The final point that needs to be covered concerning talking to your children about sex and marriage is the joyous pursuit of sexual purity. Sexual purity is the eager and aggressive commitment to trusting God’s parameters for sexual conduct. This should be a pursuit of joy. Sexual purity must not be defined only as a negative. The pursuit is of sexual purity is not only to avoid what is wrong but to eagerly pursue what is right. In this case, what is right is a passionate commitment to engage in sexual matters as God has instructed in his Word. Such purity leads to an active worship of God in all of life. That is something that you can talk about without hesitation with your children. Trusting God with their sexuality is the absolute best thing that anyone can do. You do not have to discuss every area of sexual perversion in order to prepare children for combating sexual sin. To be sure, you should be prepared to discuss questions about the sexual sin that is rampant in our culture, but even this must be in the context that God’s ways are superior to the natural practice of this world.
Preparing your children to combat sexual sin can and should begin very early. It is never too soon to say that marriage is a wonderful blessing from God. When any discussions of sexuality arise, you should always point out what is appropriate for marriage and what is not. Over time your explanations will need to be more specific, until finally you arrive at the franker discussions needed to address the onset of puberty. But in the context of ongoing conversations, extending over years, you have the privilege of positioning sexual behavior positively, within marriage. Then, you have natural opportunities to demonstrate that when people choose to disobey God’s directives for sexuality, bad things happen.
Parents, you must not shy away from this point. Spiritual warfare is raging around you and your children at this point. Sexual purity is depicted in our culture as a joyless life of self-denial and struggle. But that is not what God teaches about sexual purity. Sexual purity in marriage is a cause for celebration. It is too easy to think that sexual purity means no sexual activity. At least, that is what the enemy of your soul wants you and your children to think. In contrast, Hebrews 13:4 says the marriage bed must be kept pure and undefiled. Sex that is pure is sex that brings honor to God and joy to his people. It takes place in marriage.
A brief history is helpful here. The 1960s are described as the era of sexual revolution. Once again, as so often over the course of human history, man decided it was stupid to follow God’s plan for sexuality. Free love and free sex were the battle cry of that time. People began to believe the lies that sex was the rite of passage to personal liberation.
Well, what has happened since that time? Married households are no longer the norm, either statistically or ideologically in Western culture. Sexually transmitted diseases are rampant. Pornography is destroying men and their families at an alarming rate. Lust knows no boundaries and enslaves people from all walks of life. Treatment for depression is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Divorce is common. Marriage is no longer essential for raising children. It would be naïve to think that the pursuit of godless sex outside of marriage is unrelated to all of the above. Rather, these behaviors happen when sexual purity in marriage is exchanged for the lies of the world.
This theme is the way to begin and end discussions with your children about marriage and sex. God’s ways are always better. God knows more about sexual pleasure than anyone else–he designed it for his glory. Our God is not to be mocked. Disregarding his commands regarding sexual purity and marriage will lead only to emptiness, despair and personal destruction. Romans 1:18-32 is clear on this point. But God has great things in store for those who will trust him. You must passionately believe this about sexuality and marriage in order to encourage your children to trust God in this area.
Sadly, there is also instruction that must be given about sexual perversion and lust. There are many excellent books and materials to help. I have written about this in previous posts as well. If you have specific questions, please leave a comment. But for now, I urge you to accept God’s call to celebrate sexual purity within marriage. Encourage your children with this biblical perspective.
As we have seen, sexual sin creates relational wreckage and pain. Perhaps your life has been so negatively impacted by sexual sin that you are reluctant to talk with your children about obeying God in marriage and sexuality. In that case, let me encourage you with the power of the gospel. The cross of Christ can bring wholeness to your life. We all stand in need of the powerful grace of God. Seek his grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can know the life-changing grace extended in God’s forgiveness. Your children are not perfect either. They will most likely fall short at some point in their battle with sexual sin. They need to know that the gospel can restore purity. They can become as white as snow through the redeeming work of Christ. Make this wonderful message of the gospel a part of your discussions about marriage and sexuality. Both you and your children need to hear it. It is the only message that brings hope to the devastation of sexual sin.
A special note of thanks to Tim Challies for suggesting this series. I pray that it has been helpful to you. Please let me know your thoughts; feel free to say if there are areas that need additional clarification. Thanks also to the many faithful readers of the blog; you are an encouragement!