Call Me Human : Why A Sex-charged Culture Warps Our Placement Of Identity

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Call Me Human : Why A Sex-charged Culture Warps Our Placement of Identity

A Collaborative Work by Shane Pruitt & Cooper Taylor

This deserves to be said right from the start: With a sensitive topic such as this discussion of sexuality, we must remember that we’re talking about real issues that real people with very real feelings deal with on a daily basis. Also, the point of this post is not to address the human rights issues, cultural values, or other topics that are often brought into this discussion. The only thing that must be clarified as far as those issues are concerned is that all humans bear the image of God, and therefore should be treated with the utmost love and respect, and should not be denigrated because of disagreement on this topic. Every single person deserves certain rights in this physical realm.

As a pastor, my primary responsibility is to communicate and teach what God has already said in His Word, the Holy Bible. My opinion is irrelevant, and culture’s opinion doesn’t matter. All that matters is what the Bible says.

So let’s begin with this: have you ever noticed that the terms “heterosexual”, “homosexual”, and “bisexual” are not found anywhere in Scripture? These are terms which the Bible does not specifically mention by name, and so quite often we are told that Scripture is largely silent on the issue of sexual identity and sexual practice, leading to the idea that all sexual identity and behavior is cultural and anything Scripture has to say on the issue is irrelevant to any modern discussion of the topic.

In light of that argument, it seems that we have all fallen into a cultural lie that our identity is defined, at least in part, by who we’re attracted to. We seem to think that we all have the same last name (sexual), with different first names (Hetero, Homo, Bi, Pan, Trans, etc.).

If we could only shout it loud enough: this is not who you are! You’re a human “being”, not a human “doing”. In fact, we’re a human being (male or female), who bears the Image of God, our Creator. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).”

So what enables us to separate the issue of sexual orientation from the issue of our identity as people and ultimately our identity in Christ? At the root, it is realizing that sexuality in the Bible is always an action, not a person or identity.That is why the Bible will discuss the issue of sexuality without ever using language or terms like “homosexual”or “heterosexual”(terms which define a person by their sexuality) and will instead say things in a different way. Here are some examples:

“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:26 –27).”

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9).”

The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sounddoctrine (1 Timothy 1:10).”

Notice: it is never anyone’s identity that is being addressed, but rather, their practice. Every thing discussed above is an action, a doing…not a being.

Nowhere does the Bible bestow on us an identity based upon our sexuality. Only in a dysfunctional culture like ours that is overtly and deeply sexually charged, and where sex is given a much larger platform than it deserves are people able to be defined, boxed-in, and identified by their sexual orientation.

In light of that, doesn’t it seem odd to identify yourself by something like sex? You’re better than that, and God is certainly much bigger than that! You’re ultimately a person; a person created in the image of a Creator that is loved by God!

So, this begs the question: “Does God create and cause some people to be attracted to the opposite sex, while He creates others to be attracted to their same gender, both genders, or none at all?”

The Bible does not specifically confirm or deal with that question, and so of course, where Scripture is silent, we ought to be careful where we make clear judgment statements. Let’s just lay out relationships and their prescriptive patterns according to the Word:

Creation lays out the pattern: We are humans, and we’re made to enjoy the opposite-sex in the context of a covenant relationship that we call marriage.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).”

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).”

Jesus explicitly affirms this type of heterosexual covenant relationship.

“He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:4 –6).”

(Many people argue that Jesus never addressed, much less condemned, homosexuality. Although it is true that Jesus does not specifically address the issue by using the terminology we would use today, Jesus did clearly affirm and reiterate the established position that marriage is between a man and a woman.)

The Apostles confirmed the creation model, and Jesus’ affirmation of that model.

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33).”

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them (Colossians 3:18 –19).”

The Apostle Paul even spoke out about the issue of culture trading in what was “natural” for what was “unnatural,” abandoning the established model of heterosexual covenant marriage for other things.

“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:26 –27).”

According to Scripture, all sexual actions outside of a “one-husband-one-wife” marriage are unnatural and sinful. That would include both inappropriate heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships. There is additionally no affirmation of a consensual monogamous relationship between those of the same sex. In fact, anytime homosexuality is discussed at all (actually only seven times in the entire Bible) it is in a negative light.

All of this goes to say something very simple: The Bible does not confirm that anyone is a homosexual, bisexual, etc. There is also no clear confirmation that God makes someone that way. However, the Bible is very clear that these are all actions, and therefore are a matter of choice and self-control. I think we understand this with other actions, but for some reason, we’ve lost this view as far as sexual behaviors are concerned.

(But with that said, please hear this clearly, to those who claim to be “unmarried heterosexuals”: All sexual activity outside of the context of covenant marriage is equally sinful.Far too often I hear men talk about “those sinners, the homosexuals”, while also “enjoying the bed”with a girlfriend who they aren’t married to. Give me a break! Man up, marry the woman, and stop trying to pick at specks, while you have a massive, debilitating plank in your own eye.)

If we continue to adopt our culture’s view that this particular act is actually an identity that one is born into, then we must adopt this view on every action. It would be equivalent to me saying, “I am a liar and a thief; God made me that way. Therefore, you must acknowledge it, accept it, and even celebrate it! If you disagree with me being a liar and a thief, then you’re archaic, intolerant, and even a bigot!”

No one is advocating for that kind of identity, though! It would be absurd for me to find my identity in something I do, because that sinful nature is not what labels me, and we must reject any kind of identity that is rooted in sinful behavior; behavior including but certainly not limited to unnatural sexual activities that are contrary to those laid out in Scripture. Culture says, “Whatever you ‘do’ determines who you are ‘are’.” The Bible is counter-cultural, at least, in the area of identity. Scripture teaches, “Who we ‘are’, should determine what we ‘do’.”

So, as we move away from finding our identity in terms of our sexuality, we must properly locate and find our identity in something, or someone, who is much more worthy of our identification than our sexual proclivities. This process of relocating our identity from an action or behavior and into something more solid ultimately involves a shift away from finding our identity in ourselves and towards a more salient identity in Christ. It is a move from idolatry of the self and a move towards the rightful worship of a Creator who lovingly set out an order in creation for our good and the good of all people.

When we get down to brass tacks, I am not a heterosexual. I am a person, an image bearer of God that was made an orphan by sin, but was adopted by a loving God into His family forever. Sexuality is not my identity, nor is anything else that this world has to offer because it should be noted that it is a common human problem that we all have a problem finding our rightful identity; it’s one of the symptoms of living in a world tainted and damaged by sin.

If you have believed that your identity is found in anything else, be it sexual behaviors, or the lure of idolatry in any other area of life, I pray that you would experience the value and joy of finding your identity in Christ. Because ultimately, Jesus is indeed better, and an identity found not in what we do, but who we are in Christ, is what makes all the difference.

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Shane Pruitt

Jesus follower, Husband, Father, Pastor

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