January 2023

January 2023

Mary the Virgin


I have noted before that Matthew, in the first chapter of his Gospel, manages to tell us in about five different ways that Mary and Joseph did not have sex before marriage. That was the norm for that time and place. Sex was limited to one man, one woman, in the context of marriage. That’s not to say that it never happened otherwise. It did. But that was the exception to the rule.


That was the cultural norm I was born into in 1956. Especially among Christians, sex was to be confined to marriage, and marriage was one man, one woman. So, I find myself thinking about the Virgin Birth of Jesus, and I’ll probably talk about that during the Christmas Season, and I almost feel like I have to explain the concept; the idea that people wait until marriage to have sex.


I mentioned that to a group of Pastors earlier in the month, and they agreed. One of them traced it back to the TV show Friends. I said those single people in Seinfeld – before Friends – seemed to be either sexually active or trying to be. We stopped watching that show, and never did watch the other one, but my children did. And Sex in the City and – it’s sort of the norm for most shows.


Don’t get me wrong. I have never thought Hollywood was at all Christian – it seems to be a tough place for Christians to dwell – and those writers are probably just writing like they live, and they are living the way The Culture lives. The new norm for The Culture is to not wait for marriage. In fact, depending on who you listen to and who they’re talking about – a lot has changed.


You’ve heard it said before that there’s a reason why God gives us the Ten Commandments. They are The Law, and they tell us what to do and what not to do. But they are not ten randomly made-up rules, made up by God with no purpose or function in mind. They are given to us by God to tell us how to live the life He intended for humans to live, “that it may be well with you.”


That phrase is included in the Fourth Commandment, and indeed life will be better – all other things equal – for children who obey their parents than for those who don’t. Luther and others have pointed out that the child who doesn’t obey his parents is often the adult who does not obey the laws of the land. Things like adultery, murder, stealing, and perjury also ought to be avoided.


So should sex outside of marriage. No matter The Culture, that’s still the norm in the Church, the one given to us by God, and like the others, for our own good. There’s nothing like one man, one woman, committed to one another and bringing children into this world, children that they will raise together. That’s the way God made us, and that’s always been the best way for us.


In Christian Service,


Pastor Anderson