For those that are Christians and for those that profess Christianity this is a difficult topic but it’s a topic that affects us all. Let’s look to the Word of God as our source text to examine our lives and hold it up to the microscope of the Scriptures so we may honor God in His institution of marriage.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
This discussion begins with God’s design for marriage and married life. It’s really pretty simple. God designed marriage with three primary practical functions and a fourth function which is to mirror the relationship between Christ and the Church; I will not explore the relationship between Christ and the Church in this article, but we will briefly examine the other three purposes.
The first function of marriage is procreation. Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Being fruitful and multiplying beyond two is not very popular today, especially if you get a boy and a girl. In an extreme case if you have two of the same variety, then it’s acceptable to try for the other, but it’s not generally accepted beyond three in our modern society. Has God changed His mind on this subject? To the contrary, just because pragmatism and worldly thinking has invaded the church does not mean God has not clearly spoken. Be fruitful and multiply… I once heard someone say “if God is going to give you a blessing, why would you refuse it?”
The second function of marriage is companionship. Genesis 1:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Wives, God designed you to be a helper to your husband. He should be setting the vision for the family and your role is to help him achieve his vision and carry it out, another unpopular view for marriage in today’s world but no less truthful than it was in the beginning. Wives this should be a joyful opportunity to live out your God given role as a wife and helper.
The third function is sexual union for enjoyment and prevention of immorality. Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
God made them male and female, they fit together, this is obvious, and this is obviously why and how God designed it. God also designed men and women to think differently. It was perfect in the beginning and then sin entered the picture and the whole perfect design was distorted, polluted and infected with sin.
This is what we have today, and that sin has causes struggles and issues inside of God’s design. We clearly see it all around us that sexuality is distorted. We have distortions in all kinds of sexual perversions and deviations. But this was not God’s plan for any of the three reasons above and if you call yourself a Believer you are to live a life that brings glory to God and look different than the rest of the world. Your marriage should reflect Christ and the Church, it should procreate, help, and enjoy.
1 Corinthians 7 gives us a much more microscopic view of the topic of sexual intimacy that is to occur within a marriage. Within this are some sub-categories of the purpose of marriage. It draws husband and wife closer to one another. It’s designed to be a preventative against sexual immorality. And most importantly it teaches us to deny ourselves. When we don’t always “feel” like it, what an opportunity to seek the good of your spouse.
1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife and let each woman have her own husband.
Wives this is a big reason God has ordained intimacy in a marriage. Men are just plain wired differently than you and when you, as a helper, can complete him in this area you have assisted him greatly. Not only are you fulfilling God’s commands but you are also helping to keep him from sin. Have you ever considered it that way? You can be the gate-keeper or the one holding the gate open. This does not relieve your husband of his responsibility to control himself, but you play a big role.
1 Corinthians 7:3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due to her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
At this point things begin to be challenging, so let’s look at this verse carefully. The word render means to give away, to perform, to give (again), to deliver (again), it means it’s not a one-time deal, but to be consistently giving away. Husbands it’s your responsibility to give your wife affection consistently. Affection can mean to grab her hand during the day, or touch her shoulder, communicate with her, but at its root is conjugal.
yoo’-noy-ah – kindness; euphemistically conjugal duty: – benevolence, good will. Husbands you are to render to your wife sexual intimacy.
1 Corinthians 7:4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Try selling this one in today’s society. You will be laughed out of town if you stood on a street corner preaching this verse. Can this really be what Paul meant? No wonder his teaching is so hated and avoided by most “churches”. This means what it says. It’s so plain and obvious, and so rejected by most, even those that call themselves Christians. I understand the unbelieving world will scoff at this verse, I understand it will be rejected by them, but if you are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb are you going to reject clear biblical teachings? This is a big question and one we must answer. God will hold husbands and wives accountable to this standard.
1 Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self control.
Quoting from the MacArthur study bible on this verse: the word deprive, Lit. “stop depriving each other!” This command may indicate that this kind of deprivation was going on among believers, perhaps reacting to the gross sexual sins of their past and wanting to leave all that behind.”
In order to bring glory to God, His word tells us the marriage bed is undefiled, yet it’s often treated and understood as something dirty and defiled. We all have past sins that either Christ has forgiven you of or He hasn’t; if He hasn’t then repent and be forgiven.
If He has forgiven you then live like it. Live in His grace and live in His design for marriage. Enjoy what the Lord has offered as a blessing and be grateful for His gifts.
Song of Songs 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—For your love is better than wine.
Soli Deo Gloria!