Would You Have Been #BraveLikeMary?

Dear Christian Sisters,

We left off with Mary asking the angel Gabriel how she would conceive while being a virgin.

When Dr. Bill Creasy teaches on this passage, he chuckles and says that Gabriel blushes as he answers Mary:

The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35

Trusting God’s Plan

If I were Mary, I would think that this is all still very puzzling. But then I think about how puzzling God’s plans seem to me every day.

I mean, He has used women like Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba to accomplish His plan, so certainly His plans will be accomplished.

I just need to trust that God can do anything (Ephesians 3:20).

Confirming God’s Promises

And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 1:36-37

All the relatives knew that Elizabeth was barren, so Mary would understand how miraculous it is that Elizabeth is now pregnant! So through the angel Gabriel telling Mary about Elizabeth, God gives Mary a way to confirm His promises.

Mary takes all this in. She will get pregnant if she says, “yes.” The angel confirmed that.

Considering Societal Consequences of Saying “Yes” to God

But if Mary gets pregnant before she’s married, Jewish Law says that she should be stoned to death.

“If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.”
Deuteronomy 22:23-24

Mary must have reasoned that the Lord would not have her stoned otherwise the Messiah would not be born.

But would people believe her when she claimed to be pregnant with the Messiah? What would her parents say? What would her betrothed Joseph say?

She had a decision to make. Will she say, “Yes”?

Dr. Creasy says that all the angels were holding their breath in anticipation.

And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38

And all the angels sighed in relief and high fived each other! Mary was the first person to say, “Yes” to Jesus.

Would You Have Said, “Yes”?

Would you have said, “yes”?

Perhaps you would be excited to carry the Messiah. I’m sure Mary was!

What Would Your Parents Say?

But think about what you know about the rest of the story. Do we ever hear anything about Mary’s parents?

No, we don’t. Mary doesn’t say anything about her parents’ reaction to her news. Perhaps rather than telling how negatively her parents responded, she chose to honor her mother and her father by saying nothing.

What Would Your Fiancé Say?

Think about what you know about Joseph’s reaction. He was going to divorce her quietly, so evidently he didn’t believe her, either.

Mary’s parents don’t believe her. Her fiancé doesn’t believe her. And we find out 30-some years later that the people who lived in Nazareth didn’t believe her, either.

What Would Society Say?

In John 8, after He saves the adulterous woman from stoning, Jesus continues to have a conversation with non-believers. In that conversation, they said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God” (verse 41 ESV), which is their way of accusing Mary of fornication.

What Would You say?

So, again, I ask you what you would have done? You’re in your teens. You’re a virgin. You would be facing a society that stones women to death for being pregnant out of wedlock. The Lord asked you to give birth to the Messiah. Would you have said, “yes”?

Would you have been #bravelikeMary?

In Christ,

Cheryl

God Can Use Anyone’s Story for His Glory

Dear Christian Sisters,

Mary, the center of the #bravelikeMary series, enters the story.

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
Luke 1:26-27

Certainly Jewish scholars had done the math based on the book of Daniel (9:24-27) and figured out that a woman would soon become pregnant with the promised Messiah.

Young women who were descendants of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16) were all hopeful that they would be the mother of the Messiah.

But she had to be a virgin:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
Isaiah 7:14 NKJV

As you know, many genealogies are listed in the Bible. It’s one of the reasons people find the Bible hard to read. Unless you’re a genealogist (like my mom!), you probably do not get excited about reading a list of names.

But the genealogies become more interesting when you know something about the people in them.

For example, the women listed in Matthew’s genealogy each have an interesting story. Let’s take a quick look at the women named in Jesus’ genealogy:

  • Tamar (Matthew 1:3)
  • Rahab (Matthew 1:5)
  • Ruth (Matthew 1:5)
  • Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6)

Three, maybe all four, of the women were Gentiles! Tamar was a Canaanite. Rahab was an Amorite. Ruth was a Moabite.

Bathsheba may have been a Gentile. Her first husband was a Hittite, so she may have also been a Hittite as well. Also, her name is Canaanite in origin.

I love how God includes non-Jews in His heritage. It reminds me that eternal life is not just for the Jews, but for the all the people.

Non-Jews were included in Jesus’ story to remind us that His salvation is for all people and that God can use anyone for His glory.

Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6 NKJV

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
Luke 2:10 NKJV

Three of the women were not known for their sexual purity. Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba all had their children through sexual sins.

Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute in order to trick her father-in-law into giving her children. Of course this is not God glorifying for her or her father-in-law, Judah (one of Jacob’s 12 sons). (See Genesis 38.)

Rahab was the prostitute who helped the Israelites conquer Jericho. (See Joshua 2 and 6.)

Bathsheba had an affair with King David (2 Samuel 11:1-5), David killed her husband to cover up his indiscretion (2 Samuel 11:6-25), Bathsheba married David (2 Samuel 11:26-27), and she later gave birth to Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24-25), who became the next king even though he was not the oldest living son (1 Kings 2:15).

Even Ruth used her sexuality. She cozied up to Boaz while he was sleeping after he had partied the night before (Ruth 3:1-9).

What can we learn from this?

  • We learn that Gentiles are part of Jesus’ history as well as His future.
  • We learn that Jesus is not borne of perfect people.
  • We learn that even Jesus’ family had skeletons in the closet.
  • We learn that God can use anyone’s story for His glory.

In Christ,

Cheryl

P.S. If you’re wondering why Jesus’ genealogy as listed in Matthew 1 is different than Luke 3, read this article from Jews for Jesus.

Elizabeth’s Barrenness—Her Perspective vs God’s Perspective (#BraveLikeMary Series)

Dear Christian Sisters,

The story of Jesus’ birth actually begins with the story of John the Baptist’s birth.

John’s mother, Elizabeth, was a relative of Mary’s, so John and Jesus were cousins—not first cousins because Elizabeth and Mary were not sisters, but cousins in their larger, extended family.

Elizabeth plays an important role in Mary’s life. She was Mary’s mentor.

But before we talk about Elizabeth mentoring Mary, let’s try to see the story from Elizabeth’s perspective.

Introducing Zacharias and Elizabeth

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
Luke 1:5

So what Luke is telling us is that both Zacharias and Elizabeth were of the tribe of Levi. The Levites were the Jewish priests.

Elizabeth is Both Righteous and Barren

They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
Luke 1:6-7

So, Elizabeth’s clock had been ticking for some time. She wasn’t beyond childbearing years, that is, she had not yet entered menopause, but she was getting close.

Yet, she had no children.

In the Jewish culture of the time, big families were the norm. To not have children was rare. And as you may recall from my blog post titled, “Abortion & the Bible,” Old Testament Jews valued children.

It could have been that others shamed Elizabeth for not having children, yet she walked blamelessly.

Barrenness

Let me ask you this: Is an inability to have children a curse from God?

I hope you said no!

The answer is in Luke 1:6-7 (quoted above). Both Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous in the Lord, yet they did not have children.

God is love (1 John 4:8). A curse cannot come from love.

If Elizabeth’s story is like your story, know that your challenge to conceive or to carry a child to term is not about how good you are.

It’s about furthering God’s kingdom.

God’s Perspective

We all have our stories. We tell our stories from our own perspectives.

“We can’t have kids” is Zacharias and Elizabeth’s story.

“When I will receive greater glory, Zacharias and Elizabeth will have a child” is God’s story.

We can look at every story in the Bible from the perspective of those who were there and from the perspective of God.

Now, our insights won’t be perfect because the culture of the time isn’t like ours today (especially that of the United States) and because it’s challenging to imagine God’s thoughts since He is so much greater than we are; however, taking time to consider other perspectives will help us to understand God.

We can also look at our own stories from our own perspective, from the perspective of others, and from the perspective of God.

It’s a whole new twist on He said/she said.

He Said / She Said

Have you ever told a story from childhood only to hear your parents or your siblings tell the story in a completely different way?

To encourage my older boy to write, we teamed up to write some he said/she said stories. We took the same event and each told the story. It was a great way for him to learn perspective!

Our favorite he said/she said story was about a trip from Minneapolis to Atlanta through Detroit, where we had a 5-hour delay. He absolutely loved that trip because he got to watch videos, explore the airport, ride the tram and the moving sidewalk, and go on a big airplane (777).

He was 7 at the time of this story. My other boy was a potty training toddler. The 7 pm flight ended up being a 12 midnight flight. Can you guess what the trip was like for me?

I carried my bag, my purse, a diaper bag, and a toddler.

I took all of us to the bathroom for diaper changes.

I walked boys in the moving sidewalk and took them on the tram over and over again.

When we finally got on the airplane, the boys wouldn’t go to sleep because they were so excited that they had their very own TV.

When we got to the Atlanta airport, the 2-story escalator going down to the tram was out-of-order. Thankfully it was going down, not up, but it was 3 am, and I was carrying several bags and a toddler!

What my son thought was fun, I thought was exhausting!

My Abortion Story from My Perspective or God’s Perspective

When I think of my own abortion story, I can think about it from my perspective (read “Faces of Abortions“)
OR
from my boyfriend’s perspective
OR
from my parents’ perspective
OR
from God’s perspective.

How does the story change?

She Said

When I had the abortion, I was relieved because I thought the crisis was over.

How else did I feel? Good question. I think that mostly I was angry that I got pregnant. It didn’t seem fair to me that men could have sex without consequences, but women were shamed for being pregnant out of wedlock.

I’m not saying that I was right. Feelings are not right or wrong. They just are.

He Said

I’m sure God cried when I aborted my baby. I’m also sure that God welcomed my baby girl into heaven that day.

I am also convinced that God decided to use my story to stop future abortions, to stop other women from hurting themselves through abortion.

And here I am today, redeemed by His love (read “Forgiveness“), compelled by the Lord to write this blog, and speaking in Uganda and in the U.S.

I traded my story for His story.

[Will you sponsor my next mission trip to Uganda? (Dec 26, 2017-Jan 6, 2018) Your tax-deductible donation can be made online.]

The United States’ Abortion History from Women’s Rights Perspective or God’s Perspective

When I think of crisis pregnancies and abortion throughout the history of the United States and the world, I can look at it from from the perspectives of women who are worried about bringing a child into this world
OR
from a women’s rights perspective
OR
from God’s perspective.

How does the story change?

She Said

Women’s reasons for aborting are varied. Here are just a few:

I can’t afford to raise a child. My parents will be so disappointed with me. The baby daddy will be so mad. Children put up for adoption feel abandoned and might be abused by their adoptive parents. I have the right to choose.

Again, I am not saying that these are right. They are feelings, mostly feelings of fear.

He Said

God cries for every woman who aborts. God welcomes every aborted baby into heaven.

I am also convinced that God is saddened by women not feeling valued by men even though we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

As for our nation—as for all the nations that have legalized abortion—I’m sure God is angry. He founded the United States based on His commandments, yet as a nation we have decided that murder is okay in some cases and not others.

How is this different than King Ahaz burning his sons in fire as sacrifices to a foreign god (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chron 28:3, 2 Kings 16:2; 2 Chron 28:1)?

(For more on King Ahaz, read the “What God Said About the Jew Who Did Not Value Children” section of my blog post “Abortion & the Bible.”)

A good friend of mine has a lot to say about this. I’ve asked her to be my guest blogger in January, which is Sanctity of Human Life month, so stay tuned!

I look forward to reading more of Zacharias and Elizabeth’s story with you tomorrow.

In Christ,

Cheryl

PS: Here is the link to my son’s He Said/She Said blog post titled, “My First Flight on a 777.”

Lies about Sex vs the Bible: #2—Jesus Didn’t Say Anything about Premarital Sex

Dear Christian Sisters,

If you read through all of my last post, then you learned that the Greek word porneia is translated to

  • fornication,
  • immorality,
  • sexual immorality, and
  • unchastity

in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) [see the Blue Letter Bible].

We get our English word pornography from the Greek porneia [see dictionary.com].

You also know from my last post that the sexual acts that are included in porneia are the forbidden sexual acts listed in Jewish Law, mostly Leviticus (Jewish Law refers to the first 5 books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy):

  • adultery
  • homosexuality
  • lesbianism
  • intercourse with animals
  • sex with close relatives
  • sex with a divorced man or woman
  • premarital sex

Hypocrisy within the Church

As Christian Sisters, we know that historically the Church has looked down on women who have premarital sex. We know that even today women with crisis pregnancies are judged within the church and in society.

As women living in a feminist society, we feel the hypocrisy—men are hallowed for their sexual conquests while women are quietly (or not-so-quietly) called whores.

Jesus’ Kindness

But have you ever noticed that when Jesus talked to women about their unchastity, He was kind?

In contrast, whenever He talked to crowds of men and women, He was direct.

Sometimes Jesus was angry, but I only see His anger when He’s addressing men—and He called them hypocrites.

Jesus Talks Kindly to Women about Unchastity

For example, when Jesus talked to the woman at the well about her unchastity, He did not condemn her. He did clearly reveal Himself as the Christ to her, a woman. That was a big deal. At that point in His ministry, He was not even that direct to the 12 disciples about His divinity.

For more on the woman at the well, read my blog post titled “Abortion & the Church.”

When the Pharisees brought a naked woman caught in the very act of adultery to Jesus, He redirected their eyes away from her and down to the sand. Once all the accusatory men left, Jesus did not condemn the woman but simply told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

For more on the woman caught in adultery, read my blog post “Abortion & the Church.”

Jesus did not condemn either woman, but He was clear about their sin.

Jesus is Direct about Unchastity

Jesus was also clear about porneia (unchastity) to all of His disciples (not just the 12 but the crowds).

There are no parables about sex. Jesus outright says not to have sex outside of marriage.

In three stories, Jesus uses the word porneia.

Jesus Talks about Unchastity in the Sermon on the Mount

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is direct about unchastity but because He does it in the context of divorce, we often miss what He’s saying about premarital sex.

but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity [porneia], makes her commit adultery [moicheuō]; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery [moicheuō].
Matthew 5:32 NASB

Notice that unchastity is the Greek porneia and that adultery is the Greek moicheuō. It wasn’t until I studied this verse to understand what Jesus was saying about sex rather than what He was saying about divorce that I noticed the difference between unchastity and adultery.

Unchastity includes adultery. Adultery is a subset of unchastity. So, unchastity is the larger term and includes any type of sex other than heterosexual, consensual sex between one man and one woman who are married to each other.

That tells me that if your husband thinks that you’re a virgin when he marries you and then finds out that you were not, he can divorce you. And, yes, of course, the same in reverse—if you think that your husband is a virgin when you marry and you later find out that he wasn’t, then you can divorce him.

I hear you laughing under your breath! I know. I know—it would be unusual to find a couple in the United States today who has not had premarital sex. But doesn’t that tell you something about the context of Jesus’ teaching? In Jewish society, it was typical to be chaste until marriage, not unchaste like today.

Now, I’m not saying that you should divorce him! Assuming both of you know the other’s sexual history, The Church expects you to remain married, and God does, too (Malachi 2:16).

There are many couples who stay together through adultery. Certainly if a couple can stay together through adultery, then you can stay together even if one of you lied about his/her virginity.

The fact that Jesus said that couples could divorce because one of them had premarital sex (whether heterosexual or homosexual) tells us that He takes sex very seriously. Why do I say that? Because God hates divorce (see Malachi 2:16).

Jesus is Direct about Divorce and Unchastity

On His way to Jerusalem for the final week of His life (we call that Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Day or Easter), Jesus was followed by large crowds (Matthew 19:2) and some Pharisees came to test Him about divorce (Matthew 19:3).

Now, these Pharisees were trying to find fault in Jesus’ teaching (“testing Him” in Matthew 19:3). They already knew what He said about divorce in the Sermon on the Mount or other places, since certainly He taught His commands wherever He went (if all that Jesus did was written, the world could not contain all the resulting books—John 21:25).

These Pharisees wanted to discredit Jesus since He was preaching against what Moses allowed. Here, read the story for yourself. Note that anything in all caps is a quote from the Old Testament:

and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE (Genesis 1:27, 5:2), and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? (Genesis 2:24) So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality [porneia/unchastity], and marries another woman commits adultery [moicheuō].”
Matthew 19:2-9 NASB

As you can read, Jesus is direct while repeating and reinforcing what he preached in the Sermon on the Mount. Not only is divorce not in God’s will, but unchastity is not, either.

Jesus Gets Frustrated or Even Angry with the Disciples

In another passage, Jesus gets frustrated, maybe even angry, with his disciples for their lack of understanding.

In Mark chapter 7, we read that the Pharisees and Scribes watched Jesus’ disciples closely, found fault in them about the tradition of ritual hand washing, and challenged Jesus about it (Mark 7:1-5). Jesus calls them hypocrites (Mark 7:6), quotes the Old Testament prophesy about them (Mark 7:6-7), and goes on pointing out their hypocrisy (Mark 7:8-13).

Then Jesus turns to the crowd to declare all foods clean (Mark 7:14-16). Frustrated with the Jewish leaders, Jesus goes into Peter’s house to calm Himself down only to find that the disciples didn’t understand either (Mark 7:17-19).

Jesus then makes it clear that there’s a difference between food laws and moral laws:

And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality [porneia], theft, murder, adultery [moicheuō], coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Mark‬ ‭7:18-23‬ ‭ESV

Have We Kept His Commandments?

So, yes, Jesus did talk about unchastity. Are we keeping His commandments on unchastity and adultery?

Jesus said:

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
John 14:15 NASB

Have we always kept God’s commandments on unchastity and adultery?

Paul said:

The body is not for immorality [porneia], but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:13b‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I am keeping God’s commandments now, but I have not always done so.

But remember that when Jesus points out a woman’s sin, He’s gentle. He also says, “sin no more” (John 8:11).

Have We Confessed Our Sexual Sins?

John said,

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have confessed my sexual sins. Have you?

When I confessed my sexual sins, I named them. God does not want to hear the general request: “forgive me of my sins.” He wants you to name them. He wants you to own what you did—and then sin no more. Because when you own your own sins, you acknowledge how perfect God is and how much you need Him for your eternal salvation.

(S)He who conceals (her)his transgressions will not prosper, but (s)he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Proverbs‬ ‭28:13‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans‬ ‭6:1-2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Here is a sample prayer. There is nothing magic about it. I provide it simply to help you if you feel lost for words:

Dear Lord Father,

Your name is above all names. You are holy. You are mighty. You are perfect in all Your ways. You love me even though I sin.

You created the moral laws for my good. I trust You, Lord, that Your laws are for my good.

I have not followed Your laws about sex. I have been unchaste. I have fornicated. Please forgive me for _________________ (having sex before I married [heterosexual or homosexual–both are wrong], looking at porn, looking at soft porn on the TV and in movies, fantasizing about someone other than my husband, saying crude words that demean the beautiful sex that You created for one man and one woman to have in covenant marriage, what other sexual sin does God want you to confess?).

I acknowledge my sexual sins to You, and my iniquity I will not hide from You. I confess my transgressions to You. Please forgive me the guilt of my sin in the name of Jesus, my Savior.

I have died to sin. May I forever feel uncomfortable with sexual sins. May I forever live as a citizen of heaven, a foreigner living on earth until You take me home.

Thank You for Your lovingkindness, Abba Father.

Send me out today as a new woman, in the name of Jesus, that others would recognize the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control [Galatians 5:22-23]) within me.

Amen

Are We Teaching Others What Jesus Said about Unchastity?

Not only did Jesus have something to say about unchastity, but He tell us to teach all He commanded. Here it is in the Great Commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬ [emphasis added]

If you are a mother, then you are a teacher to your children (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

If you are not a mother, then you can have more children than the rest of us (see Isaiah 54:1-3). You are a teacher. You are an influencer to your nieces and nephews, to your coworkers, to children in your church.

Do you want God to reverse Roe v. Wade and greatly reduce abortions?

Then

  1. confess your sexual sins
  2. sin no more
  3. teach other disciples that unchastity is a sin—because it is. Jesus said so.

In Christ,

Cheryl

Lies about Sex vs the Bible: #1—Everyone Else Does It!

Dear Christian Sisters,

We cannot talk about abortion without talking about sex–the very thing that results in crisis pregnancies.

If we were to follow what the Bible says about sex, we would have far fewer women and men considering abortion because we would have far fewer crisis pregnancies.

NOTE: Please remember that I am not writing from my pedestal. I, too, have had premarital sex, which you already know if you’ve read my story (see Faces of Abortion and Forgiveness & Peace that Passes All Understanding).

Keep reading this series to find out how I dealt with my sin and why it’s important for you to deal with yours, too, even if you never got pregnant or never had an abortion.

What the Bible Says about Sex

Do we know what the Bible says about sex? Do we know what the New Testament says?

Most of us had sex before we got married. It’s what we do here in the United States whether we’re Christian or not. It’s the culture. We live in a sex culture.

New Christians under the rule of Rome also lived in a sex culture. Sex was often part of the Gentiles’ worship of gods.

They didn’t slither into a brothel like people do today (of course, it’s unlawful here). They openly went to the temple to worship their gods by having sex with temple prostitutes.

When Gentiles began believing that Jesus was their Savior, some Jewish Christians said that the Gentile Christians had to be circumcised and follow all the Jewish laws.

This was a big debate! Paul and Barnabas brought this debate to the Apostles, including Peter, and the elders. You can read the drama in Acts 15.

James, the half brother of Jesus, gave a speech that convinced those who had gathered for the debate that Gentile believers should not feel burdened (Acts 15:13-20).

They then sent a letter to the Gentile believers letting them know that they did not need to follow Jewish Law–except to:

“abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication” (Acts 15:29).

Fornication? What is Fornication?

The sexual acts that are included in fornication are the forbidden sexual acts listed in Jewish Law (mostly Leviticus):

  • adultery
  • homosexuality
  • lesbianism
  • intercourse with animals
  • sexual intercourse with close relatives
  • sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman

For a complete list of Old Testament laws about sex, go to the Gospel Outreach page and scroll down to #330.

In the list of Old Testament Laws about sex, did you notice that God didn’t just say, “Men, only have sex with your one wife” and “Women, only have sex with your one husband”?

We people are so hard-headed that He had to give specifics, like “don’t have sex with your sister or half-sister.”

This is a good reminder of our sinful nature. It’s also a reminder that we need to teach each other the specifics of what fornication includes.

In the World, Not of the World

We may live in the world that embraces the sex culture, but we are called by God to not live like the world. (Ephesians 4:22-24; John 15:19, 17:14-16; Romans 12:2)

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality*; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-5

[*Sexual immorality in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is translated from the Greek porneia. Porneia is translated to immorality, sexual immorality, unchastity, and fornication in the New American Standard Bible (NASB).]

Teach Them the Way They Should Go

Let us also remember as mothers, aunts, and leaders that we are called to teach our children.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:7

Let us consider how to inspire one another to love and good deeds, encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).

In Christ,

Cheryl