The sexual revolution that began in earnest five decades ago with promises of new and liberating sexual freedoms has instead left behind a shattered moral landscape that has undermined the fabric and foundation of our nation. Casting off what was perceived as the puritanical restraints of previous generations, the ’60s and ’70s launched a new era of sexual experimentation. The revolution, publicly inaugurated by 1967’s “Summer of Love” in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, promised an enlightened age of sexual morality.
The new thinking said cohabitation wasn’t really a problem. Divorce wasn’t nearly as harmful as once thought. Promiscuity presented no clear and present danger to the family unit. Same-sex attraction was perfectly normal. Pornography was little cause for concern. Indeed, an entire industry developed around its spurious allure.
Fifty years later, we can see that the results have been catastrophic.
In many respects the American family is completely unrecognizable, courtesy of a failed sexual revolution that has left a devastating wake of destruction.
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In certain segments of American culture, more than 70 percent of children are born to single parents and remain in single-parent households. Nationally, more than one in four children today live in households with only one parent. Demographers predict that by age 18, nearly 50 percent of all children will have lived with just a mom or dad.
Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, and couples who cohabitate before marriage are even more likely to split. Some studies show that the proliferation of pornography available on the Internet has likely contributed to the declining marriage rate.
The freedoms promised by the sexual revolution have instead given way to ever increasing slavery and captivity to sin. The attempt to cast off moral restraint has only opened wide the devil’s destructive, deadly toolbox. “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19).
The plague of immorality has so swept across the American landscape that there is virtually no place where its corrosive influence is not felt. The pervasive, immoral reach of popular media, which actively promotes every type of sexual misconduct imaginable, constantly agitates against the biblical norms of upright, godly behavior.
The Scripture is clear: “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you. … For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous … has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:3, 5).
Today, what our society seems to value most is the freedom to do whatever we want, whatever makes us feel good. Anyone who would try to stop us from doing what we want—even when what we want is destructive to ourselves and to others—is mocked and vilified.
But God’s laws and commands are given for our good. Sexuality is a gift from God to be used within His wise restraints. Like the levees that hold back mighty rivers from destructive floods, God’s Word and ways are designed to keep our thoughts, passions and desires in godly bounds. They are for our good, not our harm.
“The body is not meant for sexual immorality,” wrote the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church, “but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body’” (1 Corinthians 6:13). Our bodies, which one day will be redeemed, glorified bodies, are made by God for God. To flaunt His design is, in essence, to commit idolatry by prizing and delighting in what God hates.
Our culture, like ancient cultures that ultimately were destroyed in large part due to their own moral depravity, has been severely weakened. A stable family unit committed to the truth and precepts of the Bible was once the foundation and backbone of our nation. That model is now the exception, not the rule.
We know that as the end draws near, this world will be characterized by escalating violence and rampant sexual immorality. In Revelation 17 and 18, Babylon represents the “great prostitute” of the earth. It stands for the unbridled pursuit of sensual pleasures. The earth, about to be judged by the King of kings and Lord of lords, has become completely intoxicated by wanton pleasures. “For all the nations have drunk … of her [Babylon’s] sexual immorality” (Revelation 18:3).
As Christ is about to return, shouts of triumph break out as multitudes in the heavenlies declare: “Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality” (Revelation 19:1-2).
The only answer I know for any society in any era is the strong word of the Lord to the church in Thyatira who, though faithful in some ways, apparently tolerated sexual permissiveness that spread through the church: “I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality” (Revelation 2:21).
There is still time to repent. That is why Jesus is delaying His return, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
My prayer is that we do not refuse that offer while there is still time.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.