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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

15 August 2005

Rights and Wrongs of Sexual Behavior

Q: What sorts of acts that may occur in a relationship are sinful? Are all sexual acts sinful if the couple is not married? Are sexual acts by yourself sinful?

A: Let’s go from last to first. If not absolutely sinful in all circumstances, sexual self-gratification certainly shows a weakness toward lust and sexual temptation. We might be stretching things to even call autoeroticism “sex,” since the only possible partner is one constructed in our own minds. Still, it would be impossible to call such behavior beneficial and edifying. Persisting in such behavior definitely involves giving in to the sin of lust.

When you involve another in non-marital sex, the testimony of Scripture and of conscience is even stronger and clearer. Sex is intended to be with the same partner “until death us do part.” God intends sex to be an integral part of the marriage of a man and a woman. If it is before, without, or outside the final, public pledge to live together as husband and wife, then it is not right. This is not only for the sake of the one flesh relationship that is established, but because sex also is intended for procreation and children suffer when brought up outside of a good marriage.

As for specific acts being sinful, if you are married, there’s not much the Bible says. Mutual agreement, mutual enjoyment, and keeping it between yourselves in a non-harmful manner are the best guidelines. Just consider that whatever forms of “expression” you mutually choose, the norm is still that which offers opportunity for procreation, since that remains a primary reason (although not the only one) for having sex.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo! Well answered!
Pastor Jason Kouri

05 January, 2011 21:32  

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