Why talk about sex? Because God talks a lot about it, because the devil works overtime to distort and use it for his evil purposes, and because the gospel provides as overwhelmingly good news about sex as it does about everything else. And also because our current sexual culture provides an opportunity for the gospel to be good news when so much else is not.
God created each one of us as a sexual human being. Our sexuality is baked into our human being-ness. It’s part of the way in which we are made in the image of God.
Think of the very best experience surrounding sex that you’ve ever had. Or if you’ve never had an awesome sexual experience, imagine what it would be like. What words or phrases would come to mind? You might think of words such as exhilarating, satisfying, intimate, safe, fulfilling, exciting, healing, mutual, pleasurable, bonding, uplifting, perfect, joyful, creative, and loving. In such moments time stands still. Your body, mind, and soul are totally enraptured. You know and are known completely.
The gift God gave humankind was good. Very good.
But in our sinful world sex has become very bad news for most if not all of us.
Think of the very worst experience surrounding sex that you’ve ever had, or could imagine. Now what words or phrases come to mind? It might be words such as degrading, dirty, demeaning, painful, disappointing, superficial, excruciating, shameful, disgusting, evil, abusive, unsatisfying, wounding, selfish, repulsive, disconnected, or exploitative.
How far we have fallen!
The Bad News About Sex
The enemy of God and humanity has achieved an enormous “return on investment” through his efforts to befoul and pollute what God intended for our good. The expressions of this are everywhere;
- The child traumatized and prematurely sexualized through overt or covert incest or abuse
- The teenager overwhelmed with distorted messages from a sexualized culture
- The student caught up in the hook-up culture
- The spouse feeling rejected and angry when married sex ends or turns bad
- The adult single frustrated in knowing how to manage sexual drives without a spouse
- The Christian wrestling with pornography, same-sex attraction, or the after-effects of sexual abuse or harassment
And the list could go on and on.
Perhaps most damaging of all is how the enemy has mixed up sexual “stuff” with both shame and god-talk. Messages such as “God is upset with you, and will punish you” on one hand conflict with those such as “God is love; do whatever feels good” on the other. Somehow Christians know neither is right.
Enter the gospel.
The Good News About Sex
The two-part message of the gospel is overwhelmingly good news when it comes to sex and sexuality.
Part One: Jesus loves you unconditionally just the way you are.
There’s nothing you have done or that has been done to you that could make Him love you any less. There no incest, abuse, pornography, infidelity, promiscuity, same-sex behavior, or anything else about you that could make Him love you less than He already does. He doesn’t see you defined by your sexuality or sexual behavior. He sees you as you – the amazing beautiful human creation He made and died to redeem.
Part Two: Jesus also loves you too much to let you stay the way you are.
We have all been wounded sexually – by parents, teachers, society, church people, friends, spouses, and/or others. We have all experienced sexual brokenness in some way. We have all responded to those wounds in ways that are not holy. We have sinned and we have been sinned against. It’s often difficult or impossible to determine where our “fault” begins and ends.
But Jesus is about reclaiming, restoring, rebuilding. He’s saying, “You don’t have to live like this!”
What that Good News Looks Like
Jesus is all about healing your wounds – those inflicted on you and those you’ve inflicted on yourself. As He does, you will be able to remember your wounds, but they will lose their sting. He calls you to submit your sexuality to your Heavenly Father every day, just like He did when He was here on earth. Through His Holy Spirit He goes about changing you to become holy – sexually holy – like Himself. (Yes, you can be holy and sexual; that’s the way God made you.)
Like most aspects of the kingdom of God, we experience real restoration here and now even while we look for final restoration in eternity. In submitting our sexuality to Jesus we experience real freedom from lust and ungodly sexual behaviors. We no longer do the “stuff” that is against God’s design for our sexuality. Our healing and restoration becomes a testimony whereby others are strengthened and set free.
Some of us will find healing and satisfying joyful sexuality in a healthy intimate marriage. Others of us will exhibit grace and love in a marriage that remains challenging. And still others of us will live fully alive while celibate and single as Jesus did. All of us can come to daily submit our sexuality to our Heavenly Father and experience true intimacy with Him.
I did not grow up with good messages about sex. When I eventually married at age 48 God blessed me with a satisfying and healthy marriage, but even then I had a lot to learn. And now as a widow I’m hearing from more people than ever who struggle with sexuality and sexual issues.
If you’ve read to the end of this article, this means something to you. I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below, or send me a confidential message. Let’s walk together to experience the good news of the gospel when it comes to sexuality.
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- In a culture – and too often a church – that has made sex bad news, the gospel is truly Good News about sex and sexuality. Tweet that.
Want More About Relationships?
Whether married or single, personal relationships determine much about the quality of your life.
If you’re married or about to be married, you’ll enjoy our Marriage Mondays messages.
If you’re single, you have unique challenges as well. You’ll enjoy our periodic Resources for Singles.