“We are all personally, biologically, culturally and spiritually predisposed towards sexual sin – some of us are simply predisposed in ways that are more culturally acceptable. In the end, every one of us is a sexual sinner” -David Platt in his book Counter Culture
When sin entered the world, it entered into every area of our life. Even our affections are infected. We desire to do the opposite of what we should. No one is straight. Everyone is skewed. This idea was introduced to me in a podcast by Jackie Hill Perry, a favorite speaker of mine.
I think sometimes people don’t realize that the Christian sexual ethic is not something ANYONE is predisposed to. No one, apart from the saving work of Jesus changing their desires, wants to be committed to only one person for life, and never have a single lustful thought about anyone.
I’m going to be honest, lately in my own struggle against sexual sin, I’ve caught myself deep down wondering why God is such a kill-joy. Why do we wait to have sex until we’re married? Why does God only esteem heterosexual marriage? Why does He create people one way and then demand that they are not allowed to live that way?
I am reading a book called Gospel Fluency, by Jeff Vanderstelt. I have only read two chapters so far, and already have been so challenged and encouraged! He has reminded me that yet again the answer to these questions is Jesus. It is so cliché , yet so Biblical. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, responds to their accusation that he wasn’t an eloquent or philosophical enough by saying: “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (2:2). The gospel is not something that we move on from after we become a christian – we spend the rest of our lives learning to apply the gospel to every part of our life!
So why is sexual intimacy created for marriage?
In the Bible, God describes His relationship with us as a marriage. He is the bridegroom, and the church, His people, are the bride. God pursues us throughout history, even though the bride is anything but virtuous. In fact, even though the bride actively pursues other lovers, breaking their pledge, “whoring” after other gods (Judges 2:17), God remains faithful to us.
I love the way Vanderstelt puts it:
Jesus loved His bride enough to serve her and give up his life as a ransom for her. She was unfaithful to Him. She gave herself to others. She did not wait for Him, but grew impatient and easily gave in to those not committed to a covenant relationship. And yet, He paid the bride price of His own life to purchase her out of her adulterous enslavement. His death on the cross paid the debt for her sin and cleansed her of all her impurities. With His own life, He purchased for her a perfectly pure wedding dress. In fact, the dress she gets to wear is His own righteousness, which covers the shame of her sin. He died to give her freedom, purity, and unending love. Then he rose again and went to prepare a place for her. One day, He will come for His bride and take her home to dwell with Him forever. And though it has been more than two thousand years, He is patiently waiting for that day when His bride will be fully prepared, and He will consummate the marriage at the greatest wedding party of all eternity. He has been waiting faithfully all this time for His bride. Talk about a faithful, loving, and patient lover who is willing to wait for the love of His life! (Gospel Fluency, page 32-33)
I’ve been told my whole life that marriage is supposed to be a picture of Jesus and the church, but I don’t think I have ever understood that until today. I can be content waiting until marriage because Jesus has waited for me. I can remain faithful to one person because Jesus has been faithful to us.
Why does the struggle against sexual sin have to be so hard?
Jesus faced the ultimate struggle against all sin, and never gave in. Every temptation we face He too faced (Hebrews 4:15). Heck, Jesus was celibate his entire 30-some years on earth, even in the midst of a culture that placed extreme importance on getting married and producing children. Yet Jesus joyfully said no, even to his own desires. Jesus prayed a prayer before going to the cross that I believe he must have prayed many times in His life: “Father, take this cup from me. But not my will but yours be done”.
Jesus calls us all to say a profound no to ourselves. But again, this is because He too said no to himself. He gave everything – his life and his death – for us. How can we not give our everything to Him?