“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)
The word “sexual” appears three times in that verse, so I suspect that if you’ve read at least this far I have your attention and will continue to have it until either I offend you or else I toe what you assume to be my party line too hard. Our culture is talking about sex. A lot. We should be too. So, let’s do it.
Have you clicked over with me? Given the state of our culture, for followers of Jesus, sex is something we’ve got to be talking about. And here’s what I mean by that: We need to be having regular conversations on how we should think about it and why we should think that way. We need to be wisely exploring how our culture thinks and acts about it and what we understand will be the results of that.
The reason for this should be abundantly clear: Sex has a rising profile in our culture. It is everywhere. And the fairly rigid restraints that used to be on it have pretty well entirely slipped off. We live in a day when anything goes and just about the only thing that’s not okay is saying that what someone else is doing is not okay. If we aren’t prepared to join in the conversation and lovingly stand our ground on what we know to be right and true then we’re either going to be left out, left behind, labeled haters, or some combination of the three. Because sex is so powerful, because we know the consequences of getting it wrong, and because we love people, we cannot allow that to happen.
But where to start? Not to sound like a preacher, but how about with the Scriptures? The various guys who contributed the histories and letters and collections of proverbs and poems that make up the Bible talked about sex quite a bit. In several places they talk about it rather explicitly. They talk about what we shouldn’t do, of course, but they also talk about what we should. They cast a vision for what it looks like when we get it right and how devastating it can be when we get it wrong. And if they talk about it that much, then we really don’t have much excuse not to be doing so ourselves.
So why don’t we? Because as Christians, our history with sex is complicated. Our approach down through the centuries has been all over the map and we’ve swung the pendulum back and forth from one extreme to another. The reason for this is that sex is powerful stuff. When we’re messing around with sex in any context, we are playing with physiological and neurological dynamite. Dynamite can be used for purposes that are creatively productive or incredibly destructive. The same goes with sex.
Well, because it is so powerful and because our desires concerning it are both powerful and twisted all around by sin, Christians have often been uncomfortable dealing with it. In some of the earliest centuries of the church there was a movement that encouraged Christians to be totally abstinent from sex whether they were single or married. Today, we find some professed followers of Jesus signing off on so much of the sexual revolution it’s no longer really clear where the culture ends and where they begin.
Meanwhile, as the cultural mores about sex continue to liberalize around us, the traditional position to which most Christians have held in which, as Paul describes here, sex is to be freely pursued and enjoyed, but just in the context of a marriage relationship, is more and more being treated as an acute form of bigotry, our cultural stock is dropping like a stone. At the same time, the bitter fruits of re-embracing the kind of sexual insanity that marked the world before Christ came are beginning to painfully come to bear.
In all of this chaos, the need for sound, godly wisdom, and a clear vision of sex that brings life and not death of some kind is becoming more and more important all the time. The Scriptures give us the ability to do this. So, what do they say? We’ll talk about that this afternoon.