Are you ready for this?
Satan likes a marriage without sex — as much as sex without marriage.
So why does the church only condemn one?
I have coached hundreds of men who were deeply entrenched in pornography or some other illicit sexual behavior. I have yet to meet one man who had both an addiction to lustful behavior and a great marital sex life.
Try this: Do a google search on “sex in the Bible.”
The results will take you to a plethora of religious websites who will then proceed to list a dozens of texts that speak to the evils of immoral sex. Most will say absolutely nothing about the magnificence of sex.
Yes.. the magnificence of sex. Sounds almost blasphemous coming from a Christian, right? But sex is, first of all, primarily, and always....
Can I take you somewhere for just a moment… just think about the entangled, erotic, ecstasy of sexual intimacy.
Now pause and ponder.
God came up with that.
It was His crazy, wonderous, extravagant, idea.
And that is precisely why we have these calls to sexual intimacy in the scripture:
God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply…
May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”
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.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine.
Song of Solomon 7:7-9
The unenthusiastic view of sex we often find in the church today is not a new notion.
It’s roots actually go back to the ancient church. Just examine the writings of such notable early church fathers as Tertullian, Ambrose, and Jerome, all of whom believed that, even within marriage, intercourse involved sin. There were many other church fathers who believed that intercourse within marriage was only permissible for purposes of procreation.
What it up with that?? There is absolutely nowhere in the scripture that even hints at this idea.
This attitude toward marital sexuality, which dominated the church for more than ten centuries, regrettably led to the glorification of celibacy. By the fifth century, large segments of church leadership prohibited ministers from marrying.
Two classes of Christians emerged: the “religious” (the spiritual clergy), which included monks and nuns who vowed to abstain from all sexual activity, and the “profane” (the secular laity), who, being unable to rise to the noble heights of virginity or celibacy, were conceded the right to marry.
I truly believe the church’s failure to communicate the truth about the beauty of marital sexuality is one of the greatest contributors to the pornography epidemic in America. (not to mention other sexual vice)
Before I entered full-time ministry, my wife and I attended a prominent Bible School, where one of the teachers proceeded to tell our entire class that any kind of marital sex that deviated from “standard missionary sex” was depraved and sinful. And any sort of foreplay or sexual exploration in the marriage bed was forbidden by God.
Sexual intimacy in our marriage was never the same from that day forward.
It wasn't long before I found myself becoming bitter and resentful towards both God and the church. I had a thirst for a full and vibrant sexual expression with my wife — but according to God, (or the portrayal of God by his representatives) that was an evil desire in my soul that had to be suppressed.
A few years later, pornography had become a sexual counterfeit in my life — a bogus substitute to the robust and satisfying sex life that both my wife and I were meant to enjoy in our marriage.
Now let me be clear.
I am not presenting myself as a victim. I own my sin and I made my terrible choices. Nor is it my ex-wife’s fault. I should have insisted on reaching out for help in this exasperating plight.
But I am going to hold the church in account for our silence in properly addressing this critical matter in our marriages.
For those who are faint of heart, prepare yourself for some the most sexually suggestive writing ever to be published. Not from Playboy magazine. Not some illicit romance novel.
“How graceful are your feet in sandals, O queenly maiden! Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand. Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim. Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, overlooking Damascus. Your head crowns you like Carmel, and your flowing locks are like purple; a king is held captive in the tresses. How fair and pleasant you are, O loved one, delectable maiden!
You are stately as a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its branches. Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples, and your kisses like the best wine that goes down smoothly, gliding over lips and teeth. I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields, and lodge in the villages; let us go out early to the vineyards, and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.”
Song of Solomon 7 (Message Translation)
Theologically sexy to say the least, eh?
Yes, the scripture can be shockingly, sublimely, sensually, sexy. And we should be ok with that.
Until the church changes it's dismissive posture towards the gift of sacred sexuality, porn and sexual vice will remain the primary alternative for men in our Christian subculture. And that should be unacceptable to us all.
Let’s learn to celebrate this magnificent gift of marital bliss!
Next week, I will share 7 Secrets to Great Christian Sex. We will take a close and candid look on how we can redeem this remarkable spiritual/physical/soulful experience — for a lifetime together.
Until then, grace and peace, and pomegranates,
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