Devotional #5: Why Talk About Sexuality? Because God’s Life-Giving Boundaries Must Be Known
We made the argument yesterday that the more power something possesses, the more boundaries there ought to be around it. Since our sexuality is one of the most powerful forces in earth, we would expect that God – as a loving creator – would provide those boundaries.
You don’t have to go very far before you come to God’s gold standard for sex. In Genesis 1, we are told that God created us in his image as ‘male and female’. In Genesis 2, we are given the essential boundaries that govern how male and female are to share their sexuality.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” ~ Genesis 2:24-25.
Here’s the template of God’s will for a well-ordered, well-lived life: You grow up with a mom and a dad. Then you leave their protection and tutelage. Then you marry someone of the opposite sex. Then you have sex and start your own family. Wash, rinse, repeat. And this is how you enjoy and share the gift of your sexuality in a way that will not lead to shame or harm. Try and express your sexuality outside of this framework, all bets are off.
How can such a simple verse be made to say so much? We know that this particular passage carries such weight because Jesus himself pointed to it when he was asked if divorce was OK with God.
His answer? He quotes Genesis 1 and 2. “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?…What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”(Matthew 19:4-5).
Have you not read? That sentence is loaded.
- It tells us that what we read in the Bible is revelatory. Meaning, this is God revealing his will to us on the written page.
- Because it is revelatory, Jesus assumes that the Bible has authority to instruct us and direct us in moral decision-making.
- Because the Bible has authority, Jesus also assumes that the Bible is understandable to those who read it. Because there’s little sense in submitting yourself to the authority of a book’s revelation if you can’t make heads or tails out of its message.
Every sexual boundary that the Bible teaches ultimately traces its lineage back to this gold standard which God set up at the very beginning of things. If you want to know what “sin” is, then start with the gold standard, and work your way outwards. The rest of the Bible fleshes out this sexual ethic (strange sentence, but deal with it.)
Is doing things God’s way easy? No. The path to destruction is wide and easy, Jesus said. The path to life is narrow and hard. The path to destruction is marked with balloons, streamers and loud, festive music. The path to life is marked by a cross which you must pick up every day and carry, oftentimes alone. The path to destruction begins in flowery meadows and ends in the desert. The path to life begins in the wilderness and ends in paradise.
Those are the rules. This is the way life works. Which road will you choose to walk upon? The choice is yours.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. In addition to this website, his blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”.