Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sex and the Supper and the Abuse of Holy Sacraments

I had an insight today.  Not sure I can explain it, but here goes:  Man and woman were made in the image of God, thus we were made to reflect the character of God (Genesis 1:27).  One of the implications of this truth is that humanity as male and female is sacramental.  A sacrament is a visible sign that points to an invisible mystery.  The mystery, which our bodies as male and female points to, is the communion of persons in the trinity and the self-giving love we were created for.  This self-giving love found its culmination when the Son of God became man and gave his body for his bride the church.

Here is the insight:  If the sexual union is sacramental and points to the purpose/mystery of our creation, namely, fellowship with God and living in self-giving love, then the sexual union is sacred, just as the Lord's Supper which points to the self-giving love of the Bridegroom for his church and the fellowship that is ours with the Father and the Son is sacred.  Just as the abuse of the Supper, eating and drinking unworthily of the holy bread and wine brings about God's judgment, so abusing the holy sexual union which is the holy sacrament of marriage, also brings God's judgment.

Thus, there is a parallel between these two sacraments (I am using sacrament in the broad sense of the word as a sign that makes a higher reality visible).  The sacrament of creation is the marital union between husband and wife, and the sacrament of redemption is the body and blood of Jesus given for the life of his church.  Therefore, probably the two most holy things we partake of in this world are sex and the Supper!

Thus, the question, Why does God judge and punish the abuse of these two holy sacraments, sex and the Supper, above other sins? is answered.  Sex and the Lord's Supper are holy, pointing to deep mysteries.  Thus, the abuse of them is serious, as the New Testament tells us in many places:

"But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 5:3-6).

"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming" (Colossians 3:5-6).

"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:27-31).

O how we need to repent of our misuse of sex (and the church of its misuse of the Lord's Supper including its infrequency).  These words should bring us fear, but let that fear lead us to embrace the Husband who gave his life in love for us through repentance and faith.  He died so that we might be forgiven, justified, and live in the newness of life he will give to all who live in repentance and faith in him.

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