One overarching goal of our Ally Series is to lead you to a God-honoring view of sex and sexuality. Sadly, most of us internalized a culture-driven view of it. It’s impossible to give away what we don’t have, and all of us desire for our kids to embrace God’s good design and purposes for sexuality.
Today is Good Friday, and we’re going to share some very good news about our sexuality. How does the truth of the gospel speak to the hard issues of life, including struggles related to sexuality? What does our sexuality have to do with Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection?
We begin with a central truth:
Sexuality is sacred, which means set apart or holy. How do we know this?
1. Sexuality reflects the relational nature of God and leads us toward connection and community.
Neuroscientist William Struthers says:
Sexual attraction is relational energy; it pushes us. It is rooted in the relational image of God. The tension we experience when the drive for intimacy kicks in propels us to seek communion with others. Human sexuality allows for the mystery, beauty, diversity and complexity of human life to be explored and for deepening bonds of intimacy to be formed. We have to move away from thinking that the sole purpose of our sexuality is intercourse.1
Jesus lived as a man in a very sexualized culture without sinning and without marrying or having intercourse. He was not only born of a virgin, he died a virgin. God had purposes for Jesus’ sexuality that were holy and good, and it is the same for you, me, and our loved ones.
2. Sexuality reflects the covenantal, promise-keeping love of God.
Sexual pleasure and intercourse were designed by God to be enjoyed within marriage between one man and one woman. Marital vows are sacred words which create safety in the relationship. Marriage is set apart. Holy. The promises we make in marriage to never leave or forsake each other and to be faithful reflect the promise-keeping love of our Father God.
But living in a broken world will mean struggles. Men and women are very different. Living together as husband and wife will require vulnerability, authenticity, and dependence upon God. Sex within marriage requires trust. When we are naked, we are very vulnerable, perhaps the most vulnerable we will ever be with another human being. Because of the promises we’ve made, we find courage to trust. And because God is a promise-keeping God, He will help us keep our marital vows as we turn to Him.
3. Sexuality bonds us at a molecular level with the object of our sexual experiences.
God designed sexual experiences to bond a husband and a wife within the safety of marriage. Science explains how this happens through brain chemicals that release during sexual encounters. Sadly, many people bond sexually outside of marriage with friends, strangers, hook-up partners, images, or words on a page. Sexual bonding within marriage creates the potential to mate for life, while sexual bonding outside marriage leaves one isolated and still longing for true, God-designed connection.
4. Sexuality is portrayed in scripture as significant, set apart, and holy.
Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Song of Solomon is erotic poetry, inspired by God, that speaks clearly and unashamedly of the beauty and mystery of sex between a man and a woman in marriage. Jesus quotes Genesis 2 as He responds to the Pharisees in their attempt to trap Him: “’Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,’ and ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’”2 In Ephesians 5, Paul also quotes these verses and says of the “one flesh” union: “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church.”3
5. Sexuality, unlike any other aspect of our being, knits hearts, minds, emotions, and souls.
Sexual experiences change us, for good or for bad. We cannot help but be impacted by them throughout our lives, even in childhood. Paul explained the significance of sex saying, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” 4 The consequences of sexual sin are great because they impact our very minds and souls.
As William Struthers stated, we are wired to connect. But we live in a broken world among broken people, and we will have struggles related to our sexuality. Sexual desire is natural, yet not everyone will marry. A spouse may die. Some marriages are essentially sexless. Many of us struggle with sexual sins or shame related to sexual wounds.
Surrendering our bodies, our sexuality, our sexual wounds, or our sexual sin to God is not something we can easily do in our own strength. This is where the gospel, the “good news,” intersects our sexuality.
Our sexuality reflects the relational image of God. He cares about relationships. Sin destroyed the perfect relationship Adam and Eve had with God. But God…
Through our first parents, a sin nature was passed down to you and me. But God made a way for our broken relationship with Him to be restored and a new nature to be received. Jesus is the way! His sinless life and His death on the cross made atonement for our sin. Jesus Christ paid the penalty you and I owed but could never pay. All who trust in Christ are brought from spiritual death to spiritual life! Not only have we been given the clean record that Christ has, but we’ve also been invited into the family of God, into the greatest relationship of all as His adopted children.
Christ is our strength, our confidant, our Counselor, our overcomer, and the giver of the grace we need.
Sexuality is designed by God, and how we steward our sexuality matters to God. Our willingness to surrender our sacred sexuality to Him for His purposes within each season of our lives will affect our spiritual growth, our relationships, and our ability to impact our families and the world for Christ. God wastes nothing but asks us to surrender everything.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.6
God formed us. He knows our desires, our weaknesses, and our temptations. Christ walked this broken road, and He intercedes on our behalf to the Father. Ask Him to be Lord of your sexuality, your relationships, your life, your future. Then watch as He begins to lead you out of darkness and into the abundant life you’ve been searching for. There will always be consequences for sin, but God releases you from all condemnation, guilt, and shame. He promises to walk with you through the consequences and sanctify you in the process.
I believe the truth of the gospel is incredibly good news for all of us. And as for walking in this broken world, Christ’s resurrection means we are set free from bondage to sin!7
The penalty for sin has been paid by Christ.
The power of sin has been broken by Christ.
The presence of sin will remain until Christ comes again, but praise God, we can live victorious lives in Christ.
May the truth of the gospel–the good news–transform you today, and may you experience Christ’s resurrection power as you surrender every area of your life to Him for His plans and purposes. You will never regret it.
Next week we will go deeper into another aspect of our sacred sexuality–its power for both good and evil. I hope you’ll join us! If you’re new to the Ally Series, subscribe and read other posts here. Find other resources on our website under Tools.
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Let me learn from you! I welcome your comments or suggestions! In addition, if you’re in the Atlanta area and you’d like to hear or host my talk: Gatekeeper: A Guide for Parents in a Sexualized Culture, email me.
Founder and CEO of TrueNorth Freedom Project in Atlanta, Georgia. firstname.lastname@example.org
1 William Struthers, Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain, (IVP Books, Downers Grove, 2009), 160.
2 Matthew 19:4-5 NASB
3 Ephesians 5:32 NASB
4 1 Corinthians 6:18 NASB
5 Romans 12:1-2 NASB
6 Ephesians 2:1-5 NASB
7 Galatians 5:1 NASB
Photo credit: Jacob Meyer