I have seen a lot of people complaining in the social media universe about the lewd, sexually explicit nature of the Super Bowl halftime show. Last night millions upon millions of grown men and boys watched in a stadium or on their screens at home—often with their mothers, sisters and daughters fully present—provocatively “dressed” women act out sexually charged dance routines all in the name of entertainment. It was no accident. I mean, come on, this is the Super Bowl we are talking about, perhaps the most culturally iconic sports even in all of American society. I did not watch the half-time show (I was intentionally putting my two girls to bed with my wife), but it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what was going to happen, given who it was taking center stage last night.
Here’s my simple take—Americans will complain, get angry, go to social media and multiply likes upon likes, but they won’t stop it. In fact, they can’t stop it. Why? Because sex enslaves.
I am not talking about the healthy privilege that one man and one woman enjoy in a covenant commitment to each for life, called marriage. I’m talking about the raw, unfettered, sexual drive that we knowingly unleashed a long time ago in our culture. I’m talking about taking something good the Creator has given us, sexual intimacy within marriage, and turning it into an idol that we worship. Sex enslaves countless numbers of women in our society through human trafficking, yes, but it also enslaves untold numbers of souls. We have a porn problem, even in the church, because sex enslaves. We have a sexual revolution on our hands because sex enslaves. And the ones driving the revolution will in the end be engulfed by their own revolution because sex will make clear it is the master, not them.
The sexual revolution can put on a nice face. It will tell us not to judge, that your belief is OK for you to hold but not for me, that we should just be tolerant. But in the end it gets up in your face, as we saw last night, and bites like a serpent. Sex-enslaved individuals targeted an innocent Christian cake baker in Colorado named Jack Phillips, and sued him all the way to the Supreme Court. He won the case, only to be targeted again. Sex-enslaved individuals have already shut down several Christian-based adoption agencies, wishing that orphans would go homeless rather than let them be taught biblical principles of morality. Sex enslaved individuals will promote a #MeToo movement only to reenact sexual perversions on the silver screen, which Americans gladly pay to watch. Sex enslaved individuals want your children and my children to be forced to learn from sex education curriculum in our public schools, starting already in California.
Sex enslaves and then destroys the human soul. It can enslave and destroy you, and it can enslave and destroy me. That is why, though Americans may protest, we won’t stop. Indeed, we can’t stop, because we are slaves to sex.
The only hope for a culture this far gone is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel teaches us that if we confess our sins, including sexual ones, we are forgiven by grace. And if we watch sex acts, we are complicit in sexual sin (Job 31:1-4; Matthew 5:28). It’s serious—Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sexual sins. If someone wants to argue with me that men should just get over it, that it is their own problem if women act or dress in a provocative way, we simply need to recognize God already told us that certain portions and acts of a woman’s body are off limits to everyone’s view except that woman’s husband (Proverbs 5:15-23).
Grace forgives us of such wrongdoing, when we confess it, and that same grace frees us from enslaving sexual desire. The gospel is the precious key that unlocks us from our chains to sin. Paul tells us in Romans 6, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” When we believe in Jesus, we die to our sin, and we live in Christ. Sex enslaves; grace frees.
“The gospel is the precious key that unlocks us from our chains to sin.”
Grace also kills our pride in any self-righteousness. Religion and morality never saved a single soul. It is not as if I have the power to deliver myself from slavery to sexual sin. Only Jesus Christ can do that. And if Christians want to make a difference in our culture, we need to humbly start by seeking to share the gospel with every opportunity we have. We don’t sympathize with sin, we call it out for what it is. But we do so graciously, humbly, pointing others to Christ, knowing we ourselves are only sinners saved by his grace. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). I pray Jesus will give us grace and strength to do just that.