The Virginity Question
“Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” (1 Tim. 2:9).
- 1 Timothy 2:9
Among the many biblical passages that touch on the issue of our sexuality is 1 Timothy 2:9 and its admonition for women to dress modestly. Certainly, this teaching is not for females alone, men should also adopt this same principle for themselves. Paul only singles out women because of the specific situation he was addressing.
Modest attire and behavior are attacked in our day in a manner that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. From an early age we are bombarded with images of scantily clad men and women in magazines and movies, as well as on television and the internet. “Sex sells” is today’s mantra, and Western culture is doing everything it can to sell sex to us. Tragically, many Christians often bow to the pressure to dress immodestly even though doing so displays hatred for one’s brother or sister in Christ. After all, we make ourselves into stumbling blocks if we dress or act in ways that might cause others to lust after us (Mark 9:42; Rom. 14:13).
Our culture also pressures Christians by encouraging physical intimacy before marriage. The widespread availability of birth control, abortion, and antibiotics has deceived many into thinking sexual intimacy is “consequence-free,” and this erroneous assumption is reinforced nearly everywhere. This worldview, along with the church’s reluctance to address sexual ethics comprehensively, makes it even harder for single people to maintain their chastity.
However, sin is never “consequence-free.” We all know that sex is a good gift from the Lord, to be enjoyed solely within the one-flesh marriage relationship (Gen. 2:24–25; 1 Cor. 7:8–9). Thus, we are not surprised that pastors routinely counsel married couples who are having problems because they were sexually active before their marriage. We never get off scot-free when we break God’s law; guilt and troubled relationships will remain as long as sin is unaddressed.
Our first inclination as sinners is to deal with our transgression by rejecting our Father’s holiness, and it is His character that our culture denies in order to excuse sin. Yet there is only one way to take care of our guilt: repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; James 5:15).
Without exception, God promises to forgive us of our sins if we truly repent and come to Him through Christ for pardon (1 John 1:9). If you have transgressed His Word regarding sexual activity, know that the Lord is willing and able to grant you full forgiveness and cleansing if you turn to Him in faith. Those with children and grandchildren should endeavor to remind them that sex is God’s good gift, and that is why we must obey His standards for it.
Passages for Further Study
- Prov. 5:15–23
- John 7:53–8:11
- Rom. 13:13
- 1 Cor. 6:12–20
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