How do we talk to our children about sexual purity?
Over the past several posts, we have suggested:
- We need to talk about sexual purity.
- We need to talk about more than sexual purity.
- We need to be serious about sexual purity ourselves.
Now, number four.
We need to be giving our children an eternal perspective.
I hope you don’t think I am being impractical because I actually think this is the most practical kind of stuff there is. There is this place called heaven and there is this place called hell and the fact those places both exist should radically impact the way we think about absolutely everything.
A lot of what Christianity has to say about how to live in this world doesn’t make sense, unless this world isn’t all there is.
I mean, that’s one of Paul’s primary motivations in this text.
One of the ways he motivates the Ephesians to pursue holiness is by reminding them of the consequences they will experience if they don’t.
Like, first, they won’t go to heaven.
“For you may be sure of this that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater) has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
There’s this time coming when God is going to rule in a visible way over the new heavens and the new earth and where every one who is really, truly saved will receive a beautiful, glorious inheritance from God that is too big for us to describe with words.
God’s people are going to be in God’s place living under God’s rule experiencing God’s presence and enjoying God’s blessings forever.
That’s what we’re waiting for as holy ones.
The Kingdom of God.
It’s coming and yet Paul says, “there’s no one who is committed to sexual immorality, who is habitually sinning and impure and greedy and unrepentant about it who will enjoy this inheritance.”
Which, I am saying is significant.
Our children should feel the weight of that.
If you think about heaven.
It’s hard for us to even conceive how good we are going to have it in heaven. The happiest person on earth feels more sorrow in one minute than believers will feel in heaven for all eternity. And yet we still sometimes get so focused on the pleasure we think we are missing right now that we forget the indescribable pleasure we’re waiting for as Christians.
That’s crazy immaturity.
And, really, that’s a child’s life, I must have everything now, which is part of why they have us as parents, to help them learn to live for what really matters, and yet, I mean, it’s going to be hard for us to teach them that, if we ourselves are not really living and longing for heaven.
One of the ways I teach my children to wait for marriage is by showing them what it looks like to live waiting for heaven.
And really if you have no desire for heaven, if in pretty much every other area of your life, you are living for now, making choices mostly based on the now, because heaven doesn’t seem real or desirable to you, it’s going to be difficult for you to teach your children much about saying no to sexual temptation, because one of the whole motivations we have for obedience in this area, is the hope of eternal life.
Talking to your children about saying no to sexual temptation is a sentence in a paragraph, and the paragraph, is about learning to say no to certain things I want to do now, because of what I am looking forward to later.
If all our children hear is the sentence, learn to say no to sexual temptation, without the paragraph about what I am looking forward to later, that sentence won’t make much sense to them, and what’s more that paragraph has to be set in a chapter, that has something to do with how sweet heaven’s going to be, or that paragraph about saying no to certain things I want to do now because of what I am looking forward to later, isn’t going to make much sense either.
It’s not just the sexually immoral won’t go to heaven.
If we look down at Ephesians 5.
It’s that those who refuse to repent of sexual immorality will experience the wrath of God.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
As you can see, Paul’s concerned that we not fall for the lies people are telling us.
That’s why he says let no one deceive you with empty words. And he has to say that, because, it’s very common for the world to treat sexual sin as if it weren’t a very big issue at all. Even back in Paul’s day, he’s having to say, don’t be deceived.
What the world’s saying about sexual sin is just empty words and your children need to know it.
The world is constantly saying sexual sin isn’t even sin, God doesn’t care, and your children need to know the world is going to minimize the seriousness of sexual sin, because sexual sins have a special tendency to lead people towards hell.
Hear me now.
I think that’s the point.
Obviously, all sins deserve the wrath of God.
But Satan seems to use sexual sins especially to lead people towards eternal death.
You see this, all throughout Scripture.
It’s like God’s put this big warning sign on sexual sin. You better seriously watch where you are going, because if you close your eyes for a second, you could end up in hell.
That’s kind of how Solomon warned his son.
About the adulterous woman.
“With seductive speech she persuades him, with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver, as a bird rushes into the snare, he does not know that it will cost him his life.”
The writer of Hebrews uses the judgment of God as a motivation for purity as well.
He says, Hebrews 13:4,
“Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexual immoral and adulterous.”
In 2 Peter 2, Peter sees those who engage in these sins as particularly exposed to the wrath of God on judgment day.
“God knows how to…keep the unrighteous under punishment till the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion…”
And you know, God’s given us all kinds of examples of his anger against these kinds of sins throughout the Scriptures. I think of 1 Corinthians 10:8, “We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty three thousand fell in a single day.”
And while I guess I could go on and on, I think it’s pretty obvious we need to talk to our children about God’s anger about sexual sin.
Because this is a big deal.
You want your children to be scared of sinning against God in general of course, but they should especially be scared of sinning in this way, because God so obviously takes it so seriously, and because there is an especially great temptation for them not to.
This is a particularly blinding and deadly sin.
If our children are going to enjoy sexual purity, we need to help our children by giving them an eternal perspective, showing them as best as we can the beauty of heaven and the horror of hell.