“But because sexual immorality is so common, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman should have sexual relations with her own husband.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Where we left things this morning was with a question: What do the Scriptures say about sex? As we had said a little earlier, quite a bit. Let’s start broadly and then get a little more detailed from there.
The first thing we should say about sex based on the Scriptures is obvious, but maybe not always so obvious as it should be. And, when we really give it some thought, it has the power to transform how we think about thinking about it. Are you ready? Here it is: God created sex. God created it. This powerful thing that can bring such amazing pleasure to our lives, but also such incredible pain, was created by God.
Now, what do you think the odds are that God created something He didn’t like? I’m going to go with pretty slim. Think for a minute about all the ways God could have designed human reproduction to work. Just surveying the animal world, there are lots of different options. He could have chosen any one of these for us, but He didn’t. He gave us sex. And it wasn’t like He gave us sex once sin had entered the world and it was something somehow bad. It was part of our creation and it works the same now as it did before the Fall. What’s more, it was part of our creation that God pronounced “very good.”
All of that is to say this: Sex is good. It is a good thing. I daresay it is a very good thing. It is the mechanism God designed for the continuing of His project of creation. That in itself is a good thing. But God made it more than that. Neurologists know today that sex releases bonding hormones in the brain that create incredibly tight relationships with another person—tight enough to keep them bound together through the process of creating and raising up the next generation of people, something that sociologists today know is absolutely vital to that next generation’s health and stability.
All of this and more makes sex really powerful stuff. But, because of the Fall, sex is fully subject to the corruptions of sin. And, when you take something both powerful and good and corrupt it, the result is often a much deeper form of evil than you find in many other sin-twisted places. In other words: When we get sex wrong—and there are many more ways to get it wrong than right—the results are particularly devastating as the narrative of human history bears out again and again and again.
But, as Christians, we need to start from the place that sex is good. But, like anything else, it is good in its proper context. And as Paul clarifies here, the proper context for sex is marriage (by which I mean a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman for the purposes of procreation, personal development and fulfillment, and pointing people to Jesus). When pursued in the context of a marriage relationship, sex achieves the potential God designed it to have and we experience in a truly amazing way the glory of His creation.
Sex pursued in any other context will only lead to pain. It will lead to emotional pain, relational pain, physical pain, financial pain, mental pain, and any other kind of pain you can imagine. And while the Scriptures do make this clear, we don’t need them to learn this lesson. Again, human history bears this out. Perhaps your own life bears this out. We don’t have to go back very far in history either. In the last 50 years in this country the sexual revolution has left hundreds and even thousands of victims in its wake; people broken in various ways because of their direct participation or even just innocent victimization of the pursuit of sex outside its proper context.
In its proper context, sex is something we should be enjoying to its fullest. As Paul writes here, we should be doing this because the temptations to seek fulfillment for this desire are too powerful to try and simply squash them unless we are called to a life of celibate singleness. As for what we should be doing about all of this, that’s something we’ll talk about on Monday.