Sex is a Not a Dirty Word
Christians do not handle the subject of sex well. We are scarred by bad experiences. We are burdened by our sex crazed society. We don’t talk about sex much as a result. The subject is often filled with discomfort when we do. I am guilty of this myself. The topic that causes me the most personal discomfort while preaching is sex.
Yet, sex is the normal healthy expression of a married couple’s love for one another. There is no reason to squirm and feel strange.
We can also go to the other extremes and trivialize it or try to be super cool about sex.
Christians as a group are just flat out bad talking about sex. We try to avoid it as much as possible.
There is a huge problem with our avoidance. There is a bigger issue when Christians treat sex itself as dirty and evil.
God created sex. Sexual activity as God intends is therefore Good.
It is part of His specific design for marriage. He made it necessary for man and woman to come together for the continuation of man.
Since God made it and included it for our very survival, it has to be good, right?
He would not have made it essential if it was not okay. It is one of the few absolute necessities for mankind.
Sex was made by God for us so it is good, despite what the culture has done with it. It was also made as a special bond among those made one by the covenant of marriage. It should be celebrated rather than shuffled off into a hushed back room. So let’s talk about it.
Sex as intended by God is good, normal and even holy. It is meant to bless a man and wife as they become one before God. This is good. It is also meant to send a message.
Sex was Created for Marriage
The Bible lays out God’s vision for sexual relationships in marriage. Nothing about it is shameful or unholy. It is much more than how babies are made. It is a gift given from the Lord to man and wife. It is to make them one in a very special and unique way. It is the bond of privileged intimacy for them alone. It also points to something so much greater.
The Apostle Paul takes us back to Genesis when he says that sexual intimacy results in two becoming one flesh. Consider that amazing truth. Two separately created images of God become one. They do so in a way that God Himself planned. It is a physical and spiritual oneness.
Paul warns the Corinthians about bonding themselves with those who are not their spouses. What they consider temporary dalliances with prostitutes results in terrible spiritual results. That bonding takes place in the marriage in way that it was intended.
Two become One.
This spiritual application is so meaningful in a marriage, yet it often overlooked. Two Christians united in their love of Jesus come together physically. They do so in the same way that God bound them together spiritually.
One heart, one soul, one body together under Jesus for eternity.
Big problems develop when one spouse neglects or violates any part of that formula. When a spouse brings another body into the relationship. This can be literal adultery. It also can be through devotion to pornography or emotional attachments. It also can be one treats sex as physical release rather than expression of selfless communion before God. When sex is not an expression of Jesus fueled love for the couple, this is not the sex that God created.
God’s love is kind, tender, selfless and good. Christian sexual relationships should mirror this love.
This is expressed in the Bible in a way that is often seen as dealing with power:
The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 1 Corinthians
This is not the intent of theses verses. Rather, it a picture of the level of the loving oneness that God intends to be present in a marriage.
Each spouse being one in love and spirit with one another intend their whole lives. This communion and total trust includes their bodies to be always yielded to one another. Since it is under love and under Jesus, there is no coercion or force involved. Just a constant state of union undisturbed by any outside attachments.
We are the Bride of Christ
God also lays out a link between sexual intimacy and the relationship between Jesus and His church.
Jesus’ relationship is not sexual. Let’s be very clear in that.
Yet, 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 deliberately linked the closeness and love of the marital relationship between a man and his wife with Jesus and the Church.
For us as physical beings, two becoming one flesh is a big part of that picture. This physical reality points to the greater spiritual completion to come.
It is a glimpse of 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 sexual intimacy to direct us to what is to come with Jesus in full. The immediate intimacy gives a hint to the greater relationship to come.
Sin Warps God’s Intention for Sex
The world takes God’s intentions for marriage and twists them. Sin takes what is good, pure and holy and turns it into something base and ugly.
In dating, bad marriages and culture, sex therefore ends up so warped it looks nothing like the original. It is sex of bondage, power, and addiction. It is sometimes just filthy enslavement. This defiled picture of sex is then broadcast into our lives at every opportunity. It is no wonder that we have become confused about sex. The world’s version is to be avoided.
Paul talks about even bonding the Holy Spirit and Jesus with a prostitute.
The world’s version of sexual intimacy is not God’s. We are good to avoid it. Flee from sexual immorality! But we cannot swear off sex entirety at the same time. God made it and made for our benefit. If we run away from this truth, we leave sex to the world to define. That is disastrous.
God’s Intentions are Still Good
If the church responds by retreating to the opposite extreme it is missing out on God’s clear plan.
The world’s version of sex is not God’s, not even close. We should indeed flee from sexual immorality. But the point is God has a version that is good and holy and sanctified. It is meant for His people and their good. 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 we rob His people of the benefit of His direction on something He created for their good. This is just unfair.
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 creates a new oneness and makes a marriage better while also pointing to God. We should embrace that gift as it was intended and 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.