What ever happened to chastity?

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In the September issue of Relevant Magazine, there’s an article entitled, “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It.” The first sentences bothered me: “Eighty-two percent of young, unmarried Christians have had sex. Two-thirds have been sexually active in the last year. Even though, according to a recent Gallup poll, 76 percent of evangelicals believe sex outside of marriage is morally wrong.”

Parenting three teens living in this crazy culture, these stats alarmed me. And I’m not naive. I know folks are having sex. But the staggering majority of Jesus-followers? That surprised me.

It seems we’ve completely disengaged ourselves from Scripture, which is quite clear. And we’ve let what our culture thinks about sex (oh, it’s no big deal) color the way we’ve chosen to live. Instead of submitting our lives to the Lordship of Jesus, we’ve submitted ourselves to our desires, and let them have free reign. We do what is right in our own eyes.

So what’s the big deal? Why is sex outside of marriage wrong? Here are some reasons:

  1. God in His infinite mercy designed sex inside the covenant of marriage. When two people have sex, not only do their bodies become one, but they unite in spirit too. If we have multiple partners, we become one with many people. And when we get married, we can’t help but compare our spouses to our other lovers. This undermines the unity of marriage. Joanna Hyatt, the director of Reality Check, says this. “Studies have shown that if you have multiple physical relationships, then break up, you damage your ability to form a long-term commitment. You train your brain to only do short-term.”
  2. We are valuable, bought with a price–the blood of Jesus Christ. Because we are valuable, we violate that value by connecting ourselves to those who aren’t our spouses.
  3. Because God wants the best for us, He knows that joining to another person sexually outside marriage leads to guilt and deep regret. Although Jesus’ grace covers that sin, it’s still not easy to recover, forgive ourselves, or let go of the images.
  4. God asks His people to be holy, set apart, vibrantly different from the surrounding culture. Hooking up is capitulating to culture.
  5. Chastity is God’s protection for those of us who have been sexually abused. I am utterly thankful I could work out the painful memories of the past in the context of a stable, lifelong commitment than in a relationship that didn’t last.
  6. Having multiple partners endangers our health and sometimes our lives. 

I know I probably won’t be popular in this post, calling sex outside of marriage a sin. And I know there are many, many people hurting out there because of their sexual choices over the years. The good news is that God is bigger than our choices, and Jesus’ blood covers our sins. His grace is available. There is hope. And life. And joy. From this moment on, all of us can choose to follow after Jesus, even if it means saying no to our desires. That’s the pure act of discipleship. Jesus doesn’t just call us to hang out with Him, then do whatever we please. He calls for radical obedience, right down to our sexual choices. To dismiss that, we dismiss Him. The question becomes: How much do you really love Jesus? Or do you love your desires more?

Q4U: So what do you think? Where has chastity gone and why has it left?

 

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