by Dr Jorge Patpatian.
Read Genesis 1:27-2:25.
Sex is often a taboo subject, surrounded by silence and denial. As Christians we should ask ourselves: ‘What is God’s plan for human sexuality?’ The Bible is not silent on the topic of sex, but rather points out some important aspects of the issue:
Sex is God’s creation. It was God’s idea to create people as both male and female, and unite them through sex (Genesis 2:24). Both men and women are created with sexual desire.
Sex is good. Sex was part of God’s good creation (Genesis 1:31). Sex is designed to provide pleasure and satisfaction (Song of Songs 4:10). Men and women are both given the gift of being able to experience pleasure and delight within marriage. This enriches and deepens the love relationship between the couple. Yet in some cultures women are not expected to take pleasure in sex.
Sex is designed for marriage. God’s purpose for human beings is that men and women should experience a life-long, faithful, permanent and responsible relationship. These conditions are met within the context of marriage. It is there that God blesses and approves this union. In Genesis 1:28 the command to ‘bear fruit and multiply’ is obeyed through the sexual relationship.
- What does our society say about sex? How does this passage challenge these beliefs?
- What messages does the church give to people about sex?
Unfortunately people do not always choose to follow God’s plan. In our broken world there are many problems such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual violence, broken families and harmful relationships. The church should not hide from this reality. Its responsibility is to be salt and light for the world, and to speak the truth in love, in order to encourage sexual health in communities across the world.
Read John 8:1-12
More and more people are living lives far from God’s plan. We can show people God’s plan for sexuality, marriage and the family. However, we should not lose Jesus’ compassionate attitude. He showed us how to live by his example. He showed love and grace to the woman who was guilty of adultery by saying: ‘I do not condemn you’. He challenged people’s judgmental attitudes. Judging and discriminating against others are also sinful. Jesus then used his authority to say to the woman: ‘Go and sin no more’. As the church, we should show grace, but we should not keep quiet about justice. It is not about condemnation. Justice means challenging harmful traditional practices and attitudes, to ensure that every person is valued in the image of God.
- How can we, the church, be salt and light in our community on these issues?
- Are our attitudes as a church inclusive or exclusive?
- It was only the woman caught in adultery who was condemned, not the man who was with her. How does this reflect the unjust way women are often treated in this area of sex?
Dr Jorge Patpatian, is involved in organising regular conferences for Christian doctors in Latin America and producing a magazine on sexual health and ethics of medicine.