Tim Keller | April 18, 2004
There are obvious ways Christian hope affects us, like in the way we face death and troubles. But I’d like to show you that Christian hope affects everything, every area of our lives.
The biblical understanding of hope is a life-shaping, joyous certainty that your future is the eternal love and glory of God and a new heavens and new earth. And this Christian hope even determines and revolutionizes our whole attitude toward sex, romance, singleness, and marriage.
This passage in 1 Corinthians 6 and 7 is outrageous in all sorts of ways. It shows us that 1) Christianity gave the world a revolutionary view of sex, 2) Christianity gave the world a revolutionary view of singleness and marriage, and 3) Christian hope radically reshapes our approach, our actions, and our attitudes in this area.
Christian faith gives a fresh view on sex, single life, and marriage. It teaches us that our bodies, as homes for the Holy Spirit, belong to God and shouldn’t be misused in wrong sexual behavior. Our Christian hope influences how we see these things, showing us that how we expect our future to be can shape how we act and think in present. In other words, our hope in Christ changes how we think about sex, being single, and marriage.
1. A fresh view of sex
Two common views of sex, influenced by old Greek thinking, are discussed: one that sees sex as just a physical need and another that thinks it’s dirty. Both views are incomplete. The Bible gives a different view that tells us to exercise self-control in sexual matters outside marriage, reminding us that sex is an act of deep emotional bonding, not just for having children or feeling good. The potential for personal growth through a committed relationship is pointed out, and it’s explained that sex outside of marriage can harm this growth.
2. A fresh view of single life and marriage
Paul’s fresh take on marriage and being single contradicts both old and new social ideas, saying that a person’s worth and safety doesn’t have to come from having a successful family. He recognized the importance of marriage and love, but also showed that staying single for a long time can be a good and satisfying life choice. This new understanding comes from the idea of…
3. Christian hope
Christian views on sex and marriage are shaped by looking forward to an ultimate family, adventure, and love, which changes how we think about relationships and discourages us from seeing material things or earthly pleasures as our main source of happiness. Early Christians valued single life as it showed trust in God’s future plans, not just relying on human family or descendants. Marriage is seen as a journey towards personal growth and mutual improvement, with the final goal of becoming radiant and beautiful through making Jesus the center of one’s love. Casual sex is warned against as it goes against the purpose and value of intimacy.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
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