(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
A lot of professing Christians today engage in premarital sex. Many of them feel their behavior is not that big of a deal to God. Is there a way to know for sure?
Of course the only way to know for sure if it is a big deal to God is to see what He says about it in His love letter to His children, the Bible. In God's Word, sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is forbidden. And this is the only sin against our own body. (see 1 Cor. 6:18) So it's basically a biblical no-brainer.
But is there anything else which might help to convince a professing Christian that his or her sex life needs divine intervention and some immediate changes? Here is another way to discern God's will on the matter. Watch what happens to your spiritual desires if your sex life strays from God's narrow road. Just observe. Your spiritual desires will tell you a lot about your current state of affairs.
Whenever a professing Christian engages in sex beyond God's boundary line, there is an immediate decrease in spiritual sensitivity and holy desires. For example, a person's love for the Word of God lessens, as does the passion to tell others about the Savior's plan of salvation. Also, a person's desire for prayer goes way down. The reason? Whenever we are grieving the Holy Spirit, we are never going to be experiencing a Spirit-filled life in all of its fullness, power, joy, and contentment.
So if you are engaged in a sex life which is outside of God's will, ask yourself some hard-hitting questions. Is my sex life increasing my holy desires for the things of God, or decreasing those desires? Is my sex life giving me a greater passion to serve others and to gather with Christians around God's Word, prayer, the Lord's Supper, and Christian fellowship (Acts 2:42), or less of a desire to do those things which the believers were so excited about doing in the Book of Acts after they were filled with the Holy Spirit?
Each one of us is more than capable of being deceived in the area of sexuality. This is why Scripture, in addressing God's people, clearly says, "Do not be deceived." (Galatians 6:7) Why would God say that unless it is possible for believers (and all professing believers) to be deceived? Some professing believers are truly saved. Other professing believers are "Christian" in name only, but not converted on the inside. Some believers are walking in God's will with their sexuality. Other believers are dabbling with danger as they engage in sexual immorality for awhile. They feel guilty about it, but they are being torn in two directions. Something has got to give. That is just the way this whole thing plays out.
Susannah Wesley gave birth to 19 children, including John and Charles. One day John asked her to define "sin." She said, "Son, whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things; in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the Spirit, then that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself." Pretty sound advice wouldn't you say?
What about a professing believer who feels no guilt over his or her sex life which is outside of God's will? This lack of guilt is not a good sign of any spiritual life on the inside. Those who are spiritually "alive in Christ" feel guilt when they are engaged in the one sin which the Bible says is a sin against our own body, namely, sexual sin. Apart from that guilt, it would appear that the person has moved into an extremely dangerous area of spiritual experience, even to the point of spiritual deadness.
Going against God's Word is always perilous and paralyzing. One result is that our holy desires come under attack. Sin pushes them away. When we grieve the Holy Spirit, He is quenched within us and His fruit begins to disappear from our heart and life. The peace decreases. The love for others decreases. And the self-control definitely decreases. All in all, the holy desires take quite a hit when a professing believer chooses a forbidden sex life over God's holy plan for His children.
Is there any hope for sinners like us? Absolutely. Jesus forgives. Jesus delivers. Jesus helps us in our weakness. But it is critical that we get honest to God, and honest with ourselves. Many believers find that the unholy desires for sexual immorality never go away completely, but they certainly don't dominate the mind when a person is living under the control and direction of the Holy Spirit. That's our challenge isn't it? God will help us, but He also expects us to heed His promptings and follow His leading.
In our sex-saturated culture, a Christian desperately needs to walk very closely to Christ these days. There are dangers lurking around every corner. But whoever said the Christian life was going to be easy? In fact, Jesus said just the opposite. (see Matt. 16:24) And His Word is the final Word on all things, including the sex life of one who professes to follow the Savior.