Sex and the Bible: Part 2
- 2003 20 Feb
"Abstain from…sexual immorality..."
(Acts 15:29). "Flee from sexual immorality..."(1 Cor. 6:18).
"We should not commit sexual immorality..." (1 Cor. 10:8).
"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality..." (Eph. 5:3).
"It is God's will that you... should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thess. 4:3).
These verses do not leave much room for interpretation, do they? God's precept is clear. Still, no matter how clear the Scripture is on God's precepts regarding sexuality - no matter how convincing the argument that sexual immorality is inconsistent with God's character and His will - sadly, many people will not respond by changing their sexual behavior. Most in today's culture care less about the right and wrong of their actions than they do about fulfilling their craving for love and attention. In part one of this article, we talked about the relevancy of God's Word to our daily lives in today's culture. God's commands are not given to destroy our lives or rob us of joy. They are given in our best interest - to protect us from harm and provide us with God's best. Moral behavior is not only right, but also provides for our deepest longings and protects from our deepest fears. Biblical choices do not only correspond to God's character; they also correspond favorably to modern reality and provide the surest path to pleasure and fulfillment. Let's look at how God's commands to stay sexually pure show his intention to protect his children and provide for their good:
Protect from Guilt. Because God defines right and wrong, when we transgress his standards, we will invariably suffer guilt. I have received countless letters from young men and women who have described these deep feelings of guilt following their sexual encounters.
Provide for Spiritual Reward. The sexual relationship between a husband and wife is not only pleasurable, it is sacred. "The body is not meant for sexual immorality," the Bible says, "but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1 Cor. 6:13, NIV). Sexual purity and faithfulness are pleasing to God and rewarding to the marriage partners.
Protect From Unplanned Pregnancies. About one million teenage girls in America become pregnant each year. Ninety-five percent of those pregnancies are unintended, and almost one-third end in abortions. Whether the girls have abortions or carry their babies to term, they often face overwhelming difficulties including physical or emotional problems and dropping out of school.
Provide a Healthy Atmosphere for Child-Rearing. Obedience to God's precept based on His love, purity, and faithfulness can create an atmosphere of love and security that can leave a lifelong positive imprint on a child spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and even physically. Protect from STDs. More than 65 million people in the United States are currently living with an incurable sexually transmitted disease. Not one of those incidents has occurred between two mutually faithful partners who entered the relationship sexually.
Provide for Peace of Mind. Following God's standards of love, purity, and faithfulness before marriage and in marriage allows you to have complete peace of mind - free of disease, free of the "ghosts" of past partners, and free of "emotional baggage" as a result of past immoral relationships. Protect from Sexual Insecurity. God created the sexual experience to give us the most unforgettable, vivid, and often-recalled memories we will ever have. As a result, sexual immorality can produce haunting effects. Because it is not exclusive, sexual immorality creates insecurity and jealousy, and hinders sexual freedom and self-expression.
Provide for Trust. Sexual purity before marriage contributes to an atmosphere of trust within the marriage. That trust provides peace of mind for both partners when they are apart; each knows that the other is worthy of trust because in the time before marriage, they proved their character, maturity, and self-control.
Protect From Emotional Distress. The emotional costs of sexual immorality are immeasurable. One teen described her sexual involvement as "the most horrifying experience of my life...I felt as if my insides were being exposed and my heart left unattended...I know God has forgiven me of this haunting sin, but I also know I can never have my virginity back. I dread the day that I have to tell the man I truly love and wish to marry that he is not the only one...I have stained my life - a stain that will never come out."
Provide for True Intimacy. One woman wrote the following description of the blessing of true intimacy: "On our wedding night, I experienced sex for the first time, and it was with my husband. I wouldn't have wanted to share my first time with anyone else. I had no riches or jewels to offer my husband, but he asked for none. All he wanted was me, and that is just what I had to give him - all of me, untouched, his alone. That meant a great deal, and we both knew it."
The Reliable Word: The Key to Discovering God's Best Thousands of years ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote, "The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8, NLT). The prophet not only meant that the words of Scripture would be preserved through the generations. He meant that the Bible is a reliable reflection of the God who inspired it - that it would stand forever because its precepts are based on an unchanging God.
As we get to know the Person behind the principles and precepts of God's Word, we begin to see that his commandments are given out of purest love. Every "thou shalt not" in the Bible is given to protect us and provide for our good; nowhere is that more clear than in his precept to remain sexually pure. And when we diligently follow the Lord's commands in all areas of our lives, we will find that we are living under the protection of his loving hand and enjoying the immeasurable pleasures of an intimate relationship with him.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated."Teen Pregnancy," National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1 June 1999