My pastor has said many times that if you want to run a popular youth group you need to address two topics almost monthly: the End Times and Sex. He feels like he hears questions about sexual boundaries more than any other single topic and nearly always in the form of “How far can I go and still be ‘ok’?”.
This question irks me. It’s no different than asking “What’s the absolute minimum, the lowest standard, the easiest road… What is the slimmest quality of sexual purity I can hold on to without getting into trouble with you guys?”
Really? That’s what we were called to as Christian men?
When Jesus gave the command to love your neighbor as yourself, a man asked him “Who is my neighbor?”. That man also wanted to know the minimum standard; he wanted to know who his “neighbor” was so that he could also know who his neighbor wasn’t. He didn’t want to waste any time with non-neighbors. Jesus answered him with the parable of the Good Samaritan, the moral being everyone that you encounter is your neighbor! There is no minimum standard, there is simply the command to love. You either take it up or you walk away from it.
Jesus came to set us free from the Law, but we still want to treat the Bible as a legal document. We want loopholes that allow us to do what we know we shouldn’t. We want loopholes that excuse us from doing what we know we should but don’t want to do. We treat Salvation like a contract and we want to know the absolute minimum required from us to uphold our end. Or, we treat Salvation like a contract knowing that God will uphold His end whether we uphold ours or not.
So conversations about real-life sexual immorality, pornography, masturbation, or whatever too often end up in debates over hermeneutics or the proper translation of some Greek word. Yes, I know that masturbation is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Bible. Neither is kicking puppies. Does the fact that God has not explicitly forbid me from kicking puppies mean that I can justify it? No. Ok, then.
We were called, commanded, to a way of life that is good, and a huge part of walking in that way of life is pursuing sexual purity. We know that at least. We were not called to merely meet a set of minimum requirements.
In my next post, I’ll give you the only two verses you’ll ever need to guide your thinking about sexual morality. Yes, these two verses will forever answer the questions of “How far can I go?” and “What can I get away with?”, but they will also take us from code to calling in regards to our sexuality. And neither of these verses are about sex.