It is true that God can make a man new again, that God redeems sinners (as we saw earlier this week). But sex is a unique situation in terms of the theology of all of this, and it must be recognized as such.
Now, let's be clear - we are not just talking about sexual sin here. Sexual sin is just like any other sin, and it can be redeemed. So many of the persons in our communities are walking testimonies of that. But the mere act of sex itself is something entirely different, and it is harder to simply "be made new" when one has engaged in sexual contact of any kind.
This is because, unlike literally everything else in human experience, sex alters the spirit of a man. It forms for him a special bond with his partner, and this is not something you can just turn away from or let go of; it's a fundamental shift in the very nature of the man. Everything else we do flows from the spirit - good flows from a good spirit, evil flows from an evil spirit. But sex flows into the spirit and modifies it.
There are numerous testimonies of this being the case. These testimonies come from men and women who did not understand this in their younger days and committed sexual sin - they will tell you what an adjustment marriage was, how they didn't realize how deeply sexual intimacy had affected them until they found the person with whom they truly wanted to share it. And then, it was too late for that to be wholly pure. There was a steep learning curve, and much grieving.
These testimonies come from men and women who have been sexually sinned again - victims of rape and molestation and incest. They simply cannot shake the bonds that tie them to their abusers; their very spirits have been changed in a way that they cannot describe, maybe, but cannot just "get over." It's not the act of assault that is so damaging; it is what it does to the spirit, by the very nature of what God intended sex to be.
These testimonies come from men and women who tried to approach this arena with wisdom, who waited until marriage, who fell in love and gave themselves, first and wholly, to the person who was going to be their partner forever. And then, life happened. Divorce. Death. Distance. Whatever it is, these people who did what God intended in their first relationships enter into second ones, and it is here that they realize how their spirit has been impacted by the union they shared with their first love.
That's why when we talk about God "making new," it's not as easy in terms of the sexual relationship. We can't just shake those bonds. Even God cannot just shake them. It takes a reorientation of the spirit. It takes breaking something that was never meant to be broken. It takes breaking down the very heart of a man and building it again. In all other cases, God can mend a broken heart or turn a mis-oriented one. But in the case of sexual engagement, God must do the breaking.
And that is not something God is fond of doing.
As I sit here and think about the stories of sexual unity that I've heard, both from the positive and from the troubling sides, I cannot think of a single individual who has ever gotten their pure spirit back, who has ever been so released from a sexual encounter that their spirit is whole within itself again. I know many who have said they were able to sufficiently move past it, but there is scar tissue on those souls where these sexual encounters have healed over.
I'm not making a judgment here. I'm not putting any qualifiers or quantifiers on any of this. And I'm not disparaging sex. God created it, and it is one of the things He intended us to enjoy. I'm just saying that there is something unique in the sexual experience, something God created and wove into the very fabric of it, that makes it unlike anything else we do in this world. It makes it unlike anything else that we bring before God. It requires something different of us, and of Him, than any of the other difficulties that we get ourselves into. (Notice I said difficulties, not necessarily troubles. I'm not just talking about sexual sin, but the act of sex itself - even in the right contexts.)
We need to recognize this. We need to respect this. We need to talk about this.
Because far too many do not understand, often until it is too late.