"Safe Sex" Is the Slam-Dunk of the Devil

Last week Magic Johnson retired from the Los Angeles Lakers because he is infected with the HIV virus which usually leads to AIDS and death. He was just married last September. Tests show that his wife does not have the virus. She is seven weeks pregnant. It is a tragedy.

Let there be tears. Not only because another man, created for the glory of God, is infected with the HIV virus, and not only because basketball is losing a great player, and not only because a young wife’s life is at risk, but also because no one is telling kids the main lesson in all this.

The main lesson is that sin is bad for you and hurts the people around you. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson’s former teammate said, “He wasn’t cautious. His luck ran out on him.” What that means is that Johnson evidently had sexual relations with a woman (or women) who were not his wife.

God has said, “Flee fornication. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). So fornication is sin. It is especially destructive. And God mercifully commands us to turn away from it. God knows what is good for us and what is bad for us. And he always commands what is good for us and forbids what is bad for us.

Magic Johnson has the HIV virus because he sinned against God and against his own body. AIDS can come without sinning. I know one little girl who has it through no fault of her own. But Magic Johnson chose a path that God had forbidden. If he had followed God’s loving directions for how to live, he would not have the HIV virus. He would still be with the Lakers. And he would not be putting his wife at risk of her life.

The message for kids across our country is this: sin has a very high price tag. And it isn’t worth it.

But Johnson and the media refuse to tell the kids what they need to hear. Instead Johnson is giving incredibly bad advice. Johnson said, “I am going to be a spokesman for this HIV virus because I want [the kids] to understand that safe sex is the way to go.”

“Safe sex” Is politically correct speech for fornication or adultery performed while using condoms and choosing your partners carefully. But everybody knows that condoms can fall (Michael Osterhoim: “even then they occasionally tear”). So Johnson is really telling the kids to play Russian Roulette with one bullet in the gun instead of three. That’s as safe as sin can get.

Magic Johnson has an opportunity to make a tremendously good impact on young Americans—if he were to tell the truth. The truth is not, “Safe sex is the way to go.” The truth is, “Married sex is the way to go. God’s way is the way to go. You are not dogs in heat. You are persons created in the image of God. Choose chastity and life. Learn from my mistakes. Safe sex is the slam-dunk of the devil.”

Come on Magic, give ‘em a break, fast.

For the kids,

Pastor John

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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

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