Thursday, June 12, 2014

Should Sex Be Free?

One of the clearest conflicts between Christian morals and the culture around us is on the subject of sex. Christianity says that the ideal is one man and one woman for life or else a life of abstinence (Matthew 5:31,32;  1 Corinthians 7:1-7; Romans 7:1-3).  Now in a sin-cursed world, it does not always work out that way, and it is disputed whether acceptable grounds exist for breaking a relationship. Certainly there is a place for forgiveness and restoration for those involved in wrong relationships (John 4:15-26; 8:1-11; Ephesians 1:7). But the ideal should be maintained. And this runs against the grain of what is generally preached by our culture and media. Rather, we are sold at every corner an ideal of casual sex, with no commitment or consequences. Nor is this always a disinterested position. Many businesses make money by promoting sexual products or using sex to sell other items. What can we say in response to this?

The Christian ideal provides stability for society and a source of companionship for those involved. It provides a context for bringing children into the world and for raising them to be responsible adults to carry out their roles in society, including their sexual roles. It fits with the way the sexual apparatus is designed to work. On another level, it is intended to picture the relationship of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:7-9; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3). Behind this there is an idea of intentionality, that God designed us and our bodies to work a certain way (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25; Matthew 19:3-6). But on the deeper level, it reflects a particular concept of love, one that is based on commitment, responsibility, and putting others before ourselves (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Philippians 2:1-11; Luke 10:25-37).

However, our current culture sees love as a subjective feeling that, left to itself, rarely lasts. Then it wants to see the lack of this feeling as a basis for breaking the relationship. It then encourages people simply to follow their impulses wherever they lead. And where this leads is to a context where few, if any, types of relationships are considered off limits. Ultimately, it produces an atmosphere dominated by selfishness, where people are willing to trample anyone or anything to obtain their desires. This also leads to a situation where it is more difficult to make a committed relationship work. The claim is then made that such a relationship cannot work.

If we are to turn this around, we must work to change people's opinions on the subject. This will require persuasion and will be helped by modeling the right kind of relationship. It will mean standing firm against the current direction of our culture and riding out the current wave of opposition. We will need to pick our fights and to approach them with love and kindness. And we need to extent a hand of help and forgiveness to those caught up in our culture's values. But we must stand firm on the principle.    

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