the lie is the only lie there is - "God is not enough".

The sad thing is, that making an idol of one's own will is the surest way to be lonely, isolated, and in agony.

We were never made to say "my will be done": we were made to say "Thy will be done."

It's only once we know whose we are that we can know who we are.


Terry said...

Once again, you left a great comment, Ed. You always make such excellent points! Thanks for sharing them!



Of course, I fall down the knowing-doing gap, but at least I'm on a voyage of discovery...