As we enter Valentine’s week most people spend time thinking about romance. That is a good thing. God created us to have relationships because we are created in his image. The husband and wife relationship, romance, and sex were God’s ideas. God performed the first marriage in the Garden of Eden. But as with anything that God created, because we are fallen creatures, we can take what God planned as a blessing and get it wrong.
Fortunately, the Bible speaks about sex and romance quite a lot. Genesis and Song of Solomon teach us some amazing insights about how to connect, communicate, live openly with each other, and build a strong home. Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Peter also teach us how to treat each other and live together in a way that produces a happy home. But I want to focus on a passage of scripture that is incredibly helpful for married people. I believe the Bible is divinely inspired and God-breathed. The Bible is not just a collection of stories to inspire us, but God’s Word to instruct us. God’s love for us is evident in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 7:1-5 (ESV) Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
We can glean two very powerful and important truths from this passage.
Truth # 1 - We must conform to God’s Word rather than culture concerning sex.
The Corinthians believers had questions about sex. They asked Paul about a popular saying at the time, “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: ‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.’” Some people in that culture taught that sex was evil. Paul corrected their thinking by showing what God teaches about sex. Our culture has many erroneous beliefs about sex too, so we can learn much from what he wrote. Here are a few principles we can learn from God’s Word.
1. God created us in his image – male and female. He addressed husbands and wives. These are two very distinct but equal roles. Genesis teaches us that our roles and perspectives are an important part of his plan. The differences in the sexes reflect God’s love for us and his blessings. Confusing your role leads to problems.
2. God created sex for a purpose. Paul gave God’s perspective on sex between a husband and wife. God’s first commands to man and wife in Genesis were to eat, work, and have sex – “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” This shows us that our sex lives are to reflect the gospel. God commanded us to fill the earth with worshippers of him. He gave this incredible blessing for having children, pleasure, romance, love, connection, intimacy, dependency, openness, and communion. Any sex act that does not reflect the gospel can’t possibly bring blessings.
3. You can have a God-blessed sex life. In the passage he wrote that husband and wife are, “To give conjugal rights.” This particular Greek word was often used as a financial term. It means to pay a debt, to fulfill an obligation or duty, and to give respect and honor. He stated that our spouse has authority over our body. He wrote, “Do not deprive one another.” It means do not, “cause to suffer loss, rob or steal, prevent from a benefit, defraud, or take away.”
What does this passage teach us about a God-blessed sex life?
· Sex is to be a mutual expression of love between husband and wife.
· Sex is to be decided upon together.
· Sex must be about serving my spouse’s needs.
· Sex must never be used as a weapon to manipulate.
· Sex must respect and honor my spouse.
· Sex protects my spouse from temptation.
· Sex is never to be abusive.
· Prayer makes sex better! Serving God together leads to better sex!
Truth #2 - Our sex lives must reflect the gospel.
From the beginning of creation God designed sex to reflect the gospel. Your sex life greatly affects your spiritual life. In the context surrounding 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Paul wrote that our bodies are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Believers must walk with God passionately and live out his purpose. In other words, we are to live out the gospel in all areas of our life.
The only way we can live out the gospel is to build our lives around God’s grace. It must be the center of our thinking. It can’t be just a Sunday thing but it must be an every day thing – even in our marital relationships. It is through God’s grace that we fulfill our purpose and find meaning in life. God gives grace to help us in our time of need. He forgives because of Jesus. He stores what the enemy has taken. He blesses our faith in him. He heals our deepest wounds. No matter what your past has been like you can find his grace to help you in your marriage and in every area of life.
God designed marriage to be a blessing and to reflect the beauty of the gospel. You can have a blessed marriage. You can have a blessed romantic life when you follow his design, care for each other, serve each other, and keep Christ at the center of your marriage. Knowing what we know about our culture and all the sexual problems we face, don’t you think God’s ways are best?
Happy Valentines Day!