A biblical sexual ethic

Sunday 3rd March, 2024

Jesus gave us a foolproof, timeless way to discern right from wrong. Instead of simply following a list of rules with no room for hard cases or shades of grey, that could never be completely fully comprehensive for all people at all times, Jesus taught us to be able to work out right and wrong for ourselves.
He taught us that if we “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt 22:37) then we would be in line with God’s law on whatever the issue is. Of course, by love Jesus didn’t just mean “feel a bit gooey about” he meant agape love, which the bible provides a really thorough definition of in 1 Corinthians 13. 

So when faced with any moral dilemma Jesus teaches that we should act with patience, kindness, truthfulness, trustworthiness and consistency, we should instill hope, pull together equally and defend one another. Jesus teaches that we should choose the moral choice that is not envious, arrogant, boastful, selfish, rude, or irritable, that does not take pleasure in harm. This is what love looks like and does not look like. This should be our moral compass. But when it comes to sex the church has created a whole other set of criteria for defining “right” and “wrong.” The churches focus on marriage and celibacy and heterosexuality instead of on love has caused untold harm, the Church has been guilty of heaping shame and condemnation on life affirming loving relationships and ignoring or worse condoning sin in other sexual relationships. This is why the church is regularly rocked with sex scandals and why Christians experience rape, domestic abuse and adultery at similar rates to the rest of the world.
It’s time for a more biblical sexual ethic, it’s time for a sexual ethic based on the teachings of Jesus to use love as our guide, and based on the biblical understanding of what love is. So, here it is: this graphic gives some examples of what those biblical descriptions of what love is and what love is not may look like in a sexual context. Is there anything you would add under any of those headings?
Please share this around, we need to think differently about our sexual ethic. God cares far more about what is in your heart than what is in your pants!