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The Word on the Week

Consenting to sin?

After an 8 week-long trial a number of rugby players were acquitted of the charge of rape. The woman was placed behind a screen in the court to preserve her anonymity. The rugby players were in the full glare of the media which reported the case in great detail.

The men’s acquittal sparked protests around the country as many came onto the streets in sympathy with the woman. There was a feeling that after being cross-examined for 8 days during the trial the case had been made, by the then 19-year-old woman, that there was no consent. It was on this matter of the woman’s consent spoken or implied upon which the case hung.
What happened in Belfast is the outcome of an increasingly relaxed approach to sexual intercourse. The goddess Aphrodite has shaken off the self-control that curbed her activities in the past. Many now worship at her altar sacrificing lasting relationships, unborn children and emotional maturity for promises of instant gratification. But it is her addictive properties that are so damaging causing her worshippers to return like a dog to its vomit (2 Peter 2v22) time and again.
This self-control comes from the Holy Spirit. St Paul lays it out for us in his letter to the Galatians in the 5th Chapter verses 19 -24.
“The works of the sinful nature are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” It is the absence of self-control that is evident today. St Paul continues, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Christ and the Spirit come together in this passage as the source of the believer’s life. Christians have crucified the flesh or died with Christ to sin. The old order has passed. Our trouble is that we get down from the cross then are overcome by the resurgence of the sinful nature. It caused St Paul to go into fitness training as he mentions in his first letter at the start of his ministry “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians Chapter 9 verse 27).

There is no other way to combat moral evil in a sex-sodden society. In the absence of other moral defences, if we try to make consent the solitary moral norm, we will not be able to protect anyone in the long run. Without the Biblical marriage ethic, it may well be that the ultimate goal of those who introduced same-sex marriage will succeed. That goal is the destruction of marriage and redefining of family.

The only consent that we should follow is like that of Israel as recorded by Jeremiah in Chapter 18 verse 6, “Can I not do with you as this potter has done? Declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel”.
Our response; Have thine own way Lord, have thine own way…