Sin, Sex, and Salvation
Several years ago I preached a sermon series on a topic related to love. The series covered sexuality, relationships, and singleness and that series has become the basis for this blog. The beginning of 2021 marked one year into a pandemic that resulted in a social and economic shutdown the likes of which our world had never seen before. There was a new normal of people working from home. In February, a major winter storm in the southern United States taxed the electric grid in Texas where I live to the point where most people lost power for almost a week creating a temporary new normal.
Yet both of those events—while historic and crazy—pale beside the social and sexual new normal people are clamoring for, the debates in legislatures and court systems, and the realities we find ourselves living in. Things are happening now that, ten years ago, we laughed and rolled our eyes at as satire in The Babylon Bee. Turns out, the Bee was prophetic. We live in a new normal where anything goes: how you handle sexuality, marriage, and relationships is completely in your hands.
How should Christians face this social and sexual new normal? How should we ourselves behave? How should we view others whose behaviors fly in the face of what we believe?
As a pastor, I get these questions all the time. That is why I believe that its message is so urgently needed among believers.
As time progresses, the Church has always had to face new dilemmas and new situations. The challenge is to not compromise. It’s almost humorous to see churches that were known for their conservatism in the 40s and 50s are now those adopting liberal approaches to theology and life in light of modern day events. The culture used to be conservative. And those churches just followed the culture to liberalism and then eventually left orthodoxy altogether. The Bible for some has become read through the lens of culture. However, for those who see God’s Word as perfect and never changing, we see the cultural pendulum swings and battle not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of darkness calling us to abandon the truth of God’s Word and Design alongside the Grace we desperately need.
We Need an Anchor
Up until the last couple of decades, Western society in general had an understanding of the framework it rested on: the Judeo-Christian tradition. No one had to argue for God’s design regarding sex, singleness, and serious relationships. That understanding anchored us; the tide might push us one direction, the winds another, but the anchor of the Judeo-Christian tradition kept us from drifting too far.
Increasingly, however, our culture seems to be cutting loose from that anchor. When the documentary What is a Woman? by Matt Walsh came out, Christians and non-Christians alike looked at each other, confused: where do we draw the line? That question has always bothered me since my dating days. How far is too far? It’s the wrong question. Perhaps the better question is how do we best honor God and how do we seek to be Grace and Truth in a world that has completely abandoned the Truth. That’s why I want to examine what God has said about sex, singleness, and serious relationships and see how we can apply it to today’s issues.
In This Blog
This blog looks at the way three aspects of human lives are connected:
- Sexuality. This is a basic instinct for humans, an urge most of us have. God designed sex as something for us to enjoy. We’ll look at what His design is, how sin corrupts it, and how we can deal with our sexuality knowing that sin is in the equation.
- Relationships. God wired humans for relationship. The brain of even the most introverted loner responds to interaction with other humans. From a scientific standpoint, we survive best and thrive in community—relationships with other humans.
- Holiness. God is holy, separate from sin. If you have placed your faith in Jesus for salvation, His blood makes you holy in God’s sight so that you can be in relationship with Him and empowers you through His Holy Spirit to live the holy life to which He called you. We’ll look at how our sexuality and our relationships intersect with this call to holiness.
Sexuality and Relationships
God intended sex for marriage. If you take sex away from marriage, you change the nature of sex. It is no longer covenantal; it is self-gratifying. Even in consensual hook-ups, each person is looking out for his or her own benefit. In marriage, sex is a consummation of a relationship, the most intimate relationship possible between two humans.
Sexuality and Holiness
Because God designed sex for marriage, inevitably, sex in marriage is holy. To change or deviate from God’s design makes it unholy.
Unfortunately, many people only know a parody of Christianity’s view on sex, such as only “missionary-style” is the appropriate position. This has led to a characterization of Christian marital sex as prudish. In reality, sex in marriage should be “my spouse’s benefit at my expense,” a symbol of God’s love for us. That is His design.
Our brains are meant to be satisfied with God’s design. As John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” That is living in holiness. However, because of sin, we may need to retrain our brains from a path of darkness to the path of light. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians that we are to put to death what is earthly: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness and then put on what is godly: compassionate hearts, kindness, meekness, patience, and forgiveness (Colossians 3:5,12-13).
If you are not living in holiness, you can repent, and God designed your body to be rewarded when you repent and use it in holiness. We know that what gets rewarded gets repeated. God knows it too. We’ll get into how the reward centers of the brain work to train the repentant brain in holiness instead of training it for the darkness you may have known.
Relationships and Holiness
The connection between relationships and holiness is bidirectional. Not only does holiness improve our relationships, but our relationships can help us become holier. There are several anchors of the soul: God’s Word (The Bible), God’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit), and God’s people (The Church). We’ll get into this more in Chapter 5, but for now it’s important to note that each of these should impact our lives as Christians. Each one is a way that God can center us so we can take risks (or what seem to be risks) for Him and live out God’s Word in a way that goes against culture.
Who This Blog is For
I’m addressing this blog to Christians, people who have put their faith in Jesus, believing that He died on the cross to pay for their sins and that He rose the third day. These are the people whose questions I am answering. This blog should point you to the Bible for explanations on the issues we face in today’s world so that you can know His will and “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” as Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans challenging believers to live a holier life.
If you are not a Christian, you may find this blog confusing, controversial, or even offensive. That’s okay. It’s further evidence of its truth. The Gospel offends every culture everywhere in some aspect. But I do want you to invite and consider that what Christians believe and practice may be the very thing that is missing in your life and turning your life over to Him may be the greatest gift you could ever receive.
Let’s get started.
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