In closing his great work on the mortification of sin in believers, John Owen outlines the sin-destroying work that the Holy Spirit effects in the life of a Christian:
There's a segment in many Christian marriage ceremonies called the Declaration of Consent. If you've been to a traditional wedding, it was that part where you got confused and thought to yourself, "Wait, I thought they were supposed to say, 'I do.' Why'd she just say, 'I will'?"
That's the Declaration of Consent. Here's the wording from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship:
Will you have this man to be your husband, and will you pledge your faithfulness to him, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with him, and cherish him, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage?
Indiana University is currently on an ostentatious crusade against sexual violence, and it's very tuned in to this whole consent thing. Here in Bloomington we're in the midst of Little 500 week, one of the most decadent times of college partying in the entire nation, and a time each year when sexual assault becomes commonplace. Last week…
On my way into Wright Food Court at IU, I saw this bulletin board display, courtesy of IU's Residential Programs and Services:
This coming weekend is IU's renowned Little 500—an historic bike race and an excuse for students to give themselves over to drunkenness and immorality.
So what's the best reason we can come up with to keep students from getting wasted out of their minds, acting like fools, committing crimes, getting arrested, and maybe even dying? How can we make self-restraint palatable to impetuous young partyers? Never mind the fact that drunkenness is destructive to their lives, that it corrupts their minds and endangers their eternal souls…
The difference between believers and unbelievers as to knowledge is not so much in the matter of their knowledge as in the manner of knowing. Unbelievers, some of them, may know more and be able to say more of God, his perfections, and his will, than many believers; but they know nothing as they ought, nothing in a right manner, nothing spiritually and savingly, nothing with a holy, heavenly light. The excellency of a believer is, not that he has a large apprehension of things, but that what he does apprehend, which perhaps may be very little, he sees it in the light of the Spirit of God, in a saving, soul-transforming light; and this is what which gives communion with God, and not prying thoughts or curious-raised notions.
—John Owen, Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers
IU President Michael McRobbie just released this statement earlier this week in response to Gov. Pence's signing of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
People like the woman at the head of the Disciples of Christ denomination will browbeat you into thinking that the RFRA encourages Christians to spurn sinners, the very people Jesus spent His time with while on earth, instead of helping them. (We'll set aside the irony of this argument from liberal Christians, who do not even consider homosexuals to be engaging in sin…)
No faithful Christian is suggesting that we ought to avoid associating with sinners, or even decline to serve them. That's the wrong question. We are to be friends of sinners. The question is not one of whether or not we are to love sinners. The question is, What qualifies as participating in and promoting ungodliness?
Read this account of a man who believed he was a woman, had a sex-change surgery, and then regretted it.
Then tell me if it's loving to those tempted by such sexual perversion to encourage them in it? The Gospel calls men and women to confess their sins and live lives that are pleasing to God. Part of this is submitting to how God made us: male and female.
And don't gloss over the fact that perversion like transsexualism springs out of the perversions of sexual abuse and molestation. And the two feed each other. Most sexual predators have been abused by others, and the more we promote and encourage the practice of sexual perversion, the more we put our little children at risk and beckon God's judgment on our sin. May God have mercy.
Let us fight the good fight of faith by calling souls in bondage to their immorality to walk in the freedom of a clean conscience by trusting in Christ and repenting of their sins.