The headline announced, "'Bachelorette' star sends contestant home after sex before marriage spat, feud spills into Twitter." Yes, "Sparks flew Monday night on the Fantasy Suites week episode of The Bachelorette between star Hannah Brown and Luke Parker." The sparks were flying over the issue of premarital sex.
Both Brown and Parker claim to be committed Christians, but for Parker, sex was to be saved for marriage. Not so for Brown, who told Parker she had sex with another show contestant, not once, but twice. "I have had sex" she said, "and, like, Jesus still loves me."
To be candid, I've never watched The Bachelorette (or The Bachelor), and I know nothing of Brown and Parker other than what I've written here.
But I do know Jesus. And I do know the Scriptures. And the Word of God makes perfectly clear that sexual intimacy is a special gift for a husband and wife alone. Period.
To have sex before wedlock is called fornication. To have sex outside of wedlock is called adultery. And both are expressly forbidden in Scripture. Sex is too sacred to be squandered and abused and misused. It is for the marital bed alone.
But what of Brown's statement that, "Jesus still loves me"?
She's absolutely right. He still does. He loves us when we sin, even repeatedly.
He loves us when we're immoral. And when we're proud. And when we're greedy. And when we're hateful.
Yes, He still loves us, even when we sin.
But that doesn't mean He is pleased with us when we sin. That doesn't mean He looks the other way. That doesn't mean we haven't grieved Him. And that doesn't mean He will not discipline us in His love.
In fact, Jesus spoke so strongly against sexual immorality that He said we should take radical steps to prevent it in our lives, emphasizing that those steps would be far less costly than going to hell (Matt. 5:27-30).
Paul also gave warnings in the strongest terms, writing:
And do not let sexual immorality, or any impurity, or greed be named among you, as these are not proper among saints. ...For this you know, that no sexually immoral or impure person, or one who is greedy, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience (Eph. 5:3-6).
The book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, has this to say about who will enter the eternal, heavenly Jerusalem and who will not: "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Outside are dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and practices a lie" (Rev. 22:14–15).
Willfully practicing sin is terribly costly.
Again, it's true that Jesus still loves us, even when we sin. And it's true that, one way or another, we sin every day, either in thought or word or deed. Even if we don't sin consciously, we still fall short of loving our neighbor perfectly, even on our very best day.
But Jesus loves us enough that He calls us out of our sin. That He rebukes us for our persistent and willful sin. And that He warns us of the consequences of sin.
Hannah Brown said to Luke Parker, "Guess what? Sex might be a sin out of marriage; pride is a sin, too, and I feel like this is like a pride thing."
And that, somehow, was justification in her eyes for having sex outside of wedlock. To paraphrase, "Well, I feel you're bring proud, which is just as bad as having sex out of wedlock. So, if you can be proud, I can have sex."
What she has sadly forgotten is that sex is sacred and that sin destroys. And that Jesus came to save us from our sins so that, from here on, we could live the rest of our lives in obedience to God.
The Lord does forgive us, freely and completely, laying down His life to save us from judgment and destruction. But salvation comes with requirements. God requires us to be holy.
As Paul wrote, "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" (1 Cor. 6:18–20, ESV).
I pray Hannah Brown would take this to heart. In fact, I pray that each and every one of us would take it to heart. We can't let anything rob us of walking in the beauty of holiness.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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