One of the great testing grounds for covenant youth is sex. It takes a veritable mountain of faith to surface above the ocean of salacious material that the pervaders of filth spew forth round about us. The evidence is so overwhelming that one loathes to plumb the depths of such depravity, the scum that comes to the surface is telling enough. The public immorality of off-broadway, x-rated movies, pornography, etc. gives one a sufficient whiff of the putrification that really lies in the soul and private lives of depraved man as he gives expression to his lust.
Sex plays an important role in the degradation of man into the cesspool of his depravity.
The world of the reprobate wicked is increasing in iniquity. The nature of sin itself brings this about. The root of sin is in the human heart which is full of corruption, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, theft, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man,”Matt. 15:19, 20. This hatred has a direct effect upon the will of man, causing him to lust, “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death,” James 1:14, 15.
This nature of man expresses itself in all his evil works. As history progresses, man becomes more vile in his expression of sin. This is true in the individual person: the older he becomes the more entrenched he is in his sin. Likewise, through man’s relationship to others, society itself becomes more corrupt, governments fall because of moral depravity, and finally the whole world will become so wicked that God will declare that their cup of iniquity is full and Christ will return again to judge them and cast them into perdition forever.
In this process of moral decay, illicit sex comes to expression. Not that sex is itself the cause of wickedness or that sex is sinful in itself. The Scriptures make abundantly clear that sex was part of the original creation which God saw as good. The proper use of sex is part of the fruits of grace which the child of God receives in Jesus Christ. Rather, depraved man succeeds in taking this gift of God and using it in his lustful pleasure. In the process of spiritual decline, sex plays a significant role.
This becomes evident in the individual life of the sinner. Sexual sins undergo a process of decay. One can generalize to a degree and say that nudity is the early stage. This may express itself in many forms, all of which have this in common, the delight in the display of the naked human body. Whether this is in the flesh, pictures, or novels, the sin is the same, to entice to lust. Usually this leads to other forms of sexual sin. One soon becomes disillusioned with looking, he wants action. In the make believe world of the movies, the customer wants more than “flicks of flesh,” they want action. Similarly in every day life, one soon looks around for the experience of sex; he wants to get involved. This leads some to prostitution, others to illicit love affairs with their dates or casual acquaintances they have met at the drive-in or bar. Even this becomes boring after a time; it all seems too casual, the thrill disappears. As in the movies, so in real life, the next step is sex perversion. The only thrill left is to get involved in something unusual. Lesbianism, homosexuality, orgies, and other forms of sin worse than the beast, have their day at the theater and, according to the new media, in the every day life of many people.
The Word of God tells us that such a corruption of sex contributes greatly to the development of sin and ultimately to God’s full measure of righteous judgment upon fallen man. It is noteworthy that Paul in Romans 1describes homosexuality as the basest form of man’s depravity, see verses 26, 27. The sexual depravity is the result of God’s present judgment upon the wicked: “God gave them up unto vile affections,” Rom. 1:26. According to Jude 7. “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about-them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” These cities were so corrupt that God sent fire upon them, and this fire typifies the eternal fire of hell. They were ripe for judgment; their sexual perversion contributed to it. Peter describes the last days in terms of sexual evil, “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness . . . but these as natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption,” II Peter 2:10, 11. It surely is a sign for us that the end of the world is upon us. Man’s cup of iniquity is almost full. The “new morality” gives license to commit fornication and adultery and even sexual perversion. The leaders of the apostate church condone such evil in the “name of Christ.” This is anti-Christ, and no greater evil can be imagined than “church” leaders advocating and condoning every form of sexual sin.
Covenant young people are daily. confronted by this assault. One cannot escape the brash appeal which the unbelieving world and apostate church make in behalf of such corruption. It isn’t an under-ground movement. It permeates life on every side of us. Its influence is felt in the news media, radio, television, the press, all the way from lurid details of events happening in our present world to advertising garbed in sex-appeal. It’s apparent in public morals, whether it’s behavior at private clubs, public rock festivals, or the wide-open beach. It has a direct influence on styles of clothing, popular music, dating customs, dormitory life, etc.
Well may we ask, wherein lies the strength to be holy in the midst of all this evil. Particularly, at a time in life when the sex drive is strongest and the enticement to lust comes from every side, how can young people resist this evil? Considering that our dating customs allow young people considerable privacy on the one hand, and yet demand of them to wait with marriage until they have an extended education or can be financially self-supporting, how can covenant young people remain sexually pure through these times?
You know as well as I do that there are many answers offered to these questions. Almost without exception the leaders around us say, you can’t expect them to be sexless in these circumstances. They argue from a mere physical perspective, you can just as well tell them to go without eating as to deny them sex. This is based on the idea that the sex-drive is merely physical. The modern church agrees and therefore tries to free young people of guilt feelings by saying sex expressed with loving concern for others is not only permissible, but encouraged.
The Scripture takes a different view of sex. Consider the following:
1. Sex was part of God’s creation and therefore beautiful. God did not simply create the first male and female, He created the first married couple, husband and wife. The institution of marriage recorded in Gen. 2:24, 25 reflected upon the life of Adam and Eve.
2. Sin affected this gift of God. Through Adam’s fall, the use of this good gift became corrupted by natural man. God said, “The day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die.” This applied to man’s use of sex as well. Notice carefully, sex itself is not sinful any more than man’s body become sinful. Rather sex was subjected to the tyrannical use of sinful man.
3. The promise of Christ and His redemption gave hope for the victory over evil, see Gen. 3:15. This involved two things, the payment for sins committed and the freedom to cease from sin. Through Christ, Israel looked forward to the forgiveness of sins and the hope of perfect obedience. Hence in the Old Testament, there was need for the 7th commandment. The law showed Israel what constituted sin and their need for the Savior became evident. The blood of the mercy seat pointed to the covering, the oil of the lamps directed them to their future perfect obedience.
4. In Christ we have the strength to deal with all things in life, sex included, and to subject it all in the service of Jesus Christ to the glory of God. This includes the following:
First, through the gospel of Christ the love of God enters our hearts. This gospel tells us what the purpose of sex is, viz. marriage, to be used within the bonds of marriage for mutual happiness and godly service. Hence the Bible speaks of marriage as honorable, Heb. 13:4 and a great mystery, Eph. 5:31, 32.
Secondly, sexual expression apart from marriage is sin. It is beneficial to read, “Ann Landers Talks to Teen-agers about Sex,” or Evelyn Duvall’s, “Why Wait till Marriage.” They give us many cogent reasons why pre-marital sex is dangerous, e.g. fear of pregnancy, venereal disease, jeopardize plans for future life, guilt feelings, sex on the sly is dirty, breaks up romances, etc. Yet they do not deal with the one thing most significant for covenant youth. It is wrong because it is sin against God. We cannot express our love for God by sexual immorality: rather we show contempt. In Christ we admit this and desire to show our love by obeying His will.
Thirdly, the spiritual strength to overcome temptation is found in Christ alone. Just think, we are married to Christ. According to Gal. 3:28, we are not male nor female in Christ, we are all one. Our relationship to Christ is not sexual, it is spiritual. We are members of His flesh and bones, Eph. 5:30. As the body of Christ, we receive our strength and direction from our head. Through this union of faith, our life is His life, “For to me to live is Christ,” Phil. 1:21. Or, “I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me,” Gal. 2:20. This life of grace enables us to strive in our calling to put sex in its proper place. Sex is not just a natural drive, it is one part of the body which is the temple of God and which must be held in subjection in service to Him, I Cor. 9:27.
Fourthly, since the life of Christ is still expressed in our flesh, Phil. 1:22, we still sin. None of us is sexually pure throughout, see Matt. 5:28. There is hope for the sinner; we may go to God through Christ and ask forgiveness and strength.
From this we may conclude two things.
First, we must flee from everything that would entice us to lust and thereby sin against God. We are not obedient children if we know that certain things lead us to sin and still continue in them. We must seek what is right. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin,” James 4:17. Dirty novels, lustful movies and television, suggestive songs, sexy clothing, long hours in the dark on the couch or in the back seat of the car, alcohol and drugs cannot produce the works of righteousness. It entices to lust and when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin. As Christian young people we must recognize that Christ taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” How can we sincerely pray this and deliberately walk into temptation ourselves?
Secondly, we recognize that Christ is the source of our spiritual strength and therefore we must walk in close fellowship with Him. How we must read the love letter our “Husband” has sent to us calling us to be faithful to Him and assuring us that He will return shortly for the wedding. How we must resist all suitors who would beckon us into immorality. We must be on our knees in prayer to God asking Him for grace to be obedient. We need the fellowship of His Church and the preaching of the gospel on a regular basis. We must spend quiet moments reflecting upon this fellowship with Him.