The first thing that you need to understand is that sex is a good thing. More than that, sex within marriage is a wonderful gift provided to us by God. Unlike animals, God created both men and women so that sex was not only necessary for reproduction, but also pleasurable. Intimacy with one another not only brings us physical pleasure, but it also provides us with a deep connection to one another. Unfortunately, our culture has changed our perception of sex from something that God places a great deal of value on into something meaningless. In turn, the church has found itself vilifying an act that God has created for our good and our enjoyment.
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. – Hebrews 13:4
Now, does this mean we should go and have sex with whomever we want when we want? No. Although God did make sex pleasurable, He also intended for us to take it seriously. Here’s why.
Once you become a Christian, your body is no longer your own.
You read that right. Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, you have been bought with a price… his blood. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, the Apostle Paul said “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
What Paul is reminding us of is that once we accept Christ, we are no longer alone in our bodies because the Holy Spirit lives within us and we are no longer our own… we belong to Him.
It is God’s desire for us to be Holy.
When we recognize that the Holy Spirit lives within us, we must understand that God desires for us to be more like Himself. 1 Peter 1:14-16 tells us, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
The Greek word used here for holy is hagios. Hagios means to be ‘different’ or ‘set apart’. What the scripture is telling us is that we are not to conform and live like the world around us. The world tells us that sex outside of marriage is normal and even good. However, the Bible tells us that sex outside the bonds of marriage is immoral and adulterous. (See Exodus 20:14, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Ephesians 5:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
Marital Sex is more than a physical act, it is a spiritual act.
When the church at Corinth sought Paul’s wisdom in regards to abstinence, his answer most likely came as a surprise…
1 Corinthians 7:1-5 “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.”
During the time of his writing, Paul understood full well the sexual mores of the Romans. Sex outside of marriage, prostitution, pornographic images and homosexuality were all wide spread and in most cases not condemned by the Romans unless they were perceived to be in excess. The Corinthian church fully expected Paul’s support of abstinence from sexual relations, which he did provide support for in verse 6. However, Paul first stated that men and women should freely enjoy sex with their spouses. Why? Because it is an act of love and self-sacrifice for our spouses.
When we are able to freely enjoy sex within a Christian marriage, we are showing our spouses that we are willing to honor and satisfy their desires. We are willingly giving of ourselves to them, not because we have to, but because we want to. It is a deep form of love that we are to give to no one else. Also, it provides us the benefits of quelling our temptations and providing us with self-control.
We have to remember, God created sex for a purpose. Not only is sex meant to help us procreate, but it is also a way for us to give ourselves to our spouses sacrificially. It was never meant to be given away easily.