In a misguided effort to ensure purity, the modern church labeled sex as dirty, unholy, and, above all, off-limits. Is it right? Why does the church deal so harshly with this part of life? Why is sex almost always spoken of as a sin?
Because the church focuses on the rule and not the reason.
In the Bible, Jacob waited fourteen years to marry his wife, Rachel (Genesis 29:18-30). He suffered through hard labor, treachery, and deceit all so he could enjoy the woman he loved. Rachel likewise waited for him. She endured her father’s lies and tricks until she could be with the man she loved.
Love is expensive, it costs everything. Lust is cheap, it costs almost nothing upfront.
Love would die for the other person. Lust accepts what is and does not strive for more.
Love sacrifices. Lust demands
Sex is beauty and passion. Like fire, like the waves of the sea, like the winds of a tempest, it is a wild beauty made by God. It is not evil, but it can be used for ill purposes.
There are those that believe sex is only divine in the context of having children, never to be visited again. I would like those who believe as such to look at the Bible, perhaps turn to the Song of Solomon if you are bold enough, and see just how attractive God intended marriage to be.
God is the creator of sex. He created marriage to show us how deep and passionate his love is for us. In learning to live with our partner, we glimpse how our relationship with God is intended. His selfless abandonment in his pursuit of us. His request for us to follow. How enduring his love is when we fail. The sacrifices he made to bring us together.
Sex, in the context of marriage, is holy. While the world collapses in around itself, it’s the adhesive that binds us to our spouse. You can technically have a marriage without it, but it is so much better with it. There are seasons where it goes dormant and there are illnesses that snatch it away, but when it is alive and well it is an elegant gift from God that he encourages us to enjoy. (Proverbs 5:18)
Be prepared, this present comes with a warning label that says, “Use wisely.”
Why is this gift so dangerous and why do we have to wait until marriage to open it?
Within itself, fire is not evil. In fact, when used correctly, fire can create energy and perform tasks. The world would be, quite literally, dark without fire.
With that knowledge, would you hand a free-spirited five-year-old a flaming branch? Probably not. They are not ready for the responsibility that comes with such a wild and untamed force.
In the same way, would you light a fire in the middle of your living room, or in the fireplace? The fireplace, I hope. Otherwise, your house would burn down to the ground.
Fire, when used correctly, protects from the harsh chill of the outside world. But if you are reckless, it will destroy all that you have.
Sex is a beautiful tether, but it must be used in the right context. It is gold in a world of steel. The world wants passion and bliss without the price tag. To make intimacy affordable, it’s been made commonplace, like the chrome appliances in nearly every home. But in doing so its value is cheapened, if something is wrong, we throw it out and start over.
Instead of preserving the gift that can only be given once, virginity, a gift as stunning as diamonds, the world labels it as shame. Something to be shaken off as soon as possible. But is it not beauty at its core? A rare gift to be given only once to the one that proves themselves worthy.
As humans, we are not perfect. Sometimes we make mistakes, or in unfortunate circumstances, that choice is forcefully taken away. This does not mean one is forever impure. There is spiritual virginity. Jesus’ blood is meant to cleanse us. Though physical virginity is lost, the promise to God and a future spouse can be made new.
Let us use the gift God gave us to make our marriages stronger and let us value purity despite the world’s abuse. Christ calls us to more. To share the secret parts of ourselves with the worthy and not the relaxed.
The best way to encapsulate this view is from a quote in the novel The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. The main character Ponyboy and his best friend Jonny watch the sunrise and remark on how beautiful the golden sky is. How temporary but beautiful life and innocence are. At the end of the novel Jonny tells him, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy.” Because the world doesn’t know how valuable gold is, until it is gone.