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Biblical Sexuality

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

One of the biggest things that can shape the way marriage is viewed is to be reminded of its source. In the age of don’t ask don’t tell some very important questions can go unanswered leaving the unexperienced, the unseasoned, and the curious mind to navigate some heavy issues with no guidance. While this is certainly not the case all over the world, at least for our readers within modern western culture so many things are very sexualized and with no scriptural guidance it becomes very messy and very perverse. Marriage and intimacy are not something that was created by the human race for it to be defined by us. Marriage is something God has granted his people to be a part of, but it his idea and it comes from him. God has demonstrated commitment and deeply caring relationships within scripture to his people and the relationship between a husband and wife is meant to replicate God’s relationship with his people. In replicating this relationship, it remains crucial that it is exercised within the terms and boundaries God has set before us. With this complex topic this is a humble attempt at explaining some of the major points surrounding the subject so let us know what you think! Lastly, before continuing I have compiled below a list of five extra resources for those curious for more insight around this issue ranging across many different audiences so feel free to check them out!

Sexuality in Original Creation

God’s relationship with his people Israel is one that is to bind the people to Himself and unifies them, and in Ephesians (5:22-33) this relationship between Christ and his people is to describe how a husband and wife ought to be. This relationship is characterized by the commitment and love God has given to us where a wife submits to her husband, but paired with this the husband elevates his wife to have her needs above his own similarly to how Christ put our needs above his desire and went to the cross to take the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:22-33). This intimacy between a man and women is not expressly demonstrated in sexual activity but is one way for the two to join together and enjoy one another in a way that is within the limits God has set. The only way to fully unite two people, provide for children and a home, and reflect God's own relationship to redeemed humanity through Christ was through exclusive, permanent, monogamous marriage, which God ordained. Any other type or relationship cannot fulfill that purpose in their union like the one God has made natural. Jesus used Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:24 together in regard to divorce reminding the reader that God made them male and female, as created in the image of the divine God. When God had created the world in Genesis the world was put in order and everything established according to what was right and what sits outside of this boundary remains unnatural, or in the case of male and female an unnatural pair. Continuing once more, Paul states (Romans 1:19-27) the will of God can be seen in what he has made, and this seems logical as the natural male and female relationship is given up for what is unnatural, same-sex relationship, as a sign of judgement from God where He turns people over to the wickedness of their heart. Looking within the theme that already exists within Genesis where God takes what is disordered and brings order to it, it would seem fitting that the context of relationship and sexuality would fit as male and female as being the natural, divinely ordered pair and anything outside of this would be in opposition to God’s created order. However, God’s created order took a turn when sin entered into the world, and this has negatively affected all areas of life.

The Effect of Sin on Sexuality and the New Covenant Response

Although all things were put in order, with sin and the fall of man things were quickly brought to disorder. People were disobeying and going against the will of God in all public and private affairs. Shortly after the people of Israel were rescued and delivered from slavery and brought into covenant (Exodus 24) and with this we can find Leviticus, which appears on the surface to be an exhaustive list of what is expected of Israel. In Leviticus there lies a popular command prohibiting man having sexual relation with another man (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13), but this law was not simply a means to addressing idolatry and counter culturalism to the surrounding nations. This command against homosexuality gets listed among many other sexual sins which have nothing to do with culture but rather morality and ethics such as a son sleeping with his stepmother, or sleeping with close relatives, or sleeping with a brother’s wife (Leviticus 18) indicating this too was a matter of ethics. We have no reason to think the command for man to not sleep with man and vice versa with women is to be isolated outside of the realm of universal ethics because the verse fits within the theme of that entire section of scripture. However, despite the instruction, Isarael’s sin never ceased through the Old Testament even after warning and instruction. As sin corrupted from the beginning, it continued to lead many away from the Lord even as Israel would further become an organized people with a king. We are told that within the patriarchal marriage the wife’s sexuality is to be reserved for her husband exclusively (Proverbs 5:15-19; 1 Corinthians 7:1-8); however, for the case of Israel the reader can find instances where sexuality was moved outside of the husband-and-wife context (Jeremiah 2:20) where the people are described as a donkey in heat (Jeremiah2:21), a creature whose lust controls them at this time. Within the New Covenant there is a calling to repent which we call a conversion, and this thought comes from the idea of going beyond our present sinful mind in a sense to a new and renewed mind in Christ (Ephesians 4:23-25). When relating to sexuality and marriage this applies to married couples in a unique way. The married couple engages in a life that’s focus is fixed on the other person with the husband at the head constantly seeking ways to elevate his wife who will strive to return it back to him. As each of the individuals being Christians are seeking and pursuing a new and renewed mind in Christ, they likewise in honoring God seek to go beyond their own needs and desires so that the other would be elevated. In the surrendering of God’s people to him, through the eucharist, they become one in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16-17), and similarly husband and wife will leave father and mother to become one as they commit to one another as Christ commits himself to us (Genesis 2:24; 19:4-6). Committing to one another is one of the more important things, and something that I have failed to hear mentioned is the purpose of sex for the other spouse. While sex is enjoyable this attitude of service and self-denial does not disappear here, and with this in mind we must be reminded that sex remains a means in which we put the other’s desire above our own. In other words, our posture should be to a large degree that sex is for the other person while the other maintains an equal attitude. This allows two primary things: first it put the partners emotional, physical, spiritual needs above themselves creating an atmosphere more likely of consideration and service so that the unity and sacredness of marriage remains intact and doesn’t leave emotional scars. Second, it allows everyone’s needs to be met so that all are satisfied within the equation, and we can honor God in this. With sexuality within the New Covenant there is a promise of restoration for all things, and all things including sexuality among the other will be restored and made right.

Sexuality Regarding Biblical Restoration

In light of the understanding of the sin that exists within the world and the corruption from the fall, we must still understand that humans are made in the image of God are not strictly defined by their sexuality. This seems obvious, however, often times within the Church it can be easy to isolate certain sins above others, in this case homosexuality or other perverse sexual practices, because of the surrounding influence of the culture which puts such a spotlight on it. The Church will welcome the alcoholic with open arms, or the one who struggles with lying, or the one who perhaps is greedy, or the glutton and not bat an eye but support them. However, there are times when an individual involved in homosexual action or other sexual sin shows up, they can be shunned. Rather than this though, people’s identity should be shaped by the fact they are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) with a higher calling to walk in the Spirit in obedience to God as a response to Him. For the Christian who is struggling with homosexual thought their identity is not shaped by their attraction but should be with the creation and redemption narrative. Sin is a legitimate reality, and many people don’t necessarily choose what their vices and struggles are, but they do choose how they respond to them. The local Church community need to assist the believer in the convictions of the reality of Christ’s work on the cross that has cleansed us, with the response to flee from sin and chase after God, and the faith that one day, despite all the struggles, everything will be made right, and God will perfectly sanctify us once and for all (1 Corinthians 15:35-58). We cannot ignore that sex has a purpose from the Genesis narrative with the command to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28) making it a necessity to obey the Lord. However, that is not all it is for as we are told later that God purposed it to join one man and one woman together physically, emotionally, spiritually (Genesis 2:18; Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Corinthians 7:32-34) and is a good thing to be enjoyed. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the sin that exists can pollutes the world including our sexuality and thought surrounding it. Naturally, being a man, it is easiest to speak for this but if most men followed their sinful desire leaving it entirely unchecked, they would seek to have sex with every woman they thought was beautiful. However, it goes without saying that based on the previous points this is unacceptable and this presents the first and most obvious boundary. While polygamy was allowed in the Old Testament there is nothing that strictly permits it, and there are many points in which it caused more problems than it solved (Genesis 30; 1 Kings 11:1-6), and this behavior is restricted for church leaders (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:5-6). Sex remains something that can be difficult to discuss in modern western culture but remains nothing to be ashamed of as there is an entire book with a large portion dedicated to two people, husband and wife, who are encouraged to “Eat, friends, and drink; drink your fill of love” (Song of Solomon 5:1), as the newlyweds explore each other in a God honoring way. With all the tricky questions that can come regarding boundaries so long as what we do is God-honoring, respectful, consensual, unifying, and elevates our spouse as the primary concern we lay a good foundation for what is appropriate and acceptable.

Concluding, when sin entered the world is corrupted everything, even the natural bond shared between man and women. While there are layers and depth to this subject it is of the primary important to seek to honor God first. When a sexually immoral individual comes in contact with a Christian or the Church body is remains important to welcome them as any other person with sins would be welcomed so they may also come to experience the love of Christ. Lastly, if you are interested in supporting our ministry then check out our store!

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