This will be the last devotion posted for a few weeks while my wife and I take a sabbatical from writing to work on our move across the country and prepare for the trip. We hope you will stay signed up to receive posts by email, twitter, and Facebook. If you have a testimony or devotion that you would like to submit for posting as a guest writer, please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
God’s Obsession with Virgins, Prostitutes and You:
The Bible isn’t shy about discussing almost any issue. When it comes to virgins and prostitutes it has plenty to say and plenty of historical figures whose stories are important. The reason I title this post as I do is not to be controversial, but to draw attention to the fact that God loves and accepts anyone who puts their faith in His Son, no matter which extreme or somewhere in between you may be. We were all at one time virgins if we are not anymore. We are not all prostitutes, selling our bodies for money. But I dare say many of us, even married, have used our bodies to get what we want – whether in fulfilling personal lusts, or as manipulation. Anyway, you and I may not fall into either category, but the point is God loves us all and Jesus died for each of us.
I think of Rehab, the prostitute who helped hide Joshua’s spys in Jericho and was rewarded with safety and acceptance. I think of Delilah who sold her body indirectly by accepting a bribe to discover the source of Samson’s strength. I think of Gomer the prostitute who married the prophet Hosea. I think of Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. I think of the woman at the well who met Jesus, had been married to five different men and was seeing another. I think of Mary Magdalene, a prostitute who became a central disciple to Christ. I think of the prostitute who washed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfumes purchased with the money she made by selling sex no doubt. I think of the woman caught in adultery that Jesus refused to stone and released her from her sin and its consequences. I think of the parable of the 10 virgins, five of whom were accepted by the bridegroom because they were prepared. But virgins and prostitutes come in the male gender too!
The Old Testament has a lot of rules concerning sex, marriage, prostitution, divorce, and the treatment of women for the Hebrews. Those rules don’t apply to Christians, because that law was for a time and place before the New Covenant was made through Jesus. Don’t let college professors and atheistic teachers make you think God discriminates against women. He doesn’t. Male and female were both made in God’s image by His own intent. The New Testament is a better example of this. But that really isn’t the point, just something I wanted to mention.
John 3:16 is famous, “For God so loved the world that He have His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” Have you taken time to read verses 17-18? “He did not send His Son into the world to condemn its people, but so that through Him we might be saved…”
Here’s what I’m thinking, friends:
1. God doesn’t love you based on your goodness or badness. ANYONE who puts their faith in Jesus is saved and God accepts them as His own.
2. God can use anyone to accomplish His plan, even virgins and prostitutes. Don’t limit yourself. God wants to use you!
3. God hates sin, but that doesn’t mean He hates you. Just because you are gay doesn’t mean He hates you. Just because you lie doesn’t mean He hates you. Just because you are broken, awkward, addicted, imprisoned, or sad or whatever… doesn’t mean God doesn’t want you! He loves you and wants you to be saved.
4. God’s people shouldn’t discriminate against anyone – virgins or prostitutes (for example). We must love, accept and pray for those people who are in need of God even more than those who have accepted Jesus already. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
5. God is obsessed with His creation and passionately yearns that you belong to His Kingdom by receiving Jesus – because He wants right relationship with you. He doesn’t want to see your sins’ consequences overcome you. He wants to deliver you and He wants you to know His magnificent love for you – not just as part of the human race, but you individually – because you are you!
This week I hope we all remember these points and are persuaded and reminded to receive and share the reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God – with everyone we come into contact with, speak about, or think about. Whether at home or on the street, in church or in prison, in Taiwan or in Detroit, whether the person beside you is Delilah or Rehab… God’s love is needed. Let’s allow His obsession to capture as many of us as possible into His merciful arms!
John 16:27, “No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” – Jesus