There is no original evil, for as Peter Kreeft writes, “Evil can’t be greater than good, because evil is a bent good, a diseased good, a parasite on good.” You cannot have destruction without something to destroy. You cannot have bulimia without the joy of eating to corrupt. You could not have sexual immorality, perversion and pornography if the beauty and joy of sex and marriage had not come first.
So, before we discuss lust, sexual immorality or pornography, we need to begin with God’s original design. We need to start with the beauty of marriage and the goodness of sex when God called things “good.” Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26, 27).
What jumps out from this account in Genesis chapter one is the clear multiplicity of the creation called man – that’s pretty weird. It’s in this multiplicity that we are in God’s image. In other words, man and woman together are in the image of God. The union of the two is a picture of many things, among them is the relationship of the Trinity: unity in diversity, one God – three persons.
Twentieth-century theologian Karl Barth put it this way: “Man never exists as such, but always as the human male or female … Nor can he wish to liberate himself from the relationship and be man without woman or woman apart from man.” Think, then, of the profundity of sex within the context of marriage: two becoming one flesh (literally).
There is nothing else on the planet that comes as close to manifesting an image of one God in three persons as sex. It should now be quite clear how miraculous the event of sex is, for that which it imitates. It should also be clear why Satan would want to scrawl graffiti across it – more than any other work of God’s creation – defacing it in any and every way imaginable, making the image unintelligible.
Sex not only reflects the structural unity of God (two individuals becoming one flesh) but also mirrors the joy and complete satisfaction that this unity brings. This idea may sound weird, but the enjoyment – or fun, if you will – of sex is extremely glorifying to God, because it reflects the joy and satisfaction the Trinity experiences. On the other hand, lifeless, forced, unenjoyable sex – or a dissatisfying marriage – symbolizes something that is not true of God’s unity. Therefore, the design of sex is for enjoyment every bit as much as for procreation.
A third purpose of the design of sex and marriage is procreation. True love and unity cannot help but bear fruit. In a fallen world this is not always realized, but it is an essential feature of the original design.
Our view and vision of sex and God’s plan for our sexuality is all too low. For most of us, marriage is in God’s plan. Therefore, sex will be in God’s plan for us – not just a transactional physical connection but one that shakes heaven with its holy power.
I’ve got news for you: Jesus will not be having sex with your wife. You will. And you will have the privilege and responsibility to offer her something that no one else in the world can. And Jesus is “chest bumping” thrilled about his empowering ability to give you what it takes to literally touch her soul in the marriage bed. He enables you to have something powerful, unique and mysterious occur when you relate with her in a way that offers something only you can give, and only he has authorized.
Think about it this way: others can impact your wife through friendship, care, advice, spiritual input, etc. No one, however, will be bringing to her a holy nakedness and sexual intimacy. That will be your job. And your pleasure.
This kind of intimacy makes the thrill of union with your bride worth waiting for.
God’s design for sex and marriage shouts to the universe, “Look how great God is!” But sexual immorality and pornography scream of self-centeredness, abusive and manipulative love. These degradations suggest a God who does not adequately provide and whose ways do not wholly satisfy. This understanding of God is what’s at stake. This is what that battle of purity is really about: We will either be vehicles and vessels that bring praise and glory to God or pawns used as insults for Satan to hurl against God.
Having purposed in your heart to pursue sexual purity, you will need to employ some very basic, but crucial tactics to guard your heart from lust.
If you are going to see victory in your struggle with lust and pornography, you will need the power of a team, of community and of accountability.
The power of lust is its embedded lies - little white ones, dark and monstrous things. With Christ dwelling in us, our hearts cannot endure the pain of outright rebellion.
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