THE GOSPEL OF IDENTITY



If the truth about heterosexuals is told, not everyone fully embraces the tenderhearted monogamy model.






Matthew 5:
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


Herein lies the common ground challenge to being sexually faithful. Adultery is essentially a problem of broken and distracted spirits. Go back to the Oneness of God. He speaks to Israel and calls their worship of other gods, adultery. Idolatry is adultery.

If someone cheats on you physically, emotionally or with pornography the relationship is polluted. It cannot remain sacred and trustworthy. The relationship is no longer special.

Everyone faces the demanding perfection of God’s Law and squirms. The Law reminds everyone that we are all infidels. Infidelity comes quite easily and any hope of change is found in Jesus. If we are to be new creations in God’s eyes, it will not come through our ability to stay pure. It will come because Jesus connects us to the Oneness of God and grants a new kind of identity.

Paul wrote to the Galatian church about this dilemma.

Galatians 3:
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

What if we were to see that our new identity is not male or female, single or married, gay or straight? What if the new creation reality frees us from the distinctions that we are judged by? What if we really are one in Christ Jesus? If so, we belong to God’s Kingdom.

Not everyone can accept this. Sometimes our sexual identity and behaviour is greater than our identity in Christ. Am I being judgmental and unfair to the world? No, I am pointing to an alternative identity offered to everyone.

There is a new identity that frees us from distinctions that we are judged by.



Comments

Thanks for this article Kevin. I find this topic really interesting.

As someone whose work involves Identity Recovery (specifically cultural identity) I've come across various interpretations of Gal 3:26-28:

One interpretation that in Christ we are freed from our other human identities.

The second is that Paul is saying that in Christ there is room for us regardless of our human social, cultural and gender identities. This is based on the interpretation that Paul was responding to a cultural identity crisis being experienced in Galatia where there were struggles of Galatian Christians feeling insecure in the faith because they were not "Children of Abraham" (not Jews). And Paul uses this letter to show that the only thing needed to partake in the family of God is faith through grace.

I see significant implications for these two kinds of interpretations. Because if our identities are gifts from God (corruptible and redeemable) like other parts of our humanity (personality, intellect, etc.) Then in Christ we find the redemption and completion of our identities rather than an escape from our identities.

I think often this process of Christ redeeming and completing our identities is an ongoing and sometimes a painful one because along with the rest of creation our identities (cultural, gender, sexual, etc.) are also "subjected to frustration" (Rom 8:20). While we wait for liberation from the "bondage and decay" that we experience in our identity and look forward to experiencing full freedom in this aspect of human experience.

I tend to believe that our identities will eventually experience full renewal and expression during the Renewal of All Things.

I'm often also encouraged by the eschatological vision provided in Rev 7:9:

"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb..."

For me this piece of scripture demonstrates how identity (like the rest of our humanity) is something that is brought into as opposed to rubbed off by the Kingdom of God.
Anonymous said…
I think there is a slippery slope here that one must guard. Some would say they have pedophilia identity, and others may say I have beastiality identity. Where does the line get drawn?
Most certainly compassion is needed for all who struggle with sexuality issues, however "self control" is one of the fruits of the Spirit so very much needed here.
I've wondered why Satan tempted Jesus with food rather than a sexual issue. I've concluded that 'survival of the fittest' is the greatest temptation. Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, so obviously had sexual temptation, but made no mention of it. The process of Sin according to James is...
1st a thought
2nd a decision
3rd an act
The Word teaches us to deal with Sin at the first level of thought. "Casting down imaginations" so it never becomes an action.
Don said…
One must guard the 'slippery slop' here. What about pedophilia, beastiality as 'identities'? Where does one draw the line?

I think when Jesus said in..
Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
..He was in essence saying "all are guilty" but that was not the end goal of His statement. He was actually proving that "All have sinned and come short..." Hence all are doomed without a Saviour.

Sin, according to James has three stages...
1st - a thought (a seed)
2nd - a decision (conception)
3rd - an act (birth)

James 1:14-15 NKJV But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (15) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

We are instructed to deal with our thoughts... "casting down imaginations" He never said it would be easy, but this is where we continue to learn how to "Walk in the Spirit" so that we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

So... The Biblical model of identity is Male, Female, heterosexual. Other identities must be viewed as aberrations. Once a person takes ownership of a particular identity, then one can begin their faith journey of victory in Christ.

In 1Cor 6 Paul lists lots of 'past problems' including sexual issues, then says; "such were some of you, but you have been washed"

Just my .05 worth (.02 doesn't work in Canada anymore :-)
Don
steve green said…
Hi Kev:

Im not convinced that claiming to be Christian can trump our gender identity in this life, which is the only life I know and experience. I don't believe our possible future self can put away a purely human desire for love and affection. Same sex, opposite, or solo.

Also, I'm unconvinced that the Bible is the best source to look for answers to this question. it is not a pantheon of straight forward knowledge. Its convoluted and opaque, subject to massive interpretation.

Thanks for writing.

SteveG
Kevin Rogers said…
Steve, I have to respectfully disagree with your low view of Scripture. I believe that we can have a good hermeneutic and that we can study to establish more clarity than than you are willing to give it.

All of your expressed opinion on homosexuality is based on blaming the conservative view of Scriptures and poor handlers of it. You do not make your case to Christians on the basis of Scripture.

As an example, I don't see anything convulted or opaque when I read:

2 Timothy 3:
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Seems like wisdom that can apply through all time. Much of the New Testament epistles bring warning to the church about people who add to, deny and pollute the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.

I am very interested in what the Scriptures teach about life. If indeed it is God breathed, then I want to breathe deep and live.
Kevin Rogers said…
On the aspect of the gospel trumping our gender identity, I think you miss the point. The new identity in Christ recognizes that we are all created in God's image and born into sin.

Gender is not sin. Orientation is not sin. The gospel calls us to a reality where we are no longer defined by the limitations and barriers that distinguish us.

When the Scriptures teach on sexual sins, they are always listed in the context of a variety of sinful behaviours (adultery, wrath, slander, violence, disobedient to parents, etc.). We can argue until we are blue about one sin or another, but what does that prove? It's a handy diversion to keep us from admitting our own sinful state. I have no special merit with God when I point out how others fail. I would invite everyone to Jesus where you are not viewed as a heterosexual or homosexual. But at least come to Jesus and allow God to change the ways that you sin against Him. Let's make church a safer place to do that.

Steve Green said…
Don: this type of association of gay men and women with pedophiles and beastiality is unbelievably offensive. Im astounded by your comments and truly hope this thread is seen for what it is, unloving, hateful words. Ignorant way of thinking.