faithLet’s take the Joseph narrative in Genesis as an example; particularly the story where Potiphar’s wife tries to bring Joseph into her bed and he flees. Potiphar’s wife accuses Joseph of trying to take advantage of her and he is thrown in prison. Whenever this story is taught and applied, the point is often made that God wants us to be sexually pure by fleeing from the temptation.

Is the “point” of the story to remain sexually pure?

Or is the “point” of the story that we can’t be sexually pure?

The goal of Scripture and its narratives is not to teach us what to do and how to do it… rather, its goal is to show us that we cannot do it on our own… only faith in Jesus Christ can do it.

Our focus often is on the moral behavior rather than how we attain that moral behavior – not through our own effort… rather faith in Christ.

We (or humans) cannot try hard enough to be sexually pure because what’s the point of that? To make God happy because we chose the right thing?

The reason why we do the “right” thing is of paramount significance here. Only by believing that Christ is only what truly satisfies our needs is how and why we will be sexually pure. Moral behavior follows a functional belief that Christ is enough.

This is the Gospel:

A functional, concrete belief that Christ is enough and all we need and apart from Him we can’t do it of our own volition or discipline.

This is what it means that faith produces works of righteousness. Not to gain God’s favor (we can’t earn or procure that), we have it regardless of our actions. That is grace. And that is the Gospel.

Joseph’s story teaches us where his faith rested: in God. Faith in God made Joseph’s decision to flee an easy, other-worldly one. We don’t emulate or mimic the behavior in the narratives of Scripture, rather the faith.