The history of western religion is a dramatic
chronicle of conflict between the sexual and spiritual sides of human nature."
Augustine of Hippo, an early church theologian, believed that sex was the
vehicle for transmitting original sin, and therefore corrupt even between
two people married to each other. Pope Gregory I believed that "sexual
pleasure can never be without sin." Pleasure was out of the question. There
was a period where the Catholic Church forbade sex on Saturdays, Wednesdays
and Fridays as well as the forty-day fast periods before Easter and Christmas.
One historian calculated that when you added feast days and days of female
impurity that only forty-four days a year were left for marital sex.
Why have the subjects of God and sex been
so difficult for the church to embrace? The way we think shouldn't surprise
us, because most of us learned about the mystery of sex in all the wrong
places. We learned it everywhere but at church. Therefore, our orientation
to sex is totally carnal. What makes it more difficult today is that those
who have no idea of who God is are trying to define sexuality for the majority
of the world.
I think that it is a little ironic when you
open your Bible to the first book of the Bible sex is mentioned by the
time you get to the twenty-eighth verse. God says to man and woman, "Be
fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth . . ." (Genesis 1:28) In
the second chapter, God says, "For this reason a man will leave his father
and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh. The
man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame" (Genesis 2:24-25).
Everyone is a sexual being. The way we see
ourselves, our interactions with other people, and even our relationship
with God are all affected by whether we are men or women. Our sexuality
goes beyond just sex--it is about relationships. It is a basic ingredient
in God's purpose for creating us.
The concept of "one flesh" is that of two
people becoming one in mind, body and soul. There is no division between
that which is physical, that which is spiritual and that which is sexual.
The body, mind and soul of two people are brought together to form one
entity. That was the nature and purpose of male and female design in creation.
Satan Seeks to Destroy Oneness
Within the first three chapters of Genesis
we see Satan's attack is against the very nature of our created being.
He sought to destroy the one flesh union.
"You will not surely die,"
the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your
eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing
to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate
it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were
naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking
in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among
the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are
you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because
I was naked; so I hid." (NIV)
Whatever happened in Eden tainted that first
couples mind so that they could no longer only see the purity of their
relationship. Sadly, it still taints our minds. Satan knows that a world
divided against itself will self-destruct. What better way to divide our
world than to destroy the oneness of man and woman? What better way to
divide us than to make each of us ashamed of how God made us?
The seventh commandment was given to protect
the one flesh union of man and woman. "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus
20:13). Jesus said, "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning
the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man
will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two
will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what
God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:4-6 NIV)
Doing the right thing is a matter of trusting
the right Person. Every day we make choices about whom we are going to
trust. Do we go along with the opinions of ungodly people who walk "in
the futility of their mind "? Or do we live as Christ taught us to live,
in "righteousness and true holiness "?
An article in a national magazine quoted a
sociologist who has concluded, on the basis of interviews done with 800
married men, that infidelity can be good for a marriage. To buy that conclusion
would be to walk as the world walks, trusting man more than God. But God
didn't leave any room for guesswork on this subject. He said, "You shall
not commit adultery."
Whom do we trust? One researcher, who asked
800 married men what they think? Or God, who created us, instituted marriage,
and knows what is best for us?
Darwin explored how natural selection might
have affected physical development. Evolutionary psychology explores how
it might influence social behavior. Darwin saw the goal of natural selection
as survival. Evolutionary psychologists posit that the goal of natural
selection is propagation.
What is the ultimate purpose of life? According
to evolutionary psychologists, it's getting our genes into the next generation.
Consider how this theory impacts sexual behavior. As long as men are getting
women pregnant, they are winners. "It is to their genetic advantage to
impregnate as many females as possible during their lifetime."
This puts men at odds with women, for women
fare best in a framework of monogamy and romantic love. For the woman to
win, the man must stick around and share responsibility for his wife and
children. This is what the seventh commandment is all about.
It should come as no surprise that a world
pitied against the very nature of its design would naturally be divided.
When we deny God we become our own gods and what better way to worship
oneself than to have sex with others for our own selfish purposes. What
better to worship oneself than to have sex with ones own gender.
Have you noticed the anger between the sexes
today? Each feels that each is being deprived of something by the other.
Their deprivation is obvious; they are missing something. They are missing
the fundamental purpose for which they were created---to become one with
each other in marriage for life.
The battle of the sexes reveals that each
believes the other sex has deprived them in some way. The cry in the battle
of the sexes is that the opposite sex owes me something. This belief exists
because each has stressed their desire to be a whole person without the
help of the other. Sadly that vacuum in their lives will not be filled
until each sees his/her need for the other to make each of them whole.
The cry of sexism today is really recognition that one cannot be whole
without the other. If male and female could be whole without the other,
why does each feel that they need what they feel the other owes them?
A young woman said that she and her boyfriend
loved each other and that sex for her, even outside of the marriage covenant,
was a natural expression of their love. A year later, she was calling the
suicide hot line, cut to her soul by her boyfriend's betrayal.
A middle-aged man, going through a mid-life
crisis, justified his one-time fling as "necessary." It was something about
renewal and self-esteem. He ended up losing his wife, his family, and his
reputation. What remained was guilt and shame.
How many have opted for sexual promiscuity
and ended up with sexually transmitted diseases.
Sex is a powerful tool given to us for the
purpose of becoming one flesh. It is no less powerful when it is abused.
We have seen and are seeing the capability of its powerful destructive
force as we seek to use sex as a no fault non-binding uncomplicated recreational
pastime. How many times have we seen the physical, emotional and spiritual
damage of sex outside of marriage? Society is picking up the tab of the
anger engendered by the abuse.
Those who have opted to see sex as purely
physical often see themselves as victims, because they have refused to
accept the personal guilt for their deeds. Seeing themselves as victims
leaves them powerless as they refuse to accept the personal responsibility
Marriage Is God's Design for Sexuality
"A number of years ago Phyllis George interviewed
Dallas Cowboy superstar Roger Staubach. It is was typical, dull sort of
interview until Phyllis blindsided the quarterback with this question:
'Roger, how do you feel when you compare yourself with Joe Namath, who
is so sexually active and has a different woman on his arm every time we
"'Phyllis,' he said calmly, 'I'm sure I'm
just as sexually active as Joe. The difference is that all of mine is with
Roger made a touchdown with that statement!
Real men don't commit adultery."
1 Corinthians 7:2-5
But since there is so much
immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the
wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also
to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to
him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual
consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then
come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack
of self-control. (NIV)
Nowhere in the New Testament, perhaps in the
entire Bible is there such a concise statement about the nature and purpose
Marriage was designed by God to prevent
immorality. Christians in the city of Corinth lived in a very immoral
society. There was a temple there built to worship Aphrodite the fertility
god. Adultery and fornication were commonplace in that temple and throughout
the city. Paul was reminding them that marriage was designed to prevent
immorality . . . " But since there is so much immorality, each man
should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband."
God designed our sexuality, it is an almost
endless aching need, but God designed marriage and only marriage to fill
that need. Paul writes, "The husband should fulfill his marital duty
to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does
not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's
body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive
each other except by mutual consent . . ."
You must give attention to meeting your partner’s
sexual needs so completely that there will be no desire to look elsewhere.
If we love our mate, we should desire to fulfill him or her sexually. We
must, with great sensitivity, and much communication, attempt to ascertain
the legitimate sexual needs of our mates. And, at the same time, we must
be willing to give of ourselves in order to meet those needs. This requires
great sensitivity and understanding, but the effort is worth it. Solomon
says, "Be happy with the wife you married when you were young. She gives
you joy, as your fountain gives you water. She is as lovely and graceful
as a deer. Let her love always make you happy; let her love always hold
you captive." (Proverbs 5:18-19)
But a man who commits adultery
lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. (NIV)
Marriage is designed because of lack
of self-control. Paul writes, "Do not deprive each other except
by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to
prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because
of your lack of self-control." Our sexuality necessitates an
outlet . . . marriage is the only outlet.
Promiscuity in our society is directly
related to selfish motivation. The philosophy of sexual expression
today is developed around the idea of scoring points for ourselves. It
revolves around getting sex. It is usually disconnected from commitment,
sacrifice, spirituality and lifelong love. Intimacy on a good day last
about twenty-five minutes.
However, God's concept of sexuality is giving
rather than receiving. Paul says, "The husband should fulfill his marital
duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body
does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way,
the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife."Paul
speaks of sexuality in marriage as something that each person in that union
owes the other. In marriage each person belongs to the other because each
makes the other complete.
We speak of sex as kinky, obsessive, ecstatic,
destructive and fulfilling. But what it isn't and can never be is casual.
Sexuality is an expression of self as the mind, body and soul fuse with
another person to become one for life. There is no way we can fuse ourselves
with another person casually. Sex entered into casually damages self-esteem
and robs us of the joy of purpose. Ultimately the immorality of sexual
deviancy is more far reaching than illicit sex as it leaves individuals
bitter and hurt.
Sex and the Church
Sexuality is inextricably intertwined
with our spirituality. There is no way that you can understand
your sexuality apart from faith in God. "Do not deprive each other except
by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to
prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because
of your lack of self-control." The need to express our sexuality makes
us vulnerable to Satan's schemes to meet our needs in unholy ways.
The Corinthians were reminded of the gravity
of sexual immorality as Paul reminds them of the temporal and eternal consequences.
1 Corinthians 6:9-15
Do you not know that the wicked
will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually
immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual
offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers
will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But
you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of
the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. "Everything is permissible
for me"-- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible
for me"-- but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach
and the stomach for food"-- but God will destroy them both. The body is
not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the
body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise
us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?
Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute?
How we express our sexuality involves Christ
church very deeply: "Do you not know that your bodies are members of
Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them
with a prostitute?" Sex can't be casual when you realize that you are
uniting Christ body with a prostitute.
1 Corinthians 6:15-20
Do you not know that your bodies
are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ
and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites
himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The
two will become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is
one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man
commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his
own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you
were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (NIV)
It becomes extremely obvious why we must
flee sexual immorality.
Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her
holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to
present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or
any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought
to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it,
just as Christ does the church--for we are members of his body. "For this
reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery-- but I
am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must
love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Honoring God with our bodies begins
in the mind. Jesus gets to the heart of the matter.
"You have heard that it was
said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at
a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Sin begins long before it is acted out. James
says, "But every man is tempted when he is draw away of his own lust,
and enticed then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin and sin,
when it is finished, brings forth death" (James 1:14-15). Notice the
progression of temptation: Lust first begins in our minds; sin is the action
based upon our thoughts; death is the result.
Sin will always take you farther than you
meant to go . . . keep you longer than you want to stay . . . and cost
you more than you want to pay!
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we live in the world,
we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not
the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish
strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself
up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make
it obedient to Christ. (NIV)
The real battles of life are fought in
the mind and heart.
But the things that come out
of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out
of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft,
false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating
with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.'" (NIV)
Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
It is obvious that Satan through mass media
is engaged in a battle for our minds. Notice how most all television and
movie programming is geared to challenge the way we think about our sexuality.
It always conflicts with God's design. There are very few shows that do
not advocate homosexual unions in one form or another. This is not accidental.
Mass media is determined to reprogram how we think in an effort to change
"Just as fire only brings warmth when contained
in the fireplace, and devastation when allowed to burn where it chooses,
sex that is not contained in marriage brings devastation to individuals,
families, and communities.
"How can we promote the higher purpose of
"First, we can teach our young men that the
essence of manhood is not their ability to be morally loose with many women,
but rather to be faithful for a lifetime with one.
"Second, we can teach each of our daughters
that if a man really loves her, he will protect and respect her purity,
rather than disregard and abuse it. We can also teach them that virginity
is an honor, and not an embarrassment." (Tony Evans in Urban Family, Spr
"Our sex-obsessed society screams that the
key to happiness is finding sexual fulfillment, that personal pleasure
is the primary purpose of sex, and that everyone has a right to sex. Even
though numerous Christian books, counselors, programs, and preachers are
presenting a biblical perspective on sexuality, many believers are guilt-ridden
because of past sexual experiences or present temptations they just can't
handle. In order to be able to withstand the deceptions projected by the
culture and get beyond our own brokenness, we must allow God's Word to
sensitize us to His purpose for our sexuality.
"The human body and sexuality were designed
by God and are therefore good. Some Christians miss what God wants to say
to them about sexuality because of a vague feeling that He does not approve
of it, but He created it and says it is good.
"God intended that there be openness and intimacy
in our sexual expressions in marriage.
"Our sexuality is not just physical but is
an integral part of who we are. That is why reducing it to mere physical
acts is always depersonalizing.
"According to God's design, sex belongs within
a permanent relationship. Sexuality has more to do with partnership and
companionship at the deepest levels than with a merely biological act.
"Christians need to hear God's voice through
His Word and to come to Christ daily with our guilt and temptations. He
promises to restore our purity. That restoration happens through fidelity.
Building and maintaining faithfulness in marriage is the foundation of
all biblical sexual ethics. Allowing God to control our sexuality is a
process that will continue throughout our lives and will require both self-
discipline and help from others." ("What Dr. Ruth couldn't tell you" by
Stephen Hayner. Discipleship Journal, Jul/Aug 1991 [#64]. Pages 22-25.)