I get this question more often than I care to count. Young women, caught in the tsunami of technology find themselves confused.
They ask, as they have for generations, how far is too far?
We get caught up in technicalities a lot. When it comes to purity, it seems both sides are quick to over-legislate or under-legislate. I can remember when I was in youth group. Without the temptation of cell-phones the biggest concern of ours was whether or not it was OK to kiss. One side said, “no.” It condemned any and all physical contact between a man and a woman, spawning such things as the ‘six inch rule’ or ‘keep room for a Bible between.’
On the other hand, there was the Christian liberty camp that said kissing was ok. Since it was not technically sex, then it was technically ok to kiss. After all, God said nothing about kissing in the Bible.
He didn’t say anything about sex either.
At the risk of being stoned for that comment, I challenge you to find it. Find the chapter and verse that explicitly says, “Thou shalt not have sex before thou art married.” It is not in there. There are verses about fleeing youthful lust, verses about fornication, verses about immorality and orgies, but there is no specific verse that can be quoted that condemns premarital sex.
But that does not mean it is OK. Instead, we build our understanding of God’s view of sex by using what scholars refer to as the ‘whole counsel of Scripture.’ No, there is no specific verse condemning premarital sex, because it is not God’s desire to slam us with a list of rules about our actions. Even if such a verse had existed, it would be in our nature to find a loophole. We just like loopholes; it’s a flaw we possess.
What we have to do is look at the broader picture of sexual love as shown in Scripture. While there are no specific verses condemning sexting (there weren’t cell phones in 100 A.D.), it should be obvious that virtual sex falls short of the glory and beauty God intended our sexuality to express.
In the Old Testament, God lays out laws. These laws condemn seeing anyone’s nakedness (which is why I disagree with nudist art). They condemn homosexuality, incest, adultery, and even bestiality (Leviticus 18). While those laws were given to the nation of Israel, they actually reflect the heart of God. He does not say, “Don’t do those things because I told you to.” Many of these sins are given labels such as ‘confusion’ or ‘abomination.’ These are things that are straight up wrong, regardless of whether or not you are an Israelite.
These things, by their very essence, are wrong.
If God regards human sexuality so highly to be so opposed to anything that taints it, we need to take notice. It is obvious from His passion for it, that it serves a higher and more holy purpose than just to pleasure us. Sex serves to picture God’s love for us.
See this through. I’ve adapted these from what I have heard of Pope John Paul II’s, Theology of the Body. While I am not Catholic and have never read the work myself, I appreciate the truths it shares. Look at the characteristics of human sexual love.
It is complete. Especially for us women, sex is a total surrender of our bodies. Complete.
It is sacrificial. We are at the mercy of the man, are we not? When we give our sexuality, we have let down our last defense.
It gives life. Sex is how babies are made. That is just how life is created. I love what Joshua Harris said in one of his sermons on sex, he said,
“We didn’t have to have sex; we could have just pollinated each other. Sneeze on your wife and you have kids.”
It is eternal. There are chemicals released during sex that bond you to your partner. Sex strengthens love, and trust. It is meant to be a permanent connection, not some one-night fling thing.
What is that a picture of? The love of Christ.
Make the connection. Everything that happens within sexual love pictures the sacrificial, complete, life-giving, eternal love of Christ. We experience that love as part of a committed, covenant relationship, which is why we should experience sex in that way as well.
Sexting, masturbation, cybering and pornography all fall drastically short of that picture.
Sexting is not complete (you aren’t there in person), is not life-giving, or eternal. In fact, it robs of life, and while you may not have sent it with the intent of it becoming public knowledge, know that a majority of sexts end up with someone other than who was intended.
It does not just thwart God’s design for sex by completely trivializing it, it puts your heart at risk. You send a picture to your boyfriend, and before you know it the whole football team knows. Does that sound like a God-honoring, life-giving, sacrificial love to you?
Sexting does not fuel committed, eternal love. It fuels a self-serving, temporary lust.
It stands in opposition to God’s plan for sex, and for that reason it is wrong.1