For 5 years I was the pastor of Trinity International Church in Strasbourg, France. I created this blog with those people in mind. In mid-November 2018 I will become the Senior Pastor of Word of Life Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The focus of this blog will therefore shift, but I pray that people from the blogosphere will continue to find it helpful wherever they might be found.
The churches' websites includes recorded sermons for those who are interested. Click the links below to access them.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Physical Intimacy, What Does God Say? Part Two

This is Part Two of a series. Please read Part One first. 

God's Plan

In Part One of this series, we discovered that far from being offended by sex, God actually is the one who thought it up and designed us for it! Of course, part of his plan is procreation. But his intention is greater than reproduction. In his plan, sex is meant to help unite two people together physically, emotionally, and spiritually in a lifetime bond of commitment and love. It is designed to be pleasurable. His longing is for us to experience the fullness of his purpose for us. It is very good.

This Helps Explain Something

Because God is good and loving and has our best interests in mind, he not only describes his intentions for us, but he also lays down some rules. These rules, while at a particular moment may seem restricting, are designed to lead us to something greater. Rather than being the harsh laws of a cruel dictator, his rules are actually gifts of love that will lead us to most excellent place. If we violate the laws we will experience less that he desires for us and we will inevitably suffer the consequences. 

An Important Passage:

Hebrews 13:4 tells us that "marriage is to be honoured by all and the marriage bed kept pure." To honor something is to hold in high esteem and regard. This vision of unity in marriage with all of beauty is to motivate and inspire us in life. We are to keep the marriage bed pure and holy. The verse goes on to say that God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral

Two Key Words:

Adultery - This is the one of 10 Commandment fame: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." But what is adultery? Adultery is sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. Remember God's design: A man and woman enjoying unity for their lifetime. If one of them breaks that unity by having sex with another person, that relationship is adulterous. Adultery destroys marriages and ruins families.

Sexual Immorality is a the translation of the Greek word porneia. It is used for all sexual relationships outside of marriage. A standard biblical Greek dictionary defines it this way: illicit sexual intercourse including: adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, etc., sexual intercourse with close relatives, or sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman. Sexual immorality is also sin. We are commanded to turn away from sexual immorality many times in the Bible. 

Why does God say this?

Remember, God takes this area of our lives seriously because it is important. He knows what is best for us. If we follow his commands we will discover that the result is beautiful. He wants us to follow him, trusting that he is wise and good. There may be times when the temptation is strong to break his commands, but cannot break his commands without first saying, "God, I know better than you do what is best for my life. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, I choose to reject you and your ways." That is sin. And God rightly takes this rebellion and rejection of him seriously. But there is another reason that maybe you haven't thought about.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7) 

This passage tells us that God wants us to avoid sexual immorality and practice self-control. But there is something hidden in these verses: we are not to "wrong our brother in this matter." What does that mean? Let's say Jean-Luc and Elisabeth are dating and decide to violate God's command and have sex. Jean-Luc is actually taking something that rightfully belongs to Elisabeth's future husband. He is wronging him. And Elisabeth is actually stealing from Jean-Luc's future wife. She is wronging her. Because of the high view of sex and marriage that God holds, he takes this theft extremely seriously.

If you have sex with your boyfriend, you might enjoy pleasure for a moment, but you are stealing something that is not yours. You are hurting someone who is not even in the room: their future spouse. You are hurting your boyfriend. And you are hurting yourself. Too many people are hurt too deeply for God to simply ignore sexual sin. This is why God says he will judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral person. And he doesn't say it once. He says it from Genesis to Revelation. He is serious.

If "we love one another" and are "committed to each other" is it okay to have sex?

No. Sex is reserved for marriage. The Biblical view of marriage goes back to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve were joined together for a lifelong relationship. This type of relationship is a covenant before God and others. A covenant is a commitment made to another that cannot be broken. Unlike a contract which can be broken if the other person fails to live up to the terms of the agreement, a covenant is a commitment to the relationship regardless of the what the other person does. Outside of that level of commitment, sex violates God's commandment. In other words, you really are not committed if you are not married. 

Today it is common to hear people say things like, "I wouldn't buy a car without taking it for a test drive" or "How do I know if we are compatible if we don't live together first?" People who think such things are really saying, "I am not sure if this person will satisfy me and make me happy so I better ease into the relationship." While it sounds wise, it is actually selfish. It demonstrates that the person will be committed to the relationship as long as the other person adequately meets their needs. For them, the other person is very much like a car. As much as they might "love" the car at first, but eventually the car will need expensive repairs and begin to rust. When it does, they will trade it for another car that they "love". Living together or having sex together rarely changes the basic orientation of the relationship. 

The commitment of marriage is different. Marriage is a commitment to love and care for the other person for the rest of their life regardless of whether they meet your needs or make you happy. Instead of being like a car that you "love", the other person is like your arm or your leg. If it causes you pain, you care for it. When it develops arthritis you protect it. You would never think of just cutting it off because it is a part of you. You are "one flesh". When a couple marries, they are making the most radical commitment there can be between humans. They are promising to love, care for, and be faithful to the other person regardless of what life brings. Through the stresses of child-rearing, the financial struggles, or the medical challenges, they promise that their commitment will hold firm. There could be an accident in the first year of marriage leaving their spouse paralysed and it would not matter, because they are committed to being there for the rest of their life.

Such a commitment is a big deal. It is to be made before God and witnesses at a ceremony called a wedding. Weddings do not have to be big elaborate events. It is the vows, after all, that are the most important part. Once those vows have been made before God and witnesses, then sex becomes a celebration of the marriage unity between you and your spouse. Understanding the importance of sex and marriage leads to a commitment to reserve sex for marriage. Outside of marriage sex is sin.

No comments:

Post a Comment