SEX: A Rampageous Disturber

 

 

 

 

Jan Antonsson

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The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

August 12, 2017

Neosho, MO

“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one” (I Corinthians 6:16, The Message).

When this title flitted across my mind, I laughed out loud, and later told friends that I hoped God was just teasing me.  In other words, I didn’t want to write about this topic.  I said that about the last three “Disturber” essays, but in this case, I didn’t want to write about it to the power of 10 squared! No way, not today, please, not this.  But now that I have your attention…

Why all the fuss?  I grew up in a Fundamentalist church, reading the Bible everyday, all the way through in one year for years.  For some of you, I don’t have to say more than this.  The topic of sex was salacious, disturbing, and therefore verboten, not something good Christians ever talked about, and hopefully didn’t think about either.  The preacher in my youth railed on against sex sin, but I had been so sheltered that I didn’t always know what he was talking about.

Bible translators must have been afraid they’d sin, because the word sex wasn’t even in the Bible.  I have a Bible computer program which is absolutely invaluable to me. Among many other things, it tells me how many times any word is used.  Here’s the run down on the word Sex: KJV – 0; ESV – 0; Weymouth – 0; Young – 0;  ASV – 0;  RSV – 1;  Phillips – 2; BBE – 48, and The Message – 153 times. 

Recall all those passages in Leviticus where the Israelites were forbidden to “lie with” relatives, animals, anyone of the same sex, and especially the temple prostitutes of Baal and Asherah.  Here’s an example: “The LORD will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the LORD to anger” (I Kings 14:15, ESV). 

What the heck is an Asherim, you ask?  Certainly reading this passage doesn’t help much, but here’s The Message’s rendition, which makes it clear.  “He will hit Israel hard, as a storm slaps reeds about; he’ll pull them up by the roots from this good land of their inheritance, weeding them out, and then scatter them to the four winds. And why? Because they made GOD so angry with Asherah sex-and-religion shrines.”  That’s right, the religious leaders in Samaria and other neighboring countries had a sure fire plan for getting folks interested in religion.  Instead of coffee and cookies before services, or fellowship dinners, the Asherah-Baal fertility cult had temple prostitutes.  By having sex with them, one could insure fertility and worship the god at the same time.  Whoopee!  Each shrine was marked by what some translations call an Asherah pole or stick, obviously another name for Asherim.

Don’t smirk and don’t laugh either.  Having sex with temple prostitutes was practiced by pagans all over the place in the ancient world. Sex sin is what the book of Hosea is about.  Hosea was the only writing prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  He wrote during the final bloody days just prior to God sending the Assyrians to haul the offenders off to be slaves of that nation.  To make His point, God compelled Hosea to marry an adulterous woman named Gomer.  Her children drove her away, but God instructed the prophet to go get her back, pay the price for her release from slavery, and take her again as his wife.  This story is more sordid than even today’s soap operas, not that I’ve seen any for 50 years, but you get my drift. And no doubt, you also get the beautiful symbolic analogy of Christ paying the price our sins racked up against us, so that we could be reconciled to our loving heavenly Father.

The question you are no doubt asking, and probably Hosea did as well at first, is WHY did God order him to marry an adulterous woman?  Here’s my NIV Study Bible Note:  “Hosea saw the failure to acknowledge God (4:6; 13:4) as Israel’s basic problem.”  The intimacy of the covenant relationship between Israel and God is mirrored in the marriage relationship.  “Israel had turned to Baal worship and had sacrificed at the pagan high places, which included associating with the sacred prostitutes at the sanctuaries (4:14) and worshipping the calf image at Samaria (8:5; 10:5-6; 13:2).  Yet despite God’s condemnation and the harshness of language with which the unavoidable judgment was announced, the major purpose of the book is to proclaim God’s compassion and love that cannot finally let Israel go.”  End quote. Did you notice that the writers of that Bible study note, couldn’t use the word sex either.  They wrote, “Associating with the sacred prostitutes at the sanctuaries.”  What were they doing with them, one wonders.  Eating cake and drinking tea?

At one point, Hosea quotes God as saying, “Instead of crying out to me in heartfelt prayer, they whoop it up in bed with their whores, Gash themselves bloody in their sex-and-religion orgies, but turn their backs on me” (Hosea 7:14, The Message).

No wonder Christians are afraid to talk about sex in public, but as Jesus said, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said  (or done??) in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (Luke 12:2-3, ESV).  So, let’s get on with this discussion.

Paul brought the joy and freedom of the Gospel to light for which I’m very grateful.  The Corinthians, pagans all, had temple prostitutes in their city, and some were corrupted by them and given to excess in many other areas of their lives. Paul said of them, that some had been sexually immoral, idolaters, thieves, greedy, drunkards, and slanderers; he ended his rant by affirming But you were washed; you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (I Corinthians 6:11, NIV).  

He continues on with the main reason we are not to commit sex sin, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God!  You are not your own.  You were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body (I Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV).

Good advice Paul, and thanks for spelling it out clearly.  My issues with religion’s dictates about sex are these:  many Christians use “sex sin” to justify judging other people’s behavior. They also view it as the “worst” sin.  When I was old enough to even know what sex sin was, sort of, I soon realized from church gossip that this was the main thing that people went up front at the Invitation Hymn in order to repent of.  What about all the other sins?  Lying, stealing, drunkenness, drug addiction, murder, gluttony, and any others you care to name.  Are there degrees of sin?  Is one sin worse than another, or are they all the same, missing the mark of our high calling in Christ our Lord?  Is sex sin or any other sin not covered by grace?  In my humble opinion, all sins are equal.  And another thing while I’m at it, did it occur to no one else that God built the sex drive into our hormones, our desires, our need to procreate?  Had He not, there would only ever have been two people on the planet:  Adam and Eve.

Lenny and I would have been branded as adulterers by many religious groups because each of us had a living spouse when we married.  Adultery is bad, but has anyone forgotten that Jesus raised the bar on that sin?   “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28, ESV).  Are you going to tell me you’ve never lusted in your heart?  Really?  Providentially, long before we met, God had delivered Lenny and me from legalistic religion which ensnares people in guilt and fear, and we flourished by God’s grace, and were extremely grateful for God having sovereignly put us together.

My readers are all no doubt unstained by sex sin, but if like me, you are not, remember Isaiah’s marvelous prophecy:  “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18, KJV).

My overall point here and in all my writings, is that God’s grace is sufficient for all of us all the time, no matter what sin we commit. If it weren’t, all of us would end up in hell, one of our own making. 

One last point.  Sex, like money is NOT intrinsically evil.  It is the attitude of the human heart which renders each of these quantities good or evil.  God meant sex to be a blessing, a reciprocal gift between two people whom He sovereignly put together.  In spite of works based religion which has denigrated it and made it grubby, sex is a beautiful metaphor for the passionate love with which God loves each of us. More could be said, but I’ve made the points He called me to make.

Father, how we thank You and love you and praise You for Your grace, Your unconditional love, and Your matchless plan of the ages.  Give us the ability to share Your marvelous Presence with all those weary souls You put in our paths who need to stand fast in the liberty wherein Christ has set us free. “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.” Amen.  Jan Antonsson

Jan Austin Antonsson

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail Address)

All our writings from 1997-2010 are on

The Glory Road

Our writings from 2010 until now are on this blog.

We always enjoy hearing from you!

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