There is a passion of the flesh, which Paul tells us is about Christ and the Church, Ephesians 5:31, 32. Paul begins what we know as Ephesians 5 with this, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” (Verse 3) Sad to say, there is great confusion in this connection leading to moral failure on the one hand, and to repression and denial on the other. In either case, what is missing is the kind of gender-neutral spiritual intimacy among us that Jesus prayed and died for.
We need to be clear about this intimacy. We need to know how to discern the difference, if the world is ever going to see the passion in us that was manifest in Jesus. This is the Passion that Jesus demonstrated on the cross, and prayed that we might share, not only with Him and His Father, but also with each other, as directed in and by His Spirit at work in us. This is a passion so great that the closest thing to it is what I call the sexual parable. It is pictured in being created male and female in its image, again, Ephesians 5: 31, 32. This passion is also pictured in Song of Songs. It is also pictured in the relationship between David and Jonathan, “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women,” 2 Samuel 1:26.
In Christ this passion is not about the flesh, it is about the Spirit of Christ in us – The Spirit that puts us together and makes us one, not only with Him, but also with each other. This is a passion so great that if we don’t get it right, there is bound to be moral failure among us just as there was at Corinth, where Paul was determined to address it early on.
The problem of moral failure is not solved by turning the passion of Christ into passionless doctrinal love. It is solved by discerning the difference between the lust of the flesh and the passion of the Christ in and among us who believe. We must let the lust of the flesh be contained within the marriage of the flesh, “the two shall become one flesh…” Ephesians 5:31, so that the Passion of The Christ can be expressed in our fellowship with one another without regard to gender, and that without moral failure.