by Tina Olesen
“Sexual Health” is the name that sex education courses are often given in schools. Why health? The focus is on the body, especially its sexual parts. But the truth is that sex is about more than our bodies. While our bodies are intimately involved, sex has a spiritual dimension. Sexual health classes are always communicating a message about spirituality, whether or not that is their intent.
Who are we worshipping with our bodies? What do our sexual practices tell the world that we believe about God? These are questions not usually openly addressed in sexual health classes, yet these questions are fundamental to our understanding of sexuality. Sex education is never neutral. It either teaches the students to honor God with their bodies, or it doesn’t. Students are accountable to God for what they do with their bodies, whether or not they hear the truth about that in sexual health classes.
Even when a sexual health curriculum focuses primarily on the human body, i.e. anatomy, physiology, pregnancy, hygiene, diseases, etc., this does not mean it is spiritually neutral (see the BC Teacher’s Federation’s sexual health education guidelines posted here). Beliefs about sexuality are intricately tied to one’s beliefs about God. Many parents disagree with what their child is being taught about sex (see an example from the United Kingdom here, and the BCTF’s advice to teachers, here). The battle looks like an ideological one, but really it is spiritual.
We either believe what God says about sex (as described in the Bible) or we do not. Our sexuality and our worship of God are inextricably connected. Dr. Peter Jones, in his book One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (2010) writes, “Our thinking, our worship and our sexuality are fundamentally related… Mess with your sexuality, and you will mess with your worship. Mess with your worship and you will mess with your thinking about God. Mess with your thinking about God and you will mess with your sexuality. No matter which exchange you make, you will begin to adopt a One-ist spirituality and ultimately expose yourself to the judgment of God,” (p. 154). (Definitions of One-ism and Two-ism can be found here on the truthXchange website.)
Biblically, a marriage between a man and a woman is meant to be a Two-ist picture of the one flesh love relationship between Christ and His Bride, the church. The apostle Paul warned the Corinthian church: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” He wrote to the Ephesians, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” The beauty of the distinction between the masculine and the feminine coming together to paint this picture of the Bride of Christ and her heavenly Bridegroom is glorious.
This portrait is so precious and so vital to the gospel. For this reason, Paul strenuously warns us against sexual immorality. He entreated the Corinthians to “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Paul is telling us that our bodies were meant to glorify God; they do not belong to us – if we belong to Christ, our bodies belong to Him: “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” In Romans, he beseeches us to “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” What we do with our bodies demonstrates who we worship.
While it is vitally important that as Christians we protect our young people from the lies and seduction of immoral sexuality, we must also shine the light on the Truth, so that they can see it in all its glory. Our youth need a cosmological  understanding of God’s wondrous plan for sex within a marriage between a man and a woman. I thank the Lord for those couples who faithfully live this out, to the glory of God. They are providing a portrait for our youth (and the watching world) of what God intended in His created order of relationships. At the same time they are pointing to the spiritual reality of the relationship between our Bridegroom, Christ, and His Bride, the church.
Our children need to know what their bodies were created for: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. They need to be taught the beauty and wonder of “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,” (Colossians 1:26-27).
 Thanks to Dr. Peter Jones for this word!
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