Few issues today are more misrepresented than the conservative Christian view of sex. I have encountered many people in college and on the internet who say that Christians believe that sex is “dirty” or “sinful,” and that sex should only be used for procreation and never for enjoyment. Personally, I have never heard this viewpoint coming from another believer. In fact, it directly contradicts the Bible. The Apostle Paul taught that a man and his wife should have sex very often (I Corinthians 7:3-5). Likewise the Old Testament explicitly says that sex should be a frequent and pleasurable experience between marriage partners (Proverbs 5:18-19). The Bible clearly teaches that sex is a good thing. It was created as a gift for mankind directly from God before sin ever came into the world (Genesis 2:18-25).
Bible-Believing Christians like myself believe that sex is sacred. This is one of the reasons why we are forbidden to use dirty language and make racy jokes (Ephesians 5:4, Colossians 3:8). People who make sexually-charged jokes about other people are not only degrading their fellow human beings, but are degrading sex itself. We believe that the sex act should be spoken about respectfully and carefully. This is why we are often embarrassed to talk about it. It’s not that we don’t like sex. We have a very high opinion of sex. In fact, I personally believe that married, truly born-again Christians have sex much more frequently than non-Christians.
Nevertheless, we believe that God made rules about how sex should be used, and every human has a responsibility to abide by those rules. The rules are simple: sex outside of marriage is wrong. The reasons for this are derived from the reasons God created sex in the first place. Two general purposes for sex are as follows: First of all, it was created to combat loneliness by providing life-long companionship for humans. God Himself said: “It is not good for man to be alone… therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:18,24) Secondly, intimacy is an illustration to mankind instituted in order to teach them about the kind of relationship that God wants to have with humans. The Bible describes heaven as a marriage, where Jesus is the bridegroom and the church made up of true believers is His bride (Revelation 21:2, Ephesians 5:23).
Most people understand the first purpose of sexual relationships: to combat loneliness. But unfortunately many are selfish in the way that they try to use sex to meet their needs. They are only willing to be faithful to their partner as long as they are able to get something out of it. Over time, if their desire for their partner subsides, they will leave him or her and choose a different partner. In some cases, if they really detest their partner, they will prefer to be single and lonely again rather than to continue living with them.
But God never intended sex to be used this way. Sex is supposed to be a vehicle for love. True love, as explained in the Bible, is an eternal desire to serve someone else’s needs (I John 4:9, Romans 5:8). Temporary sexual relationships as described above, however, are self-serving. The individuals involved have no true concern for the other person, they are simply trying to combat their own loneliness and fulfill their own needs. A genuinely-loving, God-approved sexual relationship is very different. In a genuinely-loving relationship both partners are in the relationship primarily to make the other person happy, not themselves. They will sacrifice almost anything for the betterment of their partner. Sex is not supposed to be simply a business deal where two merchants swap goods. It should be the physical expression of a permanent desire to care for another person.
The only way to infuse true love into a sexual relationship is through a life-long unconditional commitment. This is what marriage is. A wedding is (or at least used to be), a declaration of intent to give one’s entire life to their partner. A true marriage vow is a commitment to serve your partner for life regardless of your changing emotions, or their changing personality. It is based only secondarily on your desire to have your needs met: it is based primarily on your desire to meet the needs of the other person. Just because your needs are not met does not give you an excuse to ignore the needs of your partner.
Of course, many people choose to have sex without making this kind of commitment. God hates this, and takes it personally. Why? Because an intimate relationship between a man and a woman is supposed to illustrate the great love that God has for humans. God, unlike us, never changes. His desire to save the world from sin and to redeem human beings for Himself is not temporary. The Bible says that even though humans can be faithless “He remains faithful.” (II Timothy 2:13). God’s faithfulness is impugned every time a human walks out of a marriage or gives their body to another person on a temporary basis. In doing so they are rejecting the kind of permanent love that He values so highly and acting as if their counterfeit love is equal to His genuine love.
Temporary love is worthless. A parent is not considered loving if he only cares for his children until they turn ten. Likewise, sex without a long term commitment is worthless as well. That is why, if you are someone who is living in this kind of sin, you should stop doing it immediately. If you are living with someone who you are not married to, you should either move out or marry them, depending on which is the right thing to do in your situation. Either way, you need to get your heart right with God. You need to repent of your sins and personally ask Him for forgiveness. You need to believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose again. If you genuinely ask God to forgive you, He will! That’s a promise! God is not like human beings, He will not go back on His word (Hebrews 6:13-20). You can trust Him to fulfill every vow He makes.
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