Our society is in rebellion against God. And it’s rebelling against His standards for relating to the opposite sex. Sadly, many Christians are more influenced by a sexually degraded world than by God’s standards for sexual expression, and so, within evangelical churches and Messianic synagogues, boundaries are frequently crossed. And when that happens, often nothing is done by those in leadership. The elders of our synagogue want us to be different and do better. Consider this: From the beginning, God made us male and female. He designed us with two genders. He designed those two genders for sexual expression. For our good, God gave us standards for relating to the opposite sex. He gave us boundaries in which to express our sexuality. Respecting His standards and expressing our sexuality within His boundaries is not only allowed, but is good. It is encouraged. However, the opposite is true: Expressing our sexuality outside of God’s boundaries is wrong and destructive and is very much discouraged – see Proverbs 5. Like a fire in a wood-burning stove, which produces warmth and light and a cheery ambiance, sex is good when expressed between a husband and wife. But also like fire, it destroys when removed from its confines. It can result in sexually transmitted diseases and children that the man and the woman are not prepared to care for, or not willing to care for. People can feel used, dirtied, sullied. They can feel liked they’ve lost something precious. They can feel cheapened, diminished, worthless. They can feel anger, shame, guilt. Heartache. Sadness. Remorse. Regret.
MORE ABOUT SEXUAL BOUNDARIES
When God made the first human being, He made him male. However, it was the Lord’s design to make a female who was suitable for him. Genesis 2: So the Lord God caused him to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a
woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. Adam 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.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. From this we learn that
: God wants a man and a woman to unite and become one flesh. They are to unite physically, sexually, spiritually, emotionally, financially and in every other important way. God wants sex to take place between a man and a woman who are married. It is not to take place before marriage. Adam and Eve did not engage in sexual activity before marriage. That means we are not to have sex or live together before marriage. We are not to “try things out to see if they work” before we are married. Nor is sex to take place outside of marriage. Adam and Eve did not have sex with anyone other than each other. Hebrews 13: Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.
MARRIAGE IS A COVENANT
Marriage is very special, very important. It’s a covenant, a contract that binds together a man and a woman. It is to last until death do us part – unless there are exceptional circumstances that break the covenant, like adultery. Malachi 2: The Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your marriage companion and your wife by covenant. Sex is designed by God to strengthen the bond between a husband and a wife. That bond can help us remain in our covenant relationship with our mate. God’s standard is no sex apart from a lifelong commitment.
CIRCUMCISION: A REMINDER OF SEXUAL BOUNDARIES
Circumcision is the sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his Jewish descendants. The part of the body that the Lord instructed us to use for this sign was the male’s sexual part. Why that part of the body? Why not his ear, thumb, toe or some other part of the body? I think the reason is that God wanted to remind us we are to obey His standards for sexual activity. Before a circumcised man engages in sex, his circumcision is to remind him that his sexual activity is to stay within God- ordained boundaries.
SEXUAL DESIRE AND TEMPTATION
God made us with gender. He made us male and female. He made us with the desire for sex. Because sexual desire can be very strong, we must be proactive and wise in our conduct, or we may yield to temptation and suffer for it; and we may cause others to suffer. God’s solution for sexual desire? Marriage. 1 Corinthians 7: Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband ..It’s better to marry than to burn with sexual desire. Sexual desire is strong. And we are weak. And temptation can be subtle. It’s foolish to trust our own hearts, or in our own willpower to restrain ourselves from yielding to the temptation to sexual immorality. If we are wise, we will put boundaries in place to prevent ourselves from yielding to temptation. And we will put boundaries in place before temptation arises. For example, we don’t go to private places by ourselves with the opposite sex. It’s too easy to sin. When we date, the man and the woman meet in a public setting. If we are in a house or apartment with the opposite sex, even if there is a chaperone present, we don’t go into a room and close the door. The door remains open.
THE PURPOSE OF DATING
The purpose of dating is for us to get to know the other person well enough to determine if they are right for us to marry. We get to know them. We introduce them to our friends and family and spiritual leaders. Maybe they will see things about them we’re not seeing, things we need to see. Maybe friends, family and spiritual leaders will say to us, “He or she is great. We feel good about you marrying this person.” Maybe they’ll say, “I’m seeing big problems with him or her. Please go slow.” Or, “I think you should end this relationship. He’s not right for you. She’s not right for you.” This is the purpose of dating. The purpose of dating is not for sexual stimulation or sexual gratification. We don’t want to encourage sexual desire before marriage. We want to restrain it. Anything more than a kiss on the cheek to say goodbye usually leads to other things.
SEX CLOUDS OUR JUDGMENT
If we engage in sex while dating, we form a bond with that person. If that happens, our ability to be objective is diminished. We may overlook things we shouldn’t overlook. We may ignore the red flags warning us that there are serious problems with this person and we shouldn’t marry him or her. Then, if we do ignore the warnings and marry that person, those serious problems are likely to cause serious harm to our marriage.
DON’T USE SEX TO GET YOUR MAN
Some women engage in sex before marriage to snag the man so that he’ll marry her. That works – sometimes. But it also doesn’t work – frequently. Many men have the attitude: Why buy the cow if I can get the milk for free? So, ladies, if you have sex before marriage, and you’re hoping that will cause that man to marry you, you might get the opposite of what you want. Sex to snag a man is not right. Don’t do it.
WOMEN ARE THE GATEKEEPERS
Ladies, if the man you’re interested in is suggesting that you engage in sex, or pressuring you to engage in sex, know that he is not conducting himself with honor. He is not fearing God. Tell him that he must immediately change his thinking and his ways or things are over. Ladies, you are the gatekeepers. The final decision to have sex is yours. You must be sure of God’s standards. And you must say no – clearly. Consistently. If you do say no, you may cause the man you’re interested in to get serious about God’s standards
, and do things God’s way.
FINAL PASSAGES FROM THE WORD OF GOD THAT TEACH US TO TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY
1 Thessalonians 4: God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor – not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Ephesians 5: Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 1 Corinthians 6: Don’t you know that those who do wrong will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality will inherit the kingdom of God. If that doesn’t put the fear of God in you to be sexually pure, I don’t know what will.