God made you as a sexual being and your sexuality is a good thing. Like all appetites, however, sexual desires must be limited to be healthy. So what are those limits? Now we’re talking!
Your sexuality is a good thing.
Nobody’s sexuality is as good as it should be.
We must start here because so much is at stake in this conversation. The reason people have such strong views about human sexuality is because it’s an important part of who we are. It’s not an accident, God made you to be a sexual being. Here’s why that’s such a good thing.
You were created to know God and be known by God. Stop and think about that for a second. That’s your purpose. Sexual intimacy is arguably the closest a person can get to being fully known and fully loved by another person. But what does that have to do with knowing or being known by God? Keep reading.
God has designed sex with a special power to bond together not just two bodies, but two souls as well. Most anyone would agree, for instance, once two people have sex their relationship is forever changed. What other activity has this sort of power?
Ephesians 5:31-32 says the union of a husband and wife is a profound mystery, and it's mysterious because it points to something supernatural - the union of Christ and the church. Does that make sense to you? In heaven you will be fully known and fully loved by Jesus and you will fully know and fully love Jesus in return. No, your relationship with Jesus will not be sexual. But the intensity of the intimacy you’ll have with him is what human sexual relationships, when they’re at their best, point to.
God has infused our sexuality not only with the power to bond two souls and not only with the symbolic power of our heavenly future with God’s Son, but also with the miraculous power of creating new life. Human beings are God’s image bearers on earth. The way new image bearers are created is through sexual intimacy.
So you see, sexuality is profoundly good. But now perhaps you can understand why sexuality is such a powerful force for pain, suffering, and disagreement as well. Think of all the pain rooted in human sexuality, from the beginning of time. Human trafficking, abortion, marital affairs, objectification (treating people like objects), commodification (treating people like products), exploitation (treating people as if they exist for my pleasure), the spread of disease, endless pornography on every smartphone, untold amounts of abuse, self-loathing, and suicide. It’s a crisis!
Our culture’s solution to this crisis of sexual pain seems to be more sexual freedom. Whatever, whenever, however, and why-ever two consenting adults choose to engage in sexual activity, celebrate it! (Though not everyone agrees that adulthood is necessary for consent, or at what age consent can be given. Consider also the fact that people consent to things for all sorts of reasons. It doesn’t mean they really want to do them and consent doesn’t make it healthy or good.) Do we really believe a lack of sexual freedom is what’s brought about all the sexual pain in our families and communities?
God’s solution to the problem of sexual brokenness is to remember your sexuality is a good thing, but that nobody’s sexuality is as good as it should be. In other words, your sexuality is affected by sin. In that sense, each of us has a journey to make; a journey toward holy sexuality. EVERYONE is on this journey, whether you’re sexually active or not. This journey begins with repenting. That means asking God to forgive the broken parts of your sexuality and make you holy. This applies just as much to straight married faithful Christians as it does to anyone else. From there, if you’re married, cherish your spouse as God’s gift to you and relate to one another sexually with the utmost care and respect. See the book The Great Sex Rescue for more on that. If you are not married, follow Jesus in your sexuality by not having sex and by pushing away sexual temptation and turning your heart and mind toward Jesus instead.
Here’s something we haven’t said yet about sexuality but that’s very important. Sex is a good thing, but it’s not a necessary thing. Cultural influencers tell us sexual expression is necessary to be true to one’s self. (Sadly, some churches teach this too!!) To quote an old preacher, “that’s a lie from the pit of hell and it smells like smoke”. Scripture tells us singleness is a good gift. A man or woman who is single has more to give the church, the Lord and the world than a married person whose heart is divided by the needs of a spouse and children. The perfect man, Jesus Christ, never had sex. Many people are celibate, voluntarily or involuntarily. Their lives are no less meaningful or joyful because of that fact. Moreover, sorry for the cold-shower but here it comes…a lack of sexual fulfillment is the norm. If you’ve gone through puberty you’ve been sexually unfulfilled. If you’ve been married for longer than a honeymoon you’ve been sexually unfulfilled. If you stay married into your elderly years you will once again be sexually unfulfilled. Again, this is by design. Sexual expression is not supposed to define you or fulfill you. Only Jesus can do that.
The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender seeks to address two primary needs in the church. One, to help leaders cultivate a more robust biblical ethic of marriage, sexuality and gender. Two, to help churches and organizations create a safe and compassionate environment for LGBT+ people, their families, and anyone wrestling with their sexuality or gender identity.
Gay Pastor & Theologian Sam Allberry tells his story and shows that "You Are Not Your Sexuality"
Is God Anti-Gay?, by Sam Allberry explores why christians, the church and the Bible seems to be out of step with modern attitudes toward homosexuality. Does the Bible prohibit gay marriage? How can we oppose people who are in love, and just expressing how they were made? Can God really be anti-gay?
This short, readable book offers a positive and liberating way forward. It explains clearly and simply what we can say with certainty from the Bible about marriage, sexuality and same-sex attraction.
The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You've Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended, by Sheila Wray, Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach, & Joanna Swatsky
Awaken the passion God intended for marriage! This groundbreaking work, based on an in-depth survey of over 20,000 Christian women, exposes evangelical teachings that wreck sex for many couples, offering long-needed insights into true biblical sexuality. Topics include "Do You Only Have Eyes for Me?"; "Becoming More Than Roommates"; "When Duty Becomes Coercion"; and more.
Non-Toxic Masculinity: Recovering Healthy Male Sexuality, By Zachary Wagner
Grasp a fresh Christian vision of masculinity! Wagner reflects upon his own coming-of-age story during a time in America when the purity culture movement overlooked the broader redemptive narrative and replaced it with sexual shame. Renew your understanding of male sexuality, relationships, and responsibility---and move toward the true manhood embodied in Christ.
The EPC (our denomination) has a position paper on Human Sexuality, find it here.