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Christians need to understand a biblical theology of the body.

I share this because of several recent events.  First, the Supreme Court struck down the federal definition of marriage being between one man and one woman.  Second, California recently passed a law allowing transgender students to choose which restroom and locker room they use.  The law, which will take effect Jan. 1, gives students the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on the gender they identify with as opposed to their birth gender. Those programs also include sports teams.  Third, a day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison, Army Private First Class Bradley Manning announced that he self identifies as a female and wants to be known as Chelsea Manning.

These events are more than news stories.  They are a reflection of our nation, our culture, and our society as a whole.  They also reflect what currently passes as acceptable behavior.

Here are a few reminders to share from the National Association of Evangelicals and its Generation Forum.

People are created in the image of God.  God made us.  We are not descendants of another mammal.  God created human beings in His image, looked at all He made, and pronounced it “very good” in Genesis 1:31.  We are included in this decree.  This makes every human a holy reflection of God and a unique work of art.  God bestows us with some of His divine attributes setting us apart from the beasts of the field.  Created in His image, we are relational and embodied beings, whose very nature bear the fingerprints of God.

God created us male and female.  The genders announced in Genesis 1 are different.  God’s design is for man and woman to be together in the covenant of marriage.  This bond is blessed so that people can find greater relationship, happiness, intimacy, and know the joy of children.  Jesus confirms this creation paradigm in Matthew 19.  Competing models to the marital covenant are found in current and ancient cultures, including polygamy, same-sex unions, serial monogamy, polyamory, and “open marriages.”  These constructs lack the essential ingredients that fully express God’s plan.  They are flawed imitations of what God intended.

We should also embrace our gender as a gift from God.  The contemporary dance with changing gender identity represents a rebellious rejection of our Creator’s biological design.  We should not change or exchange our humanity.  It would only distort God’s canvass.  This rejection also demonstrates a rebellious desire to exchange “the truth of God for a lie” and make ourselves in our own image, Romans 1:25.

Honor God with your body.  The Biblical mandate is clear, we are to pursue purity.  This is accomplished by upholding fidelity in marriage and upholding chastity outside of marriage.  We need to be aware of potential temptations and be transparent with those who hold us accountable.  Sanctification is both an event and a process.  We are incapable of eliminating ourselves from the problem of sin.  Only Jesus Christ can and will set us free, Romans 8:1-4.  But all are called to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” and to be “transformed by the renewing of your minds” Romans 12:1-2.

As Christians, we are called to honestly share the standard God has given through Scripture.  Many will reject it, but the church must be steadfast and faithful to biblical teaching.  Another challenge in speaking God’s truth is being compassionate like Christ.  Hate and anger will only hurt our Christian witness.  Instead, let us continue to advance God’s kingdom by speaking the truth in love.

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