Gender Distinctions and God’s Glory

(This is part 1 of 3 dealing from a new sermon series entitled “The Bible and Sexuality”)

God made mankind – male and female – in His image and likeness, to display His glory in the earth (Genesis 1-2). So it should be no surprise that since creation, Satan has tried to destroy this image.

We see that intensify in our culture today, particularly through the attack on gender distinctions and the attempt to blur the line between male and female. In all the confusion, where do we find clarity? Not in political movements or cultural trends. We find our authoritative, objective truth in God’s word, the Bible.

And to better understand the importance and the purpose gender distinctions, we will consider three categories today: The Creator, the Culture, and the Cross.

1.  The Creator and His Reflection in Creation

Genesis 1:26-28 reminds us God is the one who made everything. Everything in creation came from Him. God made mankind different from rest of creation. Mankind was made “in the image of God”, to reflect God’s attributes and character. Part of that character is seen in how God gave Adam dominion over the rest of creation, meaning he was to oversee it, tend it, and take care of it. God made mankind into two sexes, two genders – male and female, to tend creation, and to procreate and fill the earth.

Notice how each of these purposes, each of these aspects of the creation of man reflect the nature of God. As God is distinct from creation, man is distinct and different from the rest of creation. As Creator God is over all creation, He delegated authority to man to oversee and care for all of creation, as God’s agent on the earth. As God is the Author of all life, He gave to mankind the command and the ability to be fruitful and multiply, to reproduce life.

Genesis 2:21-25 shows us that both man and woman were made in God’s image, equal in value before God. Both men and women are loved by their Creator – equally, deeply, perfectly. Yet in God’s divine wisdom, He also made man and woman different. Our DNA is different. Our physical bodies are different. God invented sex and with that in mind, he made a man’s body and a woman’s body different to enjoy sex, within the covenant of marriage – for the purpose of procreating, but also for intimacy and an expression of unity and one-ness even in our differences.

Our chromosomes are different. Our chemistry is different. Our brains are different. We don’t process things the same. And that’s good. God made us that way. These differences are designed by God so that men and women would compliment each other, reflecting the distinction yet perfect unity of the Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Genesis 3:1-6 reminds us if you tamper with those distinctions in creation, you tamper with the image of God and the glory of God. And  that’s exactly what the devil did. He hates God and therefore he hates anything that reflects God’s image. So, Satan came into the garden in the form of a Serpent and tempted Eve, not just with fruit, but with doubting God’s goodness, God’s faithfulness, and doubting God’s word.

2. The Culture and our Rebellion to God’s Design

For those who reject God’s authority and design, the Bible says this in Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Then verse 25 says, “…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”

That’s the essence of sin – exchanging the truth of God for a lie, exchanging eternal joy for temporary pleasure, choosing my way over God’s way. Worshiping me instead of worshiping God.

When you remove God as your ultimate authority, all bets are off. Reject God’s design, and everything else falls apart. Remove the distinctions He put in place: Blur the lines between Creator and creation, blur the line between man and beast, blur the lines between male and female, and pretty soon, you have confusion, disorder and destruction.

We see that in our culture today:

-Fewer homes have two parents than ever before. – just 46%.

-Fewer couples are getting married now than at any time in our history. Only 26% for ages 18-23 (compared to 65% in 1960).

-Fathers are optional. When gender distinctions are erased, men are optional. I’m not denigrating single mothers who are doing their best to raise their children. After all, this wouldn’t be a problem if boys who wanted to procreate became men who provide, men who love their wives and help raise their kids. But that’s what we get when we trade God’s design for our own.

These attempts to be free from God’s design in the roles of men and women has not brought freedom at all. Instead it has produced emasculated men, overburdened women and the crumbling of the family. Remove the distinction between male and female, and you destroy the family. Destroy the family, and you’ve destroyed society.

In a demonic bait and switch, we traded real freedom in God’s design for the shackles of our own sin. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden.

So what’s the answer?

3. The Cross and our Redeemed Identity in Christ

We all have sinned, (Romans 3:10-12) and we all need a Savior. And because God is loving and merciful, that’s exactly what He provides.

In the greatest act of love ever displayed, the Father sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth. He lived a sinless life – where we failed, He didn’t. And then, to take the punishment my sin and your sin deserves, Jesus was crucified. He hung on a Roman cross, not just enduring the physical pain of hanging by nails in his hands and feet, but He endured the greater pain of the full wrath of God being poured out on Him for us.

Now what does all of that have to do with messed up gender roles in a confused culture? Everything – it has everything to do with our identity.

Because that’s really the issue – where we find our identity. We live in a confused world where people are trying to find identity in things that were never meant to define us.

My identity is not defined by me – it’s defined by the one who made me. I am a child of God. I am one made in His image, in His likeness, to reflect Him. And by faith in His Son Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by the one who gave His life for me, and now I live my life for Him. That’s not just what I do – it is who I am. I am a disciple of Jesus. Not because of anything I did. But because of what He did.

And when we are responding to this issue of gender distinctions to those who do not know Christ or who do not value the Bible, we Christians must not base our arguments around politics or personal preferences. Don’t let your passion for these things be greater than your passion about the gospel.

This world is not going to be changed by political debates or elections or passing laws. All those things have their place, but they are not the top priority.

Give them Jesus. A world drowning in sin does not need a lecture, they need a life preserver. They need rescuing. Give them Jesus.

And if you’re struggling with your identity today, whether it has to do with gender and sexuality or not, Jesus died for every one of your sins. Confess your struggles to Him today. Trust in the One who made you and who died for you and who rose from the dead, proving He is who he said He was.

Find your identity in Christ, where you are not condemned, but you are made whole.

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