Book Divine Sex FREE Online Part 3 of 4

Also, Check out: http://inkaboutit4u.com/?p=Web_Pages_List

Pages 194 to 260

of their daughters, or by eventual inclusion of prostitution in their

ceremonies. If the priest’s daughters could prostitute, the practice

would inevitably be joined to their religious practice. Therefore, by

this law, God eliminated that danger.

The priest must marry only a virgin, (Lev. 21:13, 14). If the

foregoing law prohibits all prostitution then this law necessarily

prohibits anyone marrying a non-virgin. No one takes this position.

But let us be consistent in our treatment of these laws.

Israel commits “harlotry” with Canaanite women. This is

connected with idolatry, (Num. 25:1-3). So again, this

condemnation is not against harlotry as such, but against religious

harlotry.

A daughter is condemned for “playing the harlot in her father’s

house,” (Deut. 22:13-21). It is not clear whether this daughter had

actually received money for sex. The point is rather that she had

deprived her father and prospective husband of their rights in her.

The father had rights to expect his daughters to be pure vessels by

which Israelite men could obtain pure offspring. Anything that

compromised this also compromised her marriage worthiness. And

any Israelite man depended on the sexual exclusivity of his wife to

ensure that her offspring was unquestionably his. Any sexual

activity by the woman compromised this “guarantee of pure

lineage.” Thus all sex activity, including prostitution, by a daughter

still unmarried and living at home was unacceptable. What was

wrong with prostitution in Israel was not trading sex for money but

that such sexual practice removed sexual intercourse from the

framework of property and family hierarchy which normally

contained it and ensured that it was used for the benefit of the

family. Prostitution was wrong not because the sex act was immoral,

but because it stood outside the normal patriarchal system in which

the male head of a household owned one or more women as sexual

partners. Therefore prostitution threatened the interests of the

family by threatening to divide inheritance beyond legitimate

offspring. The man might think he had gained full value from the

sexual favors of the prostitute, but the family would see it as a

totally selfish act from which the family gained nothing. Once we

remove the factor of family hierarchy as relates to inheritance based

on genealogy, the basis of objecting to prostitution is also removed,

195

except for its use as part of cultic, pagan worship, or its practice by

a married woman or its being forced upon a daughter by her

parents.

There must be no ritual (cultic, religious) harlotry among either

the sons or the daughters of Israel, (Deut. 23:17). This prohibition,

as the others, is linked to and thus limited to the sex act used in

religious ritual.

Bring not the wages of a harlot or male cult prostitute into the

house of the Lord, (Deut. 23:18). This text recognizes the practice of

prostitution by both sexes. But because the sex act is ceremonially,

ritually “unclean” (as for example, ejaculation by a man either with

or without intercourse, Lev. 15:16-18) the money gained from

prostitution cannot be sanctified by bringing it as tithe.

Significantly, there is no criminal prosecution to be brought against

the prostitute. She or he simply cannot give tithes of their wages

because they are ceremonially “unclean” by virtue of connection

with emission of bodily fluids. Israel’s law did not prescribe that

the wages be taken away from either the man or woman. In the

midst of such prohibitions, why did God not simply make an

outright prohibition against prostitution under any circumstances?

Why do we have only a divine regulation of this practice to ensure

that:

[1 It does not violate the personal rights of a daughter;

[2 It does not compromise pure tribal lineage;

[3 It does not assume the character of adultery.

[4 It is not used in connection with religious worship;

These specific regulations, without a generic law against the

practice as such, make it obvious that the generic practice of

prostitution was not offensive to God, any more than other forms

of sexual activity offended Him. His concern with prostitution is

the same as in all other sexual matters. No sex act is acceptable if it

violates the good of another person (regulations 1, 2, 3 above), or if

it dishonors God (regulation 4 above). But if it violates neither

person or God, any sex act is acceptable.

God prophesies that Israel will play the harlot with Canaanite

gods, (Deut. 31:16). This harlotry involves God’s bride, giving

herself to other gods, thus adultery.

196

Spies go into the house of Rahab the “harlot,” (Josh. 2:1-24). No

word of rebuke is offered about her harlotry. According to Strong’s

concordance, (#7901), the word “lodge” which is translated “lay” in

every other place it appears, is often used in the sense of “sexual

connection”. Why did they go into a brothel? Could they find no

more appropriate place to hide? Did they seek sex? If so why no

correction, especially as they are on the brink of intense warfare. If

such “sin” would compromise their holiness before the Lord, why

is there no word of correction, and no repentance demanded? If

these men did engage in sex with Rahab or others who may have

been in her house, it was not inconsistent with the moral tone of the

time, nor is there any indication that it was inconsistent with God’s

moral standards.

It is clear that prostitution apparently was accepted in Israel, just

as it was when Judah lay with Tamar, except as relates to the

specific situation we have listed. All Israel knew Rahab was a harlot

and that the spies had gone into her house, (Josh. 6:17). She is

“saved,” is accepted into Israel, but we never read a word of her

“repenting” from prostitution. It is quite possible that Rahab

continued to ply her trade within Israel.

All Israel “plays the harlot” with Gideon’s breastplate, (Jdg. 8:27).

They could not have sex with his metal shield. They had ritual sex

with each other, treating the shield as an idol. They are condemned

because they are God’s Bride, married to Jehovah, thus committing

adultery. At Gideon’s death, Israel again plays the harlot with the

Baals, (Jdg. 8:33).

Gilead had sex with a “harlot” and she bore Jephthah. Gilead

was already married and had sons by his wife, (Jdg. 11:1, 2). No

word of correction or condemnation is spoken here. So what do

you think; that Gilead slipped one by God? Was Gilead really an

adulterer and somehow that fact just got lost in the shuffle? And

since someone knew about this event, and wrote it down, why was

no punishment brought against both Gilead and the prostitute?

The answer is obvious. No one in Israel looked askance at

prostitution and it was not enough of concern to God for Him to

say anything about it.

Samson has sex with a harlot in Gaza. Still God, without a word

of correction, fills him with miraculous power to carry off the city

197

gates, (Jdg. 16:1). This occasion again implies that prostitution was

common and unquestioned at this period. It is interesting that the

Lord did not depart from him while he was having sex with a

harlot, but while he was getting a haircut!

Two harlots dispute over the death on one of their sons, each

claiming to be the mother of the remaining son. Solomon resolves

the issue but brings no censure of the women for harlotry, (1 Kg.

3:16-28). Here is the wisest of all wise men; a God-chosen, Godanointed,

God favored ruler with supreme power and authority in

the land, whose responsibility before God is to rule Israel in

righteousness, to rule according to all that God’s law dictates. God

promises to bless Solomon if he walks in all God’s laws, (1 Kg.

9:4ff), threatening to curse him and his sons if they turn from God’s

laws. Now this supreme law-enforcement officer in Israel deals with

known prostitutes and speaks not a syllable to them about their

harlotry. Prostitution is legal in God’s nation of Israel, else this

situation is inexplicable. Why does Solomon not at least reproach

these women for the dangers, uncleanness, etc of their profession, if

that is truly the case with prostitution? Rather than reproach them,

Solomon uses his divinely anointed gift of wisdom in their behalf.

Then they evidently go their way, return to their profession, and all

without a single word suggesting that they should no longer

pursue this trade.

If prostitution was the evil we imagine it to be today, it would

have been so then. If it is wise to eliminate prostitution in the name

of moral reform, then why is it that no such moral reform was

initiated by the wisest man in all history, or by any other of God’s

anointed leaders? Solomon’s unparalleled wisdom would have found

the perfect solution to such a “moral blight,” if indeed God and

Israelite society thought it was such.

Prostitution was so common in Solomon’s day that he could

look out the window of his palace and see prostitutes plying their

trade “in the streets…on every corner,” (Prov. 7:6-12). His warning to

the “young man” to avoid her, in the context, refers to the married

harlot, who says “the man is not at home…” (vs. 19). It is not

prostitution that must be avoided, but that by a married woman,

which is adultery.

Jerusalem becomes a “harlot” and is condemned. Jerusalem is

“wed” to God so her harlotry is the sin of adultery. She is behaving

198

as if she is unmarried and free to have relations with whomever she

will, at her own price, (Isa. 1:21). This is the meaning of Isa. 3:16,

“Zion’s women are flirting with their eyes.”

In the day of destruction, 7 women will beg to be wed to one

man, (Isa. 4:1). There is no suggested condemnation here. Why

obvious sin in the former verses, with condemnation, but none here, if

God deplores prostitution as much as he does adultery?

Tyre is likened to a prostitute whose hire will be reserved for

the Lord! (Isa. 23:15-18). Why would – how could – the Lord reserve

for Himself the hire of a prostitute? Is it not unclean?

God condemned Israel for her adulteries with other nations, and

their false gods. Israel loved sex with men who had large penises

(Strong’s #1320) and was so depraved that she paid them to have sex

with her! (Ezek. 16:26-33). Two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah are

used to illustrate the degraded degree of Israel’s unfaithfulness to

God who was Israel’s true husband and lover, (Ezek. 23). They

longed for the days when the Egyptians handled their nipples and

breasts, (vs.21, Moffatt translation). She longed for the Egyptians

who had large penises like those of donkeys, (vs.20, “flesh” is a

euphemism for penis, Strong’s # 1320).

Many people have trouble with such language. Squeamish

translators refuse to translate words literally, imagining them to be

“vulgar,” and in the process accusing the Holy Spirit of vulgarity!

Honestly, why can we not see that God and the Holy Spirit are not

embarrassed about sex, nor hesitant to talk about it in the clearest

terms. It is not indelicate for God to refer to a penis. He created it

and knows what is proper or improper regarding it. The Holy

Spirit not only led Ezekiel to write about penises as large as those

of donkeys, but also wrote about how much semen they ejaculated,

(vs. 20). Those who read or listened to Ezekiel’s message were not

offended by his bold imagery. Their offense would only have been

in their being categorized as unfaithful, whorish wives, whose

destiny was God’s punishment.

God’s curse upon unfaithful Israel, is that “your wife will become

a prostitute in the city,” (Amos 7:17). Note the consistent word about

the sinfulness of prostitution by a married woman, yet no such

word about such conduct by unmarried women. Was it allowable

199

for unmarried women, by their own decision, to sell their sexual

favors at their own price? Evidently so.

Samaria is cursed because she “gathered her gifts from the wages of

a prostitute….” (Micah 1:7). This is the same as accusing her of

adultery because Samaria had spiritually fornicated with the ten

tribes of Israel who were part of God’s wife.

Nineveh is cursed because of “wanton lust of a harlot…who

enslaves nations by prostitution and witchcraft,” (Nahum 3:4ff). So God

will “expose her nakedness,” (3:8). In all such cases, “exposing

nakedness” is to force sexual exposure upon one. This has nothing

to do with any supposed inherent shamefulness of physical

nakedness.

“Shall I take the members of Christ and join them to a harlot? Never!

He who unites with a harlot is one flesh with her,” (1 Cor. 6:15, 16). This

at first sight seems to be outright condemnation of prostitution

under any circumstances. But considering the local situation of the

church in Corinth, there is a better explanation that fits with the

Biblical tolerance of prostitution we find everywhere else.

The city of Corinth was a Gentile city, completely devoted to

sexual religious ceremony, with its inevitable religious prostitution.

Pagan worship in Corinth was so universally practiced among its

populace that the verb, to “Corinthianize” was coined to signify the

act of prostitution. (Adam Clark, Commentary on Corinthians).

Since all the saints in the Corinthian church had come out of this

practice and all of them had engaged in it before their conversion, it

was necessary that they be instructed to do so no longer. But the

prohibition in its cultural and Scriptural context shows this to be a

reference to cultic prostitution. They must remember that they are

now members of Christ, and their bodies are now “temples of the

Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:15, 19). To join Christ’s “body” to an idol,

perverts God’s temple: it is unthinkable. By consorting with cultic

prostitutes, they would not merely have sex with them. Their act

made them part of pagan worship, and thus would defile their

“holy temple.” Because they belonged to Christ as Her espoused Bride,

to join with cultic prostitutes was to commit spiritual adultery

against Christ in exactly the same way Israel did against Jehovah in

the OT. Paul is referring to the same “adulterous” act of religious

prostitution as was common in the OT. He is not writing about the

200

sex act itself. If the sex act alone was involved it would be no more

defiling for the Corinthians than for any of the multitudes

throughout history which Scripture refers to, but without such a

warning.

Rahab the harlot is memorialized as a woman of great faith,

(Heb. 11:31). But there is no word of her “repenting” of her

prostitution. Indeed she is still identified as “the harlot.”

144,000 righteous saints were those who “were not defiled with

women, for they are virgins,” (Rev. 14:1-4). This is not a reference to

prostitution, but simply to the sex act.

“Babylon is fallen…she made all nations drink of her fornication,”

(Rev. 14:8).

Judgment is made against the great harlot…with whom kings of

earth committed fornication and earth’s inhabitants were made

drunk with the wine of her “fornication,” (Rev. 17:1-2). Her cup

was “filled with the filthiness of her fornication,” (vs. 4).

All nations drink the wine of “Babylon’s” fornication. Earth’s

kings commit fornication with her; and will mourn when she is

destroyed, (Rev. 18:3, 9).

God judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her

fornication, (Rev. 19:2). The “abominable…sexually immoral…have

their part in the lake of fire…” (Rev. 21:8).

All these references relate to unfaithfulness to God and

turning to the world for resource, safety, values, etc. God alone is

the True Source of all these things, and by rebelling against Him

and going back to the world one comes under condemnation as

consorting with an adulterous prostitute.

Comments from other authors:

“Harlot: a female prostitute; in the general sense, one who

engages in extra-marital sexual relations for commercial purposes.

Harlotry was condemned by the Israelites (Dt. 22:21; Prov. 23:27;

Amos 2:7). Its practitioners were held in low esteem (Gen. 34:31;

Mt. 21:31-32; Amos 7:17), regarded as religiously unclean (Lev. 21:

7, 9; 19:29).

201

Of far greater concern to the Israelite was the practice of cultic

prostitution common among the non Israelite religious (Num. 25:1)

particularly that of the Canaanite goddess Astarte. Both men (Dt.

23:18 Heb. keleb – “dog” or sodomite) and women dedicated their

life to the deity, performing sexual acts with the worshippers so as

to encourage the deified forces of nature to imitate them and thus

guarantee continued productivity and prosperity. Cultic

prostitution was specifically prohibited in the Hebrew faith, and

the wages earned by the practice rejected as temple offering (Dt.

23:17, 18). Nevertheless many gave in to the non-Israelite influence,

participating in the foreign rites and even introducing prostitution

into the Israelite cult.”

– Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, pg. 462 –

“A harlot is a woman who uses her sexual capacity for gain or

for pagan religious purposes. In contrast to the adulteress, she is

promiscuous and usually shows no regard for who her mate might

be. As early as Gen. 38 we read of it as an established custom. In the

ancient world a harlot who worked for gain usually belonged to

one of two classes of people. She might be a slave whose earnings

as a harlot went to her masters. Baby girls were often deserted by

their parents to die; these babies were frequently picked up and

raised for the purpose of prostitution. On other occasions free

women entered the profession. Prostitution was considered a

profession, and licenses were often required from the state. Most of

these women doubled as banquet musicians. If a prostitute was

free, she often became very rich. They were available for hire at

greatly varying prices. Prov. 6:26 says a prostitute would make

herself available for a loaf of bread, while the price Judah offered

Tamar was a kid, (Gen. 38:17). A harlot’s earnings were not

acceptable as offerings to God, (Dt. 23:18). OT indicates this practice

was carried on by men and well as women (esp. in cultic worship).

Matt. 21:31f shows that Jesus appealed to this class of people

with His message. In this passage the harlot is pictured as a part of

the lowest class of society, despised along with the tax collector.

In 1 Cor. 6:15-20, Paul shows that when the Christian goes to a

harlot he actually becomes one flesh with such a person. He says

that one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells should not be joined to a

202

prostitute. Such immorality is a sin against one’s own body, which

is the temple of God.”

– ISBE, VOL. 2, pg. 616, 617 –

Observations:

In spite of statements above, that Israel condemned harlotry,

there is no OT Scripture that says so. Because harlots were used in

cultic worship, that form of it was definitely prohibited. And

harlotry by a married woman was forbidden because such is

adultery. The only thing in all Scripture that appears to condemn

simple prostitution, is 1 Cor. 6:15-20. Because the context specifies

the “fornicator, idolater, adulterer, effeminate, and homosexual”,

vs. 9, as the “immorality” from which we must flee (vs. 18), we

need to think of the relationship which Scripture makes between

harlotry and these specific sins. The examples we read in Scripture

show harlotry is condemned when it involves adultery or is

connected with idolatry. Otherwise there is no condemnation. It

appears to be accepted as a woman’s (or man’s) right to choose

such a profession, even though it is not highly desirable for reasons

of its easy connections with pagan sexual worship and other forms

of sexual sin.

What is totally absent from Scripture, is condemnation of a

woman who, whether as an obedient slave or as a free woman,

chooses prostitution as her occupation, and becomes a professional

“courtesan.” OT condemns prostitution only under circumstances

in which the woman was attached to a family unit, under the

authority of her father, or where prostitution was used in pagan

worship. The man who visits a prostitute is never condemned. This

fact alone must be allowed to have its full weight as to the question

of the “inherent immorality” of prostitution. If the act itself is

immoral, it is just as immoral for the man as for the woman. That

God makes a distinction here, is proof that there is something other

than the act itself that makes prostitution sinful.

Two underlying principles seem to control much of what is

defined as legitimate or illegitimate, when specific practices are not

specifically forbidden.

One of the underlying principles is the right of a person to their

own body and its functions; which carries with it the right to be

compensated appropriately for the use of their body.

One who hires out his/her muscles for a day’s wage must be

paid those wages.

203

One who hires out his/her mental ability for a day’s wage must

be paid those wages.

One who hires out his/her sexual organs must be paid for such

use.

A woman may set her wages for sexual favors, and if she is

unmarried, and away from her father’s authority, there is

nothing in Scripture that condemns her.

Those who “rob” people of their “wages” are condemned in all

cases.

Therefore “rape” is punishable, because it steals what belongs

exclusively to another.

God’s law forbids a parent from prostituting their child.

Condemnation fell upon the parent, rather than the prostitute

herself, or even the person who might buy her sexual favors.

This law protects the personal right of the woman to control her

personal sexuality. Even parents cannot violate their children’s

rights to control of their sexuality.

This same girl, however, may exercise her personal volition

to freely choose the occupation of a prostitute. Because of its

connection with idol worship, prostitution was discouraged.

But it was not, in itself, condemned or punished. God’s law

says nothing about the free choice of a woman or a man who

seeks such a profession. Prostitution in the Bible, is

considered a sin/purity issue only insofar as it is an aspect of

pagan worship, or adultery.

Another underlying principle is that in all things, including sex,

excess is forbidden. As gluttony is excessive eating, and sin, so

excessive sex is condemned as “concupicence,” “licentious,” etc.

One aspect of polygamy and concubinage is the necessity of

being responsible for the well being of those with whom one has

sex. It appears that one can have as many wives, concubines, slaves,

as one has ability to provide for. This does not allow for

indiscriminate sexual conduct with everything that moves. Such

practice becomes excessive, lascivious, and rejects personal

responsibility toward those with whom sex is had. Still in this area,

just as in eating, drinking, etc. the responsibility is put upon the

individual to determine when the line is crossed into excess.

One benefit gained from this study is the realization that we

need to show greater compassion in dealing with prostitutes today.

When relating to them in any capacity, there is no validity in

204

shaming them for their lifestyle. We have no excuse for treating

them like moral trash. We can exercise greater wisdom, and much

more compassion in how we regard their practice of prostitution,

and how we treat them as persons.

Another thing that needs to be considered, is our social attitude

toward prostitution as something that should be made criminal.

This was never done by God, even in Israel, for whom he gave so

many laws that defined her holy and favored status in the world. If

God did not make prostitution a crime in His holy nation, we

should rethink our approach to this matter. A practice may be

offensive to many people for many reasons, but to make it a

criminal activity is not thereby justified.

A prostitute who honors God’s principles of judgment, mercy

and faith, may enter the kingdom of God before one who is

meticulous about purity while neglecting these other issues. (Matt.

21:31,32; 23:23). Did prostitutes quit this work when they came to

Jesus? To automatically assume that they did, begs the question of

whether they had the right under God’s law, of personal choice and

control over personal sexuality. It also rests on the assumption that

the sex act itself is unclean, and that prostitution is considered to be

a sin regardless of its form. We believe we have demonstrated

abundantly from Scripture, that these assumptions are wrong.

Prostitution is not inherently unclean, not sinful, not illegal in God’s

sight. The sex act involved in prostitution is no different from the

sex act enjoyed by a married couple. The act itself is innocent. The

act itself is clean. So the sex act, when performed by a prostitute

does not in itself become unclean on the basis of its being

commercialized. It becomes unclean only by association with

something else which God specifically forbids. If one avoids adultery,

cultic sex, and prostituting one’s children, prostitution appears to

be no more a moral issue than is coitus between married people.

 

205

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

FORBIDDEN SEX PRACTICES

 

This section gives God’s laws against the sex practices God

forbids. We do not include either “fornication” or “adultery”

because [1. “Fornication” is a generic word for all forbidden sex

which we discuss in detail in chapter 7, and; [2. “Adultery” is not

inherently a sex sin. It is “breaking the marriage bond; stealing

another’s mate.” Adultery is discussed in detail in chapter 12.

God was very specific about sex practices that we must not

experience. These practices are never permitted, because they either

involve abuse of the rights and well being of other people or they

dishonor God through association with idolatry or witchcraft. We

have said previously that sex acts are not condemned because of

any supposed inherent uncleanness. No sex act is unclean in itself.

What makes a sex act unclean or sinful is the added factor of its

harmful effects on other people or its dishonor to God. This is true

in every case. If a sex act does no harm to other people and does

not dishonor God, it is allowed to those who choose it.

The following list contains all the sex practices forbidden by

God.

 

Incest

 

After escaping from Sodom, Lot’s 2 daughters get him drunk

and have sex with him. Each one becomes pregnant and each bears

a son. There is no correction, nor any comment as to the morality of

this act, doubtless because this was the precursor to the “Levirate”

law by which a man’s lineage was continued when necessary, by

the closest male kin, (Gen. 19:30).

 

Amram marries his aunt, Jochebed who bears Moses & Aaron.

(Ex. 6:20). No hint is given here that this is wrong.

 

Several specific laws are given against certain forms of incest

and “lusting” after close kin, (Lev. 18:6ff).

 

Sex is forbidden among all blood relatives, (vs. 6). The next

verses specify that one cannot have sex with one’s:

Mother, (vs. 7).

 

Mother in law, (vs. 8).

 

Sister or step-sister, (vs. 9, 11).

 

Grandchildren, (vs. 10).

 

206

 

Aunt, father’s side, (vs. 12).

Aunt mother’s side (vs. 13).

Uncle, father’s side, or his wife, (vs. 14).

Daughter in law, (vs. 15).

Sister in law, (vs. 16).

Woman and daughter at the same time, or her grandchild (vs.

17).

Further:

One must not marry a woman and her sister “to be a rival” while

she lives, (vs. 18).

 

One must not give children to sexual worship of Molech, (vs.

21).

 

One must not have sex with a mother or mother-in-law. This sin

brings the death penalty to both, (Lev. 20:11).

 

Having sex with a daughter-in-law requires death penalty to

both, (Lev. 20:12).

 

If a man has sex with a sister on either side, both “cut off.” (Lev.

20:17).

 

If one has sex with an aunt they both shall “bear their guilt.”

(Lev. 20:19).

 

Having sex with an uncle’s wife causes the couple to die

childless, (Lev. 20:20).

 

If one has sex with a sister-in-law both will die childless, (Lev.

20:21).

 

A man cannot take his father’s wife, (Deut. 22:30; 27:20).

Cursed is a man who has sex with his sister, (Deut. 27:22).

Cursed is a man who has sex with his mother in law, (Deut.

27:23).

 

Incest with close kin is strictly forbidden. No explanation is

given for these laws but because of the nature of God’s laws, and

the nature of family relationships we can make a few good

assumptions. The nature of family relationships makes close blood

kinsmen especially vulnerable to manipulation, heartbreak,

 

 

jealousy and abuse. Close family members share emotional bonds

that make them especially vulnerable to sexual advances. Age

differences between family members make young ones “easy prey”

for adults who wish to take sexual advantage of them. Jealousy,

fear, disappointment, disillusionment, confusion – all such

emotions are too easily created by sex between close family

 

207

 

members. In such ways incest harms people. It is the nature of

God’s laws to forbid what is harmful to other people or

dishonoring to God. Therefore these incest laws must fit that

category. It is not the “uncleanness” of the sex act, but the harmful

effect of incest that makes it wrong.

 

Rape

 

Shechem rapes Dinah. Of this “rape” it was said that it “ought

not to be done,” (Gen.34:1). Rape is an assault against one’s right to

total control over one’s body/sexuality. Rape is violent theft of

one’s personal sexual property. Sex may be given freely but it

cannot be taken against a person’s will. This is theft of one’s person.

It is a disregard for personal property rights and a violent assault

against one’s personal dignity. It is punishable by death.

Absalom’s sister Tamar is beautiful & Amnon “loves her,” but

she is a virgin and he is afraid to “do anything to her,” that is, he is

afraid to ask her for sex, (2 Sam.13:1,2). Amnon feigns “illness,”

tricking Tamar into tending to him, and then demands sex, (vs. 3-

11). To do this is “disgraceful,” (vs. 12). She suggests that if he asks

the king (her father), he will give her to him, (vs. 13). This is

equivalent to “playing the harlot in her father’s house.” It is a violation

of the father’s authority over his children, who are his possessions.

Only by asking her father could there be legitimate sexual

enjoyment between them for she is still at home under her father’s

control, and any sexual activity on her part may compromise her

“marriageability.”

Amnon rapes Tamar then sends her away in disgust, (vs. 14-16).

This sending away is “worse” than the rape because it denies the

responsibility associated with sexual relationships. Having stolen

her personal sexual property he is now obligated to care and

provide for her if only by paying a money price to her and her

father. By simply kicking her out of his tent he shows utter

contempt for her person, her rights to her own body and his own

irresponsibility for what he has done.

 

Bestiality

 

Having sex with animals is strictly forbidden, (Lev. 18:23).

If a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and

animal are to be killed, (Lev. 20:15-16).

 

208

 

God curses one who has sex with an animal, (Deut. 27:21).

Bestiality is a rejection of proper human relationships in sexual

activity. God created humans to have sex only with humans. To do

otherwise is “confusion,” is “abomination,” and is worthy of death.

Humans must remain within their species for sexual purposes, and

any confusion of that is a rejection of God’s will for human

sexuality. Bestiality is a broad-based rejection of appropriate

human relationships; a wholesale breach of love for neighbors.

Certain forms of homosexuality

We have developed the Biblical teaching on homosexuality in a

full-length book entitled God Is Not A Homophobe. This issue is of

such magnitude and of such importance to both Christians and

non-Christians, that we cannot possibly do it justice in a brief

reference here. For detailed discussion of the following texts see

our book on this subject. We will offer only a brief sketch of the

facts.

The Bible does not condemn what we moderns call

“homosexuality.” The Biblical authors did not address what we call

a consensual, same-sex lifestyle. However, the Bible does condemn

certain homosexual practices just as it condemns certain

heterosexual practices. Here then are the homosexual practices

condemned by God:

Attempted homosexual rape, (Gen.19). The story of Sodom

and Gomorrah has nothing to do with homosexuality per se. No

homosexual act was committed in this text. It deals only with

attempted homosexual rape of Lots angelic visitors. No Biblical

text refers to Sodom’s sin as homosexuality.

Attempted homosexual rape, (Jdg. 19:22-25). No homosexual

act was committed in this text. The actual sin committed was

heterosexual rape which resulted in the death of the victim.

A male must not lie with a male “as one lies with a woman,”

(Lev. 18:22; 20:13). The penalty is death. The qualifying phrase

“as one lies with a woman,” makes this a reference to humiliation

of another man by penetrating him, as well as a reference to

male cult prostitution. It is the same act as the men of Sodom

attempted. Sexually penetrating strangers and captives was

common practice in the cultures surrounding Israel. The

purpose of this practice was purely vindictive, violent

humiliation which accounts for its prohibition.

 

209

 

Male cult prostitution is forbidden, (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Dt.

23:17f; l Kg. 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kg. 23:7; Job. 36:14). Such

pagan sex-worship may or may not have involved homosexual

acts. Heterosexual cult prostitution is also forbidden. In neither

case is the “sexual orientation” of import. The connection of

these acts with idol worship dishonors God and for that reason

they are forbidden.

God abandoned a segment of humanity to “sexual impurity

and degrading their bodies with one another” and to practicing

“unnatural acts” (Rom. 1:24-27). What is “unnatural” about these

acts is not specified in this text, but we guess that it is contained

in the phrase “with one another.” Though the text does not

actually say it, our conclusion is that “men with men” refers to

homosexuality across the board. However the context of these

statements puts this sexual practice in the category of pagan

idol worship, (vs. 19-25). Those verses connect the pagan

practices of these people directly with God’s abandonment to

sexual perversion. The perversion, unseemliness or

unnaturalness of their action was not the nature of the sex act

itself, but the connection with pagan idol worship. This

identifies the forbidden practice as male cult prostitution.

God condemns the “sexually immoral, adulteresses…

malakoi…arsenokoitai,” (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10).

Translating these highlighted words as “homosexual” is

inexcusable. Neither of them refers to homosexual lifestyle.

Malakoi is properly translated by the word “effeminate”, thus

referring to what we moderns would call a “sissy,” a soft,

cowardly, lazy person. Arsenokoitai refers to an older man who

manipulates a young boy into sexual relations, or what we call

“pederasty.” This was the only form of homosexuality known in

those cultures apart from homosexual cult prostitution.

Obviously the sin here is the unloving, manipulative,

exploitative use of a vulnerable youth. Such youths were

usually captives, and lived only to serve the sexual appetites of

their captors. This abuse of their rights as persons is the reason

for the condemnation, not the sex act per se. Both of these words

were widely used in first century culture, but never with

reference to consensual, adult homosexuality. This is simply a

matter of fact. They therefore cannot have such meaning in the

Biblical text.

 

210

 

The men of Sodom “went after strange flesh…” (Jude 6-7).

Conventional interpretation of this phrase makes it a reference

to homosexuality. But the quick and obvious disclaimer to that

is that the word “strange” is from the Greek, heteras. You can see

it on the surface can’t you. It is the word from which we get our

English, “hetero” as in hetero-sexual. This cannot possibly be

homo-sexual conduct. The pursuit of “strange” flesh here is

directly compared to “angels who did not keep their own domain,

but abandoned their proper abode,” (vs. 6). This is the same incident

referred to by Peter (2 Pet. 2:4f.) in connection with the attempt

of angels to copulate with humans in Noah’s day. Jude and

Peter are talking about the same thing. Sodom’s men were not

condemned for seeking “homo” flesh, but for attempting to

have sex with angels. Now isn’t it obvious? Lot’s visitors were

angels in human form, and Sodom’s men attempted to rape

them. That’s all there is to it. No homosexuality, per se, even

enters the picture.

These are all the references in Scripture that might refer to

homosexuality. None of them address consensual same-sex

relationships. They all refer either to rape, sex as worship, or

exploitation of vulnerable youths. These same sins are

condemned in heterosexual form. Their condemnation does not

affect the validity of either heterosexuality or homosexuality.

No Scripture forbids homosexuality. Scripture does condemn

certain homosexual acts that harm other people, or dishonor

God.

These are the sex acts strictly forbidden by God’s law. Outside

these categories, there is liberty. Polygamy, concubinage,

prostitution, multiple sex partners, masturbation, oral sex, anal sex,

sexual fantasies, looking with sexual desire, nudity, looking at

sexually explicit photos or movies, reading sexually explicit

writings, none of these is condemned by anything the Bible says.

God did not legislate against them. Man cannot do so. These things

are in the realm of human liberty and can be enjoyed by those who

desire them as long as they are careful to avoid knowingly harming

other people by their liberty.

“Let God be true and every man a liar,” (Rom. 3:4). This verse

means that what God says is true regardless if every man in the

211

universe says otherwise. We choose to live on the basis of what

God says. And we conclude that man’s opinion makes zero

difference. God is true, even if that makes the whole church, and all

of society, liars.

Any view of “liberty” that opens a door for activity that God

has pointedly closed is simple disregard for God’s authority. We

who believe God’s Word is authoritative and who make any claim

to honor Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, must observe God’s laws

whether we like them or not. The greatest evidence of one’s

commitment to God is one’s reaction to laws with which one

disagrees. Like it or not God made some prohibitions in the sexual

practices of humans. We must either honor those prohibitions or

give up a claim to loving God and trusting His word.

Many sexual libertarians advocate that humans do anything

they want to do sexually without regard to any inhibiting factors of

any kind. They ridicule the idea that there is a “God” whose “sex

codes” set the limits to any part of human behavior, especially the

sexual. Those who claim to follow God must avoid such

humanistic concepts. If God has prohibited bestiality we are

obligated to honor that prohibition. If God condemns rape there is

no way to make it acceptable. Incest is wrong because God says it is

and no human can simply reject God’s prohibition against incest

with the resulting consequences, whether here or in eternity.

Those who have been involved in any of these forbidden sexual

practices may receive forgiveness for their conduct if they are

willing to abandon those practices and seek God’s forgiveness

through the blood of Jesus Christ. And then one may find the help

of the Holy Spirit to overcome the tendencies and weakness one

has for those unlawful acts.

A few words are in order concerning the reason for Biblical

prohibitions. God did not simply legislate for the love of legislation.

All God’s laws have specific application to human relationships

with one another and with God.

Three principles control the reasons for prohibition of human

conduct. Laws exist against certain acts because:

• An act violates God’s nature. These laws are eternal, crosscultural

and universally applicable. Two familiar examples:

“You shall have no other gods before me...make no idol…worship

no other god.” (Ex. 20:2-6).

212

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex.

20:7).

• An act violates another’s person or property. These laws are

eternal, cross-cultural and universally applicable. A few

examples:

“Honor your father and your mother…” (Ex. 20:12).

“You shall not murder.” (Ex. 20:13).

“You shall not commit adultery.” (Ex. 20:14).

“You shall not steal.” (Ex. 20:15).

“You shall not bear false witness.” (Ex. 20:16).

“You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

(Ex. 20:17).

• An act relates to cultural, cultic requirements for

separation of Israel from other nations. These laws are

temporary. Any law that seems to fit neither of the two above

categories, was in this “Israelite specific” category. They

were given to Israel only, for distinct purposes relating to

tribal inheritance, Messianic lineage, and as prophetic

symbols foreshadowing His redemptive work. Two facts are

important to remember:

[1 None of these laws ever applied to non-Israelite, and

they never will.

[2 These laws cease to have effect when their unique

purpose has been fulfilled. Since Jesus appeared, these

laws no longer apply even to Israel.

Several examples of these laws:

All the laws regarding animal sacrifices.

All the laws requiring abstinence from certain “unclean”

foods.

All laws prohibiting eating of blood.

All the laws requiring special “feast” days, “atonement”

rituals, etc.

All the laws prohibiting “mixing kinds”; i.e. laws against

sewing certain cloths together, or mixing certain seeds

when sowing a field.

Laws such as not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk.

All laws against cultural practices like cutting the corners

of the hair or beard.

In view of the above principles, three things are clear:

213

• If an act neither harms others nor violates God’s nature there

is no law against it.

• Any act that harms others or dishonors God is “unlawful”

even if it is not specifically codified. By following the “Law of

Love” one will not breach such “unwritten laws.”

• Any act that does not harm others and does not dishonor

God is permissible for human action.

One immensely significant fact must be observed here. If God

did not forbid an act and that act in no way harms others or

dishonors God, then no human has the authority to make that act

“unlawful” or “sinful.” Therefore any “law” against sexual practice

may be easily examined to know if it is valid. The process is:

Is the “law” recorded in the Bible? If not then:

Is the act harmful to others or to God? If not then:

The act is permissible. One may experience the act without

guilt.

Try this process with masturbation. The consensus of religious

teachers is that masturbation is sinful. To know for sure, ask the

following:

Does the Bible contain a law against masturbation? No.

Is masturbation harmful to others? No. Does masturbation

dishonor God? No.

Masturbation is permissible for those who desire it.

One must realize that God’s purpose in establishing legal

guidelines for human conduct was not for sheer love of law. In

imposing spiritual law upon us God was not just showing us that

He is the Boss. His purpose was to teach us through His laws, how

to love our neighbor and how to honor God. He did not need to

make a law for every possible human act. All He needed was a few

examples. All human conduct that is not specifically codified in

God’s laws is judged on the basis of love for God and man.

But there is a mind-set that is blind to this fact. In Jesus’ day, the

party of the Pharisees could not accept that God did not have a law

for every possible human action. Their great passion was to devise

laws for everything God had “left out;” to “fill the gaps” left by

God’s inept attempt to effectively control human behavior. So the

Jewish leaders, especially the Pharisees contrived laws where God

214

made none and imposed these laws upon the common man. These

human laws were considered to be every bit as binding on

humanity as was Divine law. But there was no validity at all to

these laws.

Mankind labors long and hard today under the bondage of laws

imposed upon us by Sexual Phariseeism. The church is full of

religious professionals who love nothing more than to make one

more law to restrict our behavior. They are especially concerned to

codify every possible form of sexual conduct. You know their work

when you see it, if you have read your Bible enough to be able to

remember what laws God actually made in sex matters. The

common man has not done that though. So when he is told that

“masturbation is sinful” he does not know that God never made a

law against masturbation. He does not know that he is being

restricted by purely human authority. Likewise when people are

told “polygamy is sin, and so is prostitution and oral sex and

looking at nude people, and reading erotic writings, and having

sexual fantasies…” they accept it because of the position of the

people telling them. They don’t know that God made no laws

against those practices. They have accepted sexual bondage laid

upon them by modern Pharisees.

The only way we will ever escape the spiritual clutches of these

pretenders, is to make the decision that we will challenge every

“law” that is laid upon us. Every time we hear that something is a

“sin” we must say “I will see for myself if that act is sin.” We will

escape the sexual prison built around us by Sexual Phariseeism,

only if we decide to “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that

which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21).

Don’t be afraid of human laws. Don’t let religious professionals

intimidate you. Sex is good. God made all the laws against harmful

sex acts that he deemed necessary, and then put us under the rule

of love so we can decide the right and wrong of everything else. So

test these things for yourself. Be fully persuaded in your own mind

(Rom. 14:5). If you examine a sex act by the law of love and decide

that it is permissible, then have that as your own conviction before

God, and do not condemn yourself in what you approve (Rom.

14:22). And refuse to allow others to speak evil of what you deem

to be a good thing (Rom. 14:16).

215

There are indeed some sexual things that God forbids. But

surprisingly few, huh? The fact is that God is honored when His

kids enjoy the gifts He gave them. Sex is one of the best of His gifts.

Enjoy it and give God thanks for it.

 

216

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

THE UNCHANGING NATURE OF GOD

 

In the course of these studies we have hinted at the subject of

this chapter. Yet the nature of God, specifically His “Immutability,”

is crucial to our understanding of everything we have studied.

“Immutable” means “unchangeable; invariable; never changing or

varying; not capable or susceptible of change.” (Webster’s New

Century Unabridged Dictionary). The nature and will of God are

not only unchanging, but because of His nature, they are “not

capable” of change. It is not possible for God’s nature to ever

change from what it is and always has been.

Scripture contains many references to God’s unchangeable

nature. A few examples:

“I am the Lord, I change not,” (Mal. 3:6).

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever,”

(Heb. 13:8).

We are told of “the immutability of His counsel,” (Heb. 6:17).

He is “…the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation,

nor shadow that is cast by turning,” (Jas. 1:17).

This reality is a fundamental truth about God upon which we

are able to build faith in what He has said, believing that “His

promises are yea and amen,” (2 Cor. 1:19-20), and believing that He is

“faithful” in all He says and all He does. Because we can believe

that God is “immutable” that is, He cannot possibly change Who

and What He is, then we can be confident that what we read of

Him is sufficient to build our life upon. We know that God will not

have one set of laws today by which we will be judged, and

possibly another set of laws tomorrow. We can look into His word,

and know what He expects of us at all times.

When God gives law it remains law until God changes it. Even

in the civil realm a civil statute remains in force and is enforceable

until that statute is legally changed. Just so, in Scripture we have

God’s fundamental laws for human conduct laid down in the OT.

As soon as God made man He gave laws circumscribing man’s

behavior. Those laws remain in force until such time as God

Himself amends them. If God does not amend those laws they

217

remain our guide. We do not wonder from day to day which laws

may be changed and which new laws God has legislated. If God

once approves a thing that thing remains approved until God

Himself declares His disapproval. And if God once disapproves a

thing that thing remains disapproved until God Himself declares

His approval of it. Apart from a new law God’s original laws

always remain in force.

God Himself changed the purely ceremonial laws of Israelite,

Levitical worship, (Heb. 8 - 10). We do not observe those laws

because God, through Jesus Christ, abolished them. God took them

off the books. But all the laws God did not take off the books of the

OT remain in force today. Believers in Jesus Christ have been set

free from the rule of formal law because Jesus abolished the “law of

commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph. 2:15). Jesus “ended the

law for righteousness” (Rom. 10:4). In the place of legal commands

Jesus gave His own Royal Law, the Law of Love. If His followers

will live by the rule of love, they thereby fulfill all the laws God

formally codified (Rom. 13:8-10; Matt. 22:39f; Gal. 5:14).

Unbelievers remain under the rule of God’s formal law of

commands (1 Tim. 1:8-9). Man is never left to decide for himself

whether God approves or disapproves of anything. Unbelievers are

held accountable to Biblical law. Believers are held accountable to

the law of love. Thus God maintains ultimate rule in the universe.

One may immediately see the relevance of these facts to the

present study. God legislated morality at the very beginning of

man’s fall. God’s laws illustrated many of the ways humans can

either violate God’s nature or violate other human beings.

Fundamentally, all God’s laws that are intended for universal and

eternal application arose from His nature. If God forbids a thing it is

because that thing conflicts with His nature. This includes those

things that conflict with the individual rights of other humans.

Thus God forbade lying because God Himself is Truth and lying

violates the trust of other people. God forbade murder because God

alone is the giver of life, which fact eliminates man’s right to take it

away. And murder destroys another human. He forbade theft

because it destroys another human’s right to control his own

property. Anything that conflicts with God’s nature or with the

person and rights of other humans, God legislated against. He did

not leave us in doubt about our limits regarding conduct toward

Himself or toward other humans. If any behavior does not conflict

 

218

 

with either of those two issues then God makes no universally

applicable law concerning it; it is allowable. Whatever God does not

forbid He permits. And because His nature is “immutable” He will

not consider a thing damnable today and perfectly innocent

tomorrow. On the other hand if He considered a thing to be

innocent and allowable yesterday then it will still be allowable today

unless He tells us so. All things allowable and all things forbidden

remain in those categories until God speaks to change their status.

This is the reason we must have some law from God that makes

polygamy, concubinage and prostitution “illegal” today, since

throughout OT history those acts were legal. Law is never

established on the basis of human logic and interpretation. So it is

not acceptable for preachers to tell us that polygamy is a sin now

because of the way they “interpret” certain Scriptures. The Bible

contains no law of any sort in OT or NT that condemns polygamy,

concubinage or prostitution. And the Bible nowhere contains a law

that mandates monogamy. These are demonstrable facts. Such

being true, then it is impossible for polygamy, concubinage and

prostitution to be violations of God’s law. God accepted these

practices in the OT. He never gave a law that forbade them.

Therefore His attitude remains the same today as then; these

practices are still acceptable to God.

 

A third category of legislated behavior can be classified as

cultic/cultural. Under this heading come all the laws given

specifically to Israel and not to mankind in general. Such laws arise

from God’s nationally-specific purpose in using Israel as a vehicle

for bringing Messiah into the world. Cultic (formal religious

worship) laws protected the purity of Israelite worship. Cultural

laws insured Israel’s pure lineage and national distinction; i.e. they

were to be outwardly a separated people. They were not to imitate

any of the cultures around them. This was not because everything

in those cultures was sinful, unholy, etc., but because a part of

God’s purpose in Israel was to show Himself as The God above all

gods and to demonstrate through visible Israel, a distinction

between His people and all other nations. This would provide a

fruitful study all its own but we will not develop this idea here.

With the advent of Christ all the purely cultic/cultural laws were

“fulfilled.” (Matt. 5:17)

 

Examples of these laws abound:

 

All the laws regarding animal sacrifices.

 

219

 

All the laws requiring abstinence from certain “unclean”

foods.

All laws prohibiting eating of blood.

All the laws requiring special “feast” days, “atonement”

rituals, etc.

All the laws prohibiting “mixing kinds”; i.e. laws against

sewing certain cloths together, or mixing certain seeds when

sowing a field.

Laws such as not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk.

All laws against such cultural practices as cutting the corners

of the hair or beard, marking and piercing the skin (e.g.

tattoos, pierced ears, etc.)

Married people becoming ritually unclean after they

copulated.

We need not detail every occurrence of such purely

cultic/cultural laws. The reader will quickly realize that there is an

abundance of these laws which, when given to Israel were absolute

requirements, disobedience to which often brought severe penalty.

Yet these laws were given to no other nation and never became part

of our Christian heritage. These laws were not morality/ethics

based. They had nothing to do with the nature of God or

appropriate treatment of other people. They were absolutes for

Israel only for the distinctly time-bound, special purpose of God

toward them. We must necessarily reflect on a crucial question

raised by these facts. God made some laws that Jews could not

disobey without severe punishment. Yet we understand that those

laws have no application to us. Must we not therefore carefully

examine all OT laws to be sure that we do not attempt to enforce in

our day a law that was strictly time-bound, applicable only to the

people to whom it was originally given, and only for a distinct

purpose that may no longer exist?

The reason this is so important for our present study is that God

made more laws about sexual behavior, than about any other thing.

Because of the strength of sexual passion and its potential for

conflict with God’s holiness and with the rights of fellow humans,

God was very specific in His treatment of this issue. He left no

doubt about sexual activities that are not permitted to humans. One

has only to read the tedious lists of sexual sins contained in

Leviticus and Deuteronomy to realize how serious God was about

220

being sure humans know what our sexual boundaries are.

Basically, and simply, the issue is this: God legislates against what

He does not permit. Everything else is permitted. The fundamental

nature of all law is exclusionary: it excludes unacceptable acts.

Neither men nor God write laws to permit activity. All law is

written to forbid activity, as 1 Tim. 1:8-10 demonstrates. “Law is not

made for a righteous man” that is one who does good. But law is

written “for those who are lawless and rebellious, ungodly and sinners...”

That is, law exists to forbid and condemn wrong practices. That is

its sole purpose. Law exists to control evil, not to grant liberty.

Anything that is not made illegal by law is therefore legal. Since

there is no law against it, it cannot be unlawful. It is therefore

considered to be acceptable conduct. If in God’s mind an action is

unacceptable God makes a law against it. If God did not make a

law against it He does not disapprove of it.

As part of our working apparatus for trying to discern the truth

about the Biblical revelation concerning sex we must understand

that some sex laws were given as absolutes for all men on the basis

of their conflict with either God’s nature, or with other human’s

persons and rights. Examples of such laws are those forbidding

rape and incest. Virtually all cultures, whether Christian or pagan,

have laws against these practices. Other sex laws are given as

cultic/cultural laws, designed purely to maintain Israel’s

“separateness” from certain worship and cultural practices of

surrounding nations. Examples of such laws are those that relate to

“uncleanness” associated with emissions of semen and having sex

with a woman while she is menstruating. It is easy to see that

neither of these laws violate either our relationship with God or

with other humans. Hardly anyone believes these laws to be

applicable any longer. No modern culture has laws regulating these

activities.

Once we learn God’s attitude toward sex as revealed in His

laws, then we can forever depend on those standards to remain the

same unless God, somewhere, sometime, changes those laws. If He

ever changed them He would have recorded the change in

Scripture, in a manner that would enable us to know for sure that our

boundaries have been changed. Especially is this true – indeed

necessary – if, in the past God allowed certain behavior that He now

forbids. If God allowed any sex act in OT that He no longer allows

we must have His newly codified law to tell us so. Without such a

 

221

 

new law, our only recourse is to proceed to the assumption that He

has not changed His mind. Such assumption is itself based on

God’s unchanging nature. No amount of human guessing,

conclusions, etc. will change God’s law. If His law has changed the

new law is on the books! If it is not on the books, it is not a new law

and the original law remains in force.

 

Let’s apply this to polygamy. Without question, polygamy was

an accepted and even positively legislated institution in OT. God did

not forbid it. God did not in any way indicate that He even

disfavored it. He never hinted to His most holy and obedient

servants that their polygamy and concubinage needed correction.

In fact, as we have shown in our chapter on Polygamy, Monogamy

and Concubinage, God Himself provided David’s many wives and

said He would have given him more if those were not enough, 2

Sam. 12:8. Now, what does that suggest to you about God’s attitude

toward polygamy? What this proves to us is that God did not

disfavor polygamy and concubinage. There is nothing in it that

conflicts either with His holiness or with the rights of fellow

humans. When the NT was written it contained no word that the

OT allowance for polygamy has changed. No new law was written

into the books that now forbids polygamy. If polygamy is sinful

then we must have a law that says so! We cannot rely on human

reason for human reasoning does not, and cannot – ever – establish

Divine law. Only Divine legislation establishes a thing as sinful.

Because God never changed His law book to make polygamy a sin

then this fact is positive evidence that He never changed His mind

about polygamy. Therefore it remains today just as then, a matter

 

of human choice. Social conventions, personal preferences and

church opinions have absolutely no bearing whatever on the

morality of this issue. God approved of polygamy from the

beginning of humanity’s history and He never, in any way voiced

His displeasure with it. The “immutability of His counsel” makes

polygamy acceptable to God today just as it always has been.

Here is a crucial principle:

 

Once God approves something, it remains approved unless God legislates

against it.

In other words God’s goodness and faithfulness to us will not

allow Him to permit us to enjoy an activity for thousands of years

 

222

 

then suddenly forbid it without telling us about it. Life would be a

nightmare if we could not depend on knowing for sure what God’s

requirements are. God’s immutability establishes a foundation

upon which we can build safe, satisfying, fulfilling, enjoyable

 

sexual practices. We read God’s original laws about sex and find

what He forbade. Everything He does not forbid is allowable. Then we

read the NT and see if any of those laws have changed. If not then

what was allowable in the OT is still allowable.

 

This being true we can perhaps gain sufficient understanding

from this principle, of what constitutes “pornography” in God’s

mind and then apply it to today’s world. God not only allowed

explicitly erotic writings but Himself inspired the world’s best

example of it in the Song Of Solomon. Thus we know that erotic

 

literature does not displease God. Any writings that treat sexual

activity are allowable as long as those writings do not wander into

what is forbidden, i.e. that which violates God’s nature or other

persons. Within the range of acceptable human sexual activity it is

permissible, God being our example, to write about and otherwise

depict that activity in writings, photos or films.

 

In the Song Of Solomon God describes a nude dance and the

approving response of the “audience” who called for an “encore.”

Therefore one can write about, photograph, film or perform live,

such a dance today. If God approved of it then He approves of it

now.

Likewise, the Song Of Solomon depicts both male and female

nude bodies complete with descriptions of their genitals. Such

depictions do not offend God’s holiness or the rights of other

humans. They were permitted then, they are permitted now. They

are not pornographic. Eroticism does not equal pornography.

What God allowed then He allows now. God did not change His

law so as to make his own book, the Song Of Solomon, sinful!

Difficult as it is for us to think of God this way, the truth is that

God finds nothing offensive about a penis, erect or flaccid, whether

animal or human. God is not offended by the sight of a woman’s

naked vulva and breasts. He is not offended by people’s use of

those organs for their intended purpose and He is not offended by

writing explicitly about sex organs and their sexual use. If the

Creator of sex organs and their function is not offended either by

their use or by writing about their use, how can we humans think it

is necessary and even holy to be offended by it? If God approves

223

humans must approve, else we accuse God of impropriety and take

the position that we have become more “holy” than God!

One thing is clear from reading the Bible. God has no problem

with humans having a wide range of sexual activity. What activities

offend His holiness or the rights of others, He forbids. Otherwise

He gives humans the freedom to enjoy their sexuality without

hang-ups related to issues of holiness, purity, etc.

Applying this principle to the full range of subjects covered in

these studies will help us come to terms with some of our

difficulties. Let us accept that God’s displeasure with any sexual

activity is clearly revealed in His law. If God has no law against an

activity then God has no problem with it and we should not.

Applied specifically then:

God has no law forbidding nudity, therefore nudity does not

offend God, and should not offend us.

God has no law forbidding nude entertainment, therefore nude

entertainment does not offend God, and should not offend us.

God has no law forbidding polygamy, therefore polygamy does

not offend God, and should not offend us.

God has no law forbidding production of erotic materials,

including writings, photographs and films of nude people,

engaged in sexual activity, therefore erotic materials do not

offend God, and should not offend us.

God has no law forbidding masturbation or oral sex, therefore

masturbation or oral sex does not offend God, and should not

offend us.

God has no law forbidding use of vibrators or other “sex toys,”

therefore using vibrators or other “sex toys” does not offend

God, and should not offend us.

God has no law forbidding sexual activity in the presence of

others, therefore sexual activity in the presence of others does

not offend God, and should not offend us.

God’s attitude toward sex is well established. God made sex for

us. He made it intensely pleasurable. He did not then build a hedge

around us to forbid all sexual enjoyment except vaginal

intercourse, missionary position, between one man and one woman

for life. Such a law does not exist anywhere in God’s Word. The

church says such a law exists but the claim is untrue. The masses

 

224

 

have simply taken for granted that what the church has told them

must surely be true. Yet God never wrote such a law. Sexual

pleasure is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. He gave us easy to

understand laws that forbid what He requires us to avoid.

ANYTHING – again – ANYTHING outside those forbidden laws is

permitted. Not mandatory, but permitted! Permitted at least in

situations where the rights and well-being of others are not

compromised.

This final question: Why would anyone not decide to move into

the fullest enjoyment of this blessing allowed by God? We do not

hesitate to do so with food. And those who understand that

drinking alcohol in moderation is a blessing do so without guilt.

We all feel free to pursue legitimate pleasures of every other

variety. Why would we decide not to do so with sex? If it takes

effort to break free from man-made bondage, is freedom not worth

the effort? Does fear hold us back? Then why do we not simply set

ourselves to break free of fear? We do so in every other category of

life. There is as much reason for rejoicing in our sexual liberty, as

there is for rejoicing in our liberty to worship, our liberty to eat, our

liberty to drink, etc. If we can see that God in no way frowns upon

sexual liberty, but in fact grants it to us as a prime blessing, then

how can we sensibly refuse to exercise that liberty? If it calls for

experimentation, then do it! If it calls for “getting up the nerve,”

then do it! If you just do not desire to do anything different, then it

is your liberty to refuse to do so. But you must not pretend that

your abstinence in any way relates to holiness, purity or

righteousness. In other words, forego whatever sexual liberty you

desire to forego, but don’t blame God for it.

We advocate for all readers the fullness of freedom granted by

God. Let us shake off the false, humanly devised and self-imposed

guilt that keeps us away from sexual liberty. Enjoy what God made

for enjoyment. If necessary because of social mores, church dogma

and public opinion, find a way to enjoy your liberty in a secluded

setting. If we must hide it from human eyes, then hide it. We know

we can enjoy with God’s full knowledge and approval, anything

that He has not forbidden. Human disapproval is then

inconsequential. And we may reject all guilt associated with that

enjoyment.

As additional help, and motivation for our readers to break

through the illegitimate social, religious, cultural, mental,

 

225

 

emotional and spiritual barriers that prevent freedom to experience

the full wonder of your sexuality, we offer the following treatment

on Christian Liberty.

Sex And Christian Liberty

True understanding of the nature of our freedom in Christ from

laws, rules, expectations, traditions, etc. that are of human origin,

will enhance our ability to experience the joy and pleasure available

in sexual activity. Scripture makes much of the subject of the liberty

Jesus purchased for us by shedding His blood. Let us consider

what His sacrifice does for those who understand the inherent

innocence of sexual activity and desire to enjoy all its legitimate

pleasures.

We have been taught to think of the redemption of Christ as

relates to sex, only in the sense that His death makes it possible to

receive forgiveness from sexual sin. Our guess is that the majority

of our readers have never once heard or read a teaching that speaks

to our freedom, because of the blood of Jesus, to experience a wide

variety of sexual pleasure without guilt and condemnation. So we

will plunge right into this “uncharted territory” and see what we

can discover.

The Apostle Paul teaches us that the blood of Jesus Christ sets

us free “for freedom,” (Gal. 5:1). “For freedom” means Jesus did not

die for theoretical liberty. He intends that we experience it. Freedom

that is merely talked about, written about, spoken about, but never

experienced is not freedom at all. Honoring Christ requires that we

use the liberty purchased for us at so high a price. In whatever

category we consider the liberty Jesus purchased by His death, we

must reckon with the immense personal sacrifice by which He

bought our freedom. No person is under obligation to do all the

things that have been granted him as a liberty. But we dishonor

Christ if we live in fear and dread and refuse to experience what we

might otherwise enjoy, on the basis of submitting, even reluctantly,

to some human code, tradition or law, or by remaining bound to an

illegitimate system under which we were raised from our youth. In

such a situation we honor purely human laws and traditions more

highly than we honor Christ’s blood- bought freedom. Once we

achieve understanding that many sexual activities are available to

us in the realm of our liberty in Christ we may simply choose to not

do certain things that do not appeal to us. But to live under a cloud

 

226

 

of “what I have always believed” or resist going into freedom on

the basis of other people’s opinions is dishonoring to the One

whose horrific death purchased our freedom. Our freedom cost far

too much for us to not use it in whatever areas we desire to do so.

Once gaining liberty at the cost of Jesus’ blood we must “stand

firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery,” (Gal. 5:1). This

admonition requires us to refuse to give up the freedom won for us

by Christ’s blood. No human has God’s permission to return to or

continue to live under any bondage from which the blood of Christ

sets us free. Again we say, the cost is too high. Embracing Jesus

Christ and His work on the cross requires us to embrace the

freedom His death purchased for us there. No human fully

experiences the redemption of Christ until he/she lives in the

enjoyment of all the liberty possible and attractive to them, and

refuses to either return to their former bondage or to allow others

to place them under condemnation regarding their exercise of

liberty. We must “not let what for us is a good thing, be spoken of as

evil,” (Rom. 14:16). We must avoid being “entangled again in a yoke of

bondage.” Once escaping bondage we are obligated to leave and not

go back.

No law code, human or divine, can make a person spiritual.

Honoring a list of regulations will not build up a believer in

spiritual things. We have been over-burdened for generations by a

set of human standards originating in the legalism of the church,

that have become socially acceptable across the board. But they are

all human and therefore non-authoritative. Most of those standards

and regulations for sexual conduct have the appearance of being

good and necessary. Yet again the Apostle Paul said:

“If you died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world

(i.e. the world’s standards, rules, etc.), why, as if you were living in

the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as ‘Do not

handle, do not taste, do not touch!’ which all refer to things

destined to perish with the using, in accordance with the

commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which

have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion

and self abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no

value against fleshly indulgence.” (Col. 2:20-23).

227

There could hardly be a more scathing rebuke, to the church

and the world in general, than this. Church leaders have

established their own human, worldly-wise rules for what is and is

not sexually acceptable and the church and the world have bought

the package. Paul’s amazement is that saints are willing to allow

themselves to be burdened by such human rules. Of how many

sexual activities are we told “Do not handle, do not taste, do not

touch!” – not because God’s law forbids such handling, tasting or

touching, but because humans think it inappropriate! Most of the

regulations on sexual conduct exist “ in accordance with the

commandments and teachings of men.” And as Paul said, they surely

have “the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self abasement

and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly

indulgence.” Their true value is non-existent. In reality Paul says

they have no value at all in restraining fleshly indulgence. This

being the case how can anyone – supposing we understand this

principle – allow such “commandments and teachings of men” to

exercise any control over our conduct, sexual or otherwise. We have

“died with Christ” to such things. And we ask with Paul, “why, as if

you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees” like

these? We say with absolute confidence that the decrees against

masturbation, oral sex, enjoying erotic media and admiring the

beauty and sexuality of the human body are nothing more than

commandments and teaching of men, and should be utterly

disregarded by those who have “died with Christ.” For two reasons:

(1. Christ bought our freedom from such at the cost of His own

blood; (2. Such rules have no value for us at all. Their wisdom and

their value are a pretense.

Again, Paul, our champion of true Christian liberty, tells us that

we are set free from the conscientious scruples of others, (1 Cor.

10:23-31). The only restriction to exercising our liberty is that we be

careful to not hurt the faith of another saint. If we contemplate

using our liberty in the presence of a fellow Christian we must be

confident they will not be led by our example to violate their own

conscience. Otherwise we are free to enjoy our liberty without

examining others to be sure they are all right with it: “Eat anything

that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience

sake…eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for

conscience sake.” (vs. 25, 27). We must avoid proceeding with our

use of liberty only if there is reason to believe that someone’s

228

conscience might be harmed by our example, (vs.28). We must

refuse to allow our own consciences to be judged by other people’s

opinions. If we use our liberty in Christ with thankfulness we do

not need to be concerned about the condemnation or evil speaking

of others, (vs.29, 30). Allowing people to bind our conscience treats

our blood bought liberty with contempt. It also dishonors the Word

of God for only God’s Word can serve as the educator and judge of

our conscience. Other people’s consciences must not be allowed to

judge our own.

But Liberty Is Not License

Christians are “free from law.” This is a wonderful blessing. It

is also very dangerous. Once we realize that we are set free from

being ruled by regulations and are empowered to follow the “law

of love” for both God and man, we face the danger of going too far

by doing things God specifically condemns. At no time is it

allowable for God’s people to engage in incest, rape, bestiality, etc.

Those things remain forbidden and do not exist as legitimate

exercises of Christian liberty. Liberty in Christ is one of our greatest

yet most dangerous blessings. Somewhere between license and

legalism is true Christian freedom. One who lives in disregard for

what God has condemned, under the guise of “liberty,” has made

liberty into license and has thereby made it a cursed thing. We are

free in Christ to do all things that God does not forbid even if other

humans forbid them. But we are not free to do anything that God

forbids. Christ delivers us from obligation to rules – not from

obligation to righteousness. God’s demands for righteous conduct

remain for every saint.

When one has lived under the crushing burden of human rules

then suddenly becomes free, that one faces big temptation to run

amok for his personal pleasure. What controls this urge? The

controlling factors are love for God and love for man. These factors

prevent one from abusing freedom so that it becomes license. The

controlling factor for “free saints,” is not “the law says” but “how

will this affect God” and “how will this affect other people?” As

long as we conduct ourselves by the principle of love for God and

others we will stay on the safe side of liberty because the nature of

all God’s laws is that they define what is contrary to God’s nature

and what is harmful to other people.

229

The Holy Spirit helps us see the safe path between legalism and

sin. He helps us learn to distinguish between sin and truly innocent

pleasures of life. That which violates God’s laws and desires will be

avoided by those who love Him. That which hurts other people

will be avoided by those who love others. Liberty must be used

carefully so others are “edified” by relating to us.

Knowledge alone is not to rule our actions, (1 Cor. 8:1-6). The

fact that we have studied the issue of human sexuality thoroughly

and have come to the “knowledge” that there are several legitimate

avenues of sexual enjoyment available to us beyond monogamous

vaginal intercourse, is not sufficient reason to enjoy our liberty in

those areas without appropriate caution. “Not all men” have enough

knowledge to walk in the full freedom of the gospel, (1 Cor. 8:7).

We are therefore not free to use our liberty in ways that harm such

unlearned ones. When we are in the presence of such people we

must voluntarily – out of love for them – restrain our freedom so we

are not a stumbling block to the weak, (1 Cor. 8:9-10). To treat a

brother with such disregard that we flaunt our liberty in his face

and thus harm his faith, is a sin against him and against Christ, (1

Cor. 8:11-13). That which violates the rights and welfare of other

people will be avoided by those who love their neighbors as they

love themselves, (1 Cor. 10:23-26, 32).

But the ignorance of others does not forbid us to enjoy our

liberty. The issue boils down to this: A Christian is free to do what

does not violate love for God, and what does not harm others. If one can

practice an innocent though questioned thing, in the absence of

those who might otherwise be harmed, one is free to do so, (1 Cor.

10:25-31). The Christian is free, open and responsible to God. He is

not loose; he cannot do as he pleases. He is free from human

constraints on his conscience and from the curse of the law but not

free from God. We are “under law to Christ,” (1 Cor. 9:20-21), which

is the law of love for others, (Rom. 13:10). This last verse puts it as

clearly as can be said: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore

is the fulfillment of the law.”

Liberty Operates In Love, Rom. 14.

Spiritual Christians will have loving regard for weaker saints. In

the exercise of sexual liberty neither “side” is allowed to point

fingers and accuse or condemn the other. Neither “weak” nor

230

“strong” are allowed to judge each other, (Rom. 14:1-4, 10-13a).

Each of us is free to form our personal convictions about what God

has not forbidden, (Rom. 14:5). We are not responsible to follow

some other person’s convictions about what is allowable for us. We

are free in Christ to study for ourselves, come to our own personal

conclusions about sexual liberty and then to follow what we believe

to be true. We accept as truth that “nothing is unclean of itself,” (Rom.

14:14), and, once approving for ourselves any sexual activity that

God has not forbidden, we may enjoy those sexual activities in the

full freedom of “our own conscience before God,” and we can be

“happy (because we do not condemns ourselves) in what God

approves.” (Rom. 14:14, 22). Our only constraint is, again, that we do

not use our liberty in such a way that we “put a stumbling block in a

brother’s way,” (Rom. 14:13b, 23).

As we experience the joy and pleasure of our sexual freedom we

are not to allow our enjoyment of a good thing to be spoken evil of

either by doing that thing in the presence of saints who would be

spiritually harmed by it or by submitting to ignorant accusations

and condemnations, (Rom. 14:14-16). We may use our freedom

with joy and receive God’s blessings, refusing to be bound by other

people’s consciences, (Rom. 14:22).

A righteous person will do nothing that harms the conscience

and faith of another. We must not give up liberty; we must “stand fast

in it.” But we must control its use by loving others. But if we can

enjoy sexual liberty in ways that do not spiritually harm ignorant

people then we have God’s exhortation to do so and thereby take

full advantage of the “freedom for which Christ set us free.”

The Necessity Of Experiencing Freedom

We cannot depart this topic until we further pursue the idea

that freedom is not freedom at all unless it is experienced. A

phenomenon exists in the religious arena that, if transferred to

virtually any other realm would immediately be perceived as

aberrational, irrational, unrealistic, delusional, even insane. This

phenomenon is the tendency of religious people to refuse to apply

and live by their convictions to the ultimate degree. Many religious

people live in bondage to the opinions, dogmas and theories of

others to such a degree that when they arrive at personal

conclusions that vary from the majority they will not risk publicly

231

embracing their own opinion for fear of the reaction of the majority.

If they believe for example, that drinking wine is inherently

innocent they will nevertheless refuse to do so for fear that others

might learn of their drinking and accuse them of sin. Some people

cannot bring themselves to exercise themselves physically in

worship by raising hands, shouting, kneeling, etc. because of “what

others might think.” Many examples exist of people who have lived

their lives in a denominational environment in which they no

longer truly “fit,” whose distinctive doctrines and practices they no

longer believe in intellectually. Yet they will not leave that

denomination for fear of what their friends and family will think.

Such examples of “voluntary bondage” abound. And it is pathetic.

It speaks eloquently to the strength of legalistic bondage that

people so often cannot shake it off in experience even when they

have abandoned it intellectually and spiritually.

We said that in any other arena this behavior would be

considered unthinkable. Consider a prisoner who has just been

informed by the prison Warden that the Governor has granted a

full pardon and that the prisoner is free to go. The prisoner jumps

and dances around his cell, shouting thanksgiving to the Governor

and the Warden, and perhaps even God, yet he refuses to walk out

of his cell, out of the prison, into freedom. We cannot conceive such

a situation. Imagine a debt burdened family whose possessions are

on the verge of being repossessed because of inability to pay. Then

they receive an envelope in the mail from a rich family member,

containing a check with which to pay their entire debt. The family

rejoices together at their good fortune, singing and dancing around

the living room, phoning to thank the gift bearer, etc. But they

return the check to the giver and settle down again to their

discussions about how they are going to save their home, car and

other possessions from being repossessed. Idiocy? Indeed!

Freedom is not freedom at all if it is not experienced. Freedom

that is only talked about, studied, theorized, lectured on, written

about, but never experienced, is not freedom at all. For a person to

exhibit joy at the idea of being liberated from any point of bondage

yet refuse to actually embrace that freedom by experience, is

inexplicable. Yet religious people are notorious for just this

behavior.

Nowhere is this more evidenced than in the arena of sexual

freedom. We believe that we have demonstrated in these studies

232

that God is for sex. He favors sex. He created sex for humans to enjoy.

Sexual pleasure is a blessing for which we should regularly thank

our God. But sex must be experienced if sex is to be genuinely

recognized as a true blessing. And sexual liberty must be embraced

by experience else there is no liberty at all. Theoretical liberty is not

real liberty. Talking about liberty is not living in liberty. Advocating

that others live in liberty means nothing to the advocate who is not

himself living in liberty.

It is vain to argue “what others will think” as a basis for

choosing whether to experience the sexual liberty God has given

us. To opt for bondage on the basis of human opinion or social mores

is to place greater priority on human/social standards than we

place upon God’s created good. We thereby exalt the human above

the Divine exactly as the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day. Let us not

forget how terribly He excoriated them for this action (Read

Matthew 23 as an example). To reject freedom on the basis of

human opinions of what is “right” in a given situation is to exalt

our wisdom in rejecting freedom above God's wisdom in granting

freedom.

Let us return briefly to the apostle Paul’s statement that, by the

blood of Jesus Christ we are set free for freedom, (Gal. 5:1-2). We

say again that Jesus did not die for theoretical liberty. His whole

purpose was to open all our prison doors and to lead us out into

the light and joy of liberty. If we refuse to do so we dishonor Christ

and the blood-price He paid for our liberty. We are not excused

from living in liberty on the basis that “others won’t understand,

others will be offended, we will be black-listed, etc.” The pages of

first century history are filled with the names of men and women

who chose to walk in the liberty of the gospel and who, as a result

of the misunderstanding and offense of others, were not only blacklisted

but were persecuted often to the point of death. Liberty is

costly. It cost the life of Jesus to bring us liberty. If we live in this

liberty it may cost us the respect and the good will of others.

Choosing liberty will in some instances bring the

theological/dogmatic hatchet down upon our spiritual neck.

Accusation will abound. Slander and misrepresentation will flow

like a river. Family, friends and church members will be “hurt,”

“confused,” “offended,” “broken-hearted.” If this is the price we

must pay for enjoying our blood-bought freedom, so be it. We will

not be alone in history. Multiplied thousands have paid the same

233

price to walk in freedom from other bondages. If men and women

ever walk out of the darkness on any issue they will incur the

wrath of those whose eyes are not yet able to see the light. But if no

one is willing to pay the price to walk into the light human

progress ends. Every person must ask the questions: “Do I love

Christ and the liberty He died to give me, more than I love these

whose ignorance and misunderstanding makes them fearful and

miserable at the thought of the liberty I enjoy?” “Will I honor Christ

by embracing the liberty He purchased by His blood or will I bow

down to the opinions of others and settle down in the darkness

with them?”

We restate the concept that no one is obligated to experience

what does not appeal to them. Please understand this. Though we are

making a passionate appeal for people to arise to the experience of

freedom, we are not saying that anyone is required to change their

sexual practices in the least if they do not desire to do so. We are

saying that freedom is here, and those who desire to experience this

freedom should not hesitate to do so. Many people will simply

have no desire to change. That is fine. Liberty means the right to

choose to not do, as well as choosing to do. But a choice to not do

must not be made on the basis of any pretension to holiness.

Though we understand that many legitimate sexual activities and

opportunities are available to us we are at liberty to simply choose

to not do certain things that do not appeal to us. But it is dishonoring

to Christ to allow our fears and other people’s misguided opinions

to take precedence over the preciousness of our liberty. Our freedom

cost far too much for us to not use it in whatever areas we desire to

do so. We were “set free for freedom” and Jesus requires that we “do

not return to our former bondage.”

Finally, let the readers understand that we are not advocating a

heartless, shove-it-in-their-face disregard for prevailing religious

and social mores. We must be responsible in the exercise of our

liberty so that we do not knowingly and intentionally damage

someone else’s faith. We have full freedom to challenge and to

disregard their opinion. And we are free to do what is innocent

regardless of who knows it or how strong their reaction to it is, as

long as what we do does not inflict spiritual damage on another

Christian. This doubtless requires that sexually liberated Christians

be extra cautious about when, where and how they enjoy their

sexual freedom They do not need to live in morbid dread of

234

“someone finding out.” They need only exercise what discretion

and caution they deem necessary about times and places, so as to

be reasonably sure they will not be discovered by someone whose

conscience will be damaged by their actions. No one can be

absolutely certain about such things. There is always the possibility

of discovery and exposure. But our appeal is for Christians to stand

up for the liberty that is theirs by blood-right. No battle will be won

if no one is willing to risk exposure to the enemy. We can talk all

we want to, about “how terrible it is that the church is in such

bondage,” and “someone needs to help people see the truth.” But

those who talk are the very ones most responsible for taking action.

Better to not talk at all than to talk about needed action while

cowardly refusing to take that action. Those who see the light are

the only ones who can help others see it.

What will it take to awaken the church and society to the truth

about sexual liberty? We do not have the answer. The nature of the

problem is such that the truth cannot just be announced from the

pulpit. In the presently prevailing spiritual atmosphere one cannot

simply announce a “series of Bible classes on human sexuality” and

then try to teach these things to the masses. The error is so deeply

ingrained, has persisted for so long and touches an aspect of life

that is so deeply personal, that extreme caution and consummate

wisdom must be exercised by anyone who contemplates educating

the church on this issue. Yet the work desperately needs to be done.

The first step is obvious. Those who understand must begin

living in this liberty. Those who cannot even risk paying the price to

live their conviction have no business saying anything to anyone else

about the issue. Those who cannot personally live it should never

advocate that others live it. Will sexual repression change? Perhaps.

But it will change after advocates of change actually put feet to their

faith and fully embrace their convictions by living what they

advocate. That is the way of man. No one listens to one who is

afraid to do what he encourages others to do. The old adage is

apropos: “Do it and then talk about it.”

Our plea is for experiential liberty. Our call is for those who

believe what we have written in these studies to embrace these

truths in their experience. We hope that husbands and wives will

discuss, pray about and come to mutual understanding and

decisions that will set them free to live lives of enhanced sexual

235

freedom. We hope that single people will realize that they are not

obligated to completely stifle their sexuality for the reason that they

are single. We hope that we have opened a door for them to

experience sexual pleasure without false guilt and unfounded fear.

We hope that we have convinced some married readers that it is

possible and spiritually legitimate to love more than one person at

a time; that doing so does not threaten the marriage bond and is not

cause for jealousy. We hope that those who read will understand

that full enjoyment of their sexual liberty does not in any way

compromise their relationship with God. We hope that sincere

Christians who love God and who desire to fruitfully minister for

Him, will realize that sexual pleasure is a Divine blessing that is in

no sense adverse to holiness; that seeking sexual pleasure neither

decreases spiritual anointing nor diminishes opportunity for

spiritual ministry. We hope that these studies will help God’s

people realize and rejoice in the truth that God is delighted when

His people enjoy what He created for their enjoyment; that God is

in no way opposed to our full enjoyment of sexual experience.

In short, we hope that these studies have broken the chains of

legalism and human tradition, have set some Christians free to

enjoy their sexuality and that they will live confidently in that

freedom.

We close this study with two actual examples from human

history that we think illustrates our objective in this study.

Among the many horrific stories that came out of the Nazi

attempts to exterminate the Jewish race during the last world war,

one especially grips us. A common practice of the German

executioners was to force captured Jewish men and women to dig

large trenches, then make them disrobe and line up along the front

edge of the freshly dug trench. The German soldiers then machinegunned

them down and they fell backward into the trench. More

than one survivor tells of being merely wounded by such action,

and after awhile, when they were certain no Germans were around,

making an effort to crawl out of the trench. As they began to move

and try to climb out, one or more other persons in the trench who

were also still alive, would grab an arm or leg and attempt to

prevent them from climbing out of the trench.

236

The other story comes from the American Civil War. After

unbelievable carnage, wasted human lives, families devastated, a

country torn apart – the Northern Army finally prevailed. The

Emancipation Proclamation was signed giving all slaves the legal

right to leave their previous owners, to pursue a life of freedom.

Yet incredibly, many slaves elected to remain in bondage to their

masters. It was said that in a few instances the slaves had been

treated well and stayed because of at least some form of “love” for

their owners. But many others admitted to fear of freedom: fear of

trying to make it on their own. They had lived all their lives being

told exactly what to do and not do and had never had the

responsibility of making their own decisions. They could not accept

the open door of liberty through fear. Freedom was only a word to

them. They never experienced it. They were not free, regardless of

what The Emancipation Proclamation said.

These stories help us to re-emphasize two things. There are

some who resist, at times violently, the effort of others to escape the

“trench” of bondage to prevailing opinion. We cannot understand

the motivation of wounded people trying to prevent survivors of

German brutality from escaping death and being buried alive. So

why are we more “understanding” of those who would grab us

and try to keep us from climbing out of the bondage created for us

by illegitimate opinions and social customs? Will we resist their

efforts to hold us back, and climb out to freedom?

On the other hand, now that we see that the doors have been

opened and that we are free to go forward into the enjoyment of

sexual liberty, will we, through fear or other emotions just choose

to remain enslaved? Who can understand the fear that would cause

a liberated slave to refuse his liberty? Yet people voluntarily remain

slaves to other people’s opinions; fearful of what others will think if

they should be discovered enjoying a sexual liberty that others do

not enjoy.

Freedom is precious. Freedom is worth fighting for. Freedom is

worth defending against those who would enslave us. Go ahead!

Accept your freedom! Overcome the fear that immobilizes you;

shake off restraints others put on you. Enjoy what God gave you

when He made you a sexual creature. God will be pleased.

237

We encourage our readers to make this Biblical statement their

guideline for a sexually liberated life:

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your

stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on

you. I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you

submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at

that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is

squandered.” (Galatians 5:1, 2, The Message)

 

238

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

 

SEX AND HOLINESS

I have anticipated writing this chapter because it cuts to the

heart of all our problems with sex. From birth most of us learned to

think of sex as dirty and shameful. Our sex training from infancy

was not planned and methodical. Parents just passed on to their

children what they had received as children. When kids receive

hand slaps and perhaps stronger punishment for feeling their

genitals; when they stare fearfully at that long parental finger

pointing in their face; when they look into the frowning face of a

scolding parent; when they hear the words, “No! No! Don’t do that.

That’s nasty!” no other thought can register in their minds but that

sex is dirty. As we began to understand our religious teaching on

this subject we learned that sex is “unholy.” We heard no positive

sermons or classes lessons on sex. Or if we did they were so few

that the sheer mass of the negative ones buried the positive ones.

When sex was mentioned from the pulpit we got the clear message

that sex is “fornication,” or “adultery,” or “lasciviousness,” or

“lust.” And hell was the guaranteed final destiny of anyone who

did any kind of sex stuff before marriage. So we secretly rubbed

our genitals as sexual Jekylls and Hydes, loving and hating

ourselves at the same time; delighting in the exquisite pleasure of

the act but burning with shame at having done something so filthy.

Shame and guilt about sex has been embedded deep in the

hearts of virtually all religious people. Today it is a given that

religious people have a fundamentally negative mind-set about all

sexual activity, including monogamous intercourse. On the few

occasions that one might hear a religious discussion of sex by a

church leader, one is virtually guaranteed to hear the following (if

these specific acts are mentioned at all):

“Masturbation is lust of the flesh.”

“Oral sex is perverted; humans were made to have sex lying

together face to face.” “Rear-entry sex is animalistic and

degenerate.”

“If you look sexually at anyone other than your mate you have

committed adultery in your heart.”

“If you think sexual thoughts about anyone other than your

mate, you have a dirty heart.”

239

So we are brainwashed with the idea that we are Hell-bound if

we look, touch, or even think about sex until we are married. And

we know that no serious church goer has much to do with sex.

Certainly no sincere worshipper thinks about or practices sex

because worshippers must be “holy.” How could a sexual person

really pray? We just know that God will not hear the prayers of a

sexually vibrant person. Why, to come to church and sing worship

songs and pray and take communion after a good night of sex, is

surely “hypocrisy!” Ok, Ok, so maybe we exaggerate somewhat.

But not much! We believe no one will argue much with the

statement that we are all victims of thorough-going training in the

“sex-as-dirty” theology. So for us to suggest a new theology of

“sex-as-holy” will seem too outrageous to be taken seriously. But

that’s exactly what we suggest. Now let us see if we can form a

good foundation for that theology.

I said that this cuts to the heart of all our problems with sex.

Man is an inveterate legalist. He makes laws about anything and

everything, from the sublime to the ridiculous. In religion this

tendency is the greatest curse faced by truth-seekers and those who

just want to worship God without human fetters. Jesus warred with

this party in His day. The Pharisees, Sadducees and Jewish lawyers

specialized in making religious law where God had made none.

Jesus’ terrible curses against their hypocrisy can be read in

Matthew 23. The modern church still struggles against the

overwhelming tide of human law that chokes the life out of a

simple pursuit of God. Legalism has several fatal faults, but one of

them is noteworthy for our purposes. Legalism finds God’s laws

insufficient to lead humanity to complete righteousness, therefore

religious professionals must plug the gaps by making church law.

Purely human law now regulates every phase of church life. God’s

law has effectively disappeared under the pile. Nowhere is this

more pronounced and hurtful than in sexual practice. Modern

Pharisees have legislated on every possible sexual practice, with the

effect that everything one might think, desire or do sexually has been

made “sinful.” Except for monogamous intercourse in the

missionary position. Proceeding from their mindset that “sex is

dirty” religious leaders have legislated against all possible sex acts

by anyone, of any age, who is not married. And those who are

married must not enjoy oral or anal sex, or use vibrators or other

sex toys, must not employ the “rear-entry” method because of its

240

“bestial” nature and so forth. Single people cannot look sexually at

other people because this is “lust of the eyes”. Therefore the poor

guy who is moonstruck at the beauty of his fiancé must not think at

all of having sex with her; not until after the wedding ceremony. In

other words, church law effectively makes it a sin to feel sexual

attraction for the opposite sex even as part of the mating process.

Isn’t that silly?

And of course, preachers, pastors, teachers and church

counselors will quickly tell the single person as well as the married

person that masturbation is a “lustful work of the flesh” that

requires repentance. Adults and children alike must not look at

nude paintings or photographs because this too is “lust of the eyes”

and “adultery.” One must not read sexually oriented writings

because all such are “smut” and “pornography” appealing solely to

“prurient interests” which is “lust of the flesh.” Well, you name the

practice and just add the word “sin” to it and there you have the

status of church law on all things sexual. This reaches such absurd

limits that one well known preacher said in a public seminar which

I attended, that “husbands must not lust after their own wives.” If

you can make sense of that you’re better than I am.

Behind all this foolishness is the deeply rooted sense that all

things sexual are fundamentally “unclean.” God did not legislate

against the majority of potential sexual practices because God

obviously felt no need to do so. But man rushes in, feeling that sex

is dirty, and he is compelled to legislate against everything God did

not, so as to protect all us ignorant sex-crazed fools who otherwise

might get the idea that sex is a fun, and to-be-sought-after blessing.

Without the ”sex is dirty” mind set, this would not be the case.

So we must necessarily examine what the Bible teaches on the

subject of what is sexually clean/unclean and sexually

holy/unholy. We will begin with the subject of “uncleanness”

because holiness and uncleanness are opposites. Anything unclean

cannot possibly be holy. So it is necessary to see if the Bible actually

teaches that sex is inherently unclean. At least we must learn if all

forms of non-marital sex are unclean in God’s estimation. Let’s

begin as usual with the actual definitions of the words.

Word Definitions

Hebrew, “Unclean”

241

“to be foul, esp. in ceremonial sense, contaminated, filthy.”

(Strong’s #2930, 1, 2)

“personal(menses) or moral (idolatry, incest).” (Strong’s #5079, Lev.

20:21; Ezra 9:11)

“nudity, lit. or fig. (disgrace, blemish) nakedness, shame,

unclean.” (Strong’s #6172, DT. 23:14; 24:1),

“sacred person, devotee by prostitution to licentious

idolatry; sodomite, unclean, consecrated thing, holiness,

sanctuary.” (Strong’s #6945, Job 36:14)

“an occurrence, accidental disqualification.” (Strong’s

#7137, Dt. 23:10)

Greek, “Unclean”

“akathartos, “unpurified; in a Levitical sense, unatoned;

then as transferred to the moral sphere, impure,

embracing impurity of all kinds,”

koinos, “common, pertaining to all, what comes into

contact with everything, unholy, unsanctified; hence the

opposite of agios, (holy).

koinow, to make koinos, make common; hence, to render

unholy, unlawful; to defile.

akatharsia, in a ritual sense, impurity; also in an ehtical

sense, impurity in general as opposed to agiasmos,

(holiness); akatharsia is comprehensive; hence it is the

genus of which porneia (lewdness) and aselgeia

(dissoluteness) are only species.

miasmos, a dyeing; hence pollution, stain, taint, in a moral

sense.”

(E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the

English and Greek New Testament, p. 828)

“impurity, uncleanness, filthiness, foul.” (Strong’s #167, 168, 169)

“shared by all, common, unclean, unholy.” (Strong’s #2839, Rom.

14:14)

“to make profane, common, defile, pollute, unclean.” (Strong’s

#2840, Heb. 9:13)

“sully, taint, contaminate, defile. (Strong’s #3394, 2Pet. 2:10)

Hebrew, “Defiled”

“to soil, desecrate, pollute, stain, defile.” (Strong’s #1351 (Neh.

13:29)

242

“to wound, dissolve, profane, defile, pollute, prostitute, stain.”

(Strong’s #2490)

“to soil, esp. in moral sense, corrupt, profane.” (Strong’s #2610, Jer.

3:9)

“to be foul, esp. in moral or ceremonial sense.” (Strong’s #2930,

Gen. 34:5 Lev. 5:3)

“overdo, maltreat, be saucy to, pain, impose.” (Strong’s #5953, Job

16:15)

“look down, browbeat, depress, debase.” (Strong’s #6031, Gen. 34:2)

“be clean, consecrate, dedicate, defile.” (Strong’s #6942, Dt. 22:9)

“Greek koinow, to make common, to communicate with others.

In NT to make common ceremonially, hence, to render unholy or

unclean, to defile. miaino, to stain with color, to tinge, color (as

staining glass or ivory), to spot, but not necessarily to blot. moluno,

to soil, besmear, as with mud or filth, to blot. spilow, to make a

stain, mark, freckle, mole; in a moral sense, to defile. phtheiro, to

spoil, corrupt, destroy; gen. to bring into a worse state; to deprave.”

(Bullinger, p. 213)

“sodomite; abuser of self with mankind.” (Strong’s #733, 1Tim.

1:10)

“shared by all, common, unclean, unholy, make profane, common,

defile, pollute, unclean.” (Strong’s #2839, 2840)

“to sully, contaminate, defile.” (Strong’s #3392, Jude 8)

“immorality, filthiness.” (Strong’s #3435(, Cor.8:7)

“defile, spot.” (Strong’s #4695, Jas.3:6)

“to pine, waste, shrivel, wither, spoil, ruin, corrupt, defile, destroy.”

(Strong’s #5351)

Scripture References:

Now let us see what the Scripture actually says when it uses these

words.

If a man ejaculates, he is “unclean” until evening, (Lev. 15:16).

This is different from ejaculation during intercourse, which is

specified in vs. 18. How would this ejaculation occur except

through masturbation? Even when ejaculation occurs within the

context of sexual intercourse between married couple the

ejaculation renders both of them unclean until evening, vs. 18. It is

obvious from this reference that “unclean” cannot mean “unholy” or

243

“sinful,” either here, or in the previous verse. No one believes that

intercourse between married couples is in any way “unclean.” The

“uncleanness” in these verses is clearly ritual, ceremonial; it carried

no moral implication at all. All excretions of bodily fluids were

treated in this fashion. We may never understand the purpose of

God’s declaring bodily fluids “unclean,” but we must avoid

making their production “sinful” and we must avoid the folly of

making strictly cultic/ceremonial rules applicable to all people for

all time.

Having sex with a woman during her menstrual period makes

both “unclean” for 7 days. (Lev. 15:24).

“Uncleanness” because of ejaculation makes one unfit for

ministry in the tabernacle, (Lev. 15:32, 33).

Sex must be avoided during a woman’s menstrual period, (Lev.

18: 19). Those who do it are “cut off,” (Lev. 20:18), that is, they are

not allowed tabernacle/worship privileges because they are

ceremonially “unclean.”

A priest who ejaculates is “unclean” until evening, (Lev. 22:4).

A man may divorce his wife for “uncleanness.” If she remarries

and is divorced again for uncleanness, or if her second husband

dies leaving her a widow; her former husband must not take her

back for she is “defiled.” (Deut. 24:1ff).

Israel was cursed because “father and son use the same girl and so

profane My holy name,” (Amos 2:7). In this usage, “profane” means

to make less than holy; to make common.

God abandoned men to sexual “impurity” (Rom. 1:24).

Saints must purify themselves from all that “defiles” body and

spirit, (2 Cor. 7:1).

Some have engaged in “impurity,” sexual sin and debauchery, (2

Cor. 12:21).

Once we all gratified the cravings of our sinful nature, (Eph.

2:3). Gentiles have given themselves to sensuality, indulging every

kind of “impurity” & continual lust for more, (Eph. 4:19).

Among saints there must not be fornication or “impurity,” (Eph.

5:3).

No fornicator or “impure” person can inherit the kingdom of

God, (Eph. 5:5).

Put to death fornication, “uncleanness,” lust, evil desires, (Col.

3:5).

God did not call us to “uncleanness,” ( Thess. 4:7).

244

Lay aside all “filthiness” and overflow of wickedness, (Jas. 1:21).

Wisdom that is “sensual” belonging to the physical, the five

senses, catering only to pleasures, lust of the flesh, “unclean,” etc.

(Jas. 3:15).

God reserves judgment for those who walk according to the

flesh in the lusts of “uncleanness,” (2 Pet. 2:9).

Comments from other authors:

“Israel’s cultic and religious life centered around holy places

and holy acts. Worship of the deity and the ritual purity which that

demanded, contrast markedly with the violations of acceptable

procedure. Ritual purity was bound up with moral and physical

purity. To help maintain the purity of the community and thereby

to please God, the Israelites took proper precautions with regard to

eating certain animals, childbirth, leprosy, certain bodily

discharges, touching dead bodies and carrion, and captured spoil.

The Bible contains an extensive vocabulary with reference to the

notions of clean and unclean, as well as related concepts such as

purity and impurity, holiness and defilement, sacred and profane.

Heb. taher is the word most commonly used in OT to indicate that

someone or something is ritually clean and meets the standards of

correct worship. The terms themselves tell us little about the

concepts of clean and unclean, receiving their meanings primarily

from the contexts in which they are employed.

Various forms of excretions or emissions of blood, semen and

other fluids, particularly those associated with sexual or

reproductive functions, were sources of uncleanness. These might

include semen produced either intentionally, as in sexual

intercourse, (Lev. 15:18) or unintentionally as in nocturnal

emissions or sickness (vs. 2-17). Women were rendered unclean

through intercourse as well as during menstruation, (vs. 16-19); a

man who had contact with a menstruating woman was also

unclean for seven days (vs. 24).

The defiling effect of sexual discharges may have originated in

primitive taboos or through association with ritual intercourse as

practiced among Israel’s neighbors. Indeed, the Bible repeatedly

defends sexuality as a positive and proper aspect of human

existence. It may be that the polluting effects of sexual love are

related to the fall of mankind and resultant human sin.

245

A man who had an ejaculation was considered unclean until

evening, as was a woman who participated in intercourse; she was

required to bathe… to become purified (Lev. 15:16,18).”

Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, pg.221-223.

“No sexual act was permitted as a means of worshipping

Yahweh. All such activity in this regard therefore rendered one

unclean. Sex was viewed as a part of man’s mundane existence, not

a means of his interaction with the Divine. Becoming unclean

through sex did not connote the idea that sex was sinful or without

value, but that it could not be used as a means of worship, or be

given greater sanction by being conducted in the temple area. This

belief embodied a strong polemic against paganism, which

constantly associated sexual intercourse at the cultic center with

guaranteed fertility.

Cleanness has to do more with the proper course of a truly

moral life than with defining morality. The emphasis is on pure

inner motivation and integrity lifestyle.

The word “unclean” in the NT includes licentiousness,

covetousness and sexual abuses (Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Rom. 1:24).

Uncleanness is one of the works of the flesh that prohibits

following the Spirit’s leadership (Gal. 5:17ff.). From these

defilements the believer must cleanse himself, to live a separate and

unique life (2 Cor. 7:1). The principle which Paul lays down in

Rom. 14:14, 20, “that nothing is unclean of itself; but it is unclean for

anyone who thinks it is unclean,” and “everything is indeed clean…”

clearly shows that the Christian is entrusted with critical facilities to

discern the proper use of His Father’s world.”

ISBE, vol. 1, pg. 721, 722

“Paul asserts the basic cleanness of all created things (Rom.

14:14, 20.) Peter learns the same lesson in the vision of Acts 10:15;

11:9. Titus 1:15 advances the idea that it is the person who makes

things clean or unclean: To the pure all things are pure, to

unbelievers nothing is pure.”

Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p.383

246

The Issue Of Purity

Purity means avoidance of dirt, and this avoidance shapes

much of modern morality in our own and other cultures. All rules

that govern the boundaries of the human body and its function,

particularly sex, tend to be presented as purity rules. Sex itself is

generally looked at as either pure or impure and primarily the

latter. We learn our purity rules as children and regard them ever

after as self-evident. For this reason we deem all practices that do

not correspond with our own rules to be “unclean,” “degenerate,”

or “uncivilized” and even “brutish.” This issue is important

because God demands that we be “holy” people. Holiness affects

our access to God. If we are not “pure” we cannot effectively

worship God and He certainly will not empower us to serve Him

successfully. When people do sexual things that they have been

taught are “impure” their guilt is not just personal. It affects their

relationship with God. Their shame creates a barrier in their mind

between them and God. They fear that God will not hear their

prayers; that God will not grant them necessary help, etc.

Children are taught very early that masturbation is “nasty,” yet

no one can show where God actually makes masturbation an issue

of any sort, least of all a purity issue. Likewise, God has not seen fit

to even comment on oral sex yet church leaders do not hesitate to

proclaim oral sex a dirty and degenerate practice. The use of a

vibrator to stimulate and enhance a person’s sexual climax is

thought by some to be perverted, an unholy “substitution,” an

“unclean” act. Yet God in no way even hints at such. People accept

such values as self-evident not realizing that they are the product of

our culture and not the teaching of God’s word. It is impossible for

most of us to believe that our personal moral values are not

identical with those of Scripture. After all, “our preacher has told

us…” and we are certain that our preachers “know.” Nevertheless,

if God does not identify an act as unclean, it is not unclean

regardless of what culture, society or church says about it. To quote

Paul again: “nothing is unclean of itself; but it is unclean for anyone who

thinks it is unclean,” and “everything is indeed clean…” (Rom. 14:14,

20). And “All things are pure for the pure, but for the polluted and

faithless, nothing is pure, but both their minds and their consciences are

polluted.” Titus 1:15.

One of the amazing blessings we received from Jesus is His

authoritative dismissal of “purity” attaching to foods and all other

247

matters. By His teaching and example Jesus dismissed purity across

the board, repudiating the validity of such actions as externally

cleansing either dishes or hands before eating, of avoiding certain

meats as “unclean,” or considering such sexual practices as

prostitution as “impure.” Sexual activity is not a matter of pure or

impure. Nothing about sex is dirty. It is clean, wholesome and a

blessing to humanity.

Based on correct definition of words and interpreting them

within their contextual setting, sex is not a primary concern in the

NT writings. Nor is purity an accepted principle there except in

contexts which deal with the issue of contamination that comes

from association with occult practice, witchcraft, and pagan

worship. Jesus and His apostles emphasize motivation as the definer

of all morality, including sexual morality. This statement is difficult

for those who read the Bible from the perspective of Western

Christianity, which maintains primary emphasis on sex as a

“purity” issue, and believes that sex itself is a primary concern in

the NT. What we call “dirty” behavior the NT is indifferent to.

Neither Jesus Christ nor His apostles treat sexual issues as purity

issues. Rather, the issue of sex in the NT has to do with sex acts that

fall into the general category of “fornication,” that is, things that

God has specifically forbidden. A sex act is not condemned because

it is dirty or unclean. It is “unclean” because God has condemned

it. If God does not condemn a sex act it cannot be unclean or

impure.

The historical, cultural and ecclesiastical distance between the

world of the NT and that of today is vast, and we must resist the

temptation to read ancient texts only in terms drawn from our own

immediate experience and the tradition that has shaped it. We must

utterly avoid the practice of present day “Pharisees,” by trying to

fill in the “gaps” left by God in His discussions of sex. We must

open our hearts to the possibility that Scripture may speak things

unheard of in our narrow experience. One thing it speaks is the end

of “purity” as relates to sexual matters.

What “Defiles” A Person?

Jesus was concerned more about the condition of one’s inner

man than about his external actions. In Jesus’ view, what came

from the heart, what motivated people to do what they did mattered

more than their actual deeds. This understanding is crucial to the

248

matter of defining what God considers to be truly “unclean.” We

have been conditioned by generations of preaching to believe that

“uncleanness” is things such as lying, bad thoughts, dirty jokes and

many other things we do that we shouldn’t have done. In many moral

issues there is an often unspoken concept that certain actions are

inherently “unclean” or “nasty.” We are prone to attach

spiritual/moral/ethical “defilement” to certain activities, especially

sexual activities, and then look with disdain upon people who

participate in those activities. But there is something more

fundamental to the nature of defilement than what we do or say or

think. In God’s sight what causes a person to be “dirty” or “impure?”

Again, the Scripture is the final word. It matters nothing at all what

we have believed all our lives or for generations before us. What

we have been taught by “them of old time” is not the final word.

Our only interest in this study is to understand what the Bible says

about these things. Jesus speaks specifically to the issue of

defilement.

Jesus taught that God looks upon and judges the heart more

than He judges our deeds. Jesus forbids that we judge one another

simply because we do not have the ability to examine the heart. To

correctly and righteously judge a person’s actions requires that we

be able to correctly and righteously judge that person’s motives for

those actions and that is something no human is able to do

infallibly. Thus we are commanded to leave all judgment in God’s

hands (Rom. 14:4, 10-13). This issue is crucial for two reasons: It

determines how we think of ourselves as to whether we are “holy”

or “unholy,” and it determines whether we judge others to be either

“holy” or “unholy.” What is it after all, that makes a person

“impure” or “unholy?” If we are unable to answer that question

correctly, then we cannot make a correct estimation even of our

own holiness, let alone the holiness of another person.

“What Proceeds Out Of The Mouth Defiles The Man.”

Is external purity supremely important? Is external purity even a

spiritual reality? Please note that we have emphasized that we are

considering external purity. We do not question the importance of

purity. We are asking whether the Bible actually teaches what we

almost universally assume about purity: i.e. that it is primarily a

matter of outward actions. Are certain actions inherently dirty? This

249

issue is extremely important to our understanding of sexual purity.

Because of the way we are all taught from infancy, to think about

the nature of physical actions, we must take awhile to examine this

question carefully.

While in debate with Jewish leaders over His disciple’s practice

of eating without washing their hands, Jesus said, “What Proceeds

Out Of The Mouth Defiles The Man.” (Matt. 15:11). The previous

verse quotes Jesus as saying “Hear me and understand.” This phrase,

similar to His statements “verily, verily I say to you,” and “he that has

ears, let him hear,” is uniquely calculated to grab the attention of the

hearers and focus their minds on what He is saying. In essence

Jesus means, “Listen to me very carefully; I am about to say

something absolutely fundamental and you must understand it. Don’t

miss this!” Here it is: “It is not what goes into one’s mouth that defiles

him, but what comes out of the mouth defiles him.” They were greatly

concerned about external purity. So fastidious were they that they

dared not even eat unless they had washed their hands. The issue

was not being sure their hands were clean from physical dirt. This

was for them a matter of spiritual/moral cleanness. It was a

“holiness” issue. And to them holiness consisted in things one might

do or not do. So Jesus explained: “things that…come from the

heart…defile the man,” (Matt. 15:17-20 cf. Mark 7:21-22). Defilement

is not a matter of what is external to us. Being “unholy” does not

consist basically of actions. What defiles is what is in the heart. A

mere act of whatever character, is neither holy nor unholy

considered by itself. What gives any act a moral quality is not the

nature of the act itself but what is in the heart of the “actor.”

Our heart is our problem. The heart is the source of all “evil”

deeds. God judges our deeds according to what He finds in our

heart. More than God looking at physical deeds or actual words,

He looks into the heart. We are not “defiled” by actions themselves,

but by what motivates those actions. God’s primary question is not

“What did you do?” His question is “Why did you do that?” The

evil God attaches to an external action depends on the motive of the

one doing it. And even “good” deeds are not “good” if they arise

from legalism or done grudgingly. God judges an action as clean or

unclean, holy or unholy, good or evil, not on the basis of the

inherent nature of the deed but on the heart of the doer. Churches

are full of people who struggle with their personal spirituality and

their relationship with God because they have been pumped full of

250

legalism all their lives. They simply cannot accept that they have a

healthy relationship with God because they have done in the past,

and occasionally still do, some things that make them “dirty and

nasty” and therefore God just cannot approve of them. This

mindset is a barrier to prayer, praise and worship. This faulty selfjudgment

manifests itself in faulty judgment of others and has been

directly responsible for countless church divisions and countless

individual departures from “the faith.”

The Ultimate Deciding Factor.

“Why do we do as we do? What are we thinking when we do

something?” These are the questions that hold God’s attention as

He considers our actions, both good and bad. The ultimate deciding

factor in salvation and continued fellowship with God, is not what

we do, but what we think and feel.

Works are never good enough to contribute to our salvation

from sin or to fellowship with God. Works do not define or control

our relationship with God either before or after salvation. From

beginning to end our walk with God is determined by the

condition of our heart. God is not impressed with anything we

know or do. He pushes past every point in which we may be proud

of what we do and looks intently at what motivates our actions. Is

rebellion in our heart; unconcern for the good of others, or disregard

of God? Or is there a fundamental desire in our heart to do good to

others and to love God? When we say “Father look down on us and

wash us in Jesus’ blood from all defilement and uncleanness,” we

are asking Him to examine our heart and forgive us for, and

remove from our hearts, all wrong motives, rebellion, fear, doubt,

etc. Those are the things that defile us. Outward deeds do not defile

us.

God did not look at us when we were lost and turn His back on

us because we did so much that was wrong. If He saw faith in our

hearts He mitigated our wrong deeds with His grace. And now that

we are His children He does not look at us and turn His back on us

because our deeds are often still wrong. If He sees love in our

hearts He continues to mitigate our wrong deeds with His grace. If

we can grasp this we will no longer be terrified of losing fellowship

and favor with God on the basis of “committing sin,” sexual sin

included.

251

Everything God Created Is Inherently Good.

The nature of spiritual “uncleanness” is crucial to our

understanding of “defilement.” We have learned from our religious

teachers to consider many things in God’s good creation as being

essentially contaminated and unholy. The prime example of this is

virtually anything sexual. It is an astonishing thing to hear some

Christians talk about sex – when they will talk about it at all. There

is in most minds, a feeling that there is something inherently nasty

or dirty about sex. It is especially difficult for many Christians to

believe that sex is inherently innocent and that the intense mental,

emotional and physical pleasure of sex is a God-given blessing. It is

simply too outrageous an idea for most people to think that when

humans thoroughly delight in sex it brings thorough delight to

God’s heart. The attitude seems to be that “sex is basically dirty, and

if there were any way to procreate the human race without the sex

act then surely God would do away with sex.” Having pastored

churches for 36 years we know, from first hand experience, that

strife in marriages focuses on sex more than any other one thing. A

large part of that strife arises from one or both of the partners

feeling that sex is basically dirty and that minimal sex, in terms of

both variety and frequency, is best. One woman we counseled with,

wept bitterly with shame as she tried to muster the courage to tell

us her deep dark secret: her husband wanted her to dance nude for

him! This to her was utterly “dirty.” But is there anything inherently

unclean or unholy in sexual activity or in any other activity?

Drinking alcoholic beverages or any use of tobacco are especially

viewed as “unholy.” They are generally labeled “vices” which no

“faithful” Christian would ever indulge in. Anything can be made

“sinful” depending on how we use it. Even eating becomes sinful

for one who is a “glutton.” Neither having money, nor exerting

honest effort to obtain money are sinful. But “greed” is sinful

because it goes too far with a good thing. “Holiness” is not a matter

of sex or no sex. The nun, the monk, the priest, the celibate are not a

whit more holy than the rest of us on the basis that they abstain

from sex, any more than the voluntary indigent is more holy for the

fact that he eschews money. The “sin” involved in any activity is

not a matter of the nature of the activity itself, but of either

overdoing it, or hurting someone else by it.

252

“Defilement” does not come from the act of using and enjoying

any of God’s creation. It comes from within. Christian asceticism has

plagued us since the first century. Ascetics vow to dress and act in

such fashion that they do not come into contact with “unclean

things.” Thus some disavow sex because it is “unholy.” Others

wear clothing that is uncomfortable because any physical pleasure

is “fleshly and unholy.” Others eat only the most distasteful food

because to do otherwise is to yield to the flesh and become a

“gourmand.” We know, personally, one man who for years ate

nothing but pinto beans and unleavened bread because he thought

he found a verse in Scripture that forbade enjoyment of rich food. A

group of Indians, called “Penitentes,” regularly whip their backs

with bone and metal embellished thongs until blood flows down

their back and shoulders, because they believe such self-abuse and

rejection of pleasure pleases God. We should grieve for such people

who suffer such self-imposed pain and/or lack, thinking they

thereby please God. Imagine their grief and regret if they could

only realize that God pays no attention at all to such outward

asceticism except to pity their ignorance.

Paul fought the encroachment of this foolishness into the

Colossian church, (Col. 2:8-23). The first problem he tackled is one

we still face on a large scale. Church leaders and laity alike cannot

resist the urge to set for themselves and others, rules of “holiness”

that are not from God, (cf. vs. 8, 16, 18, 20-22). Almost as if we think

God did not do a thorough job of warning us about everything

sinful, we are compelled to devise regulations for every conceivable

action and situation, impose those regulations upon everyone

around us, then measure “holiness” or “faithfulness” on the basis

of those human regulations. Paul sternly warns the Colossians to

refuse to allow other people to lead them into spiritual bondage

“through philosophy … deception…(and) the tradition of men…rather

than according to Christ,” (vs. 8). Hear this well: Nothing that pertains

to holiness derives from the human mind. Any spiritual rule that men

make is a spiritually worthless rule. Some rules must be made that

have to do with orderly function of church services, for example.

But those rules have no spiritual value. No holiness is involved in

keeping them. The Colossians were commanded to reject human

judgment of their enjoyment of “food or drink” or with respect to

“festival or new moon or Sabbath day,” (vs. 16). Both then and now

church leaders make rules for us that condemn religious days like

253

Christmas and Easter and warn us not to observe such “pagan

days.” Yet Paul says we are to reject such human rules. Other

church leaders condemn drinking wine or eating certain “unclean”

foods like pork. Paul’s inspired advice is to ignore such ascetic,

worthless regulations. We could fill a page with a list of things we

have been told we must not “touch, nor taste nor handle.” Things

like women wearing jewelry, cutting their hair, wearing pants,

bathing suits or shorts, or women doing just about anything. Rules

against owning TV’s, going to movies, listening to “secular” music,

dancing, playing cards, playing bingo or buying lottery tickets. All

such should be discarded as worthless rules. Not a single one of

them has the least thing to do with holiness or devotion to God. To

honor them is to honor, not God’s authority, but human authority

and so is to actually dishonor God. It is to give up our freedom in

Christ to make up our own minds about all such things, and to

return to the bondage of legalism.

All human interpretations of and rules for “true holiness” or

“real commitment” or “faithfulness” are worthless for anything,

especially in overcoming the flesh, (vs. 23). Frankly, most manmade

rules and restrictions have a strong “appearance of wisdom in

self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body.”

That is their whole appeal. Our folly is transparently displayed in

the way we view people on the basis of merely outward

appearance. We attribute great holiness to someone who rises

extremely early and spends much time praying and reading the

Word. We exalt to high status those who come to every church

meeting, who fast often and who tithe largely. If others desire to

know how to be truly holy we set for them a path of “severity to

the body” consisting of little sleep, minimal sex, much fasting,

much praying, much meditating on Scripture, etc. All of those

activities are valuable when pursued because one loves God. But not

even sacrificial commitment to such activities will qualify one as

holy in God’s sight if love is not the motive. God rejects what is not

motivated by and filled with love (1 Cor. 13:1-3). And Paul

pointedly says all such is “of no value against fleshly indulgence,” (vs.

24). This being true, let us stop trying to overcome fleshly

tendencies by means of increased fasting, praying, etc., by

following the spiritual regimens devised by men or by ascetic

abstinence from sex, food or whatever. Paul says it won’t help at

254

all. What will help is persuading God to fill our hearts with more of

His love.

Spiritual fulfillment is not found in following rigid rules, severe

restrictions, self-abasement, etc. One cannot draw closer to God and

find deeper spiritual contentment or spiritual satisfaction as a result

of intense attention to learning and rigidly practicing spiritual

rules. We are complete only “in Christ,” (vs.8, 10, 17), that is, in

relationship with Him. Completeness is in the relationship itself, not

in things we do or don’t do for Him. All the true “substance” that

exists in the spiritual realm is in Christ. All else may “look” good

but it is of comparatively little worth. The only way to experience

true spiritual substance is to come into personal contact and walk in

ongoing relationship with Christ Himself. We must depend on

Christ alone and not in our own spiritual works. All rules and

regulations that get between us and Christ – rules and regulations

that focus on self and how well we do, how sacrificial we are, how

many hours we spend doing religious things, are antithetical to the

gospel. None of those things can satisfy us. We cannot grow closer

to Christ by resisting the urge to masturbate or to look at a photo of

a nude person. Quelling all sexual fantasy and “repenting” of

having a “dirty mind” will not impress Christ, or improve our

relationship with Him. He will only pity such ignorant asceticism

and spiritual bondage.

The natural tendency of legalism is to lead into more and more

bondage, with less and less satisfaction. The soul that is driven by

performance based religion will never find what it seeks. Legalism

and asceticism continually add more and more regulations that

increasingly restrict what is pleasurable without producing any

greater degree of spirituality, nor resulting in more closeness with

God. This declension of liberty and capacity to enjoy life produces

the negativity and misery that is worn on the faces and heard in the

voices of those suffering under such spiritual cruelty. The

harshness of this scheme is amplified by the fact that we can never

do enough human works to feel we have really done enough and

so our soul is never satisfied. And if we succeed in not actually

acting on our sexual urges, we are still filled with guilt that we even

have those urges, because just having them makes us “unholy!” If

our “Christianity” makes us negative or miserable it is not the real

thing; there is little true “substance” in it. If our heart is full of

ascetic works/righteousness and we are filled with depression,

255

fear, etc. then we need to just stop all religious activity until we can

“get our head on straight.” Decide that you will attempt to enjoy

your normal sex urges, and even thank God for them. And if you

are confronted by pastors or other Christians for what they label

“defilement” do your best to ignore it, go to Jesus and ask for

encouragement and His confirmation that you are doing the right

thing, and He will respond to you. Reject all rules made up for you

by other people, including church leaders.

This is not an appeal to abandon all spiritual discipline.

Spiritual self-discipline that one undertakes voluntarily is good. But

attaching “holiness” or “faithfulness” to it is pretense. It is nothing

more than a “fair show in the flesh.” Nothing more than a sham.

Claims that it draws Christ closer are false. Christ is drawn by a

heart that loves Him, not by religious actions of any variety,

character or volume. And the accompanying evil of this mind-set

arises from how we judge the spirituality of others. Measuring

others by one’s own concept of self-discipline is sinful selfrighteousness.

Belittling the spirituality of others on the basis that

they are not “committed” to the same severe religious regimen as

oneself demonstrates smallness of spirit and a complete failure to

understand the nature of grace, love and mercy.

The issue is simple: We are to refuse to measure our own

spirituality on the basis of how good our outward deeds are, or

how many of them we perform. Likewise we must refuse to judge

the spirituality of others on that basis. And we must not allow

others to judge our own spirituality on that basis.

Nothing is Inherently Unclean

In his warning to Timothy about heresies he should watch for,

Paul refers to “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…(who)…forbid

marriage and advocate abstaining from food which God created to be

gratefully shared in by all those who believe and know the truth. For

everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is

received with gratitude. For it is sanctified by means of the word of God

and prayer,” (1 Tim. 4:1-5).

In Rom. 14:14, 20, 22 Paul wrote, “I know and am convinced in the

Lord that nothing is unclean of itself; but to him who thinks anything to

be unclean, to him it is unclean... All things indeed are clean, but they are

256

evil for the man who eats and gives offense…Happy is he who condemns

not himself in what he approves.”

In 1 Cor. 10:29-31, we have this: “…Why is my freedom judged by

another man’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I

slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? Whether then you eat

or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Then in Titus 1:14-15, Paul says God’s people should not be

“paying attention to myths and commandments of men who turn away

from the truth. To the pure all things are pure; but to those who are defiled

and unbelieving nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience

are defiled.”

These verses contain one of the most radical revelations we can

get in our day. The change they require in the way we think about

everything is nothing short of revolutionary. But in no case as much

so as in sexual matters. If our mindset were not so corrupt these

verses would not be so radical. To think that there is “nothing”

inherently unclean, and that “all things are clean” and enjoyment of

all God’s creation is “sanctified by means of the word of God and

prayer” and that we can literally give God thanks for everything He

created and fully enjoy it – this is radical theology! Long standing

church tradition holds that there are many things that are inherently

unclean, defiling and dirty. To really see what these verses actually

say is shattering to the legalist mindset. It destroys prevailing

concepts of holy and unholy as regards human sexuality.

It is important that we understand that Paul is not giving us his

personal opinion about moral purity. He says, “I am convinced in the

Lord” about this fact. Paul understood Christianity better than any

human who ever lived. What we read here is his God-inspired

statement about the inherent purity of everything in creation. This is

Christ’s own word that nothing is unclean of itself. Reader, let this sink

into your mind. Say those words aloud, several times. This single

revelation tears the foundation completely out from under most of

the things we have built into our framework of “holiness.” We have

attributed inherent defilement to any number of things and

condemned the doing of those things under any circumstances

because we say they are “unholy.” Things like smoking, drinking

wine, dancing, wearing “revealing clothing,” and so forth. In sexual

matters we have been trained to believe that masturbation, oral sex,

anal sex, sexual fantasy, multiple sex relationships, sex play with a

257

“date” (called “petting”), prostitution, nudity, erotic writings or

photos, etc. are all inherently unclean. But the Bible says “nothing is

unclean in itself.” And everything God created can be enjoyed by

those who believe and know the truth. It is because we do not know

the truth that we declare things to be unholy that God says are not

unholy. Everything in creation is sanctified for our enjoyment by

the word that declares it to be good and by the thankfulness of

those who enjoy it.

Test this for yourself. Have you ever given God praise and

thanksgiving for your mate’s physical body, for their sexuality, and

for the great pleasure you enjoy in sex? Our guess is most of you

have never even thought of thanking God for sex. Why? Because the

concept that “sex is dirty” has been pounded into us from birth. To

say “Father God I thank you for sex. I thank you for my mate’s

beautiful body, and for their sexuality. Thank you Father God, for

the delicious delight of physical pleasure that is part of your

creation of sex,” seems almost blasphemous. Yet the Word of God

declares sex, along with everything else, to be “very good.” And

our enjoyment of this good thing should be accompanied by

thanksgiving just as we thank God for our food.

Some in Paul’s day were making “rules for holiness” that

included abstaining from certain foods, and even from the

pleasures of marriage – the old “sex is dirty” thing. Paul

characterizes such people as hypocrites and liars who are “seared in

their conscience,” (1 Tim. 4:2) and who listen to “deceitful spirits,” and

who teach “doctrines of demons.” Opposed to such human/demonic

rules for holiness, Paul says use of all creation is “sanctified” for our

enjoyment through “the word of God and prayer,” (vs. 5). This truth is

revolutionary. No man-made rule has any validity regarding the

inherent cleanness or uncleanness of any activity. Those who

understand the truth that God made nothing to be inherently sinful can

enjoy anything God created with a clean conscience. When people

decide that certain activities are just wrong, and then point

accusing fingers at those who desire to enjoy those activities, they

call evil what God has made to be good. Anything and everything in

God’s creation is available to humans for enjoyment. All God

desires is that we acknowledge that His creation is good and give

Him thanks for it. Those who are pure in heart, loving God and

loving their neighbors, know that “all things are pure.” Thus they are

free to enjoy the pleasures of God’s creation without a guilty

258

conscience. They rejoice in their liberty and do not condemn

themselves for that which they allow, even though many others

may condemn them. The legalistic mind set will label this as

licentious, evil, fleshly, lustful, etc. But according to Paul and the

Holy Spirit this is the truly spiritual mind-set. It cost the blood of

Jesus to give us the freedom to completely enjoy the many wonders

of all that God has made. Let us not dishonor God and the blood of

Jesus, by rejecting our freedoms under the legalistic guise of

“uncleanness.”

If there are things we personally choose not to indulge in, we

are free to reject them personally. But we must allow others to draw

personal conclusions from Scripture and follow their own

conscience with thanksgiving, (Rom. 14:5-6, 22). No one should

allow their conscience to be ruled by another person. God gives

every individual the right and responsibility to learn what His word

teaches about all things spiritual and make up their own minds

about what is allowed and what is not. Those who diligently try to

understand God’s word on any subject and then “approve” certain

activities for themselves are “happy,” (vs. 22) and may enjoy what

they approve with a clear conscience. If we reach different

conclusions about the same activity we are commanded to not

judge those who exercise their liberty in ways different from us,

(Rom. 14:3-4, 10, 12-13). A good example of this principle may be

seen if we apply it to the use of tobacco. Who really knows why

God created tobacco? Tobacco itself is not evil. And those who

chose to smoke, dip or chew it find real pleasure in doing so. God

has nowhere shown such use of tobacco to be sinful. Each person is

allowed to make individual choice in the matter. Those who choose

to use tobacco thus may do so with a clear conscience. Those who

choose to reject such use have the right to do so but have no right to

judge the spirituality or morality of those who choose otherwise.

The reason for this is very simple: God alone is judge of any person.

He gives no human the right to judge another’s morals. Regardless

of what we think about anything, God alone will decide the issue of

any person’s activities. We have enough to worry about just trying

to see that our own actions are motivated by love and trust in God.

We have no time or energy to spare in deciding such issues for

anyone else.

Let us note that Paul says “each one will give account of himself to

God,” (Rom. 14:12). We must therefore look carefully at God’s word

259

and learn the principles that govern correct behavior. We must

learn what it means to honor God and to love one another. We

must be “fully convinced in our own mind,” (Rom. 14:5) that what we

desire to do is not an offense against love. And then we are free to

do that thing without condemnation (Rom. 14:22). But be assured

that we will stand before the judgment seat of God and give

account for how we act in this whole area (Rom. 14:10). Thus we

cannot simply throw caution to the wind, and “just do anything we

want to do.” We will be examined in regard to how we use our

liberty or how we misuse it. And we will surely be judged for our

attitude toward others who use their liberty in ways that differ

from us. But living conscientiously within the context of our ultimate

accountability to God opens the door of liberty in Christ to enjoy

God’s creation without guilt or shame and without bondage from

other’s condemnation. If others have hang-ups about sexual

activity that you enjoy, don’t judge or condemn them. Just go your

own way and allow them to do the same. Enjoy your sexual liberty,

thank God for it and let God worry about the hang-ups of others.

We are justified in rejecting the evil speaking of others because

of our exercise of liberty if we are thankful to God for what we

enjoy, (1 Cor. 10:30, 31). God made all things to be enjoyed and one

who loves God realizes that all His creation is good and is intended

for our satisfaction and pleasure. When this realization fills our

heart, we “eat or drink” and do “whatever we do,” including sex, with

thankfulness and thus do all “to the glory of God.” God is glorified

when his people fully enjoy His creation and give Him thanks for

it.

“God saw everything He had made and behold it was very good ,”

(Gen. 1:31). This “word of God” consecrates all God’s works for

legitimate enjoyment. This includes sex. Sex can be enjoyed without

shame or guilt, within Biblical parameters, because God’s word

sanctifies it. We can and should thank God for it. The word is God’s

connection to us. Prayer is our connection to Him. Accept what His

word says about enjoying His creation; pray to Him about it; thank

Him for it.

We have not been assigned the task of ferreting out all that is

evil in God’s creation. This assigns the existence of evil to God. Our

task is to use all God has made wisely and well and with

thanksgiving. Forbidding to marry (1 Tim. 4:3) suggests something

wrong with marriage itself or with sex. Yet God made us sexual

260

beings. Sex and marriage are good. Our challenge with sex and all

else is to discover the wonders of sexuality as fully as God allows

while avoiding ascetic, pseudo-spiritual, guilt inducing rules &

prohibitions placed on sex by man.

Each one of us is responsible before God to learn His will the

best we can, then make informed, conscientious decisions about

what we do, (Rom. 14:5, 12, 22). Everyone who sincerely desires

God’s approval of their actions will ask at least these crucial

questions:

•“Have I honestly examined all the available evidence?”

It is incredibly difficult to honestly examine both sides of an

issue. Our human tendency is to seek ways to justify what we

already think. But unless we will lay aside personal

preferences and honestly consider alternative ideas, we cannot

arrive at defensible conclusions.

It is just as difficult to examine all the available evidence.

Generally people are willing to study hard for only a short

period of time. Research grows tiresome. And because we

basically desire to justify existing ideas we easily default to

searching out only those resources that we think will establish

our viewpoint. Carefully examining opposing viewpoints is

crucial to developing any objective conviction on any issue.

•“Is my conclusion consistent with the meaning of God’s

Words?”

Will the actual words of Scripture allow the conclusion you

draw or must Scripture be twisted, or word meanings

ignored? To form true opinions about anything spiritual one

must look at God’s words, the actual words of Scripture, and find

their true meaning. It is not enough to accept what your pastor

says God’s word means. Most of the bondage we live under is

the fault of pastors laying untrue teaching upon us. We cannot

escape the bondage of false teaching unless we are willing to

do our own homework. If our conclusion cannot be

maintained without giving Biblical words some specialized,

unique meaning that cannot be verified by dependable,

reputable scholarship then we need to abandon that

conclusion.

•“Is my conclusion consistent with love for God: Will this

action offend Him?”

© 2017 • Powered by BasicPages