Before I say anything at all about the subject “The Mutual Relationship of the sexes,” I wish to make a couple of introductory and clarifying remarks. In the first place, when I write a few lines about the topic proper, I wish to state that I conceive of my subject in a very limited sense. Secondly, it stands to reason that also here we must let ourselves be guided by the Word of God. What I mean by this will become plain in the sequence of the article. In the third place, the heading of this article does not quite cover the contents of it. This is due to the fact that a more suitable heading might create the wrong impression. After all we are not interested in anything sensational, but wish to emphasize some sober facts. And, finally, it stands to reason that in writing these lines I have especially in mind our young people.
I said in the preceding paragraph that we must proceed from and let ourselves be guided by the Word of God also when we deal with this subject. Without the Word of God we cannot write one good or true word about the “mutual relationship of the sexes.” He who deals with this subject and ignores Scripture certainly is not a trusted guide. Only the Word of God can teach us about the norm of this relationship.
Especially in our day the sexes mix rather freely and frequently. Young people have their schooling together, they have their societies, socials, parties, picnics, etc. And also the automobile has been a means to bring our boys and girls together frequently. Oft times they are together under the watchful eye of parent or leader. But there are also many times that they are together by themselves, sometimes in groups, oft times in couples. Now, there is something very nice about the friendly relationship of the sexes, to study, work, play and be together. It is also normal for our young people that they want to be together. Also “sex” is a gift of God and it is a phenomenon of nature that the opposite sex attracts. No parent need to become alarmed when his boy or girl manifests a liking for the opposite sex. It would be abnormal if this were not so.
However, the frequent and mutually friendly relationship of the sexes is not without danger and that for more than one reason. We might enumerate a few of these reasons. In the first place the time of youth is still the time of instability; it is the time of the “Sturm und Drang-period.” Besides, our children are conceived and born in sin; they are apt to transgress the God-willed limits which He has placed for the mutual relationship of the sexes. And in moments of temptation they are apt to yield to sinful passions. Add to this, we live in a world which knows of no norm. The world has its mouth full of love but from their songs, words and deeds it is apparent that they do not care for the norm of the Word of God. We live in an age of lust and bestiality. I can sympathize with our young people because their struggle to stay clean and keep themselves pure and unspotted from the world is not an easy one. It’s so contrary to our modern life and world-view. One needs but to look at the pictures that advertise the modern movie or read the titles of the modern romance love songs to become convinced that the world of our day has reached an all time low when it comes to the appreciation of moral values and purity of the interrelationship of the sexes. The norm of Scriptures stands in the way of modern man. Ethical values are despised because they spoil the “love adventures” of youth, the free development of nature. One such a modern man has said: “If nature has made man a sexual being, then it is definitely wrong to put limits to the sexual passions of man. Sexual passion is a natural phenomenon like hunger and thirst and should seek and find satisfaction just like hunger and thirst. We may not curtail and bridle the natural instincts of man.” Those who reason thus have reduced man to a piece of nature, for such there is no longer a law. The seventh commandment goes contrary to their nature, why then should they keep it?
Covenant youth, in this connection I like to call the following to your attention: In the first place remember that you were placed within the sphere and also the limits of God’s covenant. You belong to a peculiar people, and you are a peculiar youth. You were set aside by God to reveal and manifest His praises and to live as His people. In the second place, in your relationship to one another as boys and girls, always remember that your bodies are a temple of God, of the Holy Spirit. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (I Cor. 3:16, 17) What this means for your conduct also in your mutual fellowship with one another as covenant youth is further made plain by Paul in this same letter to the Corinthians. I quote: “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid! …..Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Cor. 6: 15, 17-20) In the third place remember that you are bound and limited by the law of God and more specifically by the seventh commandment. What this implies is briefly but rather completely stated in Lord’s Day 21. Permit me to quote this entire Lord’s Day. “Q. What doth the seventh commandment teach us? A. That all uncleanness is accursed of God: and that therefore we must with all our hearts detest the same, and live chastely and temperately. Whether in holy wedlock or in single life. Q. Doth God forbid in this commandment only adultery, and such like gross sins? A. Since both our body and soul are temples of the Holy Ghost, he commands us to preserve them pure and holy: therefore he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, thoughts, desires and whatever can entice men thereto.” I need not comment upon this brief, frank, but also clear teaching of our Catechism.
Keeping the above in mind it is very evident that our relationship as covenant youth and the manner of it is determined by God and limited by His Word and His law.
And if you keep in mind some of these fundamental principles which we emphasized in this article you will let yourselves be guided by the Word of God. Also in our relationship to one another we must be ever mindful of our high calling, of the God appointed limits. And if you let yourselves be guided thus your relationship between one another will be pure, wholesome, God-pleasing. Then you can “play” together, but you can also “pray” together. Let our modern world never be your guide or model. Neither follow the sinful passions of your evil nature.
But, one may say, doesn’t this make our life awfully “dry” and “stale” and “dead”? Not at all. You can enjoy youth, the life of youth, the fellowship of youth, the association with boys and girls as no “modern” youth can enjoy it. I admit this sort of life does away with a lot of cheap loving and cheap kissing and necking. However, it lays the foundation for a solid future; it gives the proper preparation for a happy marriage. There is never true joy in licentiousness and evil lusts of the flesh. That leads to ruination of body and soul. And many are the victims who have a shipwrecked life because in the days of their youth they ruined their souls and bodies in the service of sin and sexual excess. True joy, also in the days of our youth, also in the matter of the mutual relationship of the sexes, lies in obedience to the Word of God. The highest freedom is not the freedom without law (that is anarchy and means ruination) but the highest freedom is this: that we live within the limits of the God-appointed law, crucifying the old man and walking in the newness of life.
Hence, enjoy the days of your youth. That beautiful period, the very springtime of life, will never return. Enjoy also the fellowship of one another, but always keep in mind the basic principles of the Word of God, some of which we enumerated in this article. You are under covenant obligations. You must honor and respect and treat one another as image bearers of God and temples of His Spirit. Your freedom lies within the limits of God’s law. Therefore, the conclusion of the matter is: “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth: and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”