Keep Your Laws Off My Body

“Keep your laws off my body.”  For years, women have been proudly repeating this phrase.  It can still be seen all around us – on the bumper sticker of the car in front of you, on the t-shirt of a woman you see in the grocery store, on the sign you pass walking across the college campus.  The phrase is repeated endlessly to condone abortion, the murder of human beings that hardly causes the world to bat an eye anymore.  

This phrase is one that reflects the world’s proud and selfish attitude.  The key word in the phrase is “my,” and it’s a word that rolls from the tongue so easily.  The world loves to say “mine.” My body. My rights. My choices. My life. Mine.  

But this post isn’t meant to be an argument against abortion, or even a criticism of the pride and self-centeredness of our society.  It’s so easy for us to point out at the world and criticize what we see.  Abortion. Fornication. Lying. Cheating. Stealing.  The finger-pointing could go on and on, but that’s not the purpose of this post.

Instead, let’s turn that pointing finger around and look back at ourselves.  How often do we see ourselves falling into the sin of pride?  It doesn’t take long to realize that the self-centered attitude that is so easy for us to criticize in the world around us can often be found in our very own hearts!  

Sure, we don’t have bumper stickers or t-shirts proclaiming, “Keep your laws off my body,” but do we obey God’s words to bind His commandments upon our fingers and write them upon the tables of our hearts (Proverbs 7:3)?  He tells us in Deuteronomy 11 to “bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes” and in Proverbs 3:3 to “bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.”  Do we obey these commands? Do we make God’s law an important part of our lives, keeping His Word always in front of our eyes, around our necks, on our hands, wrapped around our fingers, and written on our hearts?  Or do we find that old man of sin inside of us proudly telling God to keep His laws off of our lives and our bodies?

Jesus gave His own body, even His own life, for us, in obedience to His Father’s will.  He had a crown of thorns pressed into His head, stripes beaten onto His back, nails put through His wrists, and His side pierced with a spear.  Jesus willingly gave up His own body, and we are called to do the same.  Are we willing to do this?  Surrender everything that we have to God’s will?  Or do we obey God’s commandments only when it doesn’t require too much of us?  Do we give every part of ourselves to God every second of our lives, or do we sometimes claim our lives as our own?  Do we call Sunday the Lord’s Day but then call every other day of the week “my day?”  Maybe we start and end our day in devotion to God, but somehow in between we end up living for self.  We don’t like when God interferes with our time.  Our plans.  Our bodies.  

We ought not to be this way!  We must confess with Q&A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism that “I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.”  Our time, our bodies, our talents, our lives, are not our own!  They belong to Him, and we are to use them not self-servingly, but for Him.  

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:20

Amy Kaiser

Gender Options in the Bathroom

A couple years ago I wrote a piece called “Facebook Gender Options.” The topic of that piece was the move by Facebook that gave more gender options to its users beyond male and female. Facebook provided fifty six gender options to be exact. Facebook intended this move to be inclusive of every variant gender identity or “questioning” person under the sun. A person who is “questioning” is confused as to whether they are gay or transgender and  as to who they are and where they should be headed. Gender differences have expanded in these two short years since that piece was written. Now in many places a man who identifies as a woman or vice-versa has the right to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity. In other words, if a man feels like he is a woman he has a right to use the bathroom or locker room consistent with what he feels he is on the inside, even if it doesn’t match up with what his body actually is. This has become the law in a number of cities and states. Those who speak out against it are branded as intolerant and will even be kicked out of public facilities. This has actually happened to woman in Ohio who complained about a man behaving himself inappropriately in the women’s restroom of a Planet Fitness gym.

Not only do such policies go against common sense, they also violate God-ordained notions of gender. “Male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27b). This passage means that a person’s biological sex is permanent. Many things about a person change in their lifetimes including height, weight, voice and hair color. Personalities develop over time as well. That being said, one’s gender remains consistent throughout all of these changes. Transgender advocates, on the other hand, teach that people are gender-fluid, that is, that a person can be male one day and female the next. Think of a jar of Play-Doh or the sand you find at the beach. These things can be changed to whatever you want them to be. You can use that lump of Play-Doh to form a dog one day and a castle the next.  The same thing is true of the sand at the beach. That’s the kind of thinking that supporters of transgenderism engage in.

Play-doh and sand are malleable, gender is not. There is no record of any human being actually switching sexes. It doesn’t happen and  it cannot happen. God is the only one who can mold things the way that He wants them. He takes the people that live in this world and He forms them as He seems fit. “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”(Romans 9:21) Here God is referring to election and reprobation whereby He saves some and not others. The same thing is true in this world. He makes one male and another female and each individual fulfills the unique role that He as ordained for them.

Our calling as young people and young adults is to live as Christians in this world. Part of living as a Christian is living contentedly in the body God has given us, the body appropriate to the gender He has given us. We are not surgically to mutilate our bodies as many people do today. We are not to celebrate those who have had this done to themselves or are contemplating having it done. In both cases we are to exhort them to repent and to pray for their repentance.  God has made us different. Men and women are different physically, mentally and psychologically. We are to recognize, celebrate, and enjoy these differences without trying to pervert them into something that God never meant them to be.  When we do this properly God is glorified. He will judge those who defy His creation ordinances  and reward those who by His grace and Holy spirit seek to honor and obey Him in this and in all things. May God receive all the honor and glory due unto His name!

Kevin Rau

The First Temptation – Matthew 4:2-4

Jesus’ answer to the devil’s temptation, found in vs. 4, conclusively silenced all three aspects of Satan’s temptation.  The true mark of Jesus’ Sonship was His obedience to the will of the Father, not being a miracle-worker.  True provision for His needs would come in dependence on the Father alone, not in obeying Satan’s will, or in depending upon Himself.  The best and only path for Jesus to follow was the difficult path of suffering that His Father ordained for Him, not the easy “bread path.”  Jesus’ obedience, dependence on the Father, and walking the path of suffering are combined in His simple, yet profound answer in vs. 4 of the text: man shall live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”  Satan tempted Jesus to satisfy His hunger with physical food.  But this was Jesus’ food: not to be a miracle-worker, to depend on Himself, or to walk the path of ease, but to live by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth. 

                Jesus did not deny that man needs physical bread to live.  In His answer to Satan’s temptation Jesus said that man shall not live by bread only, implying that bread is necessary for one’s existence.  Jesus Himself teaches His people to pray for their daily bread.  Eating bread for physical life is not evil, but good.  Jesus, too, ate bread.

But for Jesus, His bread, His very life, from a spiritual perspective, was to obey the Word and will of God.  Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy.  Israel in the wilderness needed to learn that God was their only Provider.  They needed to learn that Jehovah would lead them on the proper path, according to His will.  They were to obey Him and Him alone.

Likewise, Jesus was to obey God’s will.  God’s will for Jesus was that He save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21); through all His ministry that He call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32); that He redeem those under the law (Gal. 4:5).  God’s will was Jesus’ life (Matt. 12:50; Luke 2:49).  John 4:34 states: “Jesus saith unto them [the disciples], My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”  Jesus’ true food consisted not in bread and certainly not in turning stones into bread, but in living according to the will of God.

We can learn much from Jesus’ answer to the devil.  We limit ourselves to two applications.  First, the form of Jesus’ answer to the devil should be modeled by us in our response to temptation: quoting Scripture.  This implies that we know the Scripture well, and that we have many portions of the Bible memorized.  Only the powerful, effectual Word of God can ward off Satan.  Man’s word is ineffective.  Man’s word only serves to bring him into further temptation and trouble.  Do you and do I know Scripture well enough to answer Satan’s every temptation?

Second, our meat, our bread, must be that we obey the will of God.  This we must say to the devil every time he comes to tempt us.  To sin is to stray from God’s revealed will in His Word.  But when we are so consumed with zeal to seek God, then we will delight to walk in the path of suffering which He requires us to take.  Then we can, by the grace of God, turn Satan aside when He seeks to take us off the path God has ordained for us.

Next Monday we begin our consideration of the second temptation, Lord willing.

RB