The Difference Between Love and Sex

By Chip Ingram

Are you tired of relationships that don’t work? Do you long to find that special person you can really connect with and have that sexual intimacy you’ve always dreamed about? It is possible!

God has a plan for relationships and believe it or not, He even has a plan for sexual intimacy.

The key to experiencing His plan is to first know the difference between love and sex.  Many people confuse one for the other — but make no mistake, these two things are very different.

Real love is not sex! It is a commitment.

The Bible teaches that sex is an incredible gift of intimacy we receive inside the boundaries of love. It’s a gift that should only be opened at the right time, with the right person and in the right way. But if we don’t, we actually reduce our capacity for love and intimacy.

In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, gives us some information about love and sex that is clear and profound. He writes,  Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5:1-2)

As Christians, we are to “walk in the way of love.” This means if we truly love, then we are characterized by being giving, caring, sacrificial and unselfish toward others. Most of us want to be in a relationship like this!

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (Eph. 5:3-4)

Next, Paul explains that the opposite of walking in love is when we exploit one another and cheapen, defraud or substitute genuine love and authentic intimacy for sexual activity. He also warns us to abstain from “foolish talk” and “coarse joking.” Therefore, we must be aware that even our speech and our thoughts can lead to sexual impurity.

So, what do we do if we’ve already blown it? First, we can be certain that God is far from being down on us. God’s love doesn’t change because we’ve sinned. There are consequences for our behavior, but He loves us the same. Second, no matter what you have done in your past, it is never too late to turn around and pursue purity – with your thoughts, speech and behavior. Forgiveness and restoration is available.

Remember, God is not against sex, nor is He out to punish us or restrict us. God’s heart is that of a loving, heavenly father who wants to protect His children. And He knows that sex without commitment will cause us to experience emotional pain and a lack of fulfillment in our relationships.

This week, we’ll be starting a new series, Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships. In it we’ll discover God’s ways for finding love, staying in love and growing in intimacy for a lifetime. My prayer is that as we spend this time together, we’ll be able to recognize the truth about the world’s way of doing relationships versus God’s way, so we can discover the true love and intimacy that God always intended for us to have.

Keep Pressin’ Ahead,

Chip signature blue png image
Chip Ingram
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge


Written By

Chip Ingram

Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge

Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.

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