Our culture has blurred the line between love and sex. To many, sex is the highest expression of love. We see this throughout the media and entertainment industry. Love is pictured as a fire that grows between two people and it climaxes with the two having sex; with or without the benefit of marriage. While the significance of sex between two loving individuals united by the bonds of marriage cannot be overstated, sex does not equal love.
God not only fashioned us for sex, He also created sex to be a tremendous uniting force between a man and a woman who are joined by marriage. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 2:24) A husband is to leave his home and cleave to his wife and, through sexual intimacy, they are to grow together as one flesh. God created sex yet in His wisdom He has given it to be experienced only by those who have entered into a covenant of marriage. “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4) Throughout the scriptures God has condemned sex outside of marriage. Fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality, and bestiality are all condemned by God. What we need to understand is that love does not behave in these ways. For example, if we are involved in an adulterous relationship, our passions may be the result of lust but they are not the result of love. Love does not express itself through improper and inappropriate sexual conduct, contact, and advancements. These things are the fruit of lust, not of love.
Some may say that there is no harm when sexual relations are entered into by two consenting adults, yet someone is always hurt by illicit sex. “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:18-19) When we sin sexually, not only do we sin against ourselves and our body but we also sin against God. Someone waling in love would not do this to themselves, to another person, or to their God and creator.
So how do we know if we have crossed the line sexually? Paul instructs Timothy, “Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2) Here is the test: are you treating other people (other than your spouse) as your mothers and sisters and you fathers and brothers? Men, is your behavior with another woman consistent with how you would behave with your sister? Women, do you relate to other men as you would to your brother? These boundaries will not only help us to stay pure sexually but also help us in living out love to one another.
More to come… David Robison