Biblical Guidelines for Sexually Healthy Relationships

Rev. Deb Koster

November 7, 2021

Our sexuality matters to God, and, as we follow God’s heart, it should matter to us. God’s plan for sex is designed for our benefit. It is not meant to snuff out our fun, but rather to maximize full intimacy and also protect us from harm. God designed sex to be enjoyable, but he also placed limits around sexual behavior, just as there are limits around all behavior. So what do scriptures have to say on the subject?

Part of God's good plan

God invented sex and blesses human sexuality. God made people with bodies, and our bodies are good. He made us both in his image and with gender. Genesis 1:27-28a tells us, "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth...." As gendered, physical persons, we reflect God's glory.

Designed for enriching marriage

Sexuality is part of marriage. Genesis 2:24 tells us, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Becoming one flesh was God’s design for the marriage relationship; it is part of the very definition of marriage. Spouses become one before God, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Healthy marriages include a sexual component, and sexual relationships are not intended to be outside the marriage relationship. Proverbs 5:15-23, for example, encourages couples to enjoy each other and exclude all others sexually. Our culture does not see premarital or even extramarital sex as an issue, but God’s plan for us looks much different from the world’s values.

All about giving

Sex is about giving, not about taking. Within a culture that is focused on taking all we can get, God calls us to practice self-control. Sex is designed by God to be a giving of yourself to your spouse and enjoying together God’s gift of sexuality, not about taking what you can to fulfill our own desires. Outside of marriage, sexuality is distorted as it lacks the love and commitment of a permanent, exclusive relationship. Sex was meant to be a picture of the unity of a faithful relationship.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 reminds us, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

Choose purity

God values sexual purity in word and deed. God’s people are called to live without a hint of sexual immorality or impurity. Not even a hint! We don’t laugh about it, make jokes about it, or explore impure behavior.

Ephesians 5:1-3, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

Our culture talks about sex a lot so we need to make sharing God’s view of sex a part of our family conversations. Parents should have ongoing chats with their children as to how God’s design differs from what the world has to say about sexuality. We need to speak openly with our adolescents about God’s design for sexual intimacy and what that means for dating relationships.

Flee temptation

Pursuing sexual impurity not only takes from others, it damages ourselves. As Christians we believe that God has redeemed us and called us to honor him through the way we use our bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

As a temple of the Holy Spirit your body should have nothing to do with immoral behavior. Don’t flirt with an immoral behavior--flee from it. Do not dabble with temptation because you will fall into it. Respect they fact that God has bought you with a price by staying far from temptation. God’s plan for sexual purity does not look like the world’s view--It is far better!

Experience forgiveness

There is no sin that is beyond God's ability to forgive. Wherever we have wandered in life, we can have the assurance that it is not outside of God's unfailing love for us. God assures us in Romans 8 that nothing will ever separate us from the love of God. Our hearts are renewed in that love and God guides us down a new path. God desires the best for us and he can heal the wounds of the past and bless us with a vibrant new life in him.

About the author — Rev. Deb Koster

Deb Koster is a producer, writer, and speaker for Family Fire. She is also an Innkeeper at The Parsonage Inn in Grand Rapids, MI where she leads marriage retreat on weekends. After over 20 years as a Registered Nurse, she completed a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. Deb and her husband Steven enjoy doing ministry together and they are the parents of three awesome young adults.

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