The Serious Truth about Casual Sex

By Beth Hyduke

When God made Adam and Eve, He defined marriage. One man, one woman, one flesh. But in a world where casual sex has become a culturally accepted norm, what constitutes a one-flesh marriage? Matthew 19:4-6 says:
[Jesus] answered, "Have you not read that He [God] who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together let no one separate."
This is a partial requote from Genesis 2 in which God created woman and gave her to Adam in marriage. So, a man and a woman becoming one flesh is supposed to be restricted to marital union between them. In 1 Corinthians 6:16, Paul mentions that a man and a woman become one flesh "bodily" through sex, but this is a one-dimensional perversion of the multi-dimensional "one flesh" God intends in and for marriage. Although sex is one important aspect of a marriage relationship, a marriage is really a unique institution between a couple that encompasses so much more "one-fleshedness." A man and his wife become one flesh not just in a physical way, but become one in a functional, lifelong way. Functional marriages are marriages in which both parties are pulling together in the same direction; husband and wife act as one to set priorities, work towards goals, raise a family, and make life decisions. This kind of unity between two people is only possible because God divinely ordains and performs this unique one-flesh union when a man and a woman come together in marriage.

Heterosexual individuals who have casual sex with each other and/or other partners is a very different scenario than a man and a wife having sex within an exclusive, committed marital relationship. A man and a woman who have sex outside of marriage aren't married, they are fornicators. The reason fornication is a sin is because it subverts the sexual structure that God created and established for all men and all women. God created sex (Genesis 2:18-25) and sex is therefore good (Genesis 1:31) but God chose to put a restriction on His creation of sex. It is to be between husband and wife only (Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5; Colossians 3:5-8). Any activity, relations, or even sexual fantasy or intention (Matthew 5:28) taking place outside the God-ordained structure of marriage is a perversion of what sex was intended to be. Adultery and fornication fall under the category of sexual immorality which the Bible sets apart from other sins because sexual sin is against your own body (1 Corinthians 6:18) and is self-destructive in nature (Proverbs 6:32).

Infidelity is one of the most common causes of failed marriages and relationship break-ups. Unfaithfulness is particularly damaging to relationships because it undermines trust, which is essential in an intimate relationship. The more intimate the relationship, the more trust is required. Many victims of infidelity find that continuing in the relationship proves to be too difficult since they feel that they can no longer trust the other person. Infidelity is such a destructive sin, Jesus makes it the single excuse for divorce (Matthew 19:9). The ability to forgive and show grace towards the other person who has wronged them would be essential to recovering from the hurt of infidelity.

Overcoming sexual sin is a lot like overcoming other sins, all of which can be habit-forming and addictive. First and foremost, victory from this sin (and any sin) is only ever found in Jesus Christ. You can make all the resolutions you want, you can put human effort into trying to do better, but it won't ever be enough to save you from your sin. Only Jesus can do that (i.e., Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8). When we come to Him in faith and repentance, God promises to extend His grace and forgiveness to us. The Bible says that believers enjoy a special relationship with God. A Christian becomes a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17). God promised that He will "cast our sins as far away as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12) and promises to forget our past sins (Jeremiah 31:34), including sexual sins.

James 1:14-15 offers a glimpse into the anatomy of the temptation-sin cycle: "Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." This vicious cycle commands every unbeliever's heart and rules in every unbeliever's life. Because of this, the Bible says unbelievers are "slaves to sin" (Romans 6:16-20; 2 Peter 2:19). But when you become a Christian, Christ breaks this cycle, once and for all. He sets you free from the compulsion to sin (Galatians 5:1; Romans 6:14) as well as the penalty of sin (Romans 8:1-2). Once you become a Christian, your body, with its self-centered appetite and worldly passions, no longer controls you; you control it (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Peter 1:6). It's not that Christians are free from experiencing temptation, it's that the overwhelming power and authority those things formerly held over you has been done away with in the Cross. As a Christian, whenever you come up against temptation, you have the God-given stuff it takes to be victorious against it, to learn and to practice self-control, and you make your body subject to the will and authority of Christ.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul specifically addresses sins of the body and his determination that it should not reign over him: "...I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body" (1 Corinthians 6:12-13). He concludes this thought in 1 Corinthians 9:27: "But I discipline my body and keep it under control." Jesus has set the Christian free from slavery to all sin, including sexual sin. We no longer serve the lusts of the flesh, but recognize that everything we are and everything we have, including our bodies, unequivocally belong to God. "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen who do not know God...for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

Image Credit: keresi72; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Personal-Relationships  | Sin-Evil

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Published on 3-21-17