Freedom from Freedom: Sexual Freedom

Ah, you knew it was coming, didn’t you?

Because how could we continue to talk about the “freedom” or “restrictions” of the Christian life without talking about sex? The main concept of this blog series is that we often find freedom when we go the exact opposite direction from it, and we often lose our freedom when we exercise too much freedom. Does this concept hold true on the topic of sex? Let’s discuss that, shall we?

Sex has become one of the main battlegrounds of the Christian worldview. But not because it is such a spiritually important topic (more to come on that!), but because our culture has…well…such a very different idea about sex and sexual ethics. Also, I am of the opinion that it is one of the first topics where a church-raised Christian has to decide whether they are going to side with the Bible or the culture around them, and if they choose to side with the Bible, then they either end up in a lot of debates where they defend WHY they believe that, or else they just become very, very quiet.

So before we talk about sex, we MUST establish the proper importance of the topic.

Concerning spiritual matters, sex is NO MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY OTHER TOPIC. Sex cannot get you to hell faster than lying, or judgmental attitudes. Christians…don’t ever let anyone, anyone fool you into thinking that losing your virginity means you are worth less. Virgins are not worth more than non-virgins in God’s eyes. Anybody who says otherwise has a very distorted view of how God sees us…or they believe in some god other than the God of the Bible.

The Christian who continues to have premarital sex (which is outside of God’s design for it) is in the same boat as the Christian who abstains, but continues to speak ill of others. Or the Christian who abstains, but has developed the habit of being lazy instead of being a hard worker.

Concerning one’s spiritual status before God, sex is actually not very important of a topic.

However, concerning wise living and having a happy life here on this earth, the topic of sex is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.

When we become adults, we find that more and more often, we are faced with decisions that affect the direction of our whole lives, and even the lives of others. I have, in the past twelve years…

  • Chosen to go to different conferences, camps, and mission trips (when I was 16, 17, 18, 19). Without these, I would not have been motivated to read my Bible, and I would not be knowledgeable enough to teach on Biblical topics…something that I enjoy doing. That decision sent my life a certain direction.
  • I chose to go to community college for two years. Okay, 2 ½. That sent my life a certain direction.
  • I chose to continue the instruction of taekwondo, rather than pursuing other careers.
  • I chose to go to Corban, and stay in Salem. (My wife chose to go to an out-of-her-state college, which brought her down here to Corban.) That affected where our lives would go.
  • We chose to get married.
  • We chose to start a family.

So as I entered adulthood and began adulthood, I found that a lot of my decisions strongly affected my future. However, let’s be honest: Decisions I made when I was 10 years old haven’t played as big of a role as the decisions I made when I was 17. Sure, they’ve played some role. But mainly, it was my parents that were directing my life when I was 10.

So when we hit 13 years old, suddenly our bodies get these strange urges that we didn’t really have when we were 10. And over those next several years, we have to decide (daily): What is my decision on this topic going to be?

That decision has the potential to derail my entire life, if I choose wrong. Career goals can be thrown off by an unplanned child. A relationship that could’ve been great can be destroyed by a breach of trust. Or maybe sex happened too early, and so a relationship that should’ve ended then continues in order to “make it not a mistake.” That happens. A lot, unfortunately.

What’s that saying that a bunch of kids are saying right now? “YOLO”? You only live once? If we only have one life here on Earth…which we do, then we should be all the more careful about the topic of sex.

SEX: THE FIRST BATTLEGROUND

Some (Christians and non-Christians both!) will choose to keep their virginity. Some will choose not just to keep their virginity, but to keep from even playing around. Some will choose not to even kiss. Everybody chooses their lines, and some “adjust” those lines as they continue throughout those years.

However, whatever their choice, people tend to get pretty defensive about their choice…defensive enough to attack the other side. The Christian virgins prepare to explain what God says about sex. Those that didn’t decide to keep their virginity prepare their arguments for why they didn’t (“Try before you buy!” “Well, you have to do it before your wedding night! What if they aren’t good in bed?” Hey…if someone ended a relationship because and solely because the other person was bad in bed…then maybe that’s not the person they should be marrying anyway, wouldn’t you agree?).

This is why sex becomes the first battleground that Christians find themselves on. It’s not because it is a more important topic for spiritual health…but rather because it is often the first important topic that they have to defend. And some Christians, when faced with sexual temptation, will walk away from Jesus Christ because they can’t handle the feeling of conviction. (Jesus Christ does not leave you because you slept with someone. Ever. Period. Rather, many leave Jesus Christ because they don’t like “believing” that it’s wrong but doing it, so they give up the believing part so that they can do it without guilt.)

SO RETURNING TO THE CONCEPT OF FREEDOM FROM FREEDOM…

And then, there are many non-Christians who stay away from Christianity simply because of Christianity’s teachings on sex. They value their “sexual freedom”, and view what Christianity teaches as sexual restriction.

However, is that really accurate? No. No, it’s not.

I have walked both paths. I wish I couldn’t say that. But yeah, I have. However, I am happy to say that sexual sins are in my past and not in my present.

Does that mean that I entered from “sexual freedom” into sexual restriction? Total bull. I am more free now than ever. Monogamy within marriage truly is the most free that you can possibly be on this topic.

Forget Hollywood. Forget the words. The hype. The sassy Facebook conversations. Here’s my question…are those advocating “sexual freedom” really free?

Let’s analyze this one.

Monogamous marriage: Only with one person, until one of you die.

“Sexual freedom”: Whoever you want, as long as they agree to it

Okay, sure. I get that. And many people, if not most, are tempted in some way, shape or form in this area. Different would be exciting, wouldn’t it? A change of scenery?

However, “excitement” fades. If you did it with a different person…well…what’s next? Another different person?

Monogamous marriage: You have a sex partner. Consistently. Until one of you dies.

“Sexual freedom”: When you get horny, go clubbing or facebooking. Then, keep hoping that your hunt will be successful.

This is a Biblical fact: Wives are mandated by Scripture to meet their husbands sexual needs. Husbands are mandated by Scripture to meet their wives sexual needs. God didn’t want you to suffer through horniness your whole lives. Read 1st Corinthians chapter 7. It’s all right there.

Monogamous marriage: Security and “insurance.” (Supposed to be, anyway)

“Sexual freedom”: Partner could exit at any time. And then, if sexual desires are to be met, new partner must be established…partner that doesn’t have the same trust yet.

Now, I know that this isn’t how it actually is…but I want to point out how it’s supposed to be. Today, we are seeing a lot of divorces…covenants that SHOULD be secure and should protect that vulnerability, but don’t. We are also seeing a lot of non-married couples who, for all practical purposes, are married. They have kids and joint bank accounts and everything.

As a Bible-believing Christian, of course I believe that they should get married. However, as I understand the act of sex…for all practical purposes they are unified, so if I were in a conversation with these couples, then I would simply say…stay together. Commit. Stay.

See…my problem with people that advocate sexual freedom is this…when all is said and done, are you really more “free” than those married couples? And for those teenagers who said “don’t tell me what to do…I’ll do what I want!” When we look at those same teenagers ten years later, do they really look free?

I have nothing against single moms…I think that they are hardworking warrior-women who make huge sacrifices for their kids’ sake. However, some of them were “sexual freedom” advocates way back when…but don’t feel free anymore. And I don’t hear of that many single mom’s enjoying a vibrant, exciting sex life.

Freedom from being scared of “what would people think if I were pregnant?” Trying to get my wife pregnant was a lot of fun. A lot of fun.

It would seem to me that sexual freedom does not result in sexual freedom. It results in bondage. It often results in regret. And therefore, I believe what God teaches about sex. And I believe that what God teaches about sex is the easiest and most free way to handle this topic.

Freedom, the freedom to have sex whenever you want, the freedom to not have to go looking for a partner, the freedom to be part of a two-person-team in the difficult task of raising children (Sarah has offered to let me sleep in tomorrow when Abrielle wakes up if I will let her sleep in on Monday) and not a highly-taxed one-person team, is found in God’s plan for sex and marriage.

Freedom is found when we run in the exact opposite direction of freedom.

Next up: Financial freedom.

The Art of Apologetics: The purpose of sex (part 2 – for what purpose did God design sex?)

 

The answer is found in this Scripture:

Genesis 2:19-25 (NIV, emphasis mine)

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become ONE FLESH.

25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame

The God-given purpose of sex can be summarized in one word: UNITY. Two become one.

If you believe that the purpose of sex is reproduction, or intimacy, or pleasure, or love, it’s not that I disagree with you. I just believe that your answer is incomplete. If you said reproduction AND intimacy AND all those things, I agree. But all of these things are pieces of the puzzle. They come together to make one thing.

Unity. Two becoming one.

This unity, this “two becoming one” happens in several ways.

 

Emotionally/Intimately (this involves vulnerability, too)

I am going to talk about Sarah for a second. I am not going to give you any details, except to tell you this. I know Sarah in a way that no one else will ever know her. She and her mom are really close. However, Sarah’s mom doesn’t know her the way I know her. Her friends don’t know her the way I know her. Our children will never know her the way I know her. And I have no intention of explaining it to anyone, because I can’t.

Everyone, everywhere: Your very existence is proof that your parents had sex. And not just tame sex. The same sex you have with your husband/wife (or want to have someday), that’s the same sex your parents had. And do you like thinking about that? Heck no! You don’t want to. And…really, you have difficulty imagining that. Your mother would never do that. And if she did…well, she probably didn’t even get that into it. Right? Wrong.

Quick note to husbands…this vulnerable side needs to be protected. Do not tell your friends how good your wife is in bed. It’s not for them to know. She is (usually, and more often than you think) very self-conscious about this, and doesn’t want anybody but you to know.

Physically

Do two people literally become one, physically? In one sense, no. You are not physically stuck together after sex. However, reproduction is how two people physically become one. As many of you know, Sarah and I just had our first child, a daughter. My hereditary analysis concludes this: Abrielle has my dad’s eyes and, at the current time, my hair color. I also think…I’m not sure, but I think, that she has my same facial bone structure (cheeks and all). However, Abrielle received the gift of the “Doughty nose.” My wife (as well as her sisters) has a really cute nose that she bestowed upon our daughter. (Now, I could be wrong about the heredity. It could change or look a little different as she grows older.) In other words, Abrielle is a living, breathing, walking (wait, no, not walking yet, more like crying and pooping) testament to the union of Sarah and myself. Sarah and I became one…Abrielle. See? Look!

Thus, reproduction is another way that two become one flesh. Reproduction is part of the unity.

In fact, this should serve as a warning. I have heard and seen this story before…girl sleeps with boyfriend. Boyfriend turns out to be a jerk…relationship ends horribly, but not before girl gets pregnant. Baby looks exactly like dad. Mom loves baby…but baby’s resemblance stings.

Spiritually

As Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let man not separate.” Two become one spiritually as well.

So…what does all this have to do with Christians believing that homosexuality is wrong? Well get there next post.

The Art of Apologetics: The purpose of sex (part 1 – your beliefs lead to other beliefs)

A recap of the last three posts…

 

  1. If God exists (in other words, one who is perfect in power, wisdom, morality, and love), we cannot judge Him, because He is higher than any standard that we would use to judge Him. Unless we know better than Him…then we totally could. Do we know better? Therefore, whatever He says is right or wrong, good or bad IS right or wrong, good or bad.
  2. Most of us (Christians and non-Christians) judge morality based on whether something serves/benefits mankind or not (man-centered morality). But if God exists, and if He is perfect, then it is logical and reasonable that morality should be based on whether it serves/benefits God (the way He wants to be served or benefitted). If He is perfect, then He deserves it, and He knows it. Therefore, morality is based on whether something glorifies God or not.
  3. Things glorify God when they do exactly what He created them to do. Things don’t glorify God when they don’t do what He created them to do.

 

Remember the line of thinking that we are on…we are “questioning” God not for the purpose of challenging Him, but for the purpose of learning. If God says that homosexuality is wrong (and if the Bible is the word of God, He does), but we really don’t think it’s that bad, let us approach God as a student and ask…why? Teach us why homosexuality is wrong.

 

Backing away from my “use” of apologetics (a fancy word for defending one’s beliefs), let’s zoom out for a moment and examine apologetics for a moment. Remember that beliefs like to reproduce…certain beliefs lead to other beliefs. Therefore, whatever you believe sex’s purpose to be will directly result in whether you believe that homosexuality is right or wrong. You can actually replace the word “homosexuality” with anything involving sex…what you believe about sex’s purpose will directly result in what you believe about premarital sex, or spouse-swapping or whatever.

So let’s analyze some proposed purposes of sex, and the resulting beliefs:

 

If the purpose of sex is pleasure/fun…

Homosexuality: Okay.

Premarital sex: Okay.

 

If the purpose of sex is reproduction…

Homosexuality: Wrong

Premarital sex: Strongly unadvised.

BUT…you have to be consistent. If homosexuality is wrong because of failure to reproduce, then infertile heterosexuality is wrong, too.

 

If the purpose of sex is expression of love/developing intimacy…

Homosexuality: Okay, as long as they love each other.

Premarital sex: Okay, as long as they love each other.

 

If the purpose of sex is mental/physical/emotional health (meeting a human need)…

…then we open up a whole can of research and debate about brain synapses and this debate could take hours. It basically becomes a debate where the Christians say “sexual immorality is bad for you! Choose abstinence or marital sex!” while the non-Christians say “repressing your desires is bad for you! Go get your rocks off!” Therefore…

Homosexuality: Okay, if it can be proven that it is healthy. Wrong, if it can be proven that it is unhealthy.

Premarital sex: Okay, if proven healthy. Wrong, if proven unhealthy.

 

If the purpose of sex is to make a family (a little different from reproduction…we are thinking about the years after the reproduction has occured)…

Homosexuality: Okay, if it can be proven that a same-sex marriage family can be healthy. Wrong, if it can be proven that homosexuality is unhealthy for a family unit.

Premarital sex: Either wrong or simply unwise, since the argument might be made that one should only have sex if they want to get pregnant and have a family, and often this is not the case in premarital sex.

HOWEVER…two side notes…

  1. 1.      One must be consistent! If homosexuality is wrong because it is proven unhealthy, then anything proven unhealthy must be wrong. If homosexuality is wrong because it’s unhealthy, then two workaholic parents would be in the wrong because that is also unhealthy.
  2. 2.      A lot of this debate comes down to a debate about causation. The anti-gays will say “families are unhealthy because of the homosexuality!” The pro-gays will say “No, they’re unhealthy for other reasons…the same reasons there are a lot of unhealthy heterosexual families!”

 

So which position do I hold? Well, that one is coming next post.