I am unsure what qualifies someone to take on the subject of sex, especially when it comes to the right's and wrong's of it. All I can say is that I am on the opposite end of the naive spectrum and I have the emotional baggage to prove it. My husband and I have said on occasion that we are the poster family for this particular topic. We are the walking reasons why God laid down these boundaries. Perhaps that's why I have such a need to write about it and carry such a burden about it for others.
I know many of you have only heard about this, or a version of it, 1.6 billion times. Even so, sometimes it only takes one small word to see something through a different lense.
Maybe you're saying, "Chrissy, this is great, but I'm already married. A little late for me." Firstly I would say, we all know children (be it our own or others) in our lives that need to be taught this extremely important lesson. Secondly, this is not purely about premarital sex. It's about all sexual sin. This is for all people, married, divorced, widowed, separated, single. Furthermore, even if you've been in, or are in, the pit of sexual depravity and you feel like there's no hope or it's too late for you- redemption is the sweetest thing on planet earth and it can absolutely be yours- as I well know.
I don't write about this topic without the foreknowledge that it is like beating a dead horse. It's a non-issue today. Even the Church as a whole isn't dealing with it anymore. A blind eye is turned. It's the sin that gets an "out". This is partially due to the fact that we are in fact, sexual creatures and it is a natural part of our lives. And of course, there are the "worse" and cardinal sins- murder and the like- that need addressing first. Hoping that you sense the sarcasm there.
I can't help but feel when the sex topic card is drawn, we kind of sigh with an eye roll. Many of us know it's "wrong" or at least "probably not the right thing to do." I think most people from all walks would agree that sex is probably best in a marriage relationship. After all, that's what most people are raised to believe and it just seems right. But it feels like a "natural" sin- and if we are being honest, being good is just not as fun- and way too hard. So, we feel it's so much easier to just ignore it. (And you feel that since most everyone else is doing it too, you aren't going down alone). I have to tell you- I've been there. But, my goal is that by the end of this piece, you may celebrate what God has actually done in this area, instead of maybe rolling your eyes at the thought of yet another lesson on sex outside of a marriage relationship that truthfully just makes us uncomfortable.
Sex in our culture is everywhere and here's what seems to be the theme from the masses (even the so-called Christian masses): "It's just a physical act. It doesn't have to mean anything significant. It can be just a physical act between two consenting people for fun. It's healthy!"
Let's stop there. Ponder with me, if you will: if sex were just a physical act, why do rape or molestation victims have a much harder and longer recovery than someone who was only physically assaulted (beaten, etc.)? A cut or bruise will heal, and it can definitely carry some scars. But rape and/or molestation touches deep, emotional caves. Why? Because sex was created to be an emotional act- not just a physical one. There's a reason for that and we'll get to it. But first, let's establish a few things...
If we believe that God is Creator, then we must, by default, believe Him to also be the creator of sex. That's an odd concept to deal with for some, mentioning God and sex together; but it is in fact His design (ALL sex was His idea to begin with). As the supreme and single creator of sex, He of course had a plan and purpose for it; hence its creation. The same can be said for anyone who invents anything. For example, I don't know who invented the rake, but someone did. It was invented for the primary purpose of raking leaves into piles. Now, I'm sure that a rake has been used numerous times for something other than its intended purpose (i.e. killing snakes, breaking a window, etc.) and it actually works for those tasks. But its primary design and purpose is how it works best. So, having said that, can we all agree that God, being the creator of sex, knows how it is supposed to work? I think that's a more than fair assumption. And by the way- He meant it to be pleasurable and fun.
Many of you, with a church background-or even a history of attending weddings- will have heard that marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church. This is one of those sentences that normally goes in one ear and right out the other. It's such a "ritual saying" that we don't really notice it. Few of us ever stop to think about what it really means. It states the actual purpose of marriage. Through our marriages, we are supposed to be showing the world how Christ loved, lived and died for His Church (The groom representing Christ, the bride representing the Church). Tall order, huh? IMPOSSIBLE one without Christ. Those aren't just words that sound good in a marriage ceremony- they're action words. Our marriages are in and of themselves, a ministry!
Jumping ship here, but stick with me...
I want you to flashback with me for a brief history lesson to our Jewish ancestors in the Old Testament. God made it known that He wanted to dwell with His people. So, He gave His people very specific requirements (you can read about these in Leviticus and other parts of the Old Testament) to build a place where His Spirit could dwell there with them. This was to be known as the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a Holy place made up of many parts. Among other things like worship, animal sacrifices were made here for the sins of the people. One part of the Tabernacle in particular was placed behind a curtain or veil. It was called the "Holy of Holies." This place was so Holy, so sacred, that not just anyone could enter. . It housed the Arc of the Covenant. The Arc was crafted based on the image of the great Throne Room of God revealed to those who made it. This arc was the earthly dwelling place of God’s actual presence separated from the rest of the temple where men dwelt.. It could only be accessed once a year and only by a high priest who would enter into God's presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins.
Let's fast forward several hundred years to the death of Christ. As He took His last breath on the cross, the veil (curtain) was torn from top to bottom. Gotquestions.org says, "In a sense, the veil was symbolic of Christ Himself as the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now Christ is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished work, we partake of His better priesthood. We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him." After Christ ascended to heaven, He left a Helper, or the Holy Spirit to help His people. When we accept Christ as our Savior, the Spirit takes up residence within us. Folks, this is the SAME Spirit that was housed in the Tabernacle. The same Spirit that could only be accessed once per year. So Holy, it was separated and inaccessible. We (you and me)- believers in Christ- are now the Holy, Sacred, Tabernacle where the Spirit takes residence! Paul told us this in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 , "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." Our bodies, if we have accepted Christ, are the dwelling place, the Tabernacle, for the Spirit of God. (I am convinced that's the most gigantic piece of information that we could ever take in!) The Jews wouldn't dream of defiling such a Holy Place! It wouldn't be a thought about concept. To do so would be worse than death! If we are the new Tabernacle, should the same not apply?
Sexual sin has serious consequences. No one knows that more than my husband and I. While yes, we are redeemed and restored, God does not shield us from the harsh consequences of our choices. God dealt with sexual sin in the Bible very sternly. You can read quite a few stories about it (email me if you'd like to know where). Paul tells us in Hebrews 13:4 , "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." It's not to be taken lightly- even in a "sexed up" culture such as ours.
Side note: God's Word is the same 2000 years ago as it is today, and if He delays His coming, it will be the same in another 2000 years. Never be misled to think that just because we "live in a different age" that things change. Trends change, moods change and attitudes change, but humanity stays the same, and so does God's Word.
So far, we've established that God created sex and that He gets to define its purpose and use. We've established that our bodies are the new Tabernacle and sexual sin is to defile a Holy place. We've also mentioned the purpose of marriage. That brings up a slew of other questions and this is where I will stop for now. I would like to refer you to Mark Driscoll's book, Real Marriage, that he wrote alongside his wife, Grace. It is an open, unashamed and very raw look at marriage. It discusses what a Christian marriage should look like and even takes a really close look at sex. (It even talks about stuff that "Christians" are too embarrassed discuss). It's really informative and highly recommended. If you know anything about Mark Driscoll, he's a no- holds- barred kind of guy and really relates well to all walks of life-even non-believers.
In closing, let's remember that if God says it, He does so for a reason. God isn't proud, so He doesn't have to flex His power muscles by spewing demands for us to follow. He tells us not to do something to protect us. We'll discuss that soon.
© 2013 Chrissy Tucker.