Today's post was written by Shawn Grubb. She and her husband Rob lead a couples small group at Brook Hills. Click here to read Shawn's previous post ("Purity In A Perverted World") on the BH Women Blog.
Yesterday, Dawn Stephens' post discussed how to get started when having the sex talk with your kids. If you missed that post, click here to read it. For today, Shawn Grubb piggybacks on that subject by providing foundational information about God's design for sex, and this post contains a selection from the "Developing a Generation of Sexual Purity" booklet that she and her husband wrote.
In the Beginning
God is the architect, engineer, and builder of sex. It is a carefully planned part of our humanity. It was created for our good and His glory. God’s Word says in Genesis 1:31 that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Then, in Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The God of this universe said that man needed a “helper” (which is “ezer” in Hebrew for “strong aid”). In order to fulfill this need, God would craft woman – the perfect partner for man.
When God told Adam to name all the animals, Adam noticed he did not have a suitable companion. “So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air, and all beasts of the fields. But for Adam no suitable helper was found,” (Genesis 2:20). Then God formed woman from the rib he took from Adam and brought her to the man and he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.” In the next verse (Genesis 2:24), God says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” They are united, as husband and wife and the two become one flesh through the sexual union. This sexual union was God’s idea, not ours. Sin was nowhere in the story to this point. Sex was created by God as a beautiful gift to man and woman.
Take a minute and let this Truth wash over you. So often, as women we have allowed the sin of this world, the perversion of Satan, and our own hurts and pains to cloud our vision of God’s design. Think about this Truth. God created sex. There was no sin anywhere around when Adam and Eve had sex for the first time. It was beautiful. It was intimate. It was good.
In Genesis 1:27-28, we see the first statement that God makes to Adam and Eve after their creation. “So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it’.” No doubt God is reveling in his creation of Adam and Eve, as sexual beings. It was beautiful! God said that it was very good (Genesis 1:31).
Shame & Sex
Where did the shame come in? Why all the fear concerning sex? Why all the perversion? The shame of sex came when man and woman chose to sin, in the very next chapter of Genesis. They deliberately rebelled against a Holy God. At that moment, everything changed for mankind. Much happened as a result of the fall of man. From one sin came all sickness, death, disease, shame, fear, secrets, and ultimately separation from God. It was at that point that Satan began distorting our view of the sexual union. Suddenly, man and woman felt ashamed and they hid themselves from God, (Genesis 3:7).
One of the realities of sin is that its effects swiftly spread, like toxic waste spilled in a rushing river. Satan has deceived and polluted our world with his lies about sex. Sexual immorality is one of the most rampant, least addressed sins we face today. Check out these statistics:
- “Most experts in the field agree that somewhere over 60% of American teenagers have had sexual intercourse by the time they finish high school. (Lillian B. Rubin, Erotic Wars, Farrar, Straus $ Giroux, New York, 1990)
- 11 million adults visit adult-only websites in a typical week. (Leadership Journal, Winter 2006, pg. 35)
- One million children are forced to work in the sex industry every year. Between 100,000 and 300,000 children in America are at risk for being trafficked into the sex industry each year. (Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 2007)
- Since Random House bought the rights to the trilogy in 2012, the series, “Fifty Shades of Grey” has sold well over 100 million copies worldwide. Trailers for the movie adaptation of the first book have been viewed 250 million times, according to an ad aired in early February; it grossed over $240 million at the box office in its opening weekend.
With statistics like this, you may wonder if there is any hope. Are we destined to live a life of shame because of the fall and Satan’s influence in our world? Or is there a solution? If so, what is the solution? Certainly, there must be a way to reverse the trend that is so prevalent in our culture today. The Bible tells us that with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27)! Romans 8:1 says that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” That is why Jesus endured the cross. We don’t have to be doomed to a life of darkness and defeat and sexual perversion. Christ died on the cross to restore us back to Himself and to bring us from darkness to light. 1 John 1:6-7 says, “If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Jesus is the one who purifies us from our sins. Therefore, in order to change, we must first trust in the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our sins and begin to address the lies we have believed regarding sex. There is no way we can dream about training our children in the truth about sex, if we don’t know it ourselves! There’s no way we can dream of having healthy marriages, if we don’t allow Word of God to renew our thinking and change our behaviors.
Lies About Sex & Our Pasts
What lies has the world fed us regarding sex? What does God say about sex? What should we tell our children? Most of us didn’t hear the truth from God’s Word about sex from our parents. We had to learn it on our own or from our friends. Now it is time to transform our thinking. Romans 12:2 says that we do not have “to be conformed to the patterns of this world, but we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds!” It is time for us as Christian parents to renew our thinking concerning the sexual union. When we do this, we will experience freedom in our marriages and will be able to enjoy the intimacy with our spouse that God intended. As a result, we will be able to hand down a legacy to our children that will promote purity in their lives. As we embrace this purity, we will all be more equipped to fight the enemy’s schemes to pervert and misuse God’s original design. We will be able to take up the full armor of God and make a difference in our world, and by the Grace of God, we can begin to change the statistics we have just read.
Every person has a past. Sometimes that past has been very painful. We may have made wrong choices that have brought difficulty into our lives. Or maybe our pain is a result of someone else’s choice to sin (i.e. rape, incest, abuse). Regardless, when we have been hurt by sexual sin, whether the hurt came from our own sin or the world inflicting that sin upon us, this distorts our view of sex. We have a cloudy view of what God’s original intent for sex was. So, please take a minute and ask the Lord Jesus to open your heart and mind to His design. Ask Him to take this truth and wash away all the lies concerning sex and all the perversion this world has handed to us. Ask Him to clear your vision so that you can see His beautiful design absent of the stain of sin.
Jesus says in John 8:31-32, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” If the Truth sets us free, the lie is what binds us. Jesus says in John 8:44 that the devil is the “father of lies.” In order to walk in freedom regarding sex, we must allow the Lord to show us the lies we have believed and we must hold them up to the Word of God. We must adjust our beliefs to line up with the God’s Truth.
God’s Truth Concerning Sex
TRUTH #1: God’s design for sex has always been procreation.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it’.” (Genesis 1:27-28)
The very first statement that God made to Adam and Eve is about blessing them in their procreation. God is taking great pleasure in his creation of Adam and Eve as sexual beings. Humankind goes forth from the hands of the Creator with this first command to flourish, fill the earth with their kind, and exercise their dominion over the other earthly creatures. So, in the very beginning of time, God’s command was to go, fill the earth through procreation and subdue it. God said it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Adam and Eve were, no doubt, quite happy to obey.
TRUTH #2: God’s design for sex has always been intimacy and knowledge.
“For this reason the man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
This coming together as one flesh is expressing a closeness and an intimacy that only can be experienced through the joining together in sexual intercourse. Poet-farmer Wendell Berry talks about sexuality in life, he explains, “it is centered on marriage, which joins two living souls as closely as, in this world, they can be joined. This joining of two who know, love and trust one another brings them in the same breath in the freedom of sexual consent and into the fullest earthly realization of the image of God. From their joining, other living souls come into being, and with them great responsibilities that are unending, fearful and joyful” (Sex Economy, Freedom and Community).
This intimacy within the marriage covenant brings a deep level of knowledge that can only be understood through this oneness. “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain” (Genesis 4:1). The Hebrew word used here for “knew” is the word “yada.” This word means to have a deep knowledge of something and is translated as sexual intercourse here in this text. Through God’s gift of sex, a husband and wife receive an intimate knowledge of one another that they have with no one else. This knowledge brings a depth to their relationship, like no other here on earth.
*Some of the above two paragraphs were adapted from Intimate Issues by Linda Dillows and Lorraine Pintus.
TRUTH #3: God designed sex to be a mysterious picture of Christ and the Church.
When husband and wife come together as one flesh in purity, it is a mystery on many different levels. The union between husband and wife pleases God so very much when kept pure. This relationship is so beautiful to God that He chose to compare the husband/wife relationship to Christ and the church.
In Ephesians 5:31-32 the apostle Paul writes, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.” This marriage relationship and the intimacy God has given us through sexual union is actually an icon of the sacred union between Christ and the church! This is truly a mystery that deserves our time and prayer to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what this means. No wonder Satan is attacking so many marriages through sexual deceit and adultery! Marriage is sacred to God and is a covenant relationship that is precious in God’s eyes. Marriage is meant to be a picture for the world to see the beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ.
TRUTH #4: God designed sex not just as a physical act; it is a spiritual act that brings glory to our Creator.
“So God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
We have been created in the image of God. Think about it! God created both man and woman in His likeness. So what happens when the two come together in one flesh? This is a beautiful picture of God’s character, the fullest earthly realization of the image of God! God’s glorious plan is brought to oneness between man and woman.
Sex is not just a physical act. Glenn Stanton writes, “The human sexual embrace, this most intimate and ultimate of all human giving and vulnerability, ought to take place in a union of total and permanent surrender of two people. That’s what marriage is: both public and personal dedication of a man and woman to forsake all and give themselves fully – body, mind, spirit – to another. It is impossible to separate the union. Where did we ever get the idea that we can separate our bodies from our mind and spirits and that our bodies could do whatever they like without consequences for the rest of our being?” (God’s Design for Sex series, How We Dishonor God in our Sex Lives). God, who is Triune, has created us in His image. We are made up of three parts: mind, soul and body. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Sex does not just affect us physically; it affects our mind, our soul and our body. When husband and wife come together in sexual union, it is a glorious picture of the image of God that we represent as His creation.
Truth #5: God designed sex to help guard us from temptation.
God’s gift of sexuality can be used powerfully for good or misused for evil. His gift is used for good through procreation, intimacy, knowledge, and a representation of the relationship between Christ and the church! God’s Word warns us of the temptations of sexual immorality, in which men and women take his gift and use it for evil.
Proverbs 5:15 instructs, “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” 1 Corinthians 7:2, 5 also speaks about sex in marriage: “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
The Christian deprived of regular sexual activity with his or her spouse may be tempted by Satan to sexual immorality. By no means does this suggest that if someone falls into sexual sin that it is his or her spouse’s fault. Just a few chapters later in 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul writes, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” Clearly, we must take responsibility of our own sin and choose to flee temptation. However, we cannot deny Paul’s distinct call on the husband and wife to take seriously our obligation within the marriage bed.
TRUTH #6: God designed sex for our pleasure.
Proverbs 5:18-19 “May your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” Yes! God wants you to enjoy your spouse. The sexual union in marriage is to be enjoyed by both husband and wife. Certainly every situation is different, but you may be thinking… “Not in my marriage!” The world tells us that the husband desires sex anytime, anywhere, for any reason, and the woman often dreads sex anytime, anywhere and for any reason. Is this just the way God made us, or is this another lie the enemy has fed us?
Let us look one more time in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, Paul writes, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.”
All too often we hear the first part of this Scripture, “the wife’s body does not belong to her alone…” but we leave the last part out. Did God give us different sex drives to torture us? Absolutely not! God did not create sex to be a hassle or a duty. Sex is God’s beautiful creation, given to us for many reasons, in which our pleasure is a part of that. He could have chosen to allow us to procreate by kissing or holding hands. Remember, He is God, and He created everything just the way He desired. We firmly believe that God’s design for sex was given for our enjoyment. This doesn’t mean that we don’t go through days or even seasons that our desire for our spouse may be at a minimal level. During these seasons, we must rely heavily on God’s grace, choose to obey his Word, and diligently pray for God’s blessing over our sexual union.
Pleasure is great! God is clearly not against us enjoying our sexual relationship within the context of marriage. However, keep in mind that sexual pleasure is a byproduct – an outgrowth of other things that are more important. If we pursue pleasure for pleasure’s sake, we stand a chance of it steering us wrong. We can experience pleasure from doing wrong, as well as from doing what’s right. There can be immediate fleshly pleasure in some of the most hideous sexual sins. So, let us seek first to honor God in our marriages, in our lives and in the sexual union with our spouses by being servant-hearted and selfless. Then we can trust God to bring the pleasure to our sexual relationship with our spouse that He ordains.
In summary, God’s design for sex is for procreation, intimacy, and knowledge. He has created the intimacy in marriage to mysteriously represent the intimacy of Christ and the church. This is not just a physical act, but a spiritual joining together of two people. When this intimacy is kept pure, it brings great glory and reveals the fullest earthly realization of the image of God. In addition to all of this, God designed sex to guard us from temptation and bring pleasure to the marriage relationship.
A final note to moms (and dads) seeking to train children in God’s design for sex and purity
Let us be aware that one of the ways that sin has stained our minds concerning our desire for sex is through a negative message on this topic. Most of us had parents that chose to remain silent about sex. Then others of us had parents that did choose to “have the talk.” However, it probably went something like this… “Here is a book, read it and if you have any questions let me know. And by the way, this is not something you should do before you get married. It is wrong and is a sin. You could get pregnant or even end up with some disease!” NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE!
Yes, these are all true statements about sex outside of marriage, but is it the best message to start with as we begin the education process with our children? Fast-forward a few years… a daughter gets married and the parents give the newlyweds their blessing and say, “go and enjoy!!” Wait! It’s not that simple. Our minds are programmed… “Sex is bad, it is a sin, it is wrong.” How do we just automatically push erase and learn to enjoy what God has given us?
Sex is a gift! Has anyone told you that? Has anyone told our children that? What should they think about the sexual union between husband and wife? How are they supposed to know the truth if we don’t tell them? Recognize that these negative messages are motivated by fear. We think if we scare our kids away from sex, then they will not have sex until they are married. In the meantime, we are choosing not to disciple our children in the Truth regarding God’s design for sex. The beauty and glory of the sexual union should be planted in our children from the beginning. There is a time and place to explain the consequences of sexual immorality but, ideally, not until after the truth has been planted. Out of this truth will grow righteousness and purity.
These truths are much too profound to go untouched! It is time to embrace this subject with God’s TRUTH and expose all darkness as it relates to the beauty of the sexual union within marriage. Through the power of the cross and the restoration it brings and through the power of God’s Word, God will bring forth a generation that is sexually pure! We can also regain the ground that the enemy has destroyed in our own marriages. It’s time to go to battle for our marriages and our children’s purity. The war between Satan and Jesus has already been won. However, the battles over our sexual purity and our children’s sexual purity still rage on. A generation of sexual purity is hanging in the balance. Christian parents, it is time to rise up and fight this battle! Embrace it in TRUTH! “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” (John 8:32).