BOOK REVIEW– Sex in a Broken World by Paul David Tripp.

So sex is not an a-religious thing. Sex is deeply spiritual. Your relationship to your own sexuality and the sexuality of others always reveals your heart. Your sexual life is always an expression of what you truly worship. Sex is deeply religious. In sex you are either self-consciously submitting to God or setting yourself up as God. In other words, sex is never simply a horizontal thing. Sex always connects you to the God who created your body, gave you eyes to see and a heart that desires, and tells you how you are to steward this aspect of your personhood.[1]

 

Sex is repeatedly front page news. Every new report features some sort of brokenness flowing from the Fall rather than sacred beauty in marriage. The misuse of sex is more prominent than ever. “You will face the redefinition, distortion, and misuse of sex.”[2] Paul Tripp in Sex in a Broken World: How Christ Redeems What God Distorts offers Biblical therapy to the brokenness of our age.

Tripp insightfully deals with the brokenness of the world in chapter 1 and the “craziness” of the world in chapter 2. Chapters 3 and 4 deal with the way sin has shaped us in our lives and how that sinfulness shapes our thinking and our actions. These chapters set the metaphysical standard of morality back to God rather than the fallen society. While this metaphysical reality may sound daunting, Tripp has thankfully made these struggles all too real. Real life situations introduce discussions of the book. Even though there is brokenness, God offers hope in his “uncomfortable grace.”[3]

We cannot allow our culture to dictate sex. Tripp helps us see that sex must be seen as a gift from God when he wrote,

Yet God in his great wisdom, for his glory and our good, has chosen to place us in a world where sex is a significant part of the human experience. The issue of sex is important and unavoidable because God, in wisdom and love, chose it to be. Because sex is the creation of God’s hand and exists under the control of his sovereignty, we should approach it with reverence and awe, not with embarrassment and timidity. Sex came from him, belongs to him, and continues to exist through him— to him be the glory.[4]

We should find comfort in living according to God’s design in every area of our lives, but sex is a particularly difficult area for us to bring God’s design into the discussion. It is the absence of God that has welcomed so much confusion, abuse, and addiction.

Instead of keeping God isolated from certain uncomfortable areas of our lives, we should recognize that “all of life is spiritual” as Tripp said. “I’m afraid that this is what’s happened with the age-old categories of spiritual and secular. You cannot take the first four words of the Bible seriously and be comfortable with dividing your world into the secular and the spiritual.”[5]

Rather than the extreme views of sex being only for procreation, Tripp acknowledged that sex is part of God’s design for individuals to experience pleasure. Instead of being led by pleasures, Tripp advocates for a proper hermeneutic of our own pleasures. “You and I live life based not on the facts of our existence but on our unique and personal interpretation of the facts. Here’s how it works for our topic: if God created pleasure, then pleasure is not the problem. The problem comes when we understand the pleasure in the wrong way and then involve ourselves in pleasure in ways that directly result from the wrong interpretations we have made.”[6]

Tripp attempts to set his readers on a trajectory of submission to God in every facet of their lives. He then attempts to address sex specifically as a part of our life before God and in the human realm. He says sex should not be “individualized” rather it should be a part of the total human experience. “The individualization of sex violates three fundamental biblical principles: worship, relationship, and obedience before God.[7] He offers three great chapters explaining why we must live before God even as sexual beings.

Chapter 10 begins the conclusion of “Where Do We Go From Here.” Having reoriented the reader’s life around God and his purpose the reader is then able to experience sex and express sexuality in God-honoring ways. This new life can be free from shame because it is a life directed by God. That life lived before God is never a poor life. Instead, it is a life full of riches from God’s hand and a life lived in the comforting and encouraging community of the church.

I highly recommend this short book for all of living in this world mishappen by sin. Tripp is a great communicator and speaks to the reader with a conversational and pastoral tone. The book helps the reader to find peace with self and his/her own sexuality by focusing on God and his design for the world. Finally, when all of life is brought before God and nothing remains in the shadows, God can be glorified in every way.

[1] Paul David Tripp. Sex in a Broken World (Kindle Locations 558-562). Crossway.

[2] Paul David Tripp. Sex in a Broken World (Kindle Location 199). Crossway.

[3] Paul David Tripp. Sex in a Broken World (Kindle Locations 233). Crossway

[4] Paul David Tripp. Sex in a Broken World (Kindle Locations 350-353). Crossway.

[5] Paul David Tripp. Sex in a Broken World (Kindle Locations 545-547). Crossway.

[6] Paul David Tripp. Sex in a Broken World (Kindle Locations 857-860). Crossway.

[7] Paul David Tripp. Sex in a Broken World (Kindle Locations 1255-1256). Crossway.

 

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