This article is by my dear husband, Grant, and can be found in it’s entirety at The Gospel Coalition. I hope you read the editor’s note at the beginning and consider joining us at CBMW’s National Conference.
Editors’ note: We hope you’ll join our friends at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood at their inaugural national conference on Tuesday, April 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST. Addressing “A Brave New Movement: CBMW and the Gospel,” speakers include The Gospel Coalition Council members John Piper, Ligon Duncan, Kevin DeYoung, and Albert Mohler, along with many others, such as Melissa Kruger and Trillia Newbell. Learn more about the purpose and need for such an event in the following article, written by CBMW conference coordinator Grant Castleberry.
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When I was in the Marine Corps, I remember once hanging out with some other officers during the day as we escaped the heat. We were all telling funny stories about that day and taking a few minutes to cool off in the air conditioning. Then one of them tossed a Playboymagazine to me and told me to check out a certain girl. I refused to look. When they all asked why I wouldn’t look, I quoted Job 31:1: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin.” One of them, quick-witted, replied, “I don’t think she’s a virgin.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at his joke. “But all the same,” I said, “I will not look at any woman’s body besides my wife’s.” They all nodded in an understanding way, but in the moment that followed, we all realized something: we did not share the same standard of morality. Awkward silence followed.
I think many Christians have similar experiences as they strive to live out the ethics of the kingdom of Christ in today’s culture, especially in regards to sexual purity and gender roles. They run head on into opposition to the gospel and to Scripture from people they love and care about. In reality, things have not changed all that much over the centuries. In the Graeco-Roman world, when the New Testament was written, the ethics of Christ’s kingdom regarding sexuality and gender were also seen as counter-cultural. That’s what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 regarding purity:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
Peter goes on to say that Christian women are co-heirs with their husbands in Christ in 1 Peter 3:7, a thought that would have been seen as revolutionary in that culture:
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.