Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Luther Library: The Battle Isn't Over

The Luther Library posts an excellent review by blogger Polly on a popular Christian book, Every Young Man's Battle. She writes:

Every Young Man's Battle is featured prominently in every Christian Book store and catalog. Part of the "Every Man Series on Sexual Integrity," it's touted as offering "strategies for victory in the real world of sexual temptation...

From a Lutheran standpoint, the book is mostly Law and little Gospel, and somewhat works-oriented. The authors' worldview is that pleasing God by living a blameless life is possible and that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him...

One weird struggle for me as we made the switch from a focus on pietistic Christian practice to a focus on salvation by God's grace was in the area of kids and purity. During my kids' preteen years, I had been teaching my kids that God demands purity in their personal lives. Like Polly said, that message is mostly Law and little Gospel. The rest of the story of that expectation is that I believed, as a parent, that the Very Worst thing my kids could do was to lose their purity.

As my kids entered their teen years, it was a struggle for me to switch from outward purity as a way to please God and ensure salvation to living a life of gratitude to God and awareness of your sin nature in order to protect your faith which surely can be lost. The end result of that new mindset is realizing that my own kids can and will FAIL to live a life of purity and indeed already had in ANY impure thought they surely already have had.

I hope this realization doesn't sound as if I've given in to sin nature and am passing that message on to my kids. God still demands purity! Without it, we are doomed to hell. Since we cannot possibly leave the house in the morning without an impure thought, what is our hope? Our hope and the reason for our great joy is that God has provided a Savior who is the substitutionary atonement for our sure sin nature. And then He provided the Holy Spirit to seal us in faith of that salvation.

Is being impure the worst thing that could ever happen to my kids? No! The worst thing is that they would ever lose their saving faith. So what's the best prevention of sexual impurity? Not a focus on sexual purity, but a focus on staying strong in the grace that is Christ Jesus. And that Book has already been written! That lesson was bigger for me than it was for my kids.

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