Sex Is Bad – But It’s Great!


In recent years I’ve had countless conversations with Christian young people – some married and some unmarried, who have expressed a lack of conviction when it comes to sexual integrity. The difficulty has come with what their Christian circles of influence have taught them. One thing they are being told is “Sex is bad, unless you are married; then it is great.” I remember hearing this partial truth as early as the 7th grade. Sex itself is not bad and it is, in fact, great. The gaping hole in the quoted statement is the unspoken answer to “why sex is bad” outside of marriage and “why sex is great” inside the perimeters of marriage, and the following article will try to explore this tension.

Many couples I’ve conversed with have been left floundering along feeling shame for something that is not sinful nor even disrespectful within the confines of their marriages simply because they were not educated on how to be people of sexual integrity – of accepting the concept that sex is good and not bad – before their marriage, whether they saved the act of sex for marriage or not. A person needs to be given time to accept the truth that their sexuality is a created aspect of God’s image, and furthermore, that sex was a part of God’s original, perfect creation. We are hardwired for covenant relationships, not only with our Creator God but also with others who are a part of His creation. God designed marriage as a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman, and a sure benefit of that relationship is sex. When a person chooses to have sex outside of marriage they are choosing to write their own covenant rather than submit themselves to God’s design for marriage. Sexual integrity is compromised when a person does not understand the reason why they should keep safe the act of sex until they are sheltered within a covenant marriage. The idea that sex is “bad” but “great” is a confusing statement with no tangible challenge to help someone develop conviction on keeping their sexual integrity intact before and through their married lives.

You see, after God created man He offered them His blessing saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” The implications of Genesis 1:28 aren’t hard to figure out: have sex. In all of perfection God consecrated sex as a fundamental enough directive to be the first on the list. “Here we have a specific mandate to exercise human sexuality, accompanied by God’s blessing. The creation story tells us that we are both spiritual and sexual beings,” says Catharine Clark Kroeger. People are both sexual and spiritual and both aspects come with responsibility. The biggest responsibility that a person has to being both sexual and spiritual comes at the end of the creation story in Genesis 2:24-25: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

Becoming one flesh, engaging in “sex as great”, isn’t an idea to be taken lightly, yet so often sex is taken lightly because that is the prominent message people seem to hear.

Sexuality isn’t shameful, but something God designed, intentioned and purposed, offering sex as something to happen within the covenant of marriage to show the world how He sets His people apart.

It is a misconception among believers and nonbelievers alike that one’s personal choices will not affect anybody else, especially if that choice is done in love of oneself or another person. The world suggests that if two people are mutually consenting to sex in their relationship there is no problem. This idea, contrary to Biblical ideals, permeates into the lives of believers, leading them to forget that Jesus not only saved from death the woman caught in adultery but also commanded that she go and sin no more. If adultery is defined by a spouse having sex with someone who is not their spouse, then believers, accordingly, need to ask themselves the question: “Am I having sex with my spouse?” The question is not, “Am I having sex with the person who will one day be my spouse?” There is a vast difference between the two questions! One seeks to be obedient while the other seeks to justify selfishness – the absolute definition of what sin is! While the world would say love exists between two consenting partners, Paul would argue no true Christian love exists when selfishness is prevalently in the forefront. When a person knows God as holy they will walk in the holiness of sexual integrity resulting from obedience being worked out through one’s faith in Christ.

Holiness, being set apart, will always be the result of obedience, and sexual integrity is how a believer stays unmistakably set apart when it comes to any cultural sexual norm. Being set apart was the whole point of the Old Testament Law to Israel fulfilled in Christ and spoken to the first century believers when Peter writes, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). The nature of the redemption process for a believer is to become more and more like Christ, and one cannot submit to being redeemed while living disobediently. One cannot submit to being redeemed while choosing to fulfill their sexual desires selfishly, both outside and inside the covenantal marriage relationship.

Sexuality isn’t shameful, but something God designed, intentioned and purposed, offering sex as something to happen within the covenant of marriage to show the world how He sets His people apart.

Our sexuality requires a response that includes being people of integrity, a people who will choose God in the face of compromise.

We need to stop saying that sex is bad but it’s great, and rather offer each other practical ways to keep sex between a husband and a wife (unmarried couples, think sitting on separate couches; not ideal, but effective!). We need to choose obedience in that moment when our desires are telling us to compromise. We need to be people of sexual integrity in order for the world to see the love and light of Christ in us as professing believers.

Do we value our sexuality and sex enough to be a people set apart?

Ready to make the jump.

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