We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love - Mother Teresa
Friday, February 25, 2011
STDs AND THE BODY OF CHRIST - How sexual sin has weakened the church
What do STDs have to do with the body of Christ? A lot, actually. Of course, most Christians don't see it that way. When the topic of the church is addressed, STDs aren't typically part of the discussion -- and why should they be?! After all, what do sexually transmitted diseases have to do with Christians or the church as a whole? Aside from those Christians who engage in blatant sexual sin, STDs don't concern the majority of Christians, and certainly not the church as a whole.
What if I were to tell you that STDs do concern the body of Christ? What if I told you that they have infiltrated it, on a widespread scale, and are literally destroying it, hindering its effectiveness, and prohibiting it from carrying out its mission as Christ commanded?! That's right -- I said STDs. I suppose that you would say I am crazy. I suppose you would ask for statistics to prove my point. The truth of the matter is, there is plenty of statistical evidence. Their presence in the church is well-documented, and their effects are addressed in Scripture. I suppose it would matter if I were talking about diseases spread through physical contact, but I am not. I am talking about a different, and more serious, type of STD which has infiltrated the body of Christ, and continues to do so.
Of course, STDs are commonly referred to sexually transmitted diseases, spread through the population through sexual intercourse. There is a different kind of STD, though, spread throughout the church via the sexual sin that has managed to infiltrate the body of Christ, and continues to do so as the church turns a blind eye to this disease. What most Christians do not take into consideration is that when they engage in sexual sin OF ANY KIND, whether it be cheating on your spouse, lusting after a woman, or even pornography, it spreads through the body of Christ, on a spiritual level, and infects and weakens it. This STD, or spiritually transmitted disease, defiles the body of Christ and the members who willingly participate in it.
Think about it. Ephesians 4:16 tells us that every member of the body of Christ is joined and knit together through the working of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:4 says there is one body and one spirit, and 1 Cor. 12:13 tells us that we are all baptized into one body, and made to drink from one spiritual rock. Every member of the church is part of one body, the Lord's body, and we are knit together on a spiritual level. In Christ, we are one. This is why God's word implores us to remain pure in our bodies and our souls. The church is Christ's body, and in order for the church to remain pure, its members MUST remain pure.
The Center for Disease Control reports 50 known sexually transmitted diseases. The church recognizes only 1 type of STD -- that is, sin. The Bible calls it leaven. Indeed, STDs have infiltrated the body of Christ, in the form of sexual sin, and much more than we have the courage to admit. Recent studies have shown that the majority of Christians view pornography on a regular basis. Pornography IS a form of sexual sin, and it defiles the person. The Bible says that we are ALL members of the Lord's body; therefore, in defiling oneself, a Christian also defiles the Lord's body. Indeed, sin weakens the body of Christ, and it starts with the individual.
1 Cor. 5:6,7: Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you are truly unleavened..
Leaven here is sin. The apostle Paul tells us to remove all forms of sin from our lives, that the body of Christ might remain holy. Most Christians would never think that a sin like pornography would affect anyone but themselves. They believe they can do it in secret, without it affecting anyone...but the Bible warns us, indeed, that all things hidden will eventually be made manifest. It appears to me that the secret sins of the church are already being made manifest by the church's weakness and ineffectiveness in the world. How can we reach out in love and the power of the Holy Spirit when we are incapable of dealing with the sin in our own lives.
Every sin defiles a person, which in turn defiles the body of Christ, but sexual sin is much more serious than other forms of sin, as Paul explains in 1 Cor. 6:18:
Flee sexual immorality...He who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own.
We are to glorify God, not only in spirit, but in body as well. How many Christians secretly watch pornography, and defile themselves to its images? The Bible says that anyone who commits sexual sin commits sin against his own body.
1 Cor. 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
When a Christian watches pornography, he is committing sexual sin with the object of his desire. He is joining himself to her. Jesus Christ said that anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt. 5:28). All believers are joined to Christ. When a believer commits sexual immorality, including pornography, he is dragging his union with Christ into the illicit relationship.
Watching porn defiles a person on a spiritual level. Masturbating to porn defiles him on a physical level. It is sexual sin -- a spiritual disease, which spreads and infects the entire body of Christ. No wonder the church has become so weak and ineffective. Where sin exists, the Holy Spirit is quenched. How can we expect to make any impact in the world, when Christ's body is full of sin and disease? How can the Holy Spirit move through us, when we choose the power of sin over the power of His Holy Spirit?
All forms of sexual sin defile the believer:
Mt. 15:18 Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.....
What a person sets his mind on will eventually define him. If a person dwells on images of sexual sin which incite lust, those images will define his heart and his mind. This is why 1 Thes. 5:22 tells us to abstain from every form (appearance, portrayal) of evil. This especially includes porn, which not only glorifies immorality, but dehumanizes the person being sexually abused and exploited.
God takes sexual sin very, very seriously, so much so that He tells us not to even fellowship with anyone who is sexually immoral:
1 Cor. 5:11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater -- not to even eat with such a person.
To fellowship with another person is to bring them into the body of Christ. You are accepting them as fellow Christians, and members of Christ's body. Here, God tells us not to fellowship with them, that His body might remain pure and undefiled. If the Lord instructs us not to even eat with such a person, how much more does He expect us to keep ourselves pure and undefiled?
The church is the body of Christ - so why are we infecting the body of Christ with STDs? God has called us to a life of holiness and purity. We are members of His body, and He demands that we remain pure. He will not hold us inaccountable for the disease that is spread through His body due to our own sinful behaviour. Any form of sexual immorality defiles the body of Christ, and if recent studies are any indication, over half of the body is diseased, full of STDs, spiritual disease, and we are responsible. We say that the porn industry is wrong, and rightfuilly so -- but how much more wrong are we when we bring our diseases in the Lord's body?