This week I've been preparing to preach on the first half of 1 Corinthians 7... you know, the "better to marry than to burn with passion" passage!
One thing I love about this passage is its frankness. God not only instituted marriage for the satisfaction of our sexual desires, but he commands us to keep the marriage bed hot! And Paul spares none in making sure we realize this. He commands us to "give [our spouse his/her] conjugal rights." Then he reiterates it and goes so far as to say, "Do not deprive one another."
One of the greatest things I heard this week was that one church in the Puritan age put a man under church discipline because he was depriving his wife. That's fantastic! That's the kind of thing that should characterize the church: A people who are passionate about being passionate within marriage!
Not long ago Christians had a reputation for being prudish and sex was a taboo topic within the church. Gladly, things are changing. Of course, not all for the better. Today a lot of teaching on sex in the church tends to be a crude, focusing on sex techniques, sex therapists, etc. Nevertheless, most change is for the better, and a sex crazed culture needs solid teaching about proper sexual satisfaction.
That is actually a stupid thing to say. What I mean is "A sex crazed culture needs solid application of the Bible's teaching about proper sexual satisfaction." The fornication that is so rampant today would not be so prevalent if we had more of the sweetness of the marital bond.
That's why I want to encourage those of you who are married to keep the embers burning in the bedroom. Enjoy it, and be, as the Song of Solomon says, "sick with love." Initiate it, indulge in it, plan for it, play in it, serve in it, talk about it, and (above all) strive to excel in it!
I don't just want to emphasize the legitimacy of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife either. I want you to focus on the absolute elation of it! The pagan world does not have the corner on the market when it comes to the exhilaration of sex. God created sex, and he created it to be gratifying. Furthermore, when the Bible talks about proper sexual expression it emphasizes the ecstasy and euphoria of it, to the point where you start to blush (or perhaps better, sweat!).
I mentioned the Song of Solomon, but think also of Isaac and Rebbecca. In Gen. 26:8 it says that Isaac was sporting with Rebbecca. Now I don't want you to think that they were playing a game of Yahtzee or going bowling. The language is technically one of rousing sexual intimacy. You might say it was foreplay because it has to do with affectionate caressing.
(For those of you who may not understand the technical language: they were making out! If you would like to object to this interpretation, you have to find a better way to explain why Abimelech was so incensed with Isaac regarding his treatment of Rebbecca.)
I wanted to cite this line from a recent Generations Radio program on the Puritan View of Sex. One puritan they quote says that our spouse is a "playfellow who has come to make our age merry!" Think of that, a playmate!
I might add a word to the ladies here too: This passion is also something that is to characterize you too. I like how the Westminster Larger Catechism cites Proverbs 31:11 as applying to the seventh commandment: "The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain." Their insight into the word of God was great: A husband who is sexually gratified isn't going to be worrying about his wife all the time! What's more is that he is going to thrive in his business affairs because his wife is fulfilling all his desires.
Ladies also might want to consider a series like this in your women's discipleship classes, or perhaps regular conversations with those you mentor. Paul did say that the older women were to teach the younger women to "love their husbands." (Titus 2:3-4) We would be downright numb to limit the application of that to fixing meals and keeping the house tiddy.
Kindled Fire is dedicated
to the preaching and teaching ministry of
Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.