The blog of Sterling Franklin (DJ Sterf), servant of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Air Time

Crazy Semester

This semester is crazy.

The end.

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing (John 15:5). They that wait upon the LORD will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31).

I have a printed sheet of everything that's due this semester. It's generally hard for me to focus on the narrow scope of things. I like to see everything that I have to do in the next semester and then try to chip away at the assignments ahead of time.

That's not the best approach to it. It shows that I stink at patience. I want to get things done NOW. I always have, and perhaps I always will if I remain foolish in the area. Sometimes it's better to focus on one thing at a time.

So I took my schedule of assignments and split them up into separate weeks. I'm done with all but one assignment through the start of February, but yeesh, the top half of the semester is ridiculous. Once I get to March, things should lighten up dramatically.

American Christianity

On one major Christian forum online (one where I used to give sermons in the 30+ year old fellowship and devotional areas), I saw a thread on the topic 'Engagement vs. Marriage'. The question was essentially, "Is sex during engagement considered fornication?" The thread got off into dumpster mode pretty quickly, so most of the later posts are edited out, and it's locked now.

Most of the responses were, "It depends on how God views the engagement" or, "I think it's fine" or, "We did it and we don't regret it."

I was pretty disgusted by the lack of reliance on Scripture on the matter.

Yes, sex outside of -marriage- is a sin, even if it's during an engagement. Engagement = time to prepare -- betrothal period. It's not the same thing as marriage, where you're committed to each other for the rest of your earthly lives. So a few texts came to mind:

- Matthew 1: Why did Joseph want to cancel his betrothal (viz., parallel: engagement) with Mary? She was pregnant. An Angel of the Lord intervened and savvied Joseph up as to what was actually going on (i.e. Virgin birth).
- Leviticus 21: An OT text relating to the high priest's marriage possibilities. Worth a read.
- Deuteronomy 22: Another OT text relating to the importance of a woman being a virgin until the day/night that she is married. It seems to have been a stoneable offense back then, so thankfully the New Covenant excels in grace.
- 1 Corinthians 7: The obvious text, dealing with sex & marriage. It's better to marry than to burn with lustful passion. The contrast is between single life and married life -- single life being chaste, married life being pure and undefiled, though definitely mutually selfless and giving regarding sex between husband and wife.

Especially these verses:
1 Corinthians 7:36-37
36 But if a man thinks that he's treating his fiancée improperly and will inevitably give in to his passion, let him marry her as he wishes. It is not a sin.
37 But if he has decided firmly not to marry and there is no urgency and he can control his passion, he does well not to marry.

But really, "I think it's fine?" The option given in the text is, 'Either be chaste or get married before having sex.' Do we really cut corners so much as Christians as to deny even exploring what God may have to say about it all? We always give license to sin in our own lives. I see it in my own life, obviously, as I'm not Jesus.

So there we have the need for the pursuit of holiness and continued sanctification. Yes, sin is a prevalent issue in each of our lives, but how much sin do we have in our lives towards which we have a casual and unrepentant attitude? The fear of the LORD is to hate evil, and even more, it's the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 8:13, 1:7).

Which is more important, personal happiness and self-fulfillment, or giving glory to God at all costs? I believe the latter will end up in the first two MUCH more than the first two will come about by our own selfish and sinful means (cf. Matthew 6:33).

So really, it's always time to get right before God, but hopefully throughout the course of time, we grow closer to Him and desire more of Him rather than to disobey Him grossly.

Perhaps our motto should be the line from the game Limbo: "How low can you go?"

American Christianity is more Laodicean than we've ever imagined...but there is yet hope...pray.

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