Ray Stedman devotion

Devotional by Ray Stedman – New morality or old foolishness? – A daily devotion for March 21

Topic:New morality or old foolishness?

But fornication and all impurity or greed, not even be named among you, as befits saints.
Ephesians 5: 3

Ray Stedman

To Christians, this assignment must have seemed even more unrealistic and, in addition, something impossible to do that would become a reality for the pagans of Ephesus of what may now seem to Americans. Why is it mentioned there? Not to consider that Christianity is negative and prim. All the Scriptures have been written for the benefit of humanity. The purpose that God has in telling us the truth is so that we can participate in all the fullness of life. Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Why is this passage here? It is because, as Paul says, just mentioning sexual immorality, impurity or greed is inappropriate among saints. The word you choose is a word that means “decorous,” “beneficial,” “attractive,” “refreshing.” Who among us has not gone through the experience of being exposed to something disgusting, obscene or inappropriate in regards to sexual matters, through this experience feeling dirty or impure? What a refreshing thing to be among a group of people talking about healthy subjects, whose time and talk have to do with things that are healthy. That is what the apostle is referring to. By implication, participating in conversations that are not appropriate is harmful, improper, ugly, degrading and dishonorable.

We are now told that all sex is precious and natural, that it belongs to the same class as any of the other natural bodily desires and impulses and, therefore, we should feel free to satisfy them in an open manner so that we satisfy any other bodily need, without feeling embarrassed or having to apologize for doing so.

This idea that all sex, any sex, is natural and precious, is a lie. Like all powerful lies, it derives its strength from being based on a partial truth. It is true that sex is related to our physical body such as hunger or thirst or the need to sleep or any other physical desire. But what is never said is that these other desires or impulses also require a rule or control. They are not something we satisfy by will, at any time or anywhere.

Like these other natural needs, sex requires rules and restrictions and the established norm for sex is marriage! Marriage is the way to regulate sex so that it is right, healthy and beneficial. Anything else becomes a violation, not only in what pertains to what is appropriate in Christian society, but also in elemental humanity. There is one thing that is clearly true: sex is obviously something much more complicated than any of the other natural needs or instincts. This requires a partner, which does not happen with any other stimulus, and not only is it a physical union, but also a psychological union. In fact, and this is something that is often forgotten, it is the psychological union that is the most important of the two.

It is intended that sex is a total union of two people, and only in marriage is such a union possible. It is the total surrender of two people, one to the other, in body, soul and spirit, with all their possessions, their name, with all that belongs to them. This kind of union is only possible within marriage.

Father, I ask you to help me pay attention to these important words and to take them very seriously, not to read them lightly or to forget them, giving in to inappropriate practices and inappropriate thoughts.

Application to life
Lies derive their force from partial truth. When lies are heard often enough, they become truths for many people. What powerful lie about sex are we continually exposed to?

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