Sex – Restraint = Spiritual Death

sex

With Donald Trump, the Kardashians, Caitlin Jenner, and Pornography saturating the daily lives of everyone it is time to stop dancing around the subject and just put it out there plainly that sexual immorality from the perspective of Christ and God is evil and destructive. Paul addressing the church in Corinth reminds the church that even though they once were sexually immoral they are now free to run from that death because of Christ.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV

Sex is an awesome and powerful experience but society encourages the youngest among us to explore the pleasure without guilt or shame regardless of consequence. Contemporary society has embraced sexualization of the public square and in the process lives are being twisted and destroyed. Pleasure at the expense of others, those we abused to gain our pleasure or those that needed to be killed in the womb so the pleasure can continue without responsibility, is not who God designed us to be. Restraint and work to earn pleasure and satisfaction are His created order. Sex according to His plan is also uplifting and producing of love which is more valuable to our soul and body. As I said before it is time to stop dancing around the topic and explore the rules and boundaries of sex that are the most beneficial to the body and for our souls.

Sex is wonderful however it is an easily abused act impacting both the abuser and the abused. If you dear reader have been abused then known that Christ is for you and you can put your trust in him. Know that he can restore what was taken and he can heal what was wounded. In Christ the future is bright. Trust Him.

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1 Corinthians 6:13b ESV

Sex that is moral as designed and desired by God for His Creation is inside of marriage between a single man and a single woman. I have written in the past in detail on this topic including why the Bible seems to support men with multiple wives and why this is not the order that God wants.

Christian Marriage is defined by God exclusively. The nation may change the rules of marriage but the church cannot follow and still remain Christian. God has clearly spoken on this issue. Homosexuality, transgender issues, adultery, rape, prostitution, and lust (porn) are not new explorations for humans. Additionally the Bible is not silent on any of these topics in regard to God’s standards regarding these lifestyles.

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19 ESV

Recently the Intervarsity organization that has chapters on hundreds of college campuses has announced that in order to hold positions in the organization the employee must align with and teach traditional biblical standards in regard to sex. Mainly that sexual relations outside of the covenant of Marriage are outside of God’s will. This is not a question of restrictions and backward thinking this is a question of restraint and freeing oneself of the slavery of worldly passions. Here are few examples of restraint that are applauded as noble and right by God even if it cost the person in the here and now.

King David had an affair with another man’s wife. When he found out this woman was pregnant he sent for this soldier to return home so that the sin might be covered up. However the soldier having restraint and being noble refused to go home.

10 When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” 2 Samuel 11:10-11 ESV

Here is the servant Joseph who is approached by the wife of his Boss. He fled the situation and did not stay to even consider the offer. Would we be so willing to flee sexual immorality?

11 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, 12 she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. Genesis 39:11-12 ESV

Finally the words and action of Job regarding lust. It this even possible in the culture of today?

I made a solemn pact with myself never to undress a girl with my eyes. Job 31:1 MSG

When Trump’s “locker room talk” was made public we must all recognize that he is a slave to his sexual passions and they will be his undoing. And despite the media and Christian community moralizing how that is not normal conversation I think most of us know it is normal conversation because we hear it and see it regularly. I have been walking away from conversations just like that inside and outside of the church my entire teen and adult life. One cannot serve both God and sexual immorality so when we do not live in Christ then we live in the world and the world pushes for no standards in regard to sex. When you are around others who talk about lust and sex, refrain and walk away. Do not participate.

For those reading this that have same sex attractions or struggle with body image in regard to male and female I would challenge you to think deeply about priorities. There is more to life and eternity than sexual identity. For those having premarital sex, are in adultery, or using porn know that lust of this flesh is but a moment and that moment could destroy your life. The love and sacrificial death on our behalf of Christ is for eternity. There is a choice to be made on what is more important. Not everyone deals with the same struggles (but we all have struggles) giving in to them, rationalizing, or normalizing them is not going to change God’s perfect standards.

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV

Look at the Virgin Wearing Mixed Fabric and Eating Shrimp

laws

The Bible has some very clear definitions of right and wrong and sets standards for morality. Increasingly those standards and morality are not in alignment with western culture. For example sex and intimate relationships outside of marriage or before marriage should not be acceptable to a Christian that wants to be in right standing with God and the Church. Alignment with the Biblical text will place one outside the popular culture anything goes sexual worldview. Christians are attacked as hypocritical for wanting to maintain a moral standard when it comes to sex because they ignore other rules from the Old Testament like mixing fabric or eating shrimp. Here are a few quotes that I have seen attacking Christianity along these lines…

Why do Christians wear clothing of mixed fabrics when the Bible said not to? (Deuteronomy 22:11)

Why do Christians eat shrimp when it’s an abomination, according to Leviticus 11:9-12 and Deuteronomy 14:9-10

Any time spent on twitter or in the comments section of publications will turn up these arguments and others like them as a way to discredit the Christian worldview. For those that like to use this line of attack please take a few moments to see this response. For the Christian that does not know how to respond please dig in, ask questions, and be prepared to provide reasoned answers to the problems and challenges of the day.

When looking at the laws and rules of the Biblical literature there are some ordinances and laws in the Old Testament that do not apply to Christians living in the western world. These scriptures are not mistakes or part of selective adherence by the contemporary believer. These rules within context are not applicable and it becomes obvious when one reads and understands the context. Essentially there are three different types of laws, rules, or expectations communicated by God in the Old Testament and only one of these three still apply to the contemporary Christian.
1. Laws of the Nation State of Israel in antiquity. For example Leviticus 20:10 NIV states “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” So why do I not demand the local police arrest my neighbor if he or she commits adultery? In America adultery in not illegal let alone qualified for a death penalty. In America capital punishment is carried out in some states and only within a very specific set of procedures for certain crimes. This verse in Leviticus does not apply to the contemporary American because the contemporary person does not live in the nation of Israel as organized at that time. Taken in context this verse is part of civil law and part of the function of organized governance that has no authority over the modern reader.
2. Ceremonial laws that governed how the worshipers of Jehovah were to live before their God. I love the Jewish people, but I am not Jewish, and I do not practice Judaism. Christ when He died on the Cross as the perfect lamb sacrifice ended the ceremonial rules needed to approach God. Christians do not need to sacrifice animals in Jerusalem and they do not need to keep the ceremonial laws intended to make Hebrews holy and presentable to God. Jesus fulfilled all those rules on the behalf of His followers as the perfect and final sacrifice. The ordinances that were put in place to separate and distinguish God’s people are not applicable to the contemporary Christian. What kind of food one eats, how one cuts their hair, or what clothes they wear are part of that ceremonial law and do not apply today.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14 NIV

3. Moral laws that are true for all people, in all places, at all times. Finally the question everyone wants to know… why then do we need or follow anything written in the Old Testament and the answer is the moral character of God is revealed there and that character applies to all people who are created in God’s image (every person regardless of color, gender, or culture is created in God’s image). That moral law as seen in the Ten Commandments like do not murder and do not lie are behaviors that are wrong in all places, at all times, and are true for all people.

While adultery may not be against the law or a capital offence in America that does not mean that adultery is acceptable to God. Jesus demonstrated this truth when challenged to pronounce a death sentence over an actual adulterous woman. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11 NIV. Jesus did not uphold the defunct Jewish Civil law as the Pharisees wanted (if he had he would have violated Roman law the true government authority at that time) but he did uphold the moral law by asking her to stop the life of adultery. While there may be no dress code in western culture that does not mean that people should abandon modesty in public. While one could be a less than truthful salesman and stay within the bounds of the law there is still a moral law about honesty that applies to interactions with other people. The freedom that comes from Christ also holds a responsibility to seek the morally correct path because that path aligns with the nature and character of God. Here is Paul’s warning on this newfound freedom for followers of Christ…

All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV

The Christian can be free to eat meat or be vegetarian and still be in right standing before God. The Christian however can be in broken fellowship with God for continually overeating. The same approach applies to sexual relationships. God has a defined standard for sex and living a life outside of that moral standard is living outside of God’s moral character as confirmed even in the New Testament scriptures. Sex is a moral issue between God, the Church, and the follower of Christ. And that is why many lifestyles promoted by society at large may not be honored by God who has set the standards of right and wrong.