In my time teaching God’s Word, I have covered a lot of tough subjects. Strangely enough, the one that has provided me the most personal discomfort is sex. Yes, talking about sex, the normal healthy expression of a married couple’s love for one other makes me squirm. I admit it. I feel like I am 10 years old again.
I am in church, I just should not be talking about (drops to a whisper) S-E-X, or should I?
I don’t think I am alone with my discomfort on this issue. I enjoy listening to Bible teaching by many other pastors from different denominations. The funny thing is that they squirm too when covering marital relations. Christians as a group are just flat out uncomfortable talking about sex. We just don’t like the subject and try to avoid it as much as possible. It is just not Christian.
There is a problem with that line of thinking. God created sex. He made it necessary for man and woman to come together for the continuation of man. If God was not comfortable with the idea, He would not have made it so essential to survival.
But more than the utility involved, the Bible lays out God’s vision for sexual relationships in marriage and it is not surrounded with shame. It is much more than how babies are made. It is a gift given from the Lord to man and wife to make them one in a very special and unique way. A bond of privileged intimacy that points to something so much greater.
In Corinthians, Paul takes us back to very beginning when he says that sexual intimacy results in two becoming one flesh in the marriage bed. Consider that amazing truth. Two separately created images of God become one. They do so in a way that God Himself planned for the good of two of His children and their marriage. That alone is pretty mind boggling.
God also lays out a link between this same sexual intimacy and the relationship between Jesus and His church. Jesus’ relationship is not sexual, not saying that at all, but the picture of the relationship between the Lord and His church is of bridegroom and bride. The feast that we will celebrate with Jesus when He returns to take us home is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
God has deliberately linked the unbelievable closeness and love of the marital relationship between a man and his wife with Jesus’ with the church.
For us as physical beings, two becoming one flesh is a big part of that picture. It points us forward to the amazing love and communion that Jesus will have with His church for all eternity. It is a wonderful blessing from the Lord and something that we as a church should rejoice over. God gave us in sexual intimacy something that points us to what is to come with Jesus in full. The immediate initimacy gives a hint to the greater relationship to come.
The world takes the intention of God to bond two into one in marriage and twists it. It ends up so far out of whack in dating, messed up marriages and culture that the sex that results looks nothing like the original. The world’s version of sex is one of bondage, power, addiction and sometimes just filthy enslavement.
Paul talks about the result of this alteration even being bonding the Holy Spirit and Jesus with a prostitute.
The world’s version of sexual intimacy is not God’s and we are good to avoid it. Flee from sexual immorality!
What is problematic is when the church responds to this worldly picture of sex by snapping back to the opposite extreme and demonizes all sex and related attraction.
“Bad, Bad, Bad! Sex is bad! We can’t even talk about sex even if you are married. Shameful!”
God created sexual intimacy between husband and wife. He talks about it in the Bible quite a bit and in great detail. He created it a blessing. Yet our response ranges from uncomfortable avoidance of the subject to fire and brimstone pronouncements of shamefulness.
It seems like we are letting the world and its sins dictate to the church rather than listening to God’s direction and following God’s intentions.
The world’s version of sex is not God’s but the point is God has a version. Since it is God’s, it is good and holy and sanctified. It is meant for His people and their good as He lays it out. Since it is from God, it is a thing of joy that we should be grateful for and not ashamed of.
We will not know the truth about God’s plan for marital intimacy if we don’t talk about it, even in church and most importantly in families.
If we retreat from the truth than we rob His people of the benefit of His direction on something He created for their good. This is just unfair to God’s people. It also leaves them open to fill in the gaps of information from the world. The world is only too happy to provide its twisted version of sex to even the youngest of our children.
So I still might be uncomfortable when talking about the sex-focused sections of Scripture. Sex was a forbidden subject for me growing up and it is hard to shake years of shaming. If I ever teach Song of Solomon, I will likely be bright red during the entire time.
But God intended marital intimacy between a husband and wife to be special and wonderful for us. Something that created a new oneness and makes a marriage better while also pointing to God. We should embrace that gift as it was intended and try not to shy away from the subject when God puts it before us.
God talks about so we should too, regardless of what the world has done.