A few weeks ago, there was a professing Christian lady on the television reality program, "Bachelorette," who has been fooling around.
One headline, for example, stated: "Christian 'Bachelorette' Star Hannah Brown Eliminates Man She Had Sex With Four Times On The Show." When I see that, I think "Ouch."
The Bible says we should save our sexuality for marriage - of course, heterosexual marriage.
Writing recently for thedailywire.com, John Fleenor quotes the "Bachelorette" contestant, who said, "Guess what? Sex might be a sin out of marriage, [but] pride is a sin, too, and I feel like this is like a pride thing." She was reacting to someone who wanted to save intimacy for marriage.
She added, "I have had sex, and, honestly, Jesus still loves me." The Lord's love for us is not up for debate. He loves us so much He went to the cross on behalf of sinners and took upon Himself our guilt and shame to bring salvation to those who believe. But those who place their faith in Him are to live lives of holiness. We're not perfect, but we strive to please Him in how we live.
God's rules are not optional and a way to go from better to best. Those who persist in sexual immorality (and a plethora of other sins, described in 1 Corinthians 6 and Ephesians 5) "will not inherit the Kingdom of God." But the good news is we can be forgiven and be set free from these things.
If someone is sexually promiscuous before marriage, what is to keep them from being promiscuous after marriage? Studies have shown that couples who live together before they get married are not so much preparing for marriage as they are preparing for divorce.
For example, the spruce.com reports: "In the United States and in the UK, couples who live together are at a greater risk for divorce than non-cohabiting couples."
Stable marriages are a part of God's plan. Divorce and remarriage are not His best. Divorce is often the wellspring of much misery. His rules don't come about because He's trying to withhold good things from us.
How pleasing it is to be happily married - year after year, growing old with your best friend. Enjoying children and later grandchildren. In this culture, we struggle with loneliness big time. But the Bible says, God has put the lonely in families.
I belong to a men's Bible study where most of us are now in our 60s. A couple of months ago, it was noted that we collectively represented "centuries of marriage." For example, by the grace of God, I have been married to my wife for 39 years. The Bible study leader has been married even longer.
In the culture at large, this kind of record stands out. Even in the church, it is not always the norm these days. But stable marriages have led to a lot of happiness for us.
The Bible is very practical on the matter of purity: "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth."
But our television programs, movies, songs, the whole culture promotes sexual anarchy and promiscuity.
There's a great need for purity in our time. Purity is not the same thing as innocence. Sexual sin can leave us feeling as unclean as lepers. Understanding the difference between innocence and purity can give us courage to live God's way, no matter what we have done in the past.
Billy Graham once said, "you can't unscramble scrambled eggs." That is to say, you can't undo the sin in your life prior to the time you came to Christ. Or even if we've blown it as a Christian, we can't undo our unholiness of the past. We cannot become innocent again. But we can, with God's help, work toward being holy in the present and future, which is purity.
Ironically, casting off God's rules leads to less sexual and relational happiness. A massive study on intimacy in America was conducted many years ago under the auspices of the University of Chicago, and it even made the cover of TIME magazine. It was written up in the book, Sex in America.
The researchers discovered that women with no religious affiliation reported far less satisfaction than "conservative Protestant women" - cutting against the typical media portrayal of religious women as repressed and uptight.
In short, committed Christians, following God's rules, generally have the best sex lives. That's a message I wish young (and old) promiscuous "believers" would grasp. Amazingly, holiness and happiness are corollaries.
Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is an on-air host/senior producer for D. James Kennedy Ministries. He has written/co-written 28 books, e.g., The Unstoppable Jesus Christ, Doubting Thomas (w/ Mark Beliles, on Jefferson), and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (w/ D. James Kennedy) & the bestseller, George Washington's Sacred Fire (w/ Peter Lillback) djkm.org @newcombejerry www.jerrynewcombe.com