Second Sunday after Epiphany
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
The outside of a greeting card had the word SEX in big letters. When opened, it read, “Now that I’ve got your attention, Happy Birthday!”
We live in a sex-crazed culture. About 65 percent of America’s teens have sex by the time they finish high school. According to the 2000 census, the number of unmarried couples living together increased tenfold between 1960 and 2000, and 72 percent between 1990 and 2000. Fifty-two percent of American women have sex before turning 18, and 75 percent have sex before they get married.
These are the stats from society, but what does God say about sex?
1. Is God a prude when it comes to sex?
Many people think that when it comes to sex God is the ultimate kill-joy. However, God is pro-sex. God is the One who in the beginning created male and female. He made us different so our very differences would attract us to each other.
2. Is sex just for pleasure?
The world’s view is that sex is simply for personal gratification. Paul reminded his readers that sex outside of marriage is wrong: “The body is not meant for sexual immorality” (v. 13). Sex within marriage allows a man and a woman to reach an intimacy that is impossible without it. Paul referred to that act as becoming one flesh: “The two will become one flesh” (v. 16). What exactly does that mean? It is the moment when a husband and wife physically come together. At that moment, in a way unlike any other moment, they have become one. Something happens in that time and place, in that act of love and passion, which truly can be called sacred. This intimacy cannot happen simply by talking together, working side by side or living in the same house. Becoming one flesh is sacred in God’s eyes. It embodies the act of marriage.
That means, therefore, no such thing as casual sex exists. That’s a Hollywood myth. Every time a man and a woman come together—married or not—it is anything but casual. It may be fun or pleasurable; it may be earthy and physical; it may be accompanied by candles and soft music; but it is not casual. It’s serious business.
This fact is why God hates adultery and why Paul warned, “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?” (v. 16). When a man goes to a prostitute, though he may never see her again, he establishes a one-flesh relationship with her. Something permanent has been instituted in the eyes of God, not a marriage, but a one-flesh relationship. Although the man repents of his sin, the relationship still exists. An innocent affair or harmless adultery doesn’t exist.
3. What do I do when tempted sexually?
When it comes to sexual temptation, the Bible is quite clear on the appropriate strategy: “Flee sexual immorality” (v. 18). Don’t debate it. Don’t resist it. Don’t see how close to the line you can come. Don’t flirt with it. Run. Run fast. Run hard. Run away from it.
Sex is like TNT. It is dangerous. Some people think they can play with sex and not get hurt or walk right up to the line and have the willpower not to cross over or think they can handle this explosive; but they lack common sense and good judgment.
Granted, we can’t avoid all sexual stimuli; in Martin Luther’s terms, “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.”
One man who travels extensively has a practice that helps him to stay away from tempting situations. “Whenever I check into my hotel,” he said, “where I normally stay for three or four days, I ask them at the front desk to please remove the television from my room. Invariably they look at me as if I’m crazy, and then they say, ‘But sir, if you don’t want to watch it, you don’t have to turn it on.’ Because I’m a paying customer, however, I politely insist, and I’ve never once been refused.
“The point is that I know that in my weak and lonely moments late in the evening, I’ll be tempted to watch the immoral movies that are only one push of a button away. In the past, I’ve succumbed to that temptation repeatedly, but not anymore. Having the television removed in my stronger moments has been my way of saying, ‘I’m serious about this, Lord,’ and it’s been the key to victory in my battle against impurity.”
Sex is a good thing, but only within the bounds of marriage.