Christianity & Sex

As Christians, I think at times, we do a great job of missing the point.

Especially when we talk about sex.

The rest of this post is pretty blunt, so if that bothers you, you may want to stop reading here…

Some of you might be surprised, who have not grown up in the Church, but there are some Christians who will have anal sex so that they avoid having vaginal sex, because vaginal sex is a sin.

Anyone who has been on campus at a Christian college with an “open door policy” (any time there’s someone of the opposite sex in the room the door must be open) can attest to the fact that Christian’s love dry humping, but nothing further. Because anything further is a sin, and in some weird roundabout way they’re tricking God, beating the system, all the while still being able to keep their salvation in tact. But, once that gets old, and we’ve moved off campus, and there’s less accountability, anal sex is the obvious next step (sarcasm).

“Christian community is the biggest dry humping community I’ve ever seen in my life!” – Pete Holmes (graduate of Gordon College, surprisingly no longer Christian [sarcasm, again])

Excuse my blunt force acknowledgement of stuff Christians do to avoid from “sinning” and remain saved, but, I bring this up because I don’t feel like many other Christians are openly talking about this. I mean – this stuff is really happening, and as a result it becomes this:

“How far can we go and yet still be saved?”

or

“How can I trick God, beat His system, and yet still remain in His love?”

Either way, we are missing the entire point. All the while, turning God into this authoritarian figure who wants us to live these joyless lives, all about rules, laws, and do’s and don’ts.

As if something that we do has the power to take away what he’s already done? I’ll say something that makes many angry, if not already…

But, I’m pretty sure you can have sex before marriage, and GOD WILL STILL LOVE YOU

It’s this “fear-driven” gospel, that is terrifying us into submission and obedience, we must understand that we don’t refrain from these things so that God will love us, we refrain from these things because God already loves us, and with the knowledge that even if we don’t refrain from them we are still yet loved.

God is not a God that is just waiting for you to mess up so that He can crush you. He’s not a monster. He’s not this authoritarian abusive man.

God. Is. Love. and this God, loves you…

As.

You.

Are.

I know I’ve said this similarly in the past, but I’m going to continue to say this over and over and over again…

If you choose to have sex before marriage, if you drink to the point of which you’re drunk, if you curse or say the word “fuck”. You might not be loved or accepted by ‘christians’, but I’m 100% sure you’ll still be loved and accepted by Jesus. 

Stop focusing so much on sin and sin avoidance and ask, “What would our lives look like if we focused on love and grace? What would happen If we took up the attitude of an advocate?”

Jesus said he came to give us life. Rich, beautiful, generous life.

What would happen if we actually believe that?

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nate Smith

    beautiful man.

  • http://www.www.patheos.com/blogs/andygill/ Andy Gill

    Thanks Nate

  • http://www.everythingpastor.com Nick Farr

    Jesus will still love you regardless of what you do, but the Bible clearly states that we shouldn’t have sex before marriage. Thinking about Romans 6:1 (Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase). While he will forgive us, we’re not supposed to do it.

  • Meshi Fisher

    Thank you, Nick!!

  • http://www.www.patheos.com/blogs/andygill/ Andy Gill

    Though I would agree with you Nick in regards to your statements about sex before marriage, I think we have to be careful (especially working in youth ministry to focus less on screaming “YOU’RE WRONG, AND IN SIN”, but more on shouting, “YOU’RE LOVED, REGARDLESS OF YOUR SIN!” I think your comment seems to weigh closer to focusing on the wrong or right, laws, and morals… rather than the point, that being, that Jesus made us right, end of story (though sadly we don’t make that the end of story it’s, as we see right now, it’s the desire to say, “Yeah, Jesus loves you BUT…” All-in-all in my opinion I don’t feel that there are any if, ands, or buts in regards to the Gospel it’s simply Jesus loves you, period).

  • Emon

    I posted this above, but wanted to reiterate a question. Do you not consider repentance of the sinner included in the Gospel? How do you treat what Peter, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, commanded to those at Solomon’s Porch during his sharing of the Gospel: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 2:19). Or consider the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus told her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).

  • Meshi Fisher

    No, it’s not about rules and laws and do’s and don’ts, it’s about loving the God who loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for our sins that should makes us not want to sin against Him. It’s about loving our Savior, Jesus Christ, who suffered greatly and did the dying for us, loving Him so much, that we willingly take up our cross daily to follow Him. It’s about dying daily to our own lusts, our own flesh, our own desires. I’m not saying it’s always easy, but what we struggle with daily doesn’t even compare with how much Jesus suffered for us. Maybe His cry to God in the Garden has been forgotten, but He didn’t turn His back on us because it was just going to be too hard. Yes!! God Is Love!! But let’s not forget that God Is also Just!! Revelation 21:7&8: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, Sexually Immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”- Jesus words. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord Is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” And No, I’m not calling you or anyone else a fool! Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Jesus- “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me..For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for hi soul?..For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father..and He will award each one according to his works.” Matthew 16:24-27. If we are not accountable to God, then who? And if we can abound in sin, then Jesus death was pointless.

  • Emon

    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7-8).

    For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:6-8).

    I find the more we adore Jesus in complete awe and reverence, the lusts of the flesh will not be fulfilled. “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16)

  • Laura

    You sir, are amazing. I’ve tried to articulate the same thing several times but haven’t been able to do it clearly. 100% agree, friend.

  • http://www.www.patheos.com/blogs/andygill/ Andy Gill

    Thanks Laura :)

  • Emon

    Andy, your posts make me think greatly. Could you incline yourself towards me and help clarify some things and perhaps to others with similar questions who read your posts? I have three questions if you can take a moment to briefly respond.

    Do you still advocate repentance?

    “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his, And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

    Also, isn’t fear healthy? Shouldn’t we have respect for God’s authority knowing that his plans are perfect and the commandments of Scripture aren’t necessary for salvation, but are necessary to follow his will?

    Thoughts on this Scripture?–”And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 22-23).

  • http://DavidHelmsBlog.com/ David Helms

    I love your authenticity man! When we get into the “how far can I go…” mindset we are already deceived.

    God wants a relationship not a dictatorship. I never look at my wife and think “I wonder what I can get away with and not get divorced.”

    I don’t want to have a marriage that’s about “not getting divorced” but rather a great and sweeping love story that will last for the rest of our lives.

  • Jessica

    I don’t think premarital sex in a committed, monogamous relationship is a sin. Also, I have experienced first hand losing the love of other Christians for doing something they don’t agree with (divorce in my case), and the hardest part is believing that their rejection isn’t God’s rejection. It took me a long time to recognize that God still loves me and if he has saved me no one can say otherwise. Thanks for posting this.

  • Matt Vargo

    I think it’s harmful for us to always think of things in a “sin” or “not sin” mentality. In this case, God always extols sex within MARRIAGE as a boundary because He loves us and wants the best for us. With all love intended Jessica, you will save yourself much heartbreak and guilt if you follow the things God has outlined in His word, even if you “don’t think it’s a sin.” We can be saved and forgiven and make life difficult for ourselves, or we can be saved/forgiven and follow Him closely and see His blessings multiply in our lives. Your choice.

  • Jessica

    The question I ask when it comes to sex is “what is wise?” Not “is this a sin.” I was merely saying I do not think sex between a committed, monogamous couple is sinful, married or not. I think respect for one another, and motive of heart matters more than a piece of paper from the state. And with all due respect, I have been married. It ended. So following the letter did not save me heartbreak or guilt. Marriage doesn’t guarantee a healthy relationship, healthy sex, it doesn’t guarantee a thing at all. I have considered this topic (premarital sex, sex in general as a Christian) at great length and from many sides, therefore not easy to pull the wool over my eyes. So I will have to disagree with you about the all-encompassing idea that marriage makes sex safe and healthy. Two people who love each other and are committed make sex safe and healthy. The Bible doesn’t talk about premarital sex at all. And a carefully constructed ideology based on “biblical” principles (or what one interprets to be “biblical”) doesn’t make life easy, doesn’t guarantee blessings. Life is much messier than a second-hand ideology and I’ve experienced enough of it to stay away from these carefully constructed systems that don’t hold water when things actually happen. All you end up with is the recognition that your worldview has nothing to do with the actual world as you live in it.

  • http://www.www.patheos.com/blogs/andygill/ Andy Gill

    Wow. Well said Jessica. Thank you for your willingness to be open and honest! I completely agree that a carefully constructed ideology based on biblical principles doesn’t make life easy, doesn’t guarantee blessings… (in fact I’m pretty sure Jesus makes it clear that it’s not gonna be easy) The idea that if you wait til marriage you’ll then have “safe, healthy sex” is a dangerous promise to make to others.

  • Jessica

    Thanks :)

  • Joe S,

    Your voice is really turning into something beautiful Andy. God is all about love. People who get caught up in antiquated messages in the scripture forget the point of the whole thing: Be a person for others and love one another, no matter what.

  • http://www.www.patheos.com/blogs/andygill/ Andy Gill

    Means a lot joe, I appreciate the words.

  • Shane Patrick

    Bold, Andy. And I agree, to an extent. The fear of losing (forsaking?) God’s love when two people have sex before marriage is a misplaced fear. I agree, and the things that we do “just so we don’t cross the line” need to be made out for what they are.

    Your point is that we will continue to be loved by God no matter what we do. But it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter what we do. I’m skeptical about asserting too quickly that God loves us as we are, because isn’t the reality that God loves us in spite of who we are? Yes, Christ died for us while we were yet sinners, but that doesn’t mean that God is okay with our sins. God sent Jesus in to the world in order to save the world, not to affirm the world.

    When did love become affirmation? God’s love is meant to draw us out of sin and death and to bring us to new life. God doesn’t love us for who we are, but for who he can make us. God will still love us if we have sex before marriage, if we swear, if we drink too much. Even if we forsake God I believe that our action in doing so does not keep God from loving us, because his love is constant and much better than what we can offer either him or one another.

    But love is transformative, not affirmative. Love seeks to understand the person loved and to make him or her a better person, because love is active. If the only hope I had was to be better at being who I already am, I don’t know how much hope there is in that. I hope that God’s love will reveal to me what lies underneath the sin and dust that has clung to me and that I’m unwilling or afraid to clean up myself. The more I focus on the image–the Image of God–inherent in me and in humanity as a whole, and the more I realize that such an image can be recovered, the more joyous the discovery of that hope becomes, and the sins become less dark.

    So what I’m trying to say is that if we really want to focus on God’s love over his wrath (though I also believe that his wrath is actually a manifestation of God’s love), we need to look at a pure, unadulterated love that seeks to make us better than we already are, and better than we can imagine that we could become on our own. Love is transformative, but the more we think of love as affirmation of us as we are and can always be, the less power that love has on our lives.

  • http://www.www.patheos.com/blogs/andygill/ Andy Gill

    This comment makes me miss all the late night discussions I’ve had here at seminary (people need to come back haha). But in short – I agree, I would say that God’s love is transformative but ALSO affirmative (that is NOT to say that his love affirms sin, but rather affirms the person regardless of the sin). I just like to emphasize, in John 3:17, “that God did not send his son to condemn the world but to save the world…” Having said that, I do agree God’s wrath is a manifestation of His own love. I do NOT think God is happy about sex trafficking, racism, or oppression, I think God is angered by that, and I think that is in the end, love.

  • Shane Patrick

    On John 3:17, yes. Jesus came to save the world, not condemn it…the first time… But we also hope for his coming again, don’t we? And we know that when he comes again we will be put before him and will have to give account for the things we’ve done, the way we’ve lived our lives. Jesus was sent into the world to provide the object upon which our belief, faith, and lives are to be focused. In the same chapter Jesus tells Nicodemus that those who deny him ARE judged, because they don’t believe. “This is the judgment: the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (3:18). The light has been manifested, and if we are willing we may step into the light. In that light much might be exposed, but only so that the burden of darkness might be lifted.

    When it comes to the end, whenever and however it might be, I like the way C. S. Lewis puts it. “Would it not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’? Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt, you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.'”

    I’m not advocating justification by works, but we are still to give account. We are to live lives worthy of the kingdom to which we belong, the commonwealth whereof we are counted citizens – and not by our merit but by the favor of God.

    And I don’t know if God affirms a person regardless of his or her sins. Maybe I’m getting a little Barthian (not that I’d really know, anyway), but if we have any affirmation from God’s love, I don’t think it’s in our individual manifestations of being created in God’s image. Our humanity, and the goodness of that humanity, is affirmed in Jesus Christ, chiefly manifested on the cross (in obedience) and vindicated in his resurrection (the promise of new life). Love is affirmative in that God has affirmed that his image in us is worth saving, and worth being raised to live in a new way.

  • troy mc laughlin

    Shane we only get a small glimpse of God’s love for us. How does the finite explain the infinite. We try but we often fail. It’s the same with His love for us. It’s unfathomable
    how God being Holy can love us.

    You stated this …
    God doesn’t love us for who we are, but for who he can make us. Nope He just loves us. He doesn’t love our potential, He loves us period. Even if we reject Him and His love He loves us. His love for us is not dependent on us or what we do or capable of doing. As Paul states in Romans 8:38-39 nothing can separate us from God’s love. Period.

  • Shane Patrick

    True, we do get only a small glimpse, but I wonder if that glimpse is enough. How can the finite explain the infinite? I don’t think the finite can explain it, but it can certainly touch it. We are actually able, I believe, to speak of God in human terms because God has put himself in human terms – Jesus of Nazareth, born of a woman, who died, and who is also the Christ, the savior and lord of the world. Is it really unfathomable? It happened, and I give thanks that God has given us the grace to understand it inasmuch as we can. I believe there is much we can’t know or explain, but I also believe the glimpse might be more than we would dare to hope for.

    Anyway, Yes, God does love us, in that his love unconditionally. You are right in affirming that “Nothing can separate us from the love of God,” but you did not include the final clause of Paul’s words: “in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The love comes with qualification, not in its dispersal but in its nature, seen completely only through the lens of its manifestation in Jesus. I think we need to take more seriously the implications of how this love was made manifest. The scope of love is too wide to qualify with “just,” because it brings with it too many life-changing implications.

    Emil Brunner puts what I’m trying to say better than I can. In “The Divine Imperative,” a book on ethics:

    “The fact that the holiness of God must be remembered when we dwell on His love means that we cannot have His love at our disposal, that it cannot ever be perceived as a universal principle, but only in the act in which He speaks to us Himself; even in His love He remains our Master and Lord. But He is our Lord in the sense that He tells us Himself what it means to love, here and now.”

  • http://JohnnyRocha.com/ Johnny Rocha

    Good words, Andy. It seems that many who read this think you’re condoning sex before marriage, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t your intention. The love and grace of God extends past all our short comings. He gave everything so that we could have everything. This is not to say that we should give God the middle finger and do as we please. Even Jesus said that we show our love for Him by obeying His commands (John 14), but it is essential that we teach both sides of the Gospel. Jesus calls us to high standards because those standards give us the best life possible. Jesus also picks us up out of the muck and mud we continuously choose to sit in and tells us that He loves us more than we could ever imagine. He’s so committed to getting us out that He chose death to give us life. It’s so amazing I can barely stand it.

  • BR

    Truth. You’re so right.

  • Adam Tobey

    I think this is really close, at least for what I think. I think you are spot on with your thesis, and your final point laid out in your last sentence.

    But I don’t think you go far enough. I think that last sentence is a HUGE jumping off point for how sex, in my opinion, should be taught to youth. We should read the kids these passages that talk about tough issues, let the Holy Spirit work on them through that, and then talk about this point: that Jesus came to give us life, and life to the full.

    This is where we need to tell kids that these aren’t “rules: to bind us, but, to quote Jack Sparrow, “more like guidelines” to give us life. To show us how God designed life to be lived. To be able to live with joy, freedom. All of these things you bring up (getting drunk, premarital sex…kind of talked about, cussing) are all things the Scriptures obviously speak out against. And we should not avoid these Scriptures. That is not loving our kids.

    (And I’m certainly not saying that you were alluding to the fact that we stay away from these verses and whatever, just to be clear.)

    Loving our kids means presenting them with the truth, letting the Holy Spirit work on their hearts and minds with time, and then talking about WHY these things were written: because these “rules” lay out the most fulfilling way of life that you can live. And we present this with a message of how much God loves them, and how he knows better than anyone how to live life. I mean he freaking created it! We present this message with love and joy. Without hate. Without condemnation.

    But, we cannot tell kids, in my opinion, that God loves them no matter what so do whatever you feel like (and you didn’t say exactly this either, I just hope that others don’t take it this far). That is a dangerous road. Can a kid (or anyone for that matter) truly love God if this is how they are living their lives? I don’t know (but I would find it hard to believe that blatant disobedience is love towards God… and isn’t love a two way street? Loving God essentially equates to obedience, right?), and that’s not up to me to decide, fortunately. I do think we have a responsibility as youth ministers to talk about these things though, and to be bold to read these Scriptures, maybe talk a little bit about them, but not to have a 20 minute sermon condemning everyone in the room who isn’t a virgin.

    Anyways, my point is, keep going with your last point! I love that it is included, but don’t stop there. Let’s talk about these tough topics in light of the full life Christ offers us. In the freedom from these things that he offers us. Freedom from their potential bondage and consequences.

  • troy mc laughlin

    Give me God’s grace His glorious grace so I can show love, mercy and grace to others.

  • Jennifer Jo Freij

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for reminding me :)

  • dramalama

    So.. I think I somewhat agree. I agree that if there is an attitude of doing everything but sex sex to satisfy urges but still not have the title of sin attached to it, then the point is missed. When I had the “what can I get away with?” attitude I was at a point where I called myself a Christian because I had grown up around people I thought were Christians and went to Christian schools. I didn’t read The Bible. I avoided church… it was a mockery of Christianity.. Rather I was concerned with doing whatever I wanted with still having the title of Christian. I wouldn’t be quick to title myself a Christian back then.
    The chief end of male -female intimate relationships is to imitate the relationship we have with Christ. Were live in a generation of people who are functionally biblically illiterate and who grew up with a drug problem. They were drug to church by parents who participated in church because that’s what people did. Not because they had a relationship with Christ. So we learned to play church.I typed so much and it got erased trying to post it… Basically Colassians 3. If there is no desire to put away the old man, then is there really faith?

  • dramalama

    Please blame the typos on Auto correct and my giving up. *hates touch screen*

  • http://www.www.patheos.com/blogs/andygill/ Andy Gill

    Not sure what you mean when you say, “old man”, but I think I understand you, in the sense sthat if there’s no desire to change/repent then can we say truly that we are followers of Jesus… tough question, long answer, but short end of it, is probably not… thanks for your comments!

  • dramalama

    Ephesians 4:22.. put off the old self, old man, or former ways/things .. depends on your translation

  • BR

    Loved this article! Plenty of “Christians” at my church have or are having premarital sex. But I really enjoyed this article!!!

  • David Orgill

    So on point and refreshing to hear.

  • http://theoperspectives.blogspot.com/ James Goetz

    Hi Andy, I am only recently looking at your blog and saw this year-old post, and I have yet to read any replies to this post so I am sorry if I am repeating anything. My first thought to this is that God loves murderers while they are murdering. Likewise, I suppose this concept needs more development. I also suppose that some Christians disagree with me about murderers, but that is an entire different argument. Peace, Jim