Progressive Revelation, Christ & The Church, The Form which governs Christian Sexuality
Leviticus is a tough text for modern ears. This went a little longer and cut off a little quicker than I might has liked. And I just ignored the NT reading. I think the key to understanding such texts is to understand the special calling of Israel and by fulfillment the church. It is not that what is immoral changes. Jesus re-ups the moral law and in fact increases its weight in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1ff). And Jesus’ understanding of sexuality is completely governed by the pre-fall vision of the garden (Mark 10:1-12). And notice the two stories that are conjoined with that teaching in Mark 10: the kingdom belongs to the children and the Rich Young ruler. Jesus’ teaching on sexuality is tough. It would have to be accepted as children and grown into. It will also turn away many as just impractical. Yet, Jesus calls us to be a Holy Nation, a Royal Priesthood (1 Pet 2:9). We are to be different from the world. The reason for this difference is fully revealed to us in in the revelation of Christ. The reason doesn’t change the law. What it does hold out is grace. Where Leviticus states is baldly and expects us to keep it without knowledge, the church has been given the Spirit to grant knowledge and grace for living as exiles. It should not come as a surprise that powerful young men walk away. But the answer is not to deny the law. The answer is to be found in grace. Where the land used to gather up the uncleanness and spit out, today the uncleanness is devoured by the cross and the offer of grace.