Sex and relationshipsHow do you set your sexual standards?
Q: “What does God say about various kinds of sexual involvement?”
our A: Most people today determine their sexual involvement based on personal standards of moral values. This of course is fair, because on one hand, sex is a personal responsibility and must be determined personally. On the other hand, sex usually involves two people, so it’s not just a matter of personal standards, is it?
Some say sex is okay if you love the person. Others add that it’s okay if it’s within a committed relationship. But many would argue that neither a commitment nor love is necessary. Mere fun and excitement provide reason enough for sexual involvement.
Increasingly, there are those who feel no one has the right to state any standard for sex and it should just be left at: sex with anybody is okay.
What do you think? Is sexual involvement okay when it’s:
You can see how confusing it can get. Is “sex with anybody” still a useful measure? Many of us would like to set the bar somewhere in the middle: “I do have my standards. I think x, y, and z is sick. But there’s nothing wrong with the rest.”
In all honesty, we all have somewhat self-centred criteria regarding sex. How many of us determine our standards for sex based on what’s best for the other person? Hmmmm?
There are at least a couple of reasons to follow God’s set of standards. First, God cares about us AND the other person. Secondly, His wisdom and love for us is unsurpassed.
So what does God give as His standards?
1. Sex is one of the first topics discussed, at the very beginning of the Bible. God designed sex to be enjoyed between a man and a woman as an expression of permanent unity between them, where the two of them “become one flesh.” And no other person outside of their relationship should interfere with that relationship or try to destroy it.
2. Several areas of sex are NOT okay with God: incest, sex with animals, sexual involvement with someone you are not married to, and sex with someone who is married to another person are all referred to as immoral and wrong before God. Frankly, all of our sin (not just sexual sins) are an affront to God who is holy. Example, in one sentence we’re told to avoid “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry…rage, anger, malice, slander and filthy language…” Now, there is not a person alive who could say they stand free-and-clear from even this short list of sins. God says that we all sin, but His desire is that we don’t allow our lives to be characterized by sexual immorality, impurity, lust, anger, etc. And you would probably agree with Him there.
God desires to come into each of our lives and be in a close relationship with us, guide us in what is right before Him, so that we could experience what Jesus described as “life, more abundantly.” He describes what He wants us to experience in this life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control. And when we enter a relationship with Him, He produces these qualities in our lives. (Notice I didn’t say that He demands that we become loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind people.) His love, which we come to know on a personal level, so affects us that we can on a deeper level love others, be patient with others, treat each other respectfully, etc. A relationship with God is so valuable and so remarkable that it affects our relationships with others.
Here are a few specific statements that show us God’s thoughts about sex:
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1Corinthians 6:18)
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.” (1Thessalonians 4:3-6)
“Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4)