This entry is part 15 of 18 in the series: A Better Story (Harrison)
- ‘A better story’ – intro
- ‘A better story’ – 1
- ‘A better story’ – 2
- ‘A better story’ – 3
- ‘A better story’ – 4
- ‘A better story’ – 5
- ‘A better story’ – 6
- ‘A better story’ – 7
- ‘A better story’ – 8
- ‘A better story’ – 9
- ‘A better story’ – 10
- ‘A better story’ – 11
- ‘A better story’ – 12
- ‘A better story’ – 13
- ‘A better story’ – 14
- ‘A better story’ – 15
- ‘A better story’ – 16
- ‘A better story’ – 17
C.S. Lewis invited us to consider that our appreciation of everyday objects of desire bring ‘news from a far country’. They bid us come and behold that great reality of which they are faint reflections.
Indeed, writes Glynn Harrison, the gospel rescues all our desires – including sexual desire. Our worship should include all legitimate expressions of love – and not just platonic love and agape love.
Sexual love teaches us about the intensity of divine love. The very incompleteness of our earthy erotic experiences bears witness to the ultimate object of our longing.
Both sex in marriage, and abstinence in singleness, witness to God’s faithful love. In Scripture, the marriage bond is presented as faithful, covenantal and permanent. Just like God’s love for us. ‘He doesn’t do one-night stands; he doesn’t grow tired of us; he doesn’t ‘fall in love’ with somebody else.’
But so too does the abstinence of single people bear witness to God’s faithful love. ‘Denying yourself something can be just as potent a picture of a thing’s goodness as helping yourself to it.’ In Luke 7:33f, both Jesus’ ‘indulgence’ and John’s abstinence point to the same reality – the coming of God’s kingdom. ‘In refusing to have sex outside marriage, the single person witnesses to the unbreakable link between passion and faithfulness. And in refusing to commit adultery, the married person bears witness to the same truth.’
Our sexuality speaks of the fruitful character of God’s love. Sex in marriage is open to procreation. Image-bearing produces more image-bearers (Gen 1:27f). Sex in marriage brings forth life.
The Christian vision for sex is one of self-sacrifice for the common good. ‘God calls us to order our passions in the service of a good greater than ourselves.’ This responsibility does not end with the nurturing of children. ‘Whether married of single, we are called to order our sexual interests in ways that support and nurture flourishing friendships, families and communities. This is the point at which the gospel vision pushes back hard against the secular narrative: it’s about ordering our sex lives in the service of social justice, fairness and equality, serving the poor and the well-being of children, of life itself.’
Harrison, Glynn. A Better Story: God, Sex And Human Flourishing. IVP. Kindle Edition. Chapter 13