A woman came into the men’s restroom while I was in it. Recently, I met a friend for lunch at Panera. After enjoying a delectable Fuji apple chicken salad, I hit the head, and then it happened. At first I thought she was a woman but then I thought maybe just an ugly guy after a double take in the mirror. When the woman left, an older man in the bathroom said to me, “Crazy times we’re livin’ in,” confirming my suspicion. I felt violated. Additionally, my alma mater Stony Brook University became the first State University of New York to offer transgender restrooms and changing rooms. The times they are a-changin’ indeed.
Gender identification is now a hot topic in American culture, especially in politics. However, issues about biological sex are late on the scene. Plain old sex has always pervaded the media. “Sex sells” has long been a common maxim. Sexual crimes also fill the news: The victims of Pulse night club were most likely targeted because of their sexual practices; Brock Turner’s case is among the most recent sex crimes as well, and who can forget Antoine Dodson’s bed intruder?
Popular culture has become hyper-sexualized. Sex dominates the cinema: James Bond is famous for being a womanizer. Sexual content also saturates contemporary music: Think Tove Lo’s track “Talking Body,” and everyone knows what most rap glorifies. The porn industry typically rakes in $2.6 billion to $3.9 billion in annual revenue, according to Forbes.com. Sex surrounds us. We cannot escape it but we can understand it.
Sex is a good thing. God created sex. “God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17). Sex is a gracious gift from God like food and exercise. He created the human body and knows how to please it. “God desires that we have sex for reasons beyond procreation… Sexual desire is a gift of God,” says author Tim Challies. There is even a whole book of the Bible called Song of Songs that praises the beauty of sex! God wants to please us; His will is good, perfect and pleasing (Romans 12:2). However, sometimes humans distort God’s good creation into something revolting.
But even when people pervert sex, God forgives those caught in sexual sin. While Jesus walked the earth, He encountered people whom sexual sin ensnared. In fact, the book of John details two conversations that Jesus had with women succumbing to adultery (John 4; John 8). In both instances, Jesus blessed the women with his grace and gave them another chance to repent (change).
Jesus grants freedom from sexual sin. When a crowd wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery, He defended her and then said, “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:1-11). Jesus freed the woman from the penalty and power of sexual sin. Sin is like noose, a deadly trap: the more the victim struggles, the tighter the grip becomes – like J.K. Rowling’s Devil’s Snare. It is impossible for a human to escape sin without external aid from Jesus: “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (Psalm 25:15). Understanding this calls for humility; weakness must be admitted, and help must be sought.
God expects humans to strive for perfection in all areas of life, including sexuality. When Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount, He explained his high expectations: “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Similarly, God calls his followers to be holy: “Be holy, because I am holy”(1 Peter 1:16). Holiness is antithetical to sexual immorality: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). The Bible sets the highest standard for absolute sexual purity. There should not even appear a trace of lewdness in a believer’s life. God has not given an unreasonable command: “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” (1 Corinthians 10:13). God provides the strength for victory over temptation: “God arms me with strength, and He makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32).
The only sexual activity that is acceptable before God occurs within the bounds of monogamous heterosexual marriage – between a man and his wife. God made Adam and Eve: He did not make Adam and Dan; He did not make Adam, Eve, and Sarah; the symmetrical ratio was 1:1, male to female. That is how God made the world, and “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). For a thorough explanation of the incorrectness of polygamy, click here.
The Bible clearly teaches that the best approach to sex is complete abstinence. Only legitimate marriage produces authentic sex, and the Bible says that it is better not to marry. Jesus himself never married, and Christians are called to be imitators of Christ. I do not mean that those who marry do not imitate Christ, only that Jesus explained plainly that it is better to remain unmarried (Matthew 19:10-11). It is not wrong to marry, but it is better not to marry (1 Corinthians 7:28).
When sex is not honored according to God’s plan, serious consequences result. For example, promiscuity produces unwanted pregnancies and STD’s. Furthermore, sex is not merely a physical act; there is an emotional and even a spiritual component to sex. Think of the lovesickness that follows a broken relationship: Sex joins two people together, and terminating a relationship after sexual involvement is like gluing two pieces of construction paper together and then trying to pull them apart – damage from tearing is inevitable. Try mixing red and blue paint together and then separate the purple paint back into its components; this is similar to what sex does in a spiritual sense: It is written: “The two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Furthermore, sexual sin leads to a loss of fellowship within the church (1 Corinthians 5:11). Those who do not repent by persisting in sexual sin will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The stakes are high.
Jesus lived in the body of a human, so He knows what sexual temptation feels like. But Jesus resisted his urges. He offers you the same power to defeat sin in your life. You can live a life of purity through Jesus Christ.