Between friends, College Group, and Jr. High STUFF the topic of sex has been coming up a lot lately. Mostly how or if Biblical guidelines can compare to cultural standards. Since I work with kids I’m hypersensitive to the messages communicated to the next generation and the implications of their content. In my perspective we live in an overly sexualized culture of which consequences on kids are still yet to be determined. The statistics about how many children engage in sexual behavior, consume sexual content, and are enslaved to sexual ideologies are heart-wrenching to say the least. Kids growing up looking at porn, watching TV, sleeping around, and developing self worth based on sexual standards are sure to become wounded and confused adults, wrought with depression, addiction, disease, and disorder. I’m afraid many of us just sit back and watch from the sidelines as the future of relationships, families, and children is exploited and abused by our culture. We’ve chosen to live in gray a realm of life that needs clearer black and white boundaries. We feel entitled to sex when we should feel burdened by its gravity and significance. Let’s remember that sex is not just a moment of pleasure, but the very act that brings new life into being. Sex was never supposed to be a game, media device, song lyric, or flirtation mechanism, but rather an miraculous expression of love and commitment. I’m worried that in our pluralistic society we’ve chosen personal freedom over privileged responsibility and in doing so, fatally wounded our soul. I’m reminded of a line from Spiderman when the Peter Parkers’ uncle reminds Peter that, “With great power comes great responsibility”. I wonder if sexual expression the same, if maybe we’ve taken something great, selfishly cheapened it down, and will soon reap what we’ve sown. Maybe we need some clear direction, maybe we need a “cultural reset”. I truly hope and pray that my friends, family, and students will be spared the devastation that will surely come if we buy into our culture’s expression of sex.
Here’s a good starting point for what the Bible says about Sex. It’s from a Q & A of a Church in Seattle called Mars Hill. Thanks Mark for the content!
How can Christians decide what they should and should not do sexually?
In 1 Corinthians 6:12, Paul lays out three criteria for Christians to consider when making sexual decisions, All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything.
Is it lawful?
In Genesis we see that our Trinitarian God made everything good. The only thing that is called not good is that our first father, Adam, was alone. So, God made a woman, our first mother, Eve, to be Adam’s helper and bride. God then essentially walked her down the aisle and officiated the first wedding between the first man and first woman. Thus, God set the precedent that, though different, men and women are equal as his image-bearers, and that marriage is a gift for one man and one woman to enjoy, and as a result called all of this very good.
Furthermore, God created their bodies for sexual pleasure to be enjoyed in marriage without shame, saying in Genesis 2:24-25, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Therefore, God’s intent is that men and women would marry and enjoy sexual pleasure without shame.
Simply, according to God, marriage and sex are related, connected, and exclusive. Sex as God intends it is for one man and one woman in marriage with the overarching purpose of oneness. Subsequently, by definition anything that contradicts God’s intent is sinful. Thus, sinful acts include homosexuality, bestiality, bisexuality, fornication, friends with benefits, adultery, swinging, prostitution, masturbating a person who is not your spouse, oral sex with anyone other than your spouse, anal sex with anyone other than your spouse, heavy petting outside of marriage, dry humping outside of marriage, rape, polygamy, sinful lust, pornography, phone sex with someone other than your spouse, sexual chatting online with someone other than your spouse, prostitution, pedophilia, incest, and anything else invented next to try and escape the clear teachings of Scripture.
In the New Testament, porneia (from which we get the word pornography) is translated as sexual immorality and encompasses all sorts of sexual sins; it is frequently used as a junk drawer in which every sort of perversion is thrown. This is because God in his wisdom knew that if he only listed certain sexual sins as off-limits, someone would find a loophole by which to keep the letter of the law while denying the spirit, and write yet another book explaining how to sin against God in a way that is biblical.
Lastly, it is vital to remember that your standard for beauty is your spouse. God did not give Adam and Eve a standard of beauty, but rather a spouse. This is because our spouse is to be our standard of beauty. Great trouble comes to a marriage when this principle is violated.
Is it helpful for me and others?
To determine whether or not to engage in a sexual act that is lawful or permissible (meaning that Scripture does not forbid it), we must also consider whether or not it is helpful. To do that we must ask what the Bible says about the functions, and freedoms of sex.
Regarding the functions of sex, the Bible gives the following purposes for marital sex, and each is beneficial to the marriage:
- Pleasure (Song of Songs)
- Children (Gen. 1:28)
- Oneness (Gen. 2:24)
- Knowledge (Gen. 4:1)
- Protection (1 Cor. 7:2-5)
- Comfort (2 Sam. 12:24)
Great problems occur when any one of these purposes is elevated as the sole or primary purpose of sex. When that occurs, couples will love sex and hate children, for example. Or, love children but only have sex when the woman is fertile, which biblically is not frequent enough.
Will I become enslaved by it as a false god?
In Romans 1:24-25, Paul says that people either worship God our Creator and enjoy his creation-including our bodies-or people worship creation as God, and in sexual sin offer their bodies in worship. Paul goes on to explain that those who worship creation invariably worship the human body because it is the apex of God’s creation. In this upending of rightful worship, sex becomes a religion and the sex act a perverse sacrament.
Paul flatly states in Romans 12:1 (NIV) that worship is offering our bodies. Therefore, in a very real sense all sexual sin is idolatry. (Idolatry is the worship of someone or something other than the one true God.) Paul makes this connection between sexual sin and idolatry in 1 Corinthians 10:7-8: Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.
In the end, it must be accepted that sexual sin is idolatry and the worship of someone or something other than God as a god. Since the first two of the commandments tell us that there is only one God and we are to worship him alone, nothing could be bigger than this issue because sexual sin is ultimately a worship disorder.