God’s standards are God’s standards. Period. While I strongly maintain that because we are in this world while not being of it, Christianity cannot afford to be static because culture isn’t it; this however does not mean that God’s word changes. We having the ministry of the Holy Spirit doesn’t change God’s word. The Holy Spirit confirms God’s word by opening it up in our hearts so we can receive the light of it. God’s word without the Holy Spirit who is revelation himself is just a lot of knowledge.
It is saddening that we can’t seem to find a meeting point in sexual matters though God’s stand is very clear. We make up all kinds of excuses and twist scriptures to suit our different contexts and sexual parameters. God’s word cuts across race and jobs and sexes and culture.
I think 1 Corinthians 6:16 – 7:2 is an effective summary of God’s view on sex. I have a particular likening to The Message Translation of the Bible by Eugene Peterson. It is current and very reflecting on our prevalent culture but at the same time; it seems to me, a very reflection of God’s heart. Here is the above scripture in this translation:
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two shall become one.’ Since we want to be spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever – the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’ There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin, we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
7:1 Now, getting down to the question you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations?
Certainly - but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder.”
Sex is good. Everything God created was beautiful and good. Sex was and still is an initiative of God and like so many other spiritual concepts; sex has been made perverse by the devil. The church should be place where people bring their questions about sex and its drives and what’s wrong and what’s not. The church should sing about sex. The church should write about sex. The church should teach and hold conferences about sex. People shouldn’t be ashamed to walk up to their pastors and leaders and ask questions. Sadly, it isn’t so. Sex is not dirty and secret. Sex is beautiful and was created by God for the enjoyment of man and woman only within a certain context: marriage. Susan Brown in her book 'Angry Conversations with God puts it this way', ‘Sexual intercourse is the one human experience that best describes the rapture we shall one day enjoy with Jesus, the Lover of our souls.’ Sex is worship, Sex glorifies God. Sex is communion.
Beautiful lady, you are worth more than an object of relief for some guy’s sexual drives. God’s idea of testosterone is to make a man pursue and commit; the kind of commitment that involves a covenant before Him. This sounds so old-fashioned but if he’s not married to you, he shouldn’t be having sex with you – any kind. It doesn’t matter that you’re engaged to him or that you love him or that you’ve been in that relationship for a very long time. The wrong kind of sex leaves you lonely, needy and insecure. The wrong kind of sex abuses the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The wrong kind of sex desecrates your body. The wrong kind of sex splits you into little pieces, leaving you with a piece of everyone that you give yourself to.
I get this question a lot: how far is too far? Sweetheart, whatever you do, don’t lie to yourself. Verses 12-13 of the above scripture says:
“Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it is spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
You know the old saying, ‘First you eat to live’, and then you eat to live?’ well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body.”
How far is too far is like asking how far in wrong can I indulge and still be saved. I’m not going to set limits for you. Set them yourself but make sure your eyes are on God’s word and your heart is open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But really, if sex is important to the survival of your relationship (for unmarried folks that is) I dare say you’re in the wrong relationship. You know, the mind is the first sexual organ. In God’s eye, you’ve had sex way before you had sex. Looking lustfully gets the job done. His hands are not in his back pocket when he’s kissing you. You’re not thinking of Jesus with his hands on your breasts. You’re definitely not worshipping when his hands are finding their place in your body. 2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT) clearly puts it: “Run away from everything that stimulates youthful lust.” This means that there are particular music, people, kinds of parties, books, movies and the likes that we should clearly avoid.
While I can talk about how theology and psychology and science and culture supports that premarital sex is wrong, I would rather not. That’s because God standards are enough. I really should not need to hear it from here and here and there before I finally believe, apply the parts that is convenient for me and trash or make excuses for the ones that are not.
I’m not dragging anyone back into any legalistic era or saying that God’s grace does not cover for our shortcomings. One more thing: grace doesn’t ‘help’ us sin more; grace isn’t an excuse to continue sinning. God forgives us and loves you and is never disappointed with us. He sees the finished work of Jesus on the cross instead of our sins. We remain the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ in spite of our shortcomings. God is not an impersonal force to be used to make people behave in a certain prescribed ways, but a personal Savior who has set us to live a free life. Sexual purity is a question of yes or no, period. I’m just saying that God’s standards are God’s standards and we should keep it that way. The idea of sexual purity came way before the law by the way. The book of Genesis clearly highlights that. Grace sets us free from sin. Grace helps. Grace frees from the bondage of subjecting to the whims and caprices of your body. Try upholding God’s standards and you’ll be surprised how much grace makes it easy.
The popular stance isn’t always the right one. It is hard and inconvenient and can turn a blind eye to it most times, but please listen to the tugging of the Holy Spirit on your heartstrings and do the right thing.