Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sex and Extremes

G. K. Chesterton points out that you can come to various unreasonable extremes as moral principles as a result of simplistic unguided development. But you cannot come up with one artistically balanced position without concluding there is a mind behind the position. He gives the example of noses. We could, by unguided development, obtain longer and longer noses until we all looked like Pinocchio. We could get less and less nose until we had no nose at all. But the right size of nose for having an interesting face is an artistic balance. But this is even clearer in the realm of ideas. And those who have this mindset not only advocate a simplistic extreme, but they regard everyone who disagrees with them as advocating the opposite extreme. One place where this outlook is evident is in our modern culture’s attitude toward sex.   

One simplistic direction of development in regard to sex is seeing more and more things being regarded as acceptable until everything is seen as appropriate. Or you could take the opposite tack and reach the position that sex in any form is totally wrong and to be avoided. The Bible takes neither of these extreme positions. The Scriptures say sex was created by God and is a good thing when used as He intended it, between a man and a woman within the committed relationship of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2-5; Proverbs 5:15-20; Ecclesiastes 9:9). Further, we are told this relationship of marriage is a good thing and is a picture of the relationship of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3; Revelation 19:7-9). However, we are also told that there is a virtue to remaining single and that different individuals have different gifts in this respect (1 Corinthians 7:6-9; 7:25-35; 9:5). This is not a simple picture, but a complex one. Sex and marriage are good, but only within the right context.

But we live in a culture that has made sex into an idol. This can result in the idea of accepting almost any kind of sex in any context. But it can also infiltrate into the context of marriage, claiming that if we only had the perfect sex life, we would be happy. Or we can believe that marriage will solve all our problems and if we could just get married or fix the marriage we have, we would be happy. And we can end up trying so hard to have a perfect marriage or sex life that we destroy the one we have. Or we can be so determined we must have these that we ignore God’s proper restraints in this area. We need to realize that we are imperfect people in an imperfect world and we cannot expect perfection here (Philippians 3:12-16; Galatians 5:17; Romans 8:18-25). Further, putting anything other than God as first place in our life is idolatry (Colossians 3:5; Matthew 6:24; Isaiah 43:10-13). And it is only through following God’s will that we can avoid simplistic approaches to this subject.

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