30 June 2022
Do we really need to explain (4) no illicit sex? You know the drill: The only sex permitted is one man, one woman, married for life. Of course, this stands on the assumption that you get married under the code in a covenant community. This is a major element in why there is such a strong emphasis on building a true covenant community is so that marriages can be done right. Stability is not a given.
The problem with illicit sex in the West is almost wholly our own fault. We don't understand how attraction is entirely the wrong reason for sex. This was part of what Jesus warned about in the Sermon on the Mount, referring to looking upon someone with lust. It's not just the mistake of lusting for the wrong person, but relying on your lust to guide your choices.
Yes, a covenant community assumes that men are true covenant men and awesome to the sweet young ladies. But let's make one thing clear: The white Northern European emphasis on romantic attachment as the guide to matching a couple is a failure. Idolatry over what turns us on becomes the excuse for a vast world of perversion. God doesn't care about your sexual orientation; that's just a manifestation of your fallen nature. The vast majority of white people do not understand that a very strong, true attachment can arise afterward, when the match is made for the right reasons. Marriages built on romantic attachment are not that stable. It's the primary reason the US is such a toxic wasteland when it comes to marriage.
Matchmaking should rest on elders considering what is best for the community. When it blesses the community, there is strong support to keep the marriage stable. Married couples are then more likely to develop that strong bond of attachment based on much better dynamics. The business of males pursuing a woman and "winning her hand" is a horrible idea. It has developed a frame of reference for gender egalitarianism that has been the main source of feminism. It also builds a frame of reference favoring adultery and fornication. Those things are defiling and they destroy community stability, because people stop trusting each other.
Thus, a flat prohibition against all sex outside of marriage is not going to work in a western setting. We must tear down the false expectations. Most men have no useful idea what they really need until long after they are ready to marry. They really need someone older to choose for them. Most women have no idea what their roles are in the first place, and female emancipation is easily the single greatest disaster in western culture. Truth be told, women are the ones most likely to stray in our current culture.
So, we end up with a host of exceptions because women are seldom virgins at marriage, and men are used to playing around just get any at all. There is no expectation of waiting for sex, and almost nobody waits. We are left with a lot of really clunky marriages, or people already badly defiled before marriage, coming into the covenant. All I can tell you is that western cultural biases about sex and marriage is the reason so few western churches see any genuine miracles. They are all so deeply defiled that the path to what little holiness remains is seldom found.
On top of this is the expectation of coupling with age peers. This is also a disaster. Men should be at the very least five years senior to their women. A critical element in the respect demanded of women for their men in the Bible rests firmly on the man being enough older that she would not dare treat him with the level of contempt that women do today. Women need to marry when they are still young virgins, awe struck by the favor of the men to whom they are given in marriage. The men need to be rather established as substantial figures in the community, guided and supported to that place by a strong brotherhood.
We have an awful lot of work to do building a context in which this very severe command from God makes a lot more sense. If there is one thing that defiles the community -- indeed, the very ground on which you stand -- it is illicit sex. It can destroy your calling and mission. At the very least, it leaves you morally crippled for life, always coming up short of the covenant strength needed to pursue heroic deeds for the glory of the Lord.
I can personally testify to what a huge difference it makes to start and stay pure.
This document is public domain; spread the message.