The sons of Adam and daughters of Eve have always had to deal with the presence of sin, at least since the third chapter of Genesis. We have to “budget” for it, meaning that we allow for the possibility of sin encroaching into any situation, however blessed, and for the possibility of that sin creeping in through our own hearts, the hearts of our loved ones, or through the hearts of those who are not that close to us.
But in our day, we are no longer guarding against sin creeping in. There has been a great sexual apostasy, and the guardians of the new disorder are the ones who are now trying to keep any kind of “normal” from creeping in. The new public square now positively celebrates sodomy, lesbianism, transsexualism, porn, polyamory, and worse, and castigates biblical masculinity as toxic and biblical femininity as craven. And this means that heterosexual monogamy, with lots of fat babies, is the new transgressive, and is a great privilege. Not many generations of Christians have had the opportunity to be so righteous and so naughty at the same time.
“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do . . .” (1 Chron. 12:32).
Summary of the Text
Without application, the Scriptures are worse than useless. Without application, the Scriptures are simply the instrument we use in order to deceive ourselves (Jas. 1:22-24). Without obedience and application, the Scriptures are the instrument we use to miss Christ (John 5:39), and so to damn ourselves.
But in order to make application, it is necessary to translate the principles of the Word into the customs of our times. Where those customs are false, we must repent and leave them behind. Where they are good, we must allow the Word to come in to strengthen us. And as the Word strengthens us, we are strengthened in the truth, and the truth is the only thing that can answer the lies that surround us on every hand.
In the area of marriage, in the realm we are discussing, we want to create the kind of setting where the young men can come into a deep and true understanding of what Scripture teaches about: 1. The world the way God created it; 2. The sexual center of all human culture; 3. The pressing need for real masculinity in young men, and; 4. The equally pressing need for true femininity in young women.
All of this is a function of who you are becoming. I have said several times that you should work on this: become the kind of person that the kind of person you would like to marry would like to marry. But in the light of what is coming up in just a few minutes, we may want to expand this just a touch. “Become the kind of person that Scripture describes so that someone of the opposite sex, also described by Scripture, might recognize in you a good thing.”
So the standard is always Scripture, and not random ideals you might have picked up from trashy movies, trashy sitcoms, trashy novels, trashy undergraduate degrees, and trashy women’s magazines.
To Think Soberly
So you want to be among the sons of Issachar. What are the basic things you must come to understand better? You must understand that you are living in a world crammed with flattering lies, all of them slathered in butter, and the only reason they are not immediately and glaringly obvious to you is that they are so flattering to you. They cater to you. You deserve a porn queen. You can be any gender you want to be. You are as good as anybody else. You have a right to sexual happiness. You are entitled to every lust. You must learn to take pride in your lusts, and march in parades under their banner. You are the epicenter of all your sexual conceits.
What a putrid mess. Note the contrast with how Scripture speaks to us.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Rom. 12:1–3 (KJV)
First you present your body to God as a living sacrifice. This means your body is not yours. You were bought with a price. As a Christian, you surrender your body to God, which means that He then directs what you are to do with it. But take note: depending on the sex He assigned to you at your conception, His assignments will mostly likely include having babies with it. If you are the other sex, it will include laying down your life in order feed them, both physically and spiritually.
That altar is everywhere. The bed you sleep in, the car you drive, your office chair, your living room couch, is all on the altar. And so second, after you have presented your body on that altar—and remember the altar is everywhere—what follows? This leads to not being conformed to this world—the very thing I am preaching against in this series—and in addition results in being transformed by the renewing of your mind. This confirms the will of God. This is the will of God. This is how you walk in the will of God.
And then, third, this leads to your ability to think of yourself soberly. You have learned the secret of seeing yourself by faith. When you see yourself by faith, you do not build your ambitions on the world’s flatteries (which are always false and very slippery), but rather on God’s promises. Because God’s promises are all of grace, it is now possible to have high ambitions without being conceited. When you see yourself by faith, you do not see yourself more highly than you ought, but you do see Christ, high and lifted up. And He can do anything. And one of the extraordinary things He specializes in doing is saving the world through the instrumentality of lots of ordinary people doing lots of normal things. Like asking a girl out.
Christ the Lord
The Church is a fruitful household, and she has a perfect husband. This marriage relationship is to be our primal model. So as we pursue mundane realities like marriage and children, we are doing so in a world where these relations have been sacralized forever. We are commanded to set the everlasting gospel before our eyes as we think about these things. Future husbands, follow Jesus Christ. Love your wife as Christ loved the Church. Go and fetch her. Future wives, follow Jesus Christ by imitating the Church. Glory in the glory that is coming. Glory in the glory that you are.