Sex and Jesus' Conception
The characteristic of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me. Immediately Christ is formed in me, His nature begins to work through me.
God manifest in the flesh—that is what is made profoundly possible for you and me by the Redemption. (My Utmost for His Highest, December 25)
I have been learning a great deal from various people over the past several years who have suffered too much abuse in their lives. In fact, I have come to know a number of such people and this subject has been a part of my learning process for many years. It is a very delicate subject and one which is extremely difficult to discuss without arousing suspicions and prejudice that can blind people's minds and create doubts about the very ones who are trying to learn about it objectively.
One of the things that I feel a need to better understand is what really goes on in the heart of a woman who is abused. Not being a woman myself, I have to somehow learn this vicariously. But this is very difficult partly because it often evokes such deep prejudice on the part of many women themselves that may be suspicious of me as a male. Many people become very secretive, fearful or so full of shame that they are unwilling to risk opening up and discussing the more painful aspects of these kinds of issues with someone who doesn't naturally understand them to begin with.
I realize that there are many dangers to be wary of in such a venture and that is why women generally trust other women the most. That is true and a healthy way of dealing with such problems, but at the same time there is a real need for men to understand much better what happens in a woman's mind and heart when men take advantage of them or exploit them, particularly if these things may be happening unintentionally.
Having said all that and already running the risk of arousing the suspicions of some against myself, I found this morning's reading from Oswald Chambers to be pregnant with meaning. There is so much here that I could ponder and learn from and I hope I do so over the next few days But I would like to capture at least one thought that really jumped out at me as I read today's reading this morning.
But first a little more background. I have come to realize over the years that God longs to bring each one of us into such an intimate relationship with Him that we can be bonded to Him in ways far deeper than the connections formed between a husband and wife. Sexual intercourse was designed by God Himself and was given to our race as a foretaste and an invitation to the kind of intimacy that God wants for us to enjoy with Him.
However, God is gender neutral even though our language does not allow us to talk of Him that way. This also has generated its own problems and a great deal of bigotry and theological arguments over the centuries, but again that is another discussion altogether. Suffice it to say that we need to get past the gender bias that we have about God so that we can begin to appreciate the many analogies presented to us in the Bible that invite us into deeper intimacy with our Creator.
As we know, the natural outcome or fruit of sexual encounters can easily be the creation of another life inside of the woman's body. The conception and birthing of a child is also an analogy that is used in Scripture to convey to us something of what He wants to do in us as part of our restoration into intimacy with Him. Christ was sent to this earth as God Himself who came into our race as a sperm created by the Holy Spirit and inseminated into Mary by an intimate act of the Holy Ghost in order for Jesus to be produced as our Savior. It seems mysterious to many people, but it is a vital truth that must be embraced if we are to be drawn back into right relationship to our Creator.
Each year the Christmas season celebrates this event in history. But there is so much confusion about what God really did and especially why He did it, that it is necessary for us to constantly reexamine our beliefs about this and not be afraid to challenge our assumptions. Jesus did indeed invade this planet and take on human form from the outside, totally unlike any other human being who has ever lived on this world. As Chambers writes, Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not evolve out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being, He is a Being Who cannot be accounted for by the human race at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate, God coming into human flesh, coming into it from outside.
But it is the second part of this reading by Chambers that really grabbed my attention this morning. He contrasts the physical birth of Jesus from a woman with the concept of new birth that is talked about in Scriptures that is vital for us to participate in our redemption arrangement initiated by God. Jesus stated very clearly that unless we too are born again we cannot even begin to grasp what the kingdom of heaven is about. Without a new birth experience we only have the shell of religion without the inner life to make a relationship with God real.
It is not enough to simply believe that Jesus was God born of a woman who was a virgin. Jesus must be born again in each person who chooses to allow Him to enter into them and be formed and grow up into His full stature in all those who choose to allow Him this opportunity. This is even more mysterious than His first human birth coming from inside of Mary's womb but is just as necessary if we want to be restored into fellowship with God and the rest of the universe for eternity.
But what necessarily precedes a conception? That is the compelling reality that many miss altogether. What produces conception in a woman is a sexual encounter with a man. When two people of the opposite sex get together in this way the potential is usually there to produce another human being who is formed in the likeness of both parents, yet at the same time is unique and distinct from both of them.
But when we introduce the element of sin into this suddenly everything is changed dramatically. Satan is so fiercely jealous of this beautiful gift that God has given to the human race inviting us into intimacy with Himself that he has done everything possible to distort and pervert this part of our makeup. Abuse, perversion and even unspeakable horrors have been invented to obliterate the true purpose of what God intended for sex. Satan wants to so twist our mental associations with this subject that we will subconsciously view God as an evil abuser little different than all the others who have caused so much grief and suffering in this area of our lives.
And yet it still remains God's intention to bring us into intimacy with Him through a process that is so closely similar to healthy sex that it is imperative that we allow Him to repair the great damage the enemy has done to this part of our lives. God wants to heal us so that we can become free of the fears produced by all the bad experiences and confused ideas in our hearts that those perversions have produced.
By dividing humanity into two distinct sexes and imparting to each of them unique characteristics reflective of His own, for us it requires that humans need to come into bonded pairs of opposite gender before they are able to better reflect the image of God implanted in humanity.
This coming together in physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy when experienced in a healthy, respectful way involves the element of submission, particularly on the part of the female. Interestingly this very same element is also necessary for any of us to experience the birth of Christ within us and to come to be born again ourselves. Before a conception there has to be an intimate encounter. Likewise for Christ to be born in us and be allowed to grow and flourish within our hearts, there has to be an experience of submission on our part, a surrender to love and a relinquishing of our resistance to His Spirit's work in our lives. If Mary had put up any resistance to the invitation of the angel to place the Son of God into her womb, she would have never experienced the resulting amazing transformation of her life and would have missed out on all the honor and joy that this brought to her. Likewise, if we resist the invitation of God to allow His Son to be born within us, irregardless of whether we happen to be male or female in the human realm, we too will miss out on the new birth experience and will only be left with the unsatisfying systems of external and counterfeit religions.
This is where sexual abuse has caused extensive damage. Because our hearts can become so wounded through negative encounters with sex, particularly in the experience of women, it becomes very hard for many to come to a place where they can trust God with intimacy. They fear that He will not treat them with dignity and true love or will never abuse their submission to Him. But without deep submission on the part of the female, sex can never be as fully enjoyed as it was meant to be. This is true in the spiritual realm as well for all of us in relation to God. But because of abuse in this arena the internal mental impressions about the male role in this kind of relationship has become so distorted and perverted that the result is enormous fear, shame and resentment on the part of many who in turn then resist allowing God access to bring them into this level of intimacy with Him.
God designed us to enter into the deepest levels of joy through the experience of sex in the safe environment of marriage as a means of training us for an even deeper relationship with Him. Satan has done everything he can to pervert and destroy anything to do with this including the bonds of healthy marriage and family. It is like Satan has smashed his fist onto the wet paint of God's image in our soul and smeared it around so badly that God's likeness can hardly be seen anymore.
But God is not willing to leave us in this damaged, ruined, distorted condition. Jesus came to reveal what love really looks like, how God really feels about all of His children and how passionately God still wants to restore us into full intimacy with Him even now. Though the damage has been horrendous, the repair is going to be even more spectacular than the damage ever could be. As a result we, the deeply wounded ones, are privileged to participate in this restoration of God's image, the plan of salvation. God has provided both healing for all the damage we have experienced and opportunity to bring us back into full fellowship with both Himself and with all the loyal unfallen beings in the universe where we can live forever in perfect safety and yet in full transparency and vulnerability.
Jesus Christ is the key to all of these plans of God. He is the one sent to demonstrate to us all that we must know to come into intimate fellowship with God again. And Jesus is also the one who chose to show us through His own death what the alternative is to entering into this kind of fellowship. To refuse to come into the intimacy that God offer for us to experience with Him is to choose the natural consequences of living apart from Him – pain, fear, shame and death.
The choice is completely up to us. As Chambers points out, I can yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me. That sounds a lot like what Mary chose to do. And that is just what I want to do, not only at Christmas time but every day of the year.