Today when you turn on the TV, just about every show you watch isn’t sheepish about sex. Many commercials and products use sex to sell. Fifty years ago you would never see behind the doors of a couple’s bedroom.
But today they parade sexuality in front of us. If it’s not in our politics, society, and culture, it’s on our TVs. It seems like there’s nowhere you can go to get away from it. Why do they do this? Because sex grabs people’s attention.
Holiness is not stuck in a time period. The culture of the 1950s had its skeletons in the closet just like our culture today. But every so often throughout history, things that were hidden are put on display.
As we continue to talk about addictions and holiness, many people are addicted to sex. It starts with a glance, then a second glance, and then you can’t stop.
Sex is a giant industry in our culture. It’s everywhere because people either don’t mind seeing it or they want to see it. We are overly sexualized, and we lost our sensitivity. But God has higher standards for us. We can’t make common this sacred gift from God.
Sinning with Our Bodies
What can we do about our sin sick culture? People ask me how far you can go before its sin. Our hearts are so calloused to sexual sin all around us. That kind of question isn’t the right one to ask. We should be asking why a person would want to find the line between sexual sin and purity.
The Bible speaks about sex a lot. It’s an issue so close to human nature and God’s blessing. It’s one of the first things God does when he creates man and woman. He blesses them and tells them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:27-28)..
God’s not asking us to stop thinking about sex. He’s not asking us to stop doing it. He blessed it and gave it to us as a gift. But context is king. There’s only a certain way God wants us to use our sexuality.
Paul tells us to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). We sin in all kinds of ways, but through sexual sin we sin against our own bodies. In one sense, the Bible places sexual sins above others because they are so intimate and personal. But all sin separates us from God and others.
Sex and sensuality creates a different kind of connection than any other relationship. We’ve become casual about the profound. We’ve embraced the lie of the enemy, that we can handle our sexual relationships without any collateral damage.
God’s Word tells us the truth about ourselves. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul reminds us that Jesus paid the heaviest price to free us from sin.
Our world tells us our bodies are our own to do whatever we want with. But that’s not true if you are a Christian. Jesus died on the cross and your body belongs to him. We are his and he wants to bless us as we work for his kingdom.
God’s greatest gift of sexual relationship should not be abused, seen on every TV show, read about in every book, and practiced everywhere we go. And in case you think I’m just being a prude, I hope this study will help you see how God sees sex.
Why does God have so much to say about sex? He created it for intimacy between two people, a man and woman in a marriage relationship. This relationship is designed to last an entire lifetime, and be shared with no one else.
Sex knits together more than the bodies of a man and a woman. It is also a relational, emotional, mental, and spiritual connection. When you have sex with another person, you become one in every way with that person. And one cannot be divided with others.
When I was in youth group, one of my leaders explained sex with tape. The leader took two pieces of tape and stuck them together. Then it was passed around the room for people to try to separate them. Anytime a person tried, they would not separate. They would only rip.
And I casual sex culture, people think it’s okay to sleep around. They don’t think they get hurt when they separate from one person and join to another. But the fact is they tear themselves apart inside. God’s design cannot be changed. The natural and spiritual laws he put in place last, no matter how much we think we can defy them.
God is so hard on us, having such a high standard, about sex because he understands the gift he gave. Our society has provided his beautiful gift. Marriage is the only relationship he blesses for sexual activity.
In Genesis 2:22-25, God makes woman from the rib of the man, showing how she is his ally, so close to him that she is part of him. She walks with him through life. The man describes her as bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.
Marriage is so personal that the man leaves his family to start a new one with her. He is willing to share her with no one else, not even his own family. There’s purity in the marriage relationship. It’s when you get outside of it that all kinds of trouble arises from sexual relationships.
The biblical principle about sex is that it must happen only within marriage to be blessed by God and fruitful. All other sexual relationships are outside of God’s plan and will. So where does that leave single people?
The Bible teaches the principle of not being unequally yoked with unbelievers. This is the best dating advice a single person will ever get. When we are not united as one in our values, worldviews, and ideals we run into a heap of trouble in our relationships. Because marriage is so intimate, so close, we’ll find even the little differences eventually bother us.
Throughout the Song of Solomon, single people are constantly warned to “not awaken love until it is time” (Song of Solomon 2:7; 3:5; 8:4). In a dating relationship, the temptation to break God’s principles and commandments about sexual relationships before marriage is always pressing.
It’s hard to turn the feelings and desires for one another off. Most are unsuccessful. God has designed us to desire sex, not only to procreate but to enjoy his wonderful gift. This is why it is so hard to turn it off once you turn it on.
In a marriage, there is no sin in fulfilling these desires. But before you are married, you awaken a desire that will be your downfall. Lady Folly who seeks out men in the book of Proverbs destroys them if they succumb to her.
Single people who refuse to wait until late fulfill the commitment to a lifelong marriage find themselves in many problems and trials. Without a commitment for a lasting relationship, they will deal with teen pregnancy, raising a child while still in high school, the pain of a broken relationship, and hatred toward the person that left them to deal with all of this on their own.
The Bible No-No’s
God’s Word speaks about many of the aberrant sexual practices humans come up with. The Laws of Moses were put in place to show Israel how to be holy and pure before the Lord. To be in his presence, the people had to obey these laws.
Many people see the laws of the Old Testament and the whole Bible as it pertains to sexual desires and practices is behind the times. They see it as an ancient document that doesn’t have any right to tell them what to do.
But God expected his people to be holy and pure before him. Here are some of the practices the Bible addresses pertaining to sexual relations:
- Bestiality (Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:23; 20:15-16)
- Homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22), adultery (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18; Proverbs 6:32; Jeremiah 7:9),
- Sex between close family members (mothers and sons, sisters and brothers, even cousins)
- Orgies (Jeremiah 3:23)
- sexual immorality in almost 40 verses (Matthew 15:19; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:8; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3)
- orgies (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21; 1 Peter 4:3)
- homosexuality (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10)
- adultery (Matthew 5:27-30; 15:19; 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; Romans 2:22; Hebrews 13:4: James 2:11; 2 Peter 2:14).
You can see that many of these practices repeat from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Even between the different cultures and times of the Testaments, God’s standards did not change. And they are still the same today.
In case we thought these are the only sexual sins, the New Testament has a “junk drawer term” for everything else we could come up with. The word behind “sexual immorality” in the New Testament is the Greek word porneia. You may recognize pornography here. God even had the wisdom to call anything else we’d come up with sexual morality.
I teach that anything the New Testament repeats is not only for the Old Testament but for the Christian who practices New Testament principles and commands. We can’t get away with saying, “Oh, that’s Old Testament law. I’m under New Testament grace.”
After Paul mentions orgies and sexual immorality, he says those who practice these things cannot inherit God’s kingdom (Galatians 5:24). No matter how much Christian liberty we think the Bible gives us, if we do these things, our inheritance in heaven is forfeit.
If it sounds like I’m being too rough, I’m just showing you what the Scriptures say about these practices. Jesus linked adultery with lust (Matthew 5:27-30), so even if you’re only thinking it, your thoughts and your heart condemn you.
Jesus blesses us with forgiveness when we confess these sexual sins (1 John 1:9). But we must confess them before him and not deceive ourselves.
Treating It Right
I have been warning all of us of the dangers of sexual sin. It’s not just swept under the rug because we accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior one time. We must continue to destroy and kill our fleshly desires.
No Christian is immune from the temptations of sexual sin. Everyone must have a plan before it happens. Once it begins to happen, it’s too late. Memorize the Scriptures that help you defeat these temptations as Jesus did against Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).
We treat certain sexual sins as worse than other sins. But every sin separates us from God. Why should we alienate one type of sinner from another? We all need God’s grace.
I have found that those who accuse others of certain sins and continue to give them no grace are somehow involved in such sins themselves. It’s not an accusation, but an observation. We must learn to give the grace of Jesus to those dealing with these sins.
People often try to bait me, “Tell me, preacher, what does the Bible say about homosexuality?” They think if I answer, “It is sin,” they can browbeat me for being a prude about sexual matters or call me a homophobe. If I try to beat around the bush, they condemn me for not saying what the Bible says.
I don’t have this problem. The Bible calls homosexuality with a host of other sins sin. God said it. I am showing you his standards. But I try to use grace. Christians must mix grace and truth together. Jesus never lied about God’s standards. But he had the kindness, love, and tact to say it in a loving way. He didn’t excuse sin. But he also showed grace.
We must master his approach to all sin. When people in the world see different standards by different Christian denominations or Christians, they see hypocrites. It’s not loving to tell a person their sin doesn’t matter to God.
Our society has relegated the church and the message of the Bible when it comes to sexual sin and immorality to the back of the bus. We lost our voice when we didn’t speak up in the 60s and 70s during the sexual revolution.
We have not earned the right to speak in our culture. But if we don’t teach our children what the Bible says and why it says it, they will learn from the world about sex.
We must gain our voice back one person at a time. We must speak the truth in love and with grace. We must not rank sin against sin as if one will separate a person more from God than another.
Sexual sin has invaded our culture and society. We can’t go anywhere without seeking its effects. We have made the intimate common. We have profaned the sacred relationship between a man and woman in holy matrimony.
Pornography and all other access to these perverted practices can be found anywhere. God is raising up Christians who love him and want to be holy, to change this trend. God wants us to practice his high standards in our sexual relationships.
The Church needs to speak up. We need to declare the dangers and follies of our culture’s cavalier attitude toward sex. Jesus is looking for a holy people when he returns. I pray he finds us pure when he arrives. Leave a comment and describe how you will influence this pervasive sexual culture for Christ.