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How and When to Tell Your Kids about Sex
him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God
is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever
says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he
1 JOHN 2:3-6
2. Prosper in Safety from Calamity
S­ exual-­activity rates remain high among teens, even though they have
declined a bit since their peak around 1990; approximately 68 percent have
had sexual intercourse by their nineteenth birthday.4 STI rates continue to
climb, and teen pregnancy continues to be at troubling levels.5 Premarital
chastity and marital monogamy are safeguards against unwanted pregnancy
and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
In living according to God’s law, we experience the joy and blessing of
sex as God meant it, free from fear. Obedience creates safety; we can live
without fear of the devastation that can come from illicit sex. The Bible
speaks often about such devastation and danger. Typical passages include
such warnings in Proverbs 5:1-14 about the “forbidden woman” (verse
3), likely a prostitute but also inclusive of any sexually immoral partner.
The writer warns that “in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a
­two-­edged sword,” and that “her feet go down to death; her steps follow
the path to Sheol” (verses 4-5, likely referencing the dangers of STIs and
spiritual ruin). He warns also that you do not want to “give your honor to
others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your
strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner” (verses 9-10),
nor the ultimate outcome of finding oneself “at the brink of utter ruin in
the assembled congregation” (verse 14), likely references to destruction of
marital, familial, church, and social relationships. The apostle Paul spoke
similarly of sexual sinners “receiving in themselves the due penalty for their
error” (Romans 1:27), likely speaking about negative physical, social, and
spiritual consequences of immorality. The risks of illicit sex are stark compared to the blessings of marital sex: closeness, intimacy, physical pleasure,
children, and unity.
More broadly, obedient Christians are also safer from the relational confusion and emotional traumas that premature and inappropriate sexual intimacy
can foster. We are not only safe from bad things but also have the blessing of
experiencing the good God intended in giving us the gift of sexuality.


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