When I was young, “free love”, as it was called, was the popular thing. A sexual relationship was validated by being mutually loving and agreeable. On that basis you could have sex with whoever you wished. This was called “liberation” and was supposed to free a repressed society of many emotional problems. What does God say about this?
I was at a sales seminar, and the popular speaker was about to begin. He cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted at the top of his voice, “SEX!” After a few moment’s pause to accommodate the guffaws and titters from his audience, he said, “Now that I've got your attention, I want to tell you how to close more sales.” He said not a word more about sex.
Not only do I want your attention, but I want to talk about sex, or rather the rules Jesus laid down about it.
Following sexual “liberation” there was an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, marriage breakdowns, and great confusion about what is “appropriate” sexual behaviour. The reason for this is that people stopped listening to God and turned aside to their own rules which don't work.
The word of Christ is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). His grace teaches us "to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in this present age" (Titus 2:12).
However people will "not endure sound teaching, but according to their own desires, having itching ears, they will gather up teachers to suit themselves. They will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables" (2Timothy 4:3-4).
Forget what the world teaches about sex. Listen to what Christ says to every generation...
¶“4...Haven't you read that he who made men at the beginning, made them male and female. 5He said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'. 6So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).
There are three exclusions couched in that statement. None of these three sexual unions is permitted by God.
Jesus says, "God made man male and female" and it was these two, a male and a female, who would "become one flesh" (Matthew 19:4-6). So the fleshly union originally intended by man’s Creator was between a male and a female.
Same gender sexual unions are discussed by Paul in Romans 2:24-32. He says that a union between two women or two men has "exchanged the natural use for what is against nature" (Romans 2:26-27).
Note that in using the word “nature” Paul refers to the original creation spoken of by Jesus. Paul isn't saying that heterosexual fornication accords with nature. It also violates the nature of the original creation where one female and one male were to become one flesh as man and wife for life. Heterosexual fornicators act against that nature.
Jesus says that "a man shall be joined to his wife" (Matthew 19:5). The sexual union is for man and wife. This does not mean that an unmarried person cannot have sexuality and express it, but Jesus expects all single persons to keep themselves to themselves and abstain from sexual intercourse with "strange flesh" (Jude 1:7). For a single person, strange flesh is any flesh —excepting of course the person’s own body.
The letter to the Hebrews says, "Marriage is honourable among all, and the marriage bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulters God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).
Jesus is quite firm in what he says about a married man and woman. "They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate" (Matthew 19:4-6). This relationship is a lifelong and exclusive commitment each to the other. Nothing but death should break that relationship, and other persons must never intrude into it.
However divorce and adultery are common in our day, and may even be regarded as acceptable. But Jesus’s teaching shows that whether adultery leads to divorce, or divorce leads to adultery, divorce and adultery are both wrong (Matthew 19:9).
Of course adultery and divorce may be entirely the fault of one partner, and the other partner may not have committed adultery or wished for divorce. The fact remains that adultery and divorce have broken the sacred union. Because divorce and adultery do that, they are never a good thing.
Adapted from an article I wrote circa 1980 in "The Communicator".