God's Plan for Sex


Tim Stafford explains why, contrary to popular belief, God isn't against sex!

Contrary to popular belief, God is not against sex.

If you stood up in class and encouraged others to follow God's plan for sex, people would think you were trying to outlaw happiness.

You'd have to work hard to explain that God is not against sex. In fact, he considers it something good. It was, after all, his idea. God could have made us reproduce the way plants do, with floating spores and pollen. But he preferred human life to spring from the exultant, loving embrace of intercourse. So it only makes sense that the all-knowing God who invented sex should know how it can best be celebrated. God wouldn't sacrifice his own Son to redeem us, and then turn around to arbitrarily spoil our fun.

When God gives direction for sex, he does it either to protect us from harm, or to provide for our needs. Or both.

The Bible is very frank about sex. There's not a prudish note from Genesis to Revelation.

A whole book (the Song of Solomon) celebrates the sensuality of erotic love. The Bible reflects exactly the attitude you'd expect from an inventor writing about his invention. God, better than anyone else, appreciates what his invention means. He understands how it works and knows exactly what it's good for. He tells us how to use it—and how not to.

So what is God's view of sex? Simple: Sex is wonderful within marriage. Outside of marriage, it's an offense to the inventor.

Why marriage? Isn't a really committed relationship close enough? Nope. According to the Bible, only the commitment a man and a woman make in the ceremony of marriage counts. Marriage is the only place to experience truly committed love, love that echoes our relationship with God.

Husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her... In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife (Ephesians 5:25, 28).

It was that way from the beginning, when Adam and Eve were created and presented to each other by God:

"At last!" Adam exclaimed.

"She is part of my own flesh and bone!" … This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now, although Adam and his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame (Genesis 2:23-25).

That's the ideal, the dream, as the Bible sees it: total nakedness, total unity, total love, total sexual satisfaction within marriage. Plenty of marital problems parade the pages of Scripture—God is no fool. But the ideal stands above the failures.

The Bible doesn't mince words about behavior that falls short of the ideal. Jesus, particularly, made his views plain. Though he never married, he spoke with absolute authority (like an inventor) against abuses like fornication (sex between people who are not married), adultery and divorce. He said of married people:

Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together (Matthew 19:6).

Paul had the same words of advice:

Our bodies were not made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. … Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! … Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:13, 15, 18-20).

God wants your marriage bed to be pure because he cares for you. He wants to protect you from the worst. He wants to provide for you the very best.

But what if two people love each other? What if they know they'll marry someday? Why should they wait?

It may seem that being deeply in love is enough to bond two people together forever. But God says it's not. Marriage is more than just love. It's a promise of lifelong commitment—a promise made in front of others.

When you're used to having sex without total commitment, it may be hard to understand what totally surrendering your life to another person is all about. If, earlier in your life, sex merely meant, "I'm strongly attracted to you," it is not easy to change your thinking to, "I give myself wholly and exclusively to you."

Virgins are uniquely able to give their total selves to love in a marriage. That's why "the first time" is such a big deal. You are giving your total self to the one great love of your life.

It's not easy to resist the temptations and pressures to have sex before marriage. But if you want to experience sex the way God meant for it to be, the surest way is to experience no other kind of sex. It's tough to wait for, certainly. But most good things are.

Written by Tim Stafford

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