From Christianity Magazine archives, documentation below.
The Biblical View of Sexuality
by Steve Patton
CHRISTIANS HAVE avoided few subjects as much as that of sex. To even say the word makes a lot of Christians very uncomfortable. Yet the sexual act is a frequent topic of discussion in the Bible and those discussions are not always negative. During a time when sex is being perverted and abused on every hand, it is time for Christians to emphasize, both publicly and privately, God’s stated views regarding sex. If we don’t, we will raise a generation that has little idea of the beauty and wholesomeness of true marital sexual love.
The basic principles of sexual relationships are clear from Scripture. First, sex is to be shared only between a male and a female. This is how God created mankind in the beginning. He taught Adam and Eve to cohabit when He said, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Few sins are pictured as repugnant to God as homosexuality. Homosexuals were to be put to death under the law of Moses (Leviticus 20:13). Paul pictured male and female homosexuals as the vilest of sinners (Romans 1:26–27). They will be lost eternally (1 Corinthians 6:9–10). The second important biblical principle is that sex is to be shared only in marriage. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.” Here is the only approved place for sexual relationships: a husband and wife sharing this wondrous experience only with each other. “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).
It seems, though, that these strong scriptural prohibitions of illicit sex have caused many Christians to believe that there is something wrong with all sex. They believe the Bible teaches that marital act is only for propagation of the race. Such an attitude has caused serious marital problems for many and limited proper discussion of this most important part of the marital relationship. Let’s get a clear understanding of God’s positive attitude toward sex.
God designed and made male and female. He pronounced them “very good.” Adam and Eve had the same capacity for sex (including the powerful sexual urges) that we have today. God meant for it to be that way. When God presented Adam with his wife, both Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). That is the way God intended for it to be. In the innocence of a perfect state in the garden, God intended the man and woman to fully enjoy each other. Regrettably, Satan has twisted and corrupted attitudes toward sex so that even Christians have trouble appreciating what God originally intended.
God also meant sex to be a very pleasurable and guiltless experience in marriage. He commanded Adam and Eve to engage in sex (Genesis 1:28). The wise man wrote in Proverbs 5:18–19: “Let your fountain be blessed; And rejoice in the wife of your youth.” How was he to do this? “Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And be ravished always with her love.” Solomon was extremely frank about such matters (see Song of Solomon 4:1–16). His figurative language was not intended to cover up his picture of his mutual enjoyment of each part of his bride’s body. What a man and woman do together in the marriage bed is honorable (Hebrews 13:4). Christians should learn to view the marital act with the same wholesomeness and beauty as does their God.
The mutual obligations that a husband and wife share are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 7. There Paul teaches that to withhold sex from your partner is a sin. Each is to recognize the power they have over their partner in this area and not abuse this power. No Christian uses the marital act as a reward for getting his or her way or withholds it as a punishment. Sex is not a tool. It is a gift of God for good to be shared in a loving and caring manner.
One other principle that I believe is being abused today is that of sex for procreation. It is obviously a God-given teaching. That does not mean that the act can only be engaged in for the purpose of producing offspring. Passages already examined clearly indicate it is also intended for pleasure. However, the narcissistic world we live in has produced people who marry but want no part of having children. They totally separate the marital act from procreation. I am convinced that such a practice is wrong. One of the purposes of marriage is to propagate the race. Christians who marry should want children. If ever there was a time when more godly children were needed, it is today. However, even among Christians, there are some who would be so selfish that they would want the pleasures of marriage but not the bother of children. I believe such people need to reexamine the purposes of marriage and see if they are not being selfish and ungodly in their attitudes and goals. Let us, however, not be too quick to judge a childless couple, for often they do desire children but have been unable to have them.
When God gave the capacity for sexual love, He gave us one of life’s most wonderful blessings. Let Christians proclaim the beauty of this blessing while also teaching its proper use. Even in a perverted and corrupt world Christians can enjoy such a blessing just as God intended.