In a recent edition of World Magazine, there was an article by one of their correspondents, Mark Bergin, about adultery among professional basketball players. With the news of Michael Jordan’s recent proposal to his longtime girlfriend and Kobe Bryant’s wife filing for divorce, the subject was ripe for a headline.
Bergin noted that the public basically expects professional basketball players to be adulterous, so it is not news when they are. In backing that up, he mentioned a 1998 Sports Illustrated cover story about the many respected NBA stars who have illegitimate children.
Of course, it is not just basketball players who are in this boat. The same article could have been written about athletes in virtually every sport, from football to hockey to golf.
But it is not just athletes. What about famous entertainers and politicians? Not a day goes by that TMZ, the National Enquirer and other tabloid media are not chronicling the sexual exploits of the rich and famous. And, of course, the infidelities of Newt Gingrich are front and center these days with the presidential campaign.
The ugly truth is, though, these are only the high profile people in our society. Sex outside of marriage is truly the sport of the common man (and woman). Whether it is unmarried people cohabiting, married people taking on a mistress or mister, or married individuals making like sports figures with their one night stands, it is a very common part of society. And sadly, even many people who call themselves Christians justify this kind of behavior for one reason or another.
In fact, it has become such an a accepted part of society that there are now many popular, even prime time, TV shows which have as their theme people living together outside of wedlock. It is now considered the norm, and those who think it is wrong are spoken of as prudish or worse.
But the truth is, sexual relationships outside of marriage are not part of a Christian worldview. And people who call themselves Christians yet participate in this kind of activity are not living their lives based on Christian beliefs – rather they are living based on Naturalistic or pagan doctrines.
Here is the problem with this; many Christians believe that they can basically live any way they wish if they have been “saved and baptized,” because God will forgive them and take them to heaven when they die regardless of how they live. But these people miss the entire purpose God’s provision of salvation. And because of this lack of understanding, we may legitimately question whether or not those individuals have actually ever stepped into salvation. Not that it is our job to judge them, but that kind of lifestyle is a demonstration of a life that is not Christian, not one that is.
We are not saved in order to avoid hell or go to heaven – though these are wonderful side benefits. We are saved to live in relationship with God. This requires that we put aside all deliberate sin so that we are able to have fellowship with a holy God. Not doing so is literally to spit in the face of God. This doesn’t mean that we can achieve moral perfection this side of heaven, but the sanctification part of the salvation process involves daily dying to sin and fellowship with God.
It is a sad day in American culture to see how adultery has been so normalized. A change in the attitude that is so accepting of that practice must start with Christians. If people who claim to be Christians are not willing to be faithful to biblical teachings concerning sexuality, the rest of world will never take us seriously.