Sex and Marriage – Sacred or Sinful?
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WeddingWoe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…Isaiah 5:20

I occasionally hear people, both single and married, tell demeaning jokes about marriage. For example, a Three Stooges fan told me about an episode where Moe asked someone, “Are you married or happy?” That’s a sad joke. While many of us are happily single, we can still appreciate happy marriages, and hurt with those in unhealthy marriages, instead of making jokes.

Marriages should not be known for unhappiness. Marriage reminds us of the creation and our Creator, just as the Sabbath and the weekly cycle do. Sex in marriage is a sacred gift from God. In this gift the Creator has shared some of His creative powers by giving to mankind the ability to procreate. It is something even the angels cannot do. Because of this, Satan spends a great deal of time trying to destroy the Creator’s intent in sex. One way he does it is by causing people to engage in sex outside the sacred covenant of marriage. Another way he does it is by causing people to make jokes about it.

I often hear people refer to sex as bad even though God intended it to be a blessing. I don’t think anyone appreciates sex more than God. After all, He invented it. And I believe He is happy when married couples enjoy good sex.

There are many spiritual lessons in healthy, sexual relationships. Some of these are seen in the Song of Solomon. Just the fact that the Bible says that “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived” Genesis 4:1 gives us an idea of what it means to really know someone, and how intimate a relationship Christ wants with us.

While the Bible is quite open and even graphic about sex and passion, in many of the cultures of today we are not comfortable with that. We focus more on pure biblical love being a principle instead of a passion. I believe that pure biblical love is both principle and passion. After all it was not just principle that made Eve conceive. When they “knew” each other it was a combination of principle and passion. When those combined, Adam and Eve produced more people.

Our God is a God of principle but He also created us to be passionate! He is passionate. We don’t call the week before the crucifixion “passion week” for nothing. Do you think that if our church would add a little passion to our principles we also could produce more Christians? God created passion and sex to help us understand God and His love. He also gave us marriage, so we could see that passionate love also has principles and faithfulness. While Solomon wrote much about the principles of a godly wife, He also wrote unashamedly, “let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”  Proverbs 5:19

I think we give kids the wrong message about sex when we say, “That movie is bad because there is sex in it.” I think instead we should say, “That movie is bad, because there is immoral sex in it.” This way we make a distinction between God-sanctified sex and immoral sex.

People complain about the sex in today’s movies. I believe that what makes something appropriate or inappropriate is not just the subject, but how and how often the subject is addressed. The Cosby show was appreciated by many Christian homes. The subject of sex was rarely discussed, but there were a couple of episodes where it was discussed quite openly. Many Christians appreciated those episodes because it was discussed tastefully. Sex was not discussed in every episode, so when it was introduced it was appreciated. The Cosby Show demonstrated how talk about sex can be wholesome in its proper place.

We don’t need to be afraid of sex, nor do we have to be obsessed with it. Sex becomes inappropriate, like anything else, when it is discussed too much or in an inappropriate context. And it is certainly inappropriate to make denigrating jokes about sex, because it is a gift of God. Like death, money and other topics, sex should be openly discussed, while keeping in mind that different people have different comfort levels when these things are discussed. One comfort level is not better than the other, but people are just different and react in different ways.

The way Paul writes about circumcision tells me this was not really a private matter at all to him. He even mentions Timothy by name as not wanting to be circumcised. Today some people would freak out if a person’s name was mentioned in such a discussion. In reading my Bible I have never found anything to make me believe that sex was a taboo subject as far as God is concerned. Moses wrote quite frankly about it, and I find no reason not to believe these words were read to the people in mixed company with children present.

A couple of years ago, a well-known speaker by the name of Nancy Van Pelt, came to our church to speak about sexual purity. Parents had their children present to hear the much-needed presentation. During the presentation I overheard an older gentleman sitting in the pew behind me, say to his wife, “They need to get the children out of here! She is talking about sex!” I chuckled to myself, because I knew children were her target audience.

A few years before that, a friend invited me to attend a men’s ministry seminar on sexual purity. The pamphlet said you had to be at least 17 to attend. I was a few decades over that. When we arrived at the seminar, we were surprised to find that it was way more than a simple sexual purity seminar. It was more like a workshop for recovering sex addicts! During the seminar I listened to men talk about when their addictions began. Many began at age 11 or 12 or sooner. I remembered the brochure saying you had to be at least 17 to attend. I thought to myself, this does not make sense. The problems begin at 11 or 12 but you have to deal with it on your own until you are 17? No wonder there is so much sexual dysfunction in the world and church today!

Some people talk about how “dirty” shows are today, and say that back in their day, Lucy and Ricky did not even sleep in the same bed. Honestly, I don’t think that is practical either. I don’t think that sends an appropriate message about sex and marriage to our young people. Like I said in an earlier post, we must avoid extremism. Taking sex to either extreme is from Satan, not from God.

There is a difference between sex and inappropriate sex, and there is an appropriate way to discuss sex openly and an inappropriate way. Sex is a part of life, and I believe that pretending sex does not even exist is not any more healthy and just as extreme as a sitcom as obsessing on sex. When my parents told me about sex, they did it as easily and openly as when they told me how to change the oil in my car. Talking about car maintenance should not be awkward, and neither should talking about sex be awkward.

Back to marriage now. Marriage is a gift from God. While I am happily single, I am definitely open to being married some day. Meanwhile, I hurt when families hurt, and I am happy when I see happy, healthy marriages. I have observed that people in healthy marriages seem to be more outgoing and social, thus creating a greater blessing for the church and community, while unhealthy marriages tend to isolate the couple, thus robbing the church and community of the blessings they could be to it, and it cuts the couple off from receiving the blessings the church and community could be to them.

God has given us the gift of marriage and sex. Paul says that marriage is honorable, and sex within marriage is undefiled. See Hebrews 13:4  Do not call evil what God calls good. God has designed His gifts to be great blessings within the context of the holy covenant of marriage.

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Sex and Marriage – Sacred or Sinful? — 46 Comments

  1. Good topic, a lot of information that can be covered, thank you for addressing it in such a way to promote a discussion that is much needed in the church. May God continue to use I to get us out of our comfort zones and address real issues.

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  2. Pastor, I do appreciate your remarks on this important topic that merits our attention. Please consider the following two comments:
    I heard a lot of arguments for "passion", but not for love and intimacy as the primary defining of sex. Even "passion week" of the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ is used as an argument. Do you really feel comfortable (which can mean anything from nonchalance, to caring, to psychopathic), or committed to principle, in striking an analogy between brutal suffering/sacrifice passion and sex passion? Do you feel justified in using "passion" when we also talk of crimes of "passion", which can mean criminal sex or murder?
    Do you really believe that Adam and Eve were given a gift of "passion" in the Garden of Eden, by Jesus Christ, considering the range of meanings in "passion"?
    Adam and Eve knowing each other is about truly getting to know each other, as two people whose sexual encounter became a culmination of a process of getting to know each other with respect and love and bonding, and for whom sex, the joining of bodies, became the ultimate committed bond, One flesh, One, representing Elohim and His Creation.

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    • Hurfurd, I always thought of the passion in being Christ's love to die for us. I guess in passion week I never thought of the passion of those committing murder, but it was there.

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    • Is passion a good "thing" or a bad "thing." Is being passionate about marital love sinful? I think not. I can hear a spouse saying to his or her partner who is passively or stoically engaged in the sexual act, "Are you alive ?!?!"

      The Bible text which admonishes us, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might" (Deut 6:5) could rightly be translated, "Love your Lord and God passionately."

      The wise man admonishes us, "Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with all your might, for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in sheol where you are going." (Eccl 9:10) In other words, make wise choices and fully pursue them. King David was a passionate man. Although he made some bad choices, God loved him; he was a man after God's own heart. David was passionate in his repentance as in all his pursuits and God loved him for it. Nothing wrong about getting excited about a good thing.

      Don't let Satan rob you of Godly passion! It's great to be alive!

      Here's to passionate living! Andy.

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      • There is a wonderful hymn that says:

        "Would you be free from your passion and pride?
        There's power in the blood!"

        Whenever I study the passages that guide us in how we are to live, passion is never listed as either a "fruit", "gift", purpose or subject of thought. We are told to "let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus...", who had great "compassion" for the objects of His supreme sacrifice. A casual study of the word passion leaves me with the idea that is it a strong feeling, often in a negative use when compared to the Bible standard for God's faithful. Yes, we need to be "alive", but the Truth given to us speaks of having control of our feelings, and passion is described as a strong feeling, usually in control of us. Yes, one can show love with either the most tender regard or deepest passion, but passion can be exercised without the tender regard, and in most uses and definitions seems to be. Passion is a feeling and our moral character is defined by our thoughts and feelings. So what does our passion say about our character?

        In regards to "passion week", the word describes "suffering". This is what Jesus came to face for us so we don't have to. If we take His yoke upon us and learn of Him, we will live with complete control over our passion and pride by the "power in the blood", through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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        • Thanks Robert. Passion and pride is one thing, but how about passion and humility? My senior pastor tells me he wants to help me in my "passion to save souls." There is also an edition of the Desire of Ages, called "The Passion of His Love.' That is the kind of passion addressed in this post.

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        • Hi Robert,
          You wrote, "If we take His yoke upon us and learn of Him, we will live with complete control over our passion and pride by the “power in the blood”, through the gift of the Holy Spirit."

          I pray every day for God to be in my life and the Holy Spirit to lead. There are times where I am like peace and calm in a time of storm and there are times when I get angry to see people dying unnecessarily and I experience everything in between as well as the other end of the spectrum of happiness and huge joy with my grandchildren.

          I grew up with parents who said, "That's not what you think and I don't want to hear what you have to say." We didn't have one conversation!! So I learned not to express my self. As the years went by and life was hard, I became a person who didn't think and feel. then I became a Christian and met and lived with Seventh-day Adventists who had total control of themselves and didn't care about anyone else. It was like living under the control of robots. After 2.4 years I left: no money, no car, only a short term destination and a toddler in tow. Anything would be better. Years later I got married and realized I didn't know how to express my self and went into counseling and did many other things to learn to open up and be the person God created me to be. God has totally changed my life and my goal is to be loving and kind with the kind of love God has for us.
          I've seen church people who can totally control themselves and their children and the children are miserable. Life and marriage can be perfunctory but I think God wants more for us.

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        • Language must serve us--we must not serve language. Language helps us convey ideas, and thus at the very extreme may change meaning over time--even coming to mean the opposite.

          With this in mind, I think that the word "passion" does not have to be (and cannot be) limited to its usage in the King James Version. By its dictionary meaning, it is certainly correct to say that God is passionate about His creation and our salvation; and that we can be similarly passionate without being evil.

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  3. There are real, and sometimes serious issues of fear and trauma surrounding the taboo or hesitation to use the word sex; not forgetting that there are cultures that are more conservative, that do not display sex as in the USA. It is not sufficient to dispense with the dysfunction of sex in an effort to discover the true meaning of sex. We give the true meaning of sex as truly representative of the character of Jesus Christ; while we also discuss the dysfunction or pain of sex with the sensitivity and care that it merits.

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  4. Great article! One thing was missing though, and that's the clear biblical picture of sex as a private event. Public nudity was considered shameful in biblical cultures (although it was not this way in Eden). But the public display of sexualised images in advertising and entertainment is increasingly blurring this line.

    It's one thing to discuss this very important matter openly and frankly with the aim of achieving a social benefit. It's quite another to offer explicit images and information for public titillation and/or to exploit the sexual instinct for commercial benefit.

    (Although I have to admit, the biblical erotica of Song of Solomon is hard to place in either category.)

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    • Kent, there was no nudity in the Garden of Eden. The word for naked in Genesis 2:25 is not the same word used for naked in Genesis 3.

      Adam and Eve were made in God's image, and God is clothed in light (Ps 104:2) and we must conclude that Adam and Eve were as well. In Genesis 3 they became naked and were ashamed enough to need to cover themselves again, but were not ashamed in Genesis 2. Yes, all the illustrations show the sinless pair nude and always modestly hidden by leaves, flowers, animals...etc. But could they have stood there without embarrassment in the presence of God, angels and every other creature that came with a covering had they truly been in the nude? Their shame and hiding from God in Genesis 3 proves the point.

      In the language used, Song of Solomon does not appear to me as biblical erotica. This book is about a holy union, not an illicit affair. It's about genuine love and very private, yet celebrated by the friends close to the pair without embarrassment.

      Yes, this world has corrupted every good thing God has given us.

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  5. Thanks everyone for your comments. Kent, here is a post I wrote covering the importance of modesty. http://williamdearnhardt.com/2012/02/22/garments-of-grace-a-garment-of-innocence-2/

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  6. Today's lesson was well written. Growing up as a young person, the older folks made sex and other important topics uncomfortable to talk about in the church. I am so thankful that as a church we are becoming more "real". I find that the more real we are, more people are becoming healed. Isn't the church the hospital? What the world experiences, we too have those same issues in the church. Let's practice on being real and honest about our struggles and how we have overcome and watch as others are blessed and want to be apart of a church with "real" people.

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  7. I think this was a great article. It's not promoting sexual advertisements, or any sort of pornographic images, it's simply stating that we need to be more open with our young people especially about sex.

    Kids start learning about sex at very early ages these days, as early as 6 years old in some cases. To the writer who talks about the "hurts and pains" associated with sex, consider this: A male 6yr old, is exposed to sex after being abused by his male uncle. His uncle tells him it's natural and this is how things are but to not tell anyone. This kid now grows up with messed up sexual orientations and an overall incorrect view of sex since no one thought that it was necessary to talk to a 6yr old about sex. But let's say a seminar is held and the 6yr old starts learning the truth about sex, he may have time to change the downward path he would have been headed without this information.

    I grew up in an island called Trinidad & Tobago, where it was extremely taboo to talk about sex especially, in the SDA church. Unfortunately all the girls I knew at that church have had kids out of wedlock. Point is not talking to our kids definitely doesn't help, and stating that something that is innately appealing to our senses (sex) is wrong, is also bad. If we don't do it, some other fast talking abuser would.

    We should tell our kids that sex is a great thing, when done correctly, within the right context of a loving marriage, and give them something to look forward to after being married. Explain the downfalls of having sex before marriage. And equally as important, is standing up against this ideology, that it's ok for teens to go exploring things of a sexual nature(i.e. pornography, masturbation etc.). This has led many astray and has continued to be a problem for countless SDA and people, including pastors and elders. Even the ones who are against talking about sex to their kids sometimes struggle with this, and somehow think not talking to them will prevent their kids from having to deal with it.

    It's time to wake up and bring this deep seated issue to light so that we as Christians can deal with it and prepare ourselves for our savior Jesus Christ's, soon return. P.S. the SDA church can do with more passion, lets take this argumentative passion and use it to tell others about God, and our kids about sex lol..

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    • There are many other societal factors contributing to the improper use of sex--especially on small islands.
      Traditional societies are particularly at risk for abuse (of all kinds) since the individual is always second to community order.

      Secondly, people who have been abused, have enough to deal with without us implying that they will turn out to be gay or lesbian. This has simply not been shown to be true and I do not think we should repeat it.

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  8. Thank you for the article. My husband and I enjoyed watching Pastor & Mrs Tucker interview Dr Schnark in the following video from Mad About Marriage Ministries, VERY interesting!

    http://www.madaboutmarriage.com/article/66/mad-about-marriage-shows/archived-mam-shows/intimacy-and-desire

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  9. Thanks for the great commentary on marriage, sex and passion. I agree that passion is not bad but describes in one word "with all thy body, soul, spirit, mind, interest and being," (Hamp) Does antone remember the Sabbath School lesson quarter we had years ago on the book "Song of Solomon". That explained what passion is. It would be good to do that lesson quarter again!!
    Bro. Hamp.

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  10. William, I would respond with saying that we need to understand the specific meaning when using a word such as "passion" which is easily applied in both good and bad ways. We do well to guard against being controlled or motivated by strong emotions and feelings, and the Spirit that controls us will make the difference. In modern Christianity, passions play a big role, as it does in the world.

    The only reference for "passion" in the KJV is Acts 1:3, speaking of Jesus' suffering, which is the meaning of the word from it's origins. In more recent times it has come to mean strong feelings and emotions, which if followed can often lead to a wrong course of action.

    The word "passions" is used only twice in the KJV and refers to the natural feelings of fallen mankind, while "compassion", found 40 times, is an attribute of God.

    I can't say I totally agree with the alternate title for "The Desire of Ages". What was wrong with the original (inspired) title?

    In today's homogenized language, words are used in ways that require specific definition to avoid being confused about what is being said. Feelings and emotions (passions) have become more acceptable as the force behind words and actions. It is my belief that the lost will be led by their feelings and emotions and not by principles founded in God's Word and the example of Jesus' life, while the redeemed will find victory over their natural "passion and pride".

    I wonder if your senior pastor meant "compassion" in regards to saving souls? This was Jesus' motivation as I read it.

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    • Could I inject a small question here? With all that is said about clothing as a symbol of righteous and symbols of light vs. darkness in scripture (Rev 7:12-14; Rev 19:8; Mat 22:1; Zech 3:4; "light" in the Gospel of John, etc.) could Genesis be dealing with the issue on a spiritual level?

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      • Absolutely Tyler. In Genesis it's the true level actually and Adam and Eve literally lost that light of righteousness by yielding to temptation. The symbol comes when the Lord prepares them garments of skin, representing the righteousness which His death provides for us by faith. Soon that light with clothe all who have received Jesus, and believe on His name.

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    • Robert, my pastor meant passion. Words change meaning over time and that's why we need to see how the word was used in the Bible to know what the Bible means by that word. It may not mean the same thing today. It doesn't do any good to trifle over little words when its quite clear what is meant. When we do this we miss the big picture. By "passion"all my pastor meant was deep love. That is what I meant to. That is also all they meant with the condensed Desire of Ages version "Passion of His Love." In the 1827 dictionary that goes with my Ellen White CD, one of the definitions is "suffering of the Savior." Another definition is simply "love." Ellen white writes of bringing our appetites and passions under control. Nowhere though does she tell us it is evil to have an appetite or passions. A lot of needless controversy gets started in the church today over applying obsolete definitions to current words and terms.

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      • I appreciate your time and explanation on this matter William. In all the material I choose to read, I have yet to see this word used in positive way, and there could be others (in this large and diverse audience) reading this who might have the same understanding as myself, as limited as it might be. In this event there needs to be a clear understanding with words that come with more than one application that could give a different idea than what you seem to have intended. I'm still trying to see how being motivated by passion is a good thing. (Even a casual search of "passion" on the EGW website brings up nothing positive that I have found yet, but I have not looked up every one of the 1566 results, and simply won't have the time.)

        I realize that languages evolve, and any evolving language will have it's issues and for me at least, it's good that you have clarified your understanding, and I'm glad to be aware of this other application. I feel that last thought is very good about controlling our appetites and passions so they don't control us. There must be a reason for this counsel, and indeed, we are fallen from the sinless state man was created in, and in this present state that which is not evil by design can become evil in it's expression. As an example; it is not evil to think or have thoughts, but we are told to bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ". (2 Cor 10:5)

        I don't know about any needless controversy if a real misunderstanding exists. I think it should be addressed in a proper manner to remove any possible misunderstanding. There is a reason Paul wrote Eph 4:2,3 to help the church maintain it's unity when not seeing eye to eye on every matter. As a result of our exchanges, I know what you originally meant. With our different backgrounds, we won't just automatically agree on every point introduced. This is a vital part of growing in grace. I believe it's the purpose of this website.

        Also, my personal view on this term has been affected by it's free use in ways that were not in harmony with Truth as I believe it. I will not go into the details, but the results speak for themselves. So I have a natural reaction when I see this use of "passion". Thank you for your patience.

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        • Hi Robert,

          Thank you for pointing out the possibility of misunderstanding. Now that William has explained his meaning, I trust that the misunderstanding has been cleared up.

          I understood what William was saying just as he wrote it because I am used to the expression of a "passion for souls," such as used by D. A. Delafield in his book on Ellen White. Similar expressions are "passion for evangelism," "passion for teaching," "passion for Jesus," etc. (A biography of D.L. Moody is entitled, A Passion for Souls.) As I understand it, it means the same as Solomon's counsel to do "with our might" whatever our hand would find to do.

          It seems as though the connotation of "passion" may have been different in Ellen White's day, since she does not seem to have used it in a positive sense. However, language changes, and the meaning of words changes. We need to be able to speak to today's population in today's language, and I feel that William has done this. When we attempt to communicate with people today with yesterday's language, we are not as likely to reach their hearts. I sometimes wonder whether that may not be the problem behind the lack of success behind some outreach efforts.

          The basic meaning of "passion" today is a strong feeling. It is bad when it is directed in the wrong direction, but it is good when directed in the right direction.

          Passion is the power behind most success both in the world and in the service of Christ. While we are not to let our natural passions (which are sinful) rule us, passion powers effective evangelism. When we truly, genuinely love the Lord, we cannot help but be passionate in our service for Him. Psychologists tell us that while our intellect makes decisions, our feelings power those decisions into action.

          Sanctified passion is also an important component in a marriage. I believe that sex is holy within the sacred bond of marriage. After all, God invented it in the interest of sharing His creative power with humanity.

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        • Good article, William and a good discussion from everyone. As the different bloggers have stated, it is the context that dictates the meaning of passion. Loving God, one's spouse passionately, expressing oneself sexually with passion within the boundaries of marriage and having a passion to save the lost are all used appropriately. Crimes of passion and sexual passion outside of marriage are also appropriate uses. In our walk with the Lord, we grow daily and eventually relinquish usages and beliefs that hamper our being free in the Lord. Jane Sirignano related her experience of how she learned to suppress her feelings. Praise the Lord she has learned now how to be expressive. And I can relate to her experience. God is expressive, He loves us passionately. That's why He made us and has redeemed us.

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    • Again, I make the statement that we must (and do) control language--not the other way around.

      The love of Christ constrains us--but it certainly does not keep us back!

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  11. Sex without a unionship like of Adam and Eve, is an act against God. For marriage being a gift from God it has to remain honorable and pure. Because of this sex is Holy within a marriage.

    God bless you all!

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  12. Paul does say that the bed of marriage is undefiled. However, he is contrasting this with fornication, and adultery. He is certainly not saying that within the marital bedroom anything goes. This verse has been abused by many to excuse perversion. God was not telling us, through Paul, that perverse practices suddenly become sanctified when two become one.
    Also, there is an appropriate time and place to instruct our children about the "birds and the bees", but it needs to be done in a way that takes into account the mental maturity of the individual child. In our secular society it is legal for a parent to teach their child about sex by allowing the child to watch the parents in the act. But Christians shouldn't imitate their culture, they should rise above it, and set a right example of purity.
    But, I wonder about a statement like, "We need to talk more about sex". What makes this a much needed discussion? The parents are to be the child's first teachers, and it is up to the parents to give wise, age appropriate instruction in this area. I remember after one family worship my youngest daughter asked me what circumcision is. As a parent, it was my duty to determine how much information would be appropriate for that child, at that age, with whatever foundational knowledge she already had on the subject. When instructing children in this subject it is best to keep it simple, but real.

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  13. This is a topic that I actually enjoyed teaching to my 5 - 8 graders and Earliteen Sabbath School. I taught in an Adventist school so I had the privilege of using the Bible. They were always shocked at how sex is in the Bible. We would discuss the psychological and spiritual aspects of sex in addition to the physical. After they got the giggles out I would just remind them that sex was created by God and had been corrupted like so much of creation by Satan; that it was something special to be reserved for after the wedding. There were so many myths they had been told by friends, media, and sometimes family members and questions to answer. I always laughed when this was a topic in the Science curriculum because I never had parents sign a permission slip so quickly!

    I find myself cringing sometimes when our current pastor speaks so openly of sex even though it is in looking deeper at Biblical characters such as Hosea and David. I remember in another church I attended that the pastor said the word "prostitute" and a mother stormed out of the church with her son and demanded an apology from the pastor for talking about such dirty topics when children were present. If we didn't make sex a taboo topic, and parents would talk honestly and factually to their kids about it, perhaps it wouldn't be so attractive outside of a marriage commitment.

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  14. I have long wished that I could put together a seminar or something on the topic of sex and the body for Seventh-day Adventist young people. I went to university as an older returning student and in my discussions with younger students, I saw a great need. I could talk to and educate one at a time, but there was a much greater need that went into the hundreds.
    Also, by then so many had already suffered hurt and shame. I had one student approach me and say that she wished she could tell all the younger ladies to wait until marriage. She even told me she was willing to tell her story and wanted me think of a way to do that. I never did figure that out, but I've always wished that I could.
    I appreciate your handling of this topic. We need to have a passion that stirs within our bodies to tell others what the Lord has done for us and can do for them. We need to have a burning within us for winning souls just as we did for 'that special someone' when were starting to notice others as objects of our attention and affection. I wish that churches had more of that passion for creating sheep. As one church member recently told me, "Shepherds don't create sheep, sheep create sheep!" to which I add a hearty, "AMEN"

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    • Actually Chris, in this case, sheep don't create sheep, all are sheep already. The question is; which Shepherd do they follow? Jesus said "I have other sheep not of this fold", and went on to explain that these other sheep would hear HIS voice and follow HIM, not other sheep. We must be HIS voice to the other sheep (Acts 1:8, John 12:32) by being in close union with Him. We can accomplish nothing apart from Him.

      I understand completely your desire to share more with those who are still astray from the "One fold and One Shepherd". God will open the way as we receive by faith the promised Power of the Holy Spirit.(Zech 4:6)

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  15. I appreciate everyone contributing their thoughts and feelings on this important topic. It is important for us to know how people feel, because people's feelings are very real concerning this topic.

    Robert, thank you for understanding the challenge of writing to multi-cultures and trying to find words and illustrations everyone can relate to and understand.

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  16. Hi Jane, (why is the "reply" link missing again?)

    I'm truly sad to think of what you had to experience for so long. It's true, there are those who can "control" themselves while having no regard for others. The problem is that they are doing the controlling as far as others are able to see, but when care for others is lacking, the yoke of Christ is not attached. When yoked with Jesus, HE is in control and we will follow wherever HE goes, and care for all that HE cares for and there will be a true meekness and lowliness of heart which provides Rest for the soul. HIS love will be in control and not our sinful passions. Legalism (another word for those who control themselves in public) never shows true compassion for those around them, and actually they wish to withdraw from helping sinners to maintain their "spotless" life.

    It seems my thoughts are being misunderstood as I reacted to a focus on "passion". It's a word that can refer to many different feelings, good or bad, and whether good or bad, our passions must be surrendered fully. If we are yoked with Jesus, it will be HIS love that is revealed by our words and actions, not ours, which are like filthy rags. I'm sure you've seen those with a great focus on passion, who did not reflect the love of God even remotely. This is the side of the coin I am coming from in my comments and I hope that none will confuse my thoughts as endorsing the cold, formalities of a legalistic approach to living. The love as seen in the life of Jesus will never compromise with the world nor be driven by emotions or feelings, which can change with our circumstances, yet it will always attract those thirsting for the Water of Life. Only when yoked together with Jesus can we be His witnesses.

    I'm not against feelings at all, but have seen where such a focus can lead if not yoked with the world's Redeemer. It happens too often.

    My sincere apologies if I have not been clear on this.

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    • Hi Robert, I think we understand each other now. Thanks for writing a bit more of your thinking. It does take verbal or written expressions and time to understand someone else.

      Thanks Maurice for getting everything back on track. This is a great and important subject and I am grateful for William bringing it up. In the home I grew up in, sex, relationships, purity and one's specialness were never discussed. When that happens, the kids learn the hard way and some young people end up suffering more than others. We also didn't see a good marriage relationship between my parents who fought so much! Good marriage relationships are few. Sex doesn't make the relationship. I think of Joni Earikson Tada who is quadriplegic. She has a fantastic relationship with her husband and even works with him. However, she can't feel anything below the neck.
      I learned some good ideas from this post and comments. Thanks William and everyone!

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  17. I find it somewhat interesting that this discussion on sex and marriage has sort of come down to a discussion of semantics. The issue for me is not the semantics but rather to find the "big picture" items that are important in that first marriage.

    The issue that we find ourselves facing today is that sex is considered more as a sport or entertainment. We have exposed it to the extent that we even use the word sex to describe pieces of equipment. I have lot count of the number of iPad reviews that i have read that refer to it as being really sexy! Now I have owned 3 iPads (I broke one) and when it comes to sexiness I think the reviewers must have a very strange life.

    Somewhere we need to say that the really important thing about sex is that the relationship is important. If you get the relationship right then there is a fair chance that you will get the sex bit right as well.

    I will tell you about a friend of mine who had serious relationship problems. He was living with a defacto and their sex life had disappeared out the door, much to the surprise of my friend. He used to say to me that he could not understand women. I told him that as long as he saw his partner as someone to have sex with he would have problems. He needed to become her friend and forget about the sex idea for a bit.

    Modern society devalues the importance of relationships and overvalues the importance of sex. I have probably got is all wrong linguistically (Please do not take me to task on the linguistics) but I love how the Bible expresses sexual relationships; "And Adam knew Eve and she conceived ..." If we spent a little more time knowing and understanding our spouses, there is a possibility we would have less trouble with our sex lives.

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  18. Thank you Maurice for getting us back on track, and for reminding us about the importance of relationships. I think we live in an age of technology where we are more into things than people. Some people will even use sex to avoid intimacy and relationships. God can heal all that.

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  19. Dear pastor, I found your discussion enlightened and refreshing since sex discussions are often taboo. I also agree with the reader who was not comfortable with your use of the word “passion” vs “love and intimacy” I believe that passion is used more negatively in today’s society and gives way to behavior that can’t be control as though one is helpless , so to speak.
    My one issue is that, I don’t think that one can discuss sex and marriage when you don’t have any first hand knowledge on the topic according to you you're single, so me as a married person am a bit confused. There are things that only a person who has experienced it firsthand can attest to and therefore, while I appreciate the ice breaker I’m not exactly sure what you’ve helped us accomplish in understanding the joy of sex within marriage because you don’t understand it yourself.
    For instance what does it mean exactly to defile the marriage bed? What is it that should be expected from us or our spouses ? As I said as a wife and mother I'm more confused by your article. Also I do not believe that a public forum is where my child should first learn about sex, church or not. And I'm willing to hazard a guess that it's not what God had in mind either.
    Sincerely
    Sabrina

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  20. Thank you Sabrina for your sincere letter. I think there is some confusion here that can be easily cleared up. You ask how a single person can write about marriage and sex having never been married. If you look at my post, you will see it is about our attitudes about sex and marriage. Single people as well as married people have attitudes, and I am telling single people not to look down on marriage. It is a gift from God, and that should be our attitude married or not. As far as children not first learning about sex in a public forum I totally agree! I am confused myself where you got the idea I said they should get their first instruction from the church? May I add Sabrina, that Paul and Jesus who both spoke on this matter were never married either.

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  21. Sex is good to enjoy in God's holy way as a married man and women. And it also not bad to teach our little ones who and who and time to enjoy it. And the out come of it.

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    • And even they need to start leaning about sex lesson at the age of 7 and 8. Children now a days think they know like adults. They know much too much which is also wrong. So it is better to learn the right thing from their parent. As they say, 'Charity beings at home." thanks.

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  22. God is the author of marriage and thus made sex for the purpose of procreation and intimacy so any sex outside mariage is not biblical and that makes it a sin.sex is a beautiful thing meant for maried only.

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  23. Sex and marriage are sacred, they are not sin, because God is the one who create them and as He said 'everything was good' including that first marriage in which God Himself was the who bind them together. God is not ashamed when we do sex when done in the way that God intended it should be, it should be enjoyed not to be looked as something disagreeable. We should also teach our children to be safe and to be aware of sex before marriage and the plan of God that sex should be done after marriage and not before marriage.

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