“For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” – Jesus, Matthew 19:12
This paper (PDF) outlines an approach to sexuality, and sexual identity, in the light of the Gospel, especially regarding Jesus’ teaching about the relationship between the kingdom of God and human sexuality.
It approaches sexuality as a mix of:
- sexual identity: how someone identifies themselves according to their orientation and expression – this is not necessarily defined by one’s sex, but rather the label one adopts to describe their sexuality, so “I am heterosexual”, “I am homosexual,” “I am bisexual”
- sexual orientation: how someone understands their sexual attraction,
- and sexual expression how someone participates in sexual activity.
A biblical and theological survey will make the following points.
- A person’s relationship with God is the primary foundation for human identity. We were created male and female, made in the image of God, and are fully human on that basis.
- Humans were created male and female, to relate to each other in community, and, to be joined in marriage, as one flesh with another person of the opposite sex, as an expression of the self-giving, loving relationship between persons of the Trinity, with the potential outcome of producing children. These relationships are important for questions of identity, but are secondary to the creator-creature relationship.
- Sexual expression is a good gift from God, and marriage is also good gift from God, and is the created context for joyful sexual expression.
- The Fall damages our understanding of human identity, and our relationships with God and each other. We are now likely to seek to base our identity on things other than God, idols. Our natural experiences of the world, and our humanity, are experiences of the fallen, broken world. This damage extends to sexual identity, orientation, and expression, in all human relationships, including within marriage.
- Finding our identity in anything other than relationship with God, in his created order, is idolatry, and that sexual expression flowing from idolatry earns God’s judgment.
- Jesus came as the true human, the image of the invisible God, and the true basis for human identity, affirming the created order, while remaining single. A right approach to sexuality (as it relates to identity and expression, but not orientation) flows from his life, his teaching, his death, his resurrection, and his Lordship.
- Jesus offers hope to the broken – including those who have experienced, or continue to experience, broken human sexuality and relationships, so long as one continues to find their identity in his wholeness, rather than our own brokenness, or attempts at wholeness apart from him.
- The Bible offers a transformed approach to sexuality – both expression and identity – as a result of a heart transformed by the Spirit, and an individual’s transformation as they are conformed to the image of Christ. Such transformation may include a shift in sexual orientation, but this is not necessary for sexual wholeness, or for a Christian identity.