God placed sex in the safest place when He set it in marriage.
After all, the sexual relationship is most holy to the Lord. But by what has often been conveyed by the church and by people of God, it would seem that sex is the naughtiest and most shameful act of human participation possible. Let’s see what God actually has to say about it.
The first recorded words God said to man are, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). To obey this first commission from the Creator, man and woman would have to have sexual intercourse. If sex is sin, then God would have commanded them to sin. Because God told them not only to be fruitful but also to multiply means God would have told them to sin a lot. And that’s impossible!
Not only did God commission man and woman to be fruitful, which requires sexual intercourse, but He actually designed their bodies to accommodate this purpose.
Being fruitful, or procreation, is both the privilege and the power to bring another eternal being into existence. The person that is conceived through intercourse will live forever. There is nothing a man and woman can do that is more humanly significant. God ordained that the safest, most peaceful wholesome place for a child that results from sexual intercourse to be brought up in is in the home of a father and mother, an in Christ father and in Christ mother who surround the child with the visible characteristics of God.
Enjoying And Acknowledging Oneness
“But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 (NLT)
Sexual desire is one of the strongest appetites or cravings that God made the human man and woman to have. This verse instructs married couples to have sex regularly, which indicates procreation is not the only purpose for sex. God could have made sex to have no feeling at all or to affect us no more than brushing our teeth. But no, He designed sex to be physically pleasurable. Clearly, the sexual desire is not a curse but a part of God’s perfect design.Paul is warning in this verse that within marriage, sex is not to be abstained from except for a certain time, and only then, it’s for the purpose of a mutual fasting. Paul goes on to say that this couple should come back together again sexually. Why? It’s an important way to block adultery.
“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4
Notice the first phrase shows there is nothing unholy about the marriage bed. This comes in stark contrast to our culture filled with off-colored jokes on the topic and even among some people marital sex is thought of as shameful. This sort of thinking puts sex in an unholy frame of reference.
Oddly enough, the Church, which should have shown the most pure and brilliant light on the topic of sex often has been the one that turned the light off and shamed sex more than any other source. Shame is the common repercussion when someone sins, but the Church has often turned up the volume of shame on sexual sin, which generally makes things worse. We just didn’t know what else to do, and our reactions of fear and condemnation were the greatest indicators of that.However, this verse in Hebrews is very clear. Marriage is holy, and the marriage bed or sexual intimacy is undefiled and pure. In other words, when a husband and wife are intimate, God does not go out of the room and say, “Let Me know when to come back.” No. God blesses sex within marriage. That’s different, isn’t it? Isn’t it nice to see what the Word has to say? It takes the dirty out of sex.
“In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband….” – 1 Peter 3:1-2 (AMP)
Reverence toward God is only one part of the expression of reverence a wife is to show. God is limited by the wife who reverences Him but disrespects her husband. God can be God, but God is not the wife. Respecting the husband is the wife’s duty—not God’s. God designed that reverence for the husband will open his heart, and part of the reverence the wife is to show is expressed sexually. It’s not all of it but definitely an important part. Instead of despising or ignoring a husband’s sexual needs, a respectful wife will “minister” to him. Put plainly, sex is a part of winning a husband over to obeying the Word.
Sex also can produce a strength that others can benefit from. It’s intimate, it’s private, and it’s between husband and wife. If a couple has intentionally exercised and celebrated sex purposefully and intentionally, the awareness of oneness is increased, which God can use. Oneness is a benefit. Where two of you agree on earth as touching anything that you ask, it will be done. Of course, that promise is not exclusive to husband and wife, but it certainly was the intention of God that a husband and wife walk together in uncommon agreement.
Being united or kindred spiritually with someone, for instance a prayer partner or those who share the same beliefs or values, is wonderful. But oneness in your body comes through sexual intimacy. A husband and wife have the potential to experience a very uncommon unity in the sight of God; spirit, soul, and body as well.Children will benefit from parents who have healthy, wholesome, sexual intimacy. Your home benefits. It just puts things together.It has been a common religious thought that we should never ever talk about sexual things. Why not? God does. It’s holy. Why should it not be talked about along with other holy things in God? The church misrepresents God if we don’t speak openly about sex, because the Bible speaks openly about sex. The lack of truth on this subject makes children vulnerable to misinformation from friends, school, and what they see and hear from other influences.
Judaism teaches that sex is a holy act and even encourages that the “holy act should always be performed on the holy day.” For Jews, that is the Sabbath, which is our Saturday. For those of us who believe Jesus was raised on the first day of the week, we celebrate resurrection, so Sunday is our holy day. So, it would be equivalent to every Christian married couple celebrating God in this fashion on Sundays. Jewish teaching is also that the sexual drive is so strong because it is so holy. That’s kind of different, isn’t it?
What Went Wrong?
If sex is such a God-idea, what went wrong? We saw, first of all, that God made man and woman with the ability to procreate eternal beings. Through sexual intercourse, the image of God would be multiplied and fill the earth. Satan’s plan, as we’ve already seen, was to fracture and distort God’s image. In order to accomplish that after the fall, he utilized the very act that was originally intended to multiply God’s image to now multiply and fill the earth with the fractured image.In the fall, he defiled the sacredness of sex, wrapping it with shame and selfishness, and claiming it for his purposes. What is it that has brought noble men and women down and made them crawl like animals? I’m talking about even people of God. Sex has been that tool in the hand of the devil. He gets particular satisfaction and glee out of the defilement of things dear to the heart of God and to people. Down through the centuries, sex has been a ploy, a strategy that has caused people to stumble, fall, and even crawl.
Outside God’s design for covenant relationship, sex can be brought down to an animal instinct. I hope that sounds as awful as it is. There are some animals that mate for life, but the majority of animals mate by instinct and by the different seasons in that particular animal. What the devil accomplished when man fell is that he brought this holy thing—sex—down to animal instinct.Let’s picture it this way. When God created man in His image, He meant for humans not to crawl on all fours but to walk upright with Him, work with Him, and relate with Him. As a result of the fall brought on by sin, man and woman identify with something other than the Creator.He’ll let you identify with your family, your past, other people, and your culture. He’ll even encourage that. But he doesn’t want you to identify with God because he knows that whomever you identify with is who you will start acting like.Until a person is born again, he or she does not have right standing, and the person’s spirit man cannot stand erect before God. Though man and woman walk erect externally, being spiritually dead and oppressed, their spirits are bowed down. But that’s not enough for the devil. Oppression keeps pressing man and woman further and further down until the devil has them on their knees bowing to things other than God. Because to whatever they respond is to whatever they bow (Romans 6:16).
Even that isn’t enough for the devil. He continues to bring man and woman down until the way they live is like an animal on all fours. The devil’s sick delight brings man and woman from walking erect through life, exercising authority over everything that crawls, to crawling through life themselves, so to speak, on their hands and knees like an animal.Can it get worse? Sadly yes. The devil continues to oppress further until man is spiritually brought down, down, down flat on the ground. And what animal in creation moves flat on the ground? The serpent. He will keep his foot on a man until he makes him crawl and eat dirt, finally identifying with the serpent that has to crawl on his belly. The destroyer achieves his most insidious goal when God’s most glorious creation, who was modeled after God to reflect Him, chooses to identify with something lesser, lower.Thank God, redemption gets man to stand up again. We are not animals. We are human. We are made in the image of God—not just after the first Adam’s race, but we are after second Adam’s race. We are sons of God.That’s why identification in Christ and with Christ is imperative. Why? Again, you begin to look like who you identify with. Say this: “I am in Christ. God is my Father. I have His nature. I’ve been made His righteousness, and so I stand. I stand.”
Shalom Vs. Taking
According to God’s intention, sexual intimacy is only whole within marriage. Whole? What does that mean?
The Hebrew word shalom2 means the peace that comes from being whole. This kind of peace is not just tranquility. No, if shalom had a shape, it would be pictured as a circle or sphere with nothing broken, nothing damaged, and nothing missing. That’s shalom—that’s peace. God’s idea of sex is whole—unbroken, undamaged. Do you remember what we saw about the Hebrew word for love, which is ahava? The definition of that word is to give. Granted, the sexual need or appetite is an instinct that we share with animals, yet what makes us different from animals is the potential of this giving-kind of love.
Sexual intimacy is an expression or an act of giving—not taking. So, within in Christ intimacy, a husband is giving in sex and a wife is giving in sex. In this way, it’s unbroken. Sex is not meant to be an act of taking; it is meant to be an act of giving. Even a part of the giving is to freely receive and respond to what is freely given by the other as well. It’s simultaneous giving and receiving.
Sexual intimacy practiced outside of marriage loses shalom. The individuals lose something. They lose wholeness because there’s no covenant, and their sexual intimacy also lacks the blessing of the One who made it. In this experience, one person may be giving, but the other person is taking. Or maybe both people take, and when they’re taken from, they’re left without and in some way diminished. That diminishing then gives a sense of the need to fill in what’s been taken, so they take again. In this vicious cycle, they become sexual takers instead of givers.People who are sexually active outside of God’s design are basically people taking from each other. The taking may be mutual as in, “You take from me. I’ll take from you. This is what I want. That is what you want. I’m okay for you to take, but you have to be okay if I take.” It’s mutual taking at its best. However, only in true love can there be mutual giving. Imagine what that could be like!
“And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”” – 1 Corinthians 6:16-17 (NLT)
This verse is interesting, isn’t it? You’re not one flesh with somebody just because you’re married. It’s sex that unites you with the other person’s flesh. In that way, the more people an individual is one with, the more un-whole sex becomes, as it chops up the person’s wholeness.This cycle just keeps taking. It keeps biting into people’s wholeness, which will give a sense of, “I need. I need. I want.” This cycle of taking makes people—even good people—takers because, “I have sexual needs. I have sexual desires.” But the overall and underlying motive that compels that kind of sex isn’t love—it’s need. Do you see that?
There are some whose innocence or virginity was taken away from them early in life or maybe by force, and this has made them feel violated, unwhole. In other words, the person became one with someone not by choice. The person didn’t give sexually, but it was taken from the person. Some of these people continue the ugly later on in life by being forcible, even violent takers themselves.
Redemption is such a beautiful thing for people who have suffered from molestation or rape and lost their wholeness to takers—takers trying to fill a craving or a need due to not being whole themselves. Aren’t you thankful that as a result of redemption we can become whole again as though it never happened?