We’re in the middle of a series on sex right now. Sex is a big part of our lives, which leads us to ask: what does the Bible have to say about sex?

Entire books have been written on this subject, but here are some highlights of what we believe the Bible teaches.

Sex is Good

The Bible is pro-sex. After all, God invented it. Throughout the Bible, God encourages sex and commands us to enjoy it. Canadian pastor Mark Clark writes, “Rather than being anti-sex, God encourages sexual pleasure.”

Our view of sex changes when we see it as a gift from God that he invented for a number of reasons, including our pleasure. Dan Allender and Tremper Longman argue that sex is “a window into the heart of God, pure and simple, even though our experience of sexuality is usually complex and tinged with the debris of the fall.”

Sex is Weaponized

When humanity fell into sin, our sexuality was affected. Sin disturbed humanity’s experience of relational and sexual intimacy. Read the Bible and you get a candid account of how sex has become complicated. You read accounts of shame, incest, sexual assault, unfulfilled desire, and more.

We all struggle. All of us.

…every human being on this earth struggles with sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contrary to love and in conflict with the holiness of God. We can either pretend that a few struggle with sexual problems that don’t tempt the rest of us, or we can openly acknowledge that all humanity is caught up in sexual wars that must be engaged if we are truly to be human. (God Loves Sex)

God Cares About Our Sexual Choices

Because God invented sex, he knows its power. Sex is more than just a physical act. It affects us at the deepest levels of our beings.

Throughout the Bible, God gives us his guidelines for our sexuality. In the Ten Commandments, he warns us against adultery (Exodus 20:14). God places a high view of sexual intimacy within marriage but prohibits it outside of marriage. God warns us against sexual practices and even thoughts (Matthew 5:28) that would harm us.

In fact, the Bible even teaches that sexual sin is unique because it’s a sin against our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18). While this verse is hard to understand, it’s clear that God cares about what we do with our bodies.

But God isn’t a killjoy. He’s not out to rob us. His intention is to protect us. Because sex is so powerful, and because it’s weaponized, we must handle sex carefully as he designed it.

Sex Is About More Than Sex

Sex is about more than sex. So is marriage. Both are temporary (Mark 12:25) and point to something greater: Jesus’ relationship with his people, the church (Ephesians 5:25-32). Ray Ortlund writes, “The Bible has its eye primarily on the ultimate marriage between the Son of God and his redeemed bride. That eternal romance is the biblical view of marriage, offering both instruction and hope for our own marriages today.”

God Gives Grace to Those Who Fail

Jesus met a lot of sexual sinners, including a woman who had been married five times before living with a man (John 4:17-18), woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), as well as a woman who had a reputation as a sinner (Luke 7:36-39).

In every case, Jesus responds with both grace and truth. He never softens on God’s guidelines for sex, but he offers grace and gentleness to sinners.

As Allender and Longman write, “No one is sexually perfect, and our stains, flaws, and failures are used by God to intensify our surprise and wonder and to increase our gratitude for how his perfect love cannot be thwarted by our imperfection.”

Jesus offers forgiveness and new life to anyone who turns to him, including sexual sinners. He frees us to live the rest of our lives with his presence and grace in the middle of the struggle as we grow in our holiness and love for him.

That is a brief summary of what the Bible teaches about sex.