We live in a culture that worships at the altar of sex. The problem is not sex in and of itself, though. It is the over-sexualization of all humans. It is asking sex to do what God never intended it to do. Sex is a good gift from our good God, but not everything in our lives is sexual, nor is every relationship sexual. In fact, only one relationship in our lives is meant to be sexual – a truth that brings us to the heart of this discussion.
God created us as sexual beings, and as the designer and giver of our sexuality, His is the final authority over this part of our lives. So, what is a woman sexually according to His Word and His design?
A woman SEXUALLY is uniquely made to either live a life of singleness and celibacy or commit her life to a man in covenant marriage.
Biblically speaking, these are the only two ways she can live her life and sexually honor the Lord. The standards of the culture and society do not change God’s standards. So, either a woman is single and not sexually active, or she has committed her life to a man in marriage and expresses her sexuality in a monogamous relationship with him.
God details His design for marriage in the book of Genesis. Because we know sexual relationships belong within the confines of marriage, we can conclude that God is also revealing His design for human sexuality. Genesis 2:23-24 tells us of when Adam first saw Eve: “Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Just before this moment in Scripture, God put Adam to sleep because no suitable helper was found for him. God took flesh from Adam, and then from one being, He made two. Therefore, Adam declares Eve is “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”
God then says man shall leave his father and mother and shall hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh – foundational words later quoted in Scripture by both Jesus and the Apostle Paul. God created by taking flesh from man to make woman, but He also created them anatomically to be joined back together in the marriage bed. This physical connection between husband and wife is the outward act of the inward oneness God creates when one man and one woman commit their lives to one covenant marriage till death do they part. This mystery of being made in the image of God, male and female, is brought full circle in the union of one man and one woman in marriage.
The Bible goes on to celebrate the beautiful sexuality of a woman enjoyed by herself and her husband in the comfort and confidentiality of the marriage bed. One such passage is Song of Solomon 4:10, “How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!” Solomon is delighting in the sexuality of his bride, whom he also refers to as his sister in the Lord.
Inside the covenant of marriage, sex can bring great pleasure, protection from immorality, and the blessing of children. But if sex is taken out of its intended role – meaning you make sex the reason you exist and you join your body with multiple people in an effort to find fulfillment and pleasure – it will have a law of diminishing returns and will never deliver on its promise. We also must guard against exploiting women for their sexuality. Women are put under undue pressure to try to appear sexually attractive to a lot of eyes that will not experience and do not deserve to experience the gift God has given them for one man alone, their husband.
The writer of Hebrews, when crafting the ethic of the church, said, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous,” (Hebrews 13:4). Notice that God does not take any of this lightly. If you are a young woman yet to be married, if you are widowed or divorced, if God has you in a season of singleness for whatever reason, being a committed follower of Jesus means you will not be sexually active. You must save that part of your life for marriage.
We cannot say we are serious about following the Lord Jesus if we ignore His lordship over the sexual part of who we are. Those two things do not line up. That does not mean your desires are not deep or that celibacy won’t be a battle. It does not mean you won’t ever struggle or need help. But it does mean there is no place to claim you are a deeply devoted follower of Jesus while choosing to follow the world’s direction regarding your lifestyle and relationships. If you are serious about His Lordship, you must bring every area of who you are under His Lordship. If you have not been living a life of celibacy in your singleness, the good news is that there are many who repent of sexual sin and begin again before the Lord. The desire for a marriage partner is real, but through open and honest accountability, you can walk with the Lord in singleness and celibacy as you wait on His partner for you.
As men and women alike, we are all called to roll up our sleeves and fight for purity and celibacy in singleness and the intimacy reserved only for marriage. Only inside of God’s design will we find the fullness of sexuality.