I want to begin with a theme verse for us. The verse I want to read is 2 Corinthians 7:1, which says, “Therefore, since we have the promises of God, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness, out of reverence for God.”
What Paul is writing here to the Corinthian Christians who live in a very sexualized culture, is a truth that we desperately need today. We desperately need to consider how we can purify ourselves from the things that contaminate either our bodies, or our spirits and choose to perfect holiness out of reverence for God. Sometimes the things that we believe are reverent of God or Christian freedom, actually aren’t leading us towards purity, or aren’t leading us towards holiness. They’re actually leading us the opposite direction, even though maybe they have some good things in them or some truths in them, they’re actually opening a door that isn’t a healthy door for us mentally or spiritually or relationally. We have to be discerning enough to recognize that.
As we are talking through this, I want to keep this verse in mind that it is a reverence for God and it is love for God, which is a response to his deep Redeeming Love towards us, that causes us to pursue holiness and to pursue purity. We often think of purity, it’s so overused now, we think of it almost as this prudish word, but what it means is holiness. It means the absence of darkness or sin, and that’s what we’re after, when we are walking with Jesus, is we’re supposed to become more like Him. That’s our goal and that’s the focus I want to keep here.
Let’s stop with that verse, and now let’s focus on what Redeeming Love is, because if maybe you just heard about this movie, and everybody’s talking about it, and you have never read the book, I mentioned it at the beginning of the episode, but this is a book that is written by Francine Rivers who used to be an erotic novel writer before she was a Christian, according to my research. And then after becoming a believer, she began writing books that reflected her faith. This book was a massive hit. It’s a bestseller. It has been a bestseller I think, gosh, for all the years that it’s been around, the 20 years it’s been around and it’s frequently recommended to young women in particular. By older women in the church, it’s recommended frequently in Facebook groups that I see, it’s been recommended to me in many of the churches I was in growing up.
What the book is about is – it’s supposed to be basically an analogy, or as the book said, it’s based on the Book of Hosea in Scripture. In the Book of Hosea, the prophet Hosea marries a woman named Gomer, who becomes a prostitute and cheats on him as a reflection or an analogy of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. Hosea’s relationship with Gomer is a parallel to God’s relationship to Israel, and how God would redeem and restore Israel, the way Hosea was doing for Gomer. Francine Rivers used this book of the Bible as her inspiration, and created a fictional plotline to echo that story.