1 Corinthians 10: 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
This statement by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth contains a lot of vital information and an important promise for Christians, even today. I believe we can often feel that we are living in a uniquely difficult time where temptations are so much greater than ever before. Oh, if only we lived in Bible times then it would be so much easier to live a holy, sanctified Christian life. However, if you research the city of Corinth at the time this letter was written you may be surprised with what you read.
Corinth had a strategic location on an isthmus (a narrow strip of land) that connected mainland Greece to the Peloponnese peninsula. The isthmus was 4 miles long and saved making a dangerous 200-mile sea voyage. Because of the central location it became the center of trade and commerce and became a boomtown. But, with this success came a great deal of sexual liberty. In classical Greek the word korinthiazw meant to literally “act the Corinthian”, which meant to practise sexual fornication (sex outside of marriage, particularly with prostitutes) and the word korinthaia korai were “Corinthian girls” which became the Greek word for prostitutes[i].
This then was the context of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. Sexual immorality was so prevalent in Corinth that words for sexual sins and actions were named after their home city. So, when we read this scripture, we can understand more fully that we will not face temptations that other believers have been spared. But more importantly we are reminded that God is faithful to us and he will not let us be tempted beyond what we can resist. He promises that when there is a temptation, we will see a way out of that temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
There is no shortage of stories of professional and successful athletes who have destroyed their families by falling to sexual temptation. Successful young men and women athletes are also often under tremendous pressure to conform to the world and give their bodies and hearts away outside of a committed marriage. There is nothing evil about sex; in fact God created it to be a wonderful expression of love between a man and women. It is actually an awesome and powerful chemical interaction. When a couple interacts sexually (any type of sexual act) they produce dopamine which creates a desire for more. Females produce oxytocin which causes them to trust and bind her to the other person emotionally. Males produce vasopressin which causes them to bond to their partner and even to have an attachment to their offspring.
When you understand the complex chemistry of sex, you can see how awesome it is in the context of a committed relationship of marriage. God intended to create tight bonds to keep a family together. It is also easy to understand that when we mess up God’s design, we cause counterfeit bonding and tearing that God never intended. What the world calls “casual sex” or “sex with no strings” is anything but that. There is nothing casual about what God created. It is awesome in the context of a committed marriage.
Like holy brothers and sisters who have walked before you, you will face temptations, but memorize this promise that God “will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”. Be wise and choose that way so that you can enjoy the awesome gift of sex within the context God designed it for. Don’t settle for the cheap counterfeit the world is offering. You and your current, or future, spouse have so much more value than that.