(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, if you are reading the Proverbs and you don't leave understanding the seriousness of sexual sin, you just haven't been paying attention. It’s one of the cardinal themes of this book. In fact, the way Proverbs deals with sex is one of the things Proverbs is known for, and there's a level of seriousness that is so important in this generation that we’re in.
Listen to some of the phraseology in describing sexual sin: “bitter as wormwood, feet going down to death, forbidden intoxication.” One text says, “How can you have a fire in your chest and not burn your clothes?” I love that phraseology. “Will not go unpunished, wounds and dishonor,” those are all the ways that Scripture is trying to marshal word pictures to say, “Don't go there; there's danger there.”
But I have to say this, the Bible is not sex or pleasure negative. And you see that in Proverbs 2. And so, you can't really look at this issue of sexual sin without thinking about the theology of pleasure in Scripture. I want to do that for a moment. It's not necessarily godly to deny pleasure because God, in His wisdom, created a gloriously pleasurable world for us.
The sight and sound and taste pleasures of that world bless us every day. And then God created us with pleasure gates: your eyes, your ears, your sense of touch, your taste, your smell, are all ways that God has designed for you to take in the pleasures He's created in His world. So, to enjoy these pleasures is really to glorify the God who created these pleasures. Pleasure-enjoyment is God-glorifying.
But here's the thing that Scripture says, that our culture never says, is that every pleasure requires boundaries. Pleasure without boundaries always leads to danger. I mean, think about this, think of the pleasure of the flora and fauna that we get to eat, food. If you go there without boundaries, you will end up obese and in ill health.
So, the Proverbs presents to us the beauty of sexual pleasure while it also holds before us the danger of sexual sin. In Proverbs 5, we have this moment where it says:
Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.
What a beautiful expression of this place where God has designed sexual pleasure to be enjoyed, that is marriage.
So, the warnings that we have in Proverbs are not meant to make us think that the pleasure of sex is just wrong at any place. God created that pleasure; it’s a significant part of the marital relationship, but it needs to be lived within those boundaries.
How important is that now when we are experiencing the pornification of our culture and the technology that brings up pornification, not just into our houses, but into implements we carry in our pockets. And how humbling it is to admit that it's only ever the evil inside of me that hooks me to the evil outside of me. Sexual sin is not first an issue of environment; it’s first an issue of the condition of my heart. I want pleasure outside of what God has designed for me; and for that, I need rescuing and empowering grace!