God's Goodness

Sex, love, marriage. This seems to be the primary arena where God’s truth is under unrelenting assault today inside and outside of the church. Confusion and controversy seem to reign. It is amazing how much insight the Bible gives us about these hot topics.

My pastor has said that the most important verse in the Bible is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It basically says that all Scripture comes from God and that everything we need to obey God is written in the Bible. Although the Bible was written thousands of years ago God is the author. God is eternal. He is not bound by time. He knows and controls the future. Therefore, in His infinite wisdom, He made sure that everything people would need for life and godliness in the 21st century was included in His ancient book.

This may seem insane or impossible to you at first. But have you actually read the Bible for yourself in a humble and prayerful way? Have you seriously sought to apply it to every area of your life? I think that many will be surprised at how applicable the Bible actually is to modern problems when understood correctly.

When you read the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1, a theme quickly emerges: “God made everything good for mankind.”  God doesn’t need light, water, land, nor food to survive, but people do. God made a world that was perfect for people. Seven times the first chapter says that God saw that what he had made was good.

Many today want to read Genesis 1 and dive straight into arguments about evolution and intelligent design and there is an important place for such debates. But often a crucial point can be lost in such battles. The first chapter of the Bible is trying to scream at us “God is good and He gives good gifts to people!”

Imagine living in a world without light in perpetual darkness. Imagine never setting foot on dry land. Life would be miserable. God did not just make a world we could survive in, he made a world we could thrive in and enjoy. Genesis 2 illustrates this even more clearly.

God is the one who invented rest. We even see Adam taking a nap before sin entered the world. Naps are not necessarily sinful, sometimes God wants you to just take a nap. What a blessing!

God invented food that tastes good. God could have ordained that people would get their necessary fuel by eating tree bark or cardboard infused with necessary vitamins and nutrients. He could have invented some way to intake food that didn’t involve taste buds. But our God is a good God who loves pleasure and He delights to give good gifts to His people. See Psalm 35:27.

God invented sex, romance, passion and marriage. They were all His idea. God could have ordained that a husband and wife could produce babies through a mere handshake if God wanted to. But He didn’t. He had a much more exciting, enjoyable way for His people to propagate the race.

What’s the point of all this? Truly believing that God is a good God who loves to give good gifts to people is foundational for a happy life. Hebrews 11:6 says there are two basic components to true faith. The first is belief that God exists. That may seem obvious, but the second point may not. True faith must believe that God rewards people who seek Him.

What does all this have to do with our questions about sex, love and marriage? Everything! If I start to address these three issues in my life or our culture and am not sure of the goodness of God who invented these three things I will be very prone not to trust God and not to trust His word.

The Bible says some things about sex and marriage that are not very popular today in many circles. If I come to the Bible and to life with the fundamental foundation that God made all things and that His heart is good towards me it will be much easier and more natural to trust Him, even if I don’t fully understand or like everything He says. Many of those today even in the church have lost this foundational trust in God, His goodness and His word.

In Romans 1:21 Paul is probably partially reflecting on the creation narrative. He says when people refuse to honor God rightly and thank Him for His gifts their hearts become dark. “Such darkness indicates mental dullness, emotional despair, and spiritual depravity.”1 Their reasoning begins to lose understanding of reality. The foundation of all sin is not acknowledging God’s goodness. Giving thanks to God for His good gifts and worshipping God, are massively important starting points for any helpful discussion of the topics of sex and marriage.

Ephesians 5:3-4 is very interesting. Paul was telling Christians there must be no sexual sin in their lives. He goes further to say we shouldn’t even joke about sex in a dirty way. Do not joke about sexual sin. (This does not mean there is no proper way for sexuality and humor to be associated. Many married people would say that some of this is essential to a healthy sex life.) What does he tell us to put in the place of sexual sin and sinful joking? Thanksgiving. This seems pretty underwhelming at first doesn’t it?

Whether you are a Christian or not, many of us can quickly admit that sexual temptation is some of the hardest temptation to resist in the universe. It often feels like a tsunami about to wipe out our entire lives and culture. What does the Apostle give us to fight such a massive onslaught of sin? Be thankful. That’s it? Seriously?

Paul is telling us to be careful to treat sex like the great gift from God that it is. Paul is wise to know that the human heart was made to worship. When we are rightly focused on worshipping God, thanking God, enjoying God and all of His good gifts in legitimate ways it is much easier to trust and obey God. So maybe the most important point to make when it comes to dealing with sex personally and corporately is to remember God is good and worthy of honor and thanks.

Practically how does this play out? If you are single and longing for a mate be careful not to complain; worship God and trust His good timing in all things. If you are married and struggling with a subpar sex life in your opinion; thank God that at least you are married and have some sort of sex life that many single people might envy. If you have same sex attraction and wonder why God has put you in that situation; trust God’s infinite wisdom and do not turn away from His perfect word, no matter how hard it may seem to obey.

Some may read this and find themselves in a much harder place than what I’ve described above and feel they have nothing to thank God for. Remember this. The Lord Jesus Christ left His Father to come to earth for a bride. To secure His wife, He had to die for her under the wrath of God, because His bride is the church which is made up totally of sinners. We all deserve the wrath of God eternally for all of our sins, from the worst sexual sins to the seemingly small sins of forgetting to thank God. But Christ took the wrath of His Father on the cross for all the people that would trust in Him. This gift of salvation and forgiveness is offered to all sinful people. You should trust in Him to forgive your sins and provide all that you really need in every area of your life, including sex, love and marriage. Such a great God, a great Savior and a great salvation is certainly something to be thankful for.

William Hendriksen, Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981) 72.