Christian Ethics, Free Course, Lesson 5


Read: Gen. 1:27: 2:23-25; Rom. 13:8-10.

None of us can answer the question ‘Who am I’ without taking our sex into account.

Equally, we cannot divorce our character from our sexual relationships and habits. Sexuality cannot be put in a box marked ‘Private’ in the way many secular thinkers believe – what we are in this area affects every part of our lives.

The Bible is very honest and very outspoken on the whole area of sexuality. No other gift from God has been so abused and misused as this. This has been especially so in the past few decades. Sex before marriage seems to be the norm. Adultery is so commonplace that it destroys one in three marriages. Homosexually and bi-sexuality are presented in our schools as legitimate options. Lust and masturbation are considered healthy. Also, feminism has attacked wholesale the traditional relationship and role of men and women in society, leaving many people sexually confused.

What has happened?


In the 1960’s, secular forces which had been gathering strength for many decades suddenly burst on to the streets. The attack was devastating to traditional morality. It was spearheaded by four ideas:


This was a popular catch-phrase. It was based on the theories of psychiatrist Sigmund Freud – that our parents and the church put a fear of sexual expression into our lives at an early age. This, so the theories go, produces inner conflicts which make us neurotic. As this is bad for us, we should shake off those restraints and freely indulge our sexual desires as we wish – ‘Let it all hang out.’ As a result, masturbation and sex outside of marriage suddenly became healthy. Self-control is now a sign of psychological sickness!

However, although our parents may have passed on to us some unbalanced notions, the Bible teaches us to honour them and their basic teaching. (See Eph. 6:1-3).

Read Eph. 4:19 and notice what has caused people to give themselves to impurity: “Having lost all sensitivity.” In other words, they do not fear God. The answer to sexual lust is not self-indulgence but a new heart: See Eze. 36:25-27.

Self-control – being ruled by the Spirit – is the source of true liberty: See Gal. 5:16.


Evolutionary theory denies that God created the world. Instead, it teaches that all life developed from the simple to the complex, from the weak to the strong. It teaches that men and women are no more than highly evolved animals and that they have no moral responsibility before God. Love and marriage are merely complicated animal rituals for reproductive purposes.

However, the Bible teaches that men and women are a special creation, different from the animals. See Ps. 8:4-5.

We are responsible to a moral God – therefore the person who sins will die spiritually but the righteous will flourish. Read 2 Pet. 2:2 and see what happens to men and women when they act like animals.

Marriage reflects God’s love, not just a biological urge to reproduce. See Eph. 5:25-32. Children are the fruit of that union but not its primary purpose.


The publication in 1960 of D.L. Lawrence’s book ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ effectively abolished censorship of the written word in Great Britain. It also popularised a philosophy known as Romanticism. (This is not the some as romance).

Lawrence portrayed sex within marriage as frustrated. Passion – moist, earthy, warm sensuality – was to be found in an illicit relationship. Marital unfaithfulness could now be justified in the search for passionate love.

However, the Bible does not portray sexual faithfulness as dull, unadventurous frustration.

Whatever the Song of Songs teaches us about the relationship between Christ and the Church; it is also an exuberant celebration of passionate married love. (See S of S 8:6-7).


Many theologians, wanting to avoid the extremes of legalism or licence, tried to find another way. So they abolished absolutes and came up with what is known as the ‘situation ethic.’

This states that we cannot know what is right and wrong until we face a specific situation, and every situation is unique. The one guiding principle is love. So, for example, if it seems to be loving to sleep with your unmarried partner, then it must be right.

This sounds noble, except that most people understand love to mean ‘enjoyment’ – or self-indulgence. One result is that many people now equate sex with love. Then they become disillusioned with the latter when the former isn’t too good. Many become sexually promiscuous in a desperate search for love through sex.

We need to realise that the love of God is not self-gratifying – It is sacrificial. Read John 4:7-11.

The situation ethic cheapens love. Although the Bible is opposed to legalism, nowhere is love set against the law. Love is the right way to fulfil the law. Read Rom. 13:8-10.

The situation ethic attempts to find an intellectual solution to the dilemmas of life.

It takes no account of the possibility of prayer or of divine intervention. All its so-called new morality has provided is an intellectual justification for the old immorality!


1. What impact has the material under ‘destructive ideas’ of sexuality had on you? Were you aware of these changes that were taking place in society? How has it affected you or your family?

2. “Christians should have intercourse out of necessity, not for enjoyment.” Do you agree with this statement or not? Does this conflict with God’s idea of sexuality?

3. Think of ways of promoting Christian sexual values among young people.


1. Check your bookshelves, newspapers, TV. , video viewing

Are they sexually pure?

2. Pray over the issues raised in this section.

3. If you have real sexual problems then get help and counsel from your Pastor or a trusted Christian friend.

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