From the beginning God created man and woman for each other! Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” As such, it is natural for us to desire oneness and be sensitive to what we are created to do with each other. This being true, marriage (joining) and sex (becoming one) should be protected and highly valued by the people of God as the place to grow intimately, enjoy one another immensely, and fulfill our desires safely and creatively. And though people can enjoy sex outside of a godly marriage covenant, it doesn’t mean they should.
God’s entire plan for sexual relations is laid out in this one simple verse. First, a man leaves his father and mother. Right from the start we know what makes family – a father and mother, the two who became one to create another. It takes a man and woman to create another human being. This in itself should tell us what is “right” in God’s eyes. There is no other way to read this; fathers are always male and mothers are always female. Now we all know there are fathers and mothers who abandon or abuse each other and children. We must minister to these people and in the process we don’t redefine or negate God’s original plan for family. We also know the destruction and disintegration of “family” in America, but we don’t reconstruct or reintegrate family by throwing out God’s design. We cannot fix all that is wrong with “families” in a world that has turned its heart from God, but we can directly influence our families and those in our sphere of influence by returning to God’s plan, inviting people to Christ, and showing how great life is in the family of God!
Next we see a man shall leave his father and mother (always male and female) and be joined to his wife. The Hebrew language defines “wife” as a woman, the opposite of man, a woman married to a man. Obviously this is all an oversimplification but it is important to see God’s plan from the beginning. When God says a man will be “joined” to his wife, it means a man will be lovingly devoted and attached to his wife. They will cleave to one another, stick close together, and adhere to each other. When strong adhesive joins two things, it is impossible to separate the two without pain, great effort, and major destruction. In fact, if pried apart, the separation will not happen at the place of joining but elsewhere! Today, we call this “joining” marriage! Any separation is through great effort and pain, with major destruction no matter how civil it appears.
There is no way to misconstrue God’s intention for man and woman to marry! After the joining it says they become one flesh through sexual intercourse. There is no indication whatsoever that man should or can become one with man or woman with woman. Though this truth might offend people who believe it is a narrow-minded or judgmental view, believing sex is a matter of preference with movable boundaries, it is nonetheless God’s intention.
Once we understand and accept God’s original plan for sex and marriage we can easily find what is different, missing, and immoral. It’s like those “What’s Missing or Different” puzzles. The point is to study two pictures and find what changes were made or what things were removed from one to make it slightly different from the original. By simply glancing at the pictures we will notice no differences and nothing missing. But by careful examination through comparison, the differences are quite obvious, and the missing things most noticeable.
So it is with the sexual immorality that runs rampant in our society, even in the Church! We don’t see it because we simply glance at the subject, noticing no differences, failing to study and look at moral sex and then compare the two. Pre-marital, extra-marital, or same gender sex all equate to immorality! Yet calling it sin, as we should among followers of Christ garners cries of “Personal attack”, “Judgmental!”, “Hater”, and “It’s none of your business”! This reaction shouldn’t surprise us but it does and unfortunately it silences many from telling the truth in love because people don’t want to be viewed as narrow-minded or judgmental. But love for Jesus and others IS motivation to speak truth in the midst of persecution! Sin must be exposed to get rid of it, and though we might have all sorts of opinions about what actually “counts” as sin, we have only to hold our actions up to His Word for clarity to see the differences and missing parts.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
One would think the fear of God would be all over the body of Christ at just the possibility of not inheriting the kingdom of God. Yet many if not most in the Church are deceived, accepting, embracing, ignoring, or simply redefining sexual sin especially if it hits close to home. Some people (in the Church) defend same gender sex saying the Bible doesn’t actually say “homosexuality is sin”. Women (in the Church) who defend lesbian lifestyles defend it saying God mentions homosexuality not lesbianism. Couples (in the Church), living together and having sex defend it saying they are getting married eventually so it is okay. Couples (in the Church) divorce without biblical grounds but God understands and doesn’t want them to stay miserable.
Certainly, each of these scenarios requires ministry in love, compassion, and grace. The question is why do we not even address the sin while loving the person? Most often when another Christian even attempts to minister truth in love to people in any of these situations, their efforts are met with resistance and rejection, and with accusations of being unloving, uncaring, and judgmental. “Truth in love” has been replaced with an attitude of “accept with no questions” in nearly every scenario of sexual sin!
This Scripture clearly describes unrighteousness. We have no trouble admitting stealing is sin, extortion is wrong, and idol worship forbidden. But try saying continual intoxication (drunkenness) is sin and people will defend it as a disease. And try talking about sexual sin and people just tune you out and delete you as friends! Have we lost our desire as children of God to stop sinning and start living in righteousness? Do we care so little for one another that we would rather let people miss their inheritance in the kingdom of God than tell the truth? Or do we really think it isn’t that big of a deal? Do we think in our redefining of sin that God looks at it differently as well?
Christians have an obligation to know what God says is righteous and what is unrighteous, then live for Him by forsaking unrighteous acts be they stealing, coveting, overindulging in alcohol, causing trouble (reviling), or sexual sins, which are listed separately for understanding. A fornicator is a person who either prostitutes their body for hire or indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse (any sex outside of marriage). An adulterer is anyone in a covenant relationship who is unfaithful including God. A homosexual is an effeminate, a man who is soft to the touch; or a catamite, a man who submits his body to unnatural lewdness; or a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man. A sodomite is a man who has sex with a man as with a female. These GOD has said are unrighteous!
Society has sold people on the view that sex outside of marriage, before marriage, with others while married, alone (pornography, masturbation), or even with the same gender is acceptable as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Drama and reality shows along with soap operas depict marriage as laborious and boring while “cheating on spouses” is tantalizing and thrilling, teasing viewers with the impression that flirting is fun and affairs are adventurous. But the truth is sexual immorality hurts everyone and truth doesn’t change just because society tries to make it look pretty and harmless! And God made a way to redeem His people through His Son by His Spirit! While this world continues to sell us sin, God continues to buy us back with His precious blood!
But there is GREAT NEWS! We are set free from deception and unrighteousness in Jesus! 1 Corinthians 6:11 “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” He washes us! These unrighteous deeds make us unclean, polluted as it were by their filth. But He washes us clean, completely unpolluted by their filth. He sanctifies us! He purifies us by taking the punishment for us freeing us from the guilt of our sin. We bring Him honor by staying set apart in Him! He justifies us! He declared and pronounced us “Just” and “Righteous” (in right standing) with Him. It is “just – if – I’d” (justified) never done it! BUT, the truth is we did it, we do sin! Justification doesn’t negate the fact that we sin, but in God’s grace, He takes the guilt of our sin and declares us worthy because He is worthy and we are His! What an incredible truth!
We have been saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8) Faith in Jesus keeps us from excusing our sin, renaming or ignoring it, and refusing to hear truth. We did not earn salvation or faith nor do we keep them through our good works. They are gifts of grace and as such we have a responsibility to live in and treasure those gifts!
Sex and marriage are special gifts as well! From the beginning God made His plans and purposes for them known. He continues to make His will known and makes a way for us to live free from sexual immorality and help others do the same. Why would we want to do it any other way?