That's quite a strange title, don't you think? It may be strange, but it's also very true. The reason that I haven't blogged since August, is that sometime in August, during my quiet time with God, he told me to write a blog on what he has been teaching me on a particular topic and because of the subject matter I have been putting it off. The reason that I have put it off is twofold. The first reason is that it is a very controversial topic and the second reason is that I have not always held true to the words that I am about to write, and it grieves me to confess that.
You see, the topic of this blog is sex outside of the covenant of marriage. Over the past year or so, God has been teaching me much about the sanctity of sex and marriage. As a follower of Christ, I know that I am called by God to set myself apart from the ways of the world and live by standards set by God; not by the current cultural norms and mores prevalent in society. As I talk to many singles, it seems that sex outside of marriage is almost as common in the Christian community as in the community of non-believers. I have talked to many Christian singles who believe that sex between two "committed" partners is all right with God. I have to confess that at one time this was my position on the issue, even though deep down in my spirit, I knew that it was not right in God's eyes. I have talked to many single women that are committed to sexual purity who say that it is hard to find dates because "Christian" men won't go out with them once they find out that they are saving sex for marriage. So, let's take a look at what God's word says on this topic.
In Genesis 2: 24 we see that the context in which God created sex was marriage. That passage states: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh." In ancient Jewish marriage rituals, the first thing a couple did after the formal ceremony was to go into the "bridal chamber" for seven days to consummate the marriage. At the end of those seven days, the couple came out and the wedding party commenced. I have come to believe that whenever there is a "one flesh" union between a man and a woman, they are married in the eyes of God.
Romans 12: 1-2 says: "Therefore, I urge you brothers in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." This verse tells a follower of Christ that in order to worship God, we must present our bodies as a holy sacrifice to God. It also tells those who profess to be followers of Christ to appear different from the rest of the world in the way we conduct our lives. Then in 1 Corinthians 6: 18 it says: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but the one who sexually sins, sins against his own body." Wow...this passage says we sin against our body if we are sexually immoral! In light of the previous passage in Romans, where we are told that our spiritual act of worshiping God is to present our bodies as holy and pleasing sacrifices to him, it seems plain to me that followers of Christ should abstain from sex outside of God's context for it.
Finally, in Ephesians 5: 3 it says: "But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." I think this passage is self explanatory. If I profess to be one of "God's holy people", then I cannot even give the illusion of sexual immorality.
This is what I have come to believe about why God reserves sex for marriage. In a potentially great relationship, the false intimacy of sex prevents the couple from developing the friendship and true intimacy needed to sustain the relationship through the trials that they will face if they get married. Conversely, the false intimacy of sex prolongs a bad relationship and usually leads to one person or both being hurt due to the breakup of the relationship.
So, what does this mean for me...how do I live by this teaching? Each day I must die to self and allow the Holy Spirit to live in and through me, conforming me more and more to the image of Christ. Romans 8: 9 states: "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you." Thank God that I don't have to do this on my own, because, in that case, it would be impossible. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we live out the righteousness of Christ and thus be true followers of Him.
Recommended reading: "Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality" by Rob Bell