“Safe!” You can hear the umpire yell as the runner’s foot touches first base just milliseconds before the baseball enters the glove of the first baseman with a “whap!” The runner is only safe because of his position in one precise location. Had his foot wandered from the base, he would not be safe.
There’s a lot of talk about safety today. When I was a kid, we dropped fully removable pop tabs into our cans as we drank soda. We rode in the back of open pickup trucks and played outside in the woods all day unsupervised. Today, especially at this coronavirus-defined moment, talk of safety is at an all-time high. Now I wear a mask to the grocery store to stay safe. Why a mask? Seriously? Yes, seriously, because my actions have a role in the greater welfare of humanity.
Your actions have a role in the greater welfare of humanity as a whole. We’re learning this all over again. The days of “do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody” (though never true) have proved to be untrue at a whole new level. It’s taken a virus to reset our thinking and see how we, as members of the human community, are at our best when others are considered above ourselves. But what are the limits and boundaries? Since this issue of LIGHT + LIFE MAGAZINE is titled Sanctified Sexuality, and sanctification is to “set apart,” it is right to frame our sexuality in submission to Christ Jesus.
The very idea of following Jesus means that we are cross-carrying, serving, giving, imitators of Christ. What does that mean for us? It means that everything about us comes into subjection to the will of God. I’ve not discovered one area of my own life that Jesus sees as outside or omitted from subjection to His Lordship. Oh, I struggle to be sure, but will never self-absolve from any sin that must be surrendered.
Our sexuality is not exempt. The great trifecta of sinful modernity is money, sex and power. While it’s acceptable to speak of the evils of loving money, and conversations about who holds power, abuses power and wields power are part of every governmental and racial conversation, it’s somehow become taboo to say that our sexuality matters to God and must be subjected to His will like our money and power.
We are all aware of the seemingly countless ways sexuality is perverted. Safe sex is surrendered sex. God has clearly revealed that sexual expression is reserved for the covenant marital union of one man and one woman. Every expression outside that boundary is not only unsafe, it’s sin. Sin continues to harm this world and others within the world. Sin is what brought Jesus to die and death into Jesus is what brings us into life. Death to self — sanctification — by necessity demands inclusion of all our being, including sex. We know how abuses of power hurt people, and we know how abuses of money hurt people, but we’ve become deceived into believing that abuses of sex (at least selectively) no longer hurt people. All sex outside of God’s covenant marital design is harmful to the greater human family.
Bishop Emeritus David Kendall, with endorsement of the Board of Bishops, penned the FMCUSA position paper published in this magazine. He points not only to problems of sexual activity, but also that of societal shaming over sexual inactivity. I would encourage you to go back and read the bullet points in context found on Page 4 of the paper.
Surrender. “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. Worldly pleasures all forsaken, in His presence daily live.” Every person who would find life in Christ must pass through the gate of surrender. All have sinned, all have a sin that so easily besets them, and all must kneel before the Lord of lords with open hands.
From Jeremiah 7:8-10 to Revelation’s letters to the churches, warnings are issued to the people of God who find themselves unsafe.
God’s viewpoint on sexuality is not what the world calls “safe sex,” but rather it is safety in surrender.
Brett Heintzman is the publisher of LIGHT + LIFE through his role as the communications director of the Free Methodist Church – USA, which he also serves as the co-director of the National Prayer Ministry. Visit freemethodistbooks.com to order his books “Becoming a Person of Prayer,” “Holy People”(Volume 1 of the “Vital” series), “Jericho: Your Journey to Deliverance and Freedom” and “The Crossroads: Asking for the Ancient Paths.”1