Sex & Sanctification

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Sex & Sanctification

This is Part 2 of a five part series based on the “5 False Assumptions about Married Sex”. Part 1, can be found here “The Only Reason to Get Married”.

False Assumption #2: We say sex is for procreation first and then pleasure. God says sex is for our sanctification first.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor … (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 ESV)

God’s will is that we overcome sexual temptation by acquiring a wife or by learning to live with our wife. What happens when we acquire a wife or learn to live with our wife? God says we can then move forward in a life pleasing to him (v1), for our “sanctification”.

Sanctification simply means to be “set apart for God’s purpose”. It also has the idea of “growing in grace” or maturing in Christ. Paul says the first step in “walking in the Spirit”, another way of describing sanctification, is to deal with the 800 pound animal in the room – sexual temptation.

“That each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.”

Paul lays out the only two options for overcoming sexual temptation. He uses a common idiom that covers both single and married persons, literally “possess your own vessel”. Paul is saying that if you are single then “learn to acquire a wife” (alternate reading); and if you are married then, “learn to live with your own wife”, (alternate reading). see 1 Thess 4:4 notes.

Paul is addressing men but the principles are the same for women – marriage and only marriage is God’s solution to overcoming sexual temptation. We saw in our last post that Paul addresses both men and women. In our passage today, Paul includes the idea that overcoming sexual temptation is the first, and perhaps the hardest, of all temptations.

Why is Paul addressing men primarily? Men are more inclined to make a mess of things as we’ve seen in the news lately although women are not immune.

This answer raises additional questions.

What does it mean to “acquire a wife”? This is the easy one: If you’re single and struggling with sexual temptation then get married. We understand that it’s easier said than done. So pray and get started!

What does Paul mean by “learn to live with your own wife”? This is a little more complicated. We will get into this in our next post. Stay tuned!

But the clear indication is that husbands and wives do not automatically know how to live with one another to help each other overcome sexual temptation. It has to be learned and that’s exactly why we wrote our book, “Radical Sex: God’s Manna for a Holy Marriage”. We pray God will use it to help couples learn to live with each other in a life pleasing to God.

Bible Thought: God’s wants us to learn how to help one another overcome sexual temptation.

Prayer: Father, sex is amazing but complicated. You made it simple but we complicate it. Help me to grow in your grace in my marriage. Amen.

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The Only Reason to Get Married

ButterflyThe Only Reason to Get Married

False Assumption #1: We say we got married because we were in love, best friends, and wanted to build a life together (and so many other reasons). God says sex is the only reason you need to get married.

Authors’ Note: The “5 False Assumptions about Married Sex” from a previous post each take an entire chapter in our book. We are reducing 4,000 words to 300 words for each meditation so we are only touching on a few highlights. Even though God’s Word is relatively straightforward, we understand sex is complicated. The application of God’s Word on married sex can take a while. Be patient, trust God. Pray.

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. (1 Corinthians 7:1,2 ESV)

The quote in verse 1 is from the hyper-spiritual, gnostic, faction at Corinth that taught sexual self-control was the holier way. After all, Christianity is a spiritual religion that renounces all things of the flesh. Right?

Paul exposes their wrong thinking by pointing out our extreme sexual weakness and, then, stating clearly that the antidote to sexual temptation is not abstinence, but the very opposite. Paul, in effect, says “Stop spiritualizing everything! The physical is not evil.”

Paul then says that if you’re struggling with sexual temptation then get married. Marriage is God’s only solution to sexual temptation and the primary reason to get married. There are many reasons why people get married but if one person gets married to overcome sexual temptation and other person gets married for any other reason then that’s a problem.

“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” This is a message to men and women, equally.

The opposite is also true; that is, if you don’t suffer from sexual temptation then don’t get married. Paul goes on to say that a single person can serve the Lord wholeheartedly but a married person must be concerned about serving their spouse. (See 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ESV)

Sex is the only reason to get married, or more accurately, the only reason you need to get married as a Christian. You can do everything as an unmarried couple, that you can do as a married couple, except have sex according to the Bible.

Think about it. You can be best friends, enjoy shared interests, go on dates, and laugh at each other’s jokes. You can even be roommates and raise a family by adopting children. You can do it all without being married. Sex is the only reason to get married as Christians.

Bible Thought: God loves the physical; after all, he made the earth and all things in it. “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (See Genesis 1:31a NASB)

Prayer: Father, you made all things including sex between a husband and wife and declared it as “very good”. Help me to see sex as “very good” like you do. Amen.

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5 False Assumptions about Married Sex

27527817 - decorative owl. tribal pattern. ethnic tattoo. vector illustration.5 False Assumptions about Married Sex

Wisdom Speaking:
I love those who love me,
and those who seek me diligently find me.
(Proverbs 8:17 ESV)

We would all agree that we need God’s wisdom to navigate marriage successfully. We started this blog, and wrote the book, because we didn’t always get it right. By God’s grace, we learned a few things over the years and wanted to share them with those who seek to do marriage God’s way.

The good news is that God will give us his wisdom if we want it. Mark Driscoll says, “The ‘want to’ has to come before the ‘how to’.” Do you want to do it God’s way?

Let’s start by looking at five wrong assumptions many of us make.

  1. We say we got married because we were in love, best friends, and wanted to build a life together (and so many other reasons). God says sex is the only reason you need to get married.
  2. We say sex is for procreation first and then pleasure. God says sex is for our sanctification first.
  3. We say sex is primarily for men and secondarily for women. God says sex is for both husband and wife equally.
  4. We say sex is one of many elements that make up a happy and holy marriage. God says sex is the first priority of a happy and holy marriage.
  5. We say we overcome sexual temptation through spiritual warfare: prayer, fasting, self control, anti-porn software, accountability partners, expensive DVD’s, and will power. God says the best way to overcome sexual temptation is frequent and reciprocal married sex.

These are just a few of the wrong assumptions we make about married sex. We will look at each of these in detail, and many more, from the Bible in future posts.

Are we married sex experts? No, not at all! But God is! And, fortunately, he tells us how to do it in his Word; that is, if we “want to”.

Bible Thought: God knows us better than we know ourselves.

Prayer: Father, I assume many things that are contrary to your truth. Help we to put down my assumptions about sex and take up your truth.

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“They’re Only Good for One Thing”

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“They’re Only Good for One Thing”

Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. (Genesis 29:16-17 NIV)

Jacob is completely smitten with Rachel’s beauty and especially her “lovely figure”. He is so smitten that he offered to work for seven years for Rachel. When the seven years were up he tells Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.” (v 21)

God has given most men a strong sex drive, a very strong sex drive. A strong sex drive is not lust, it is a gift from God and like all divine gifts it can misused. Men behaving badly is in the news but it’s nothing new. God gave Jacob a strong sexual desire for Rachel but it wasn’t fulfilled until they were married.

Lust selfishly desires something or someone and takes it greedily at all cost as soon as possible. Love considers the interest of the other greater than their own and gives generously. (Phil 2:4)

For example, a husband can objectify his wife when he sees her as “only good for one thing”. However, a wife can objectify her husband with the same thought “he’s only good for one thing”. Anytime we detach our spouse from the “one flesh” reality of marriage, and objectify them, we perpetuate the wrong idea that marriage is made up of two autonomous people, living separate lives, for the primary purpose of my convenience, and my satisfaction.

Does a healthy husband want to have sex with his wife? Does it necessarily follow that he only sees her as a sexual object? Does a wife want her husband to care for the kids and help pay the rent? Does it necessarily follow that she only sees him as a babysitter and a bank?

Bible Thought: Love gives, lust takes.

Prayer: Father, show me the difference between love and lust. Keep me from lust and help me to truly love my spouse.

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“Sex Is Dirty”

38844163 - vector peerless decorative feather, tribal design, tattooBut sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. (Ephesians 5:3 ESV)

We know sex is a difficult subject for a lot of us. After all there are many verses like the one above. We are conditioned to suppress, deny, ignore wayward sexual thoughts. If that doesn’t work then keep as distracted as possible. It’s no wonder Christians avoid thinking about sex let alone talking about sex. This conditioning of not thinking about sex and not talking about sex kills intimacy in many marriages.

A lot of Christians think “sex” is a dirty word. Some consequently think sex is dirty. Pornography sells dirty sex and millions are buying it perverting God’s purpose for sex. God makes sex pure in marriage and uses it for our good and his glory.

We may have struggled with the place of sex in our lives, marriages, and minds. Everywhere we turn, we’re reminded of the sexual failure of our past.

Our sexual history, for most of us, is a strange journey. As we look back we realize that before marriage, the enemy tempted us with the thrill of sex and then after marriage he reverses his tactics to convince us sex is boring and binge watching Netflix is more exciting. God’s way is the opposite where the real thrill of marriage is sex between a committed, covenant couple in Christ.

Let’s think about sex the way God thinks about sex. Let’s talk about sex the way God talks about sex. And let’s start in our own homes with our spouses. Most sex conversations are difficult but if we’re not talking about sex then we’re probably not doing it.

Let’s bring sex out of the darkness and into the light of God’s love. Join us in the conversation on our Facebook Group Page.

Bible Thought: God makes sex pure in marriage.

Prayer: Father, show me what you think about sex. Help me to renew my mind about sex from your Word. Amen.

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“I Now Pronounce You Best Friends Forever!”

76771810 - feather icon over white background. vector illustration”I now Pronounce You Best Friends Forever!”

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” (Genesis 30:1,2 ESV)

The officiant of your wedding probably didn’t declare at the end of the ceremony, “I now pronounce you BFF’s!” but many anniversary posts suggest otherwise.

Anyone who has been married a while understands that your spouse can be your best friend one moment and your worst enemy the next. Jacob was intoxicated with Rachel and waited 7 years (actually 14) to “make love” to her and “they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” (Gen 29:20b ESV)

In the very next chapter, they seem to loathe one another. “Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel”. Rachel wasn’t much better. What happened? They had the dreaded “sex conversation”. “Give me children, or I shall die!” Granted, it wasn’t the usual modern sex discussion about frequency or reciprocity. It was more, “You’re doing something wrong in the bedroom!” Jacob took exception.

As we saw in yesterday’s post, marriage is an exclusive, covenant relationship unlike any other. Friendship is wonderful, and hopefully, you and your spouse exhibit the traits of best friends – love, respect, loyalty.

Please don’t be offended with our BFF fun. We understand why you post, “I married my best friend!” But let’s not forget our spouse is our covenant partner first and foremost. The covenant was sealed with sex in the beginning and is renewed with each subsequent encounter.

When we don’t have frequent sex with our spouse, our covenant relationship fades into a distant, foggy memory. Each sexual encounter reminds us of our exclusive relationship. Sadly, we tend to forget quickly!

Bible Thought: Frequent sex with our spouse reminds us of our exclusive, covenant relationship.

Prayer: Father, you created marriage and sex. Help me to dig into the Word and discover what you say about marriage and sex. Amen.

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No Sex, No Marriage

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No Sex, No Marriage

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.” So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one.” (Genesis 29:21-23,25,26 NIV)

Jacob made love to Leah and, Voila!, they were married. He didn’t try to persuade Laban to take Leah back. Jacob understood sex sealed the deal.

Everyone knows, and has since the beginning of time, that the consummation makes a marriage, not the engagement, vows, rings, or ceremonies. Sex does and only sex. In fact, you can get married, and live together for years, but if you never had sex no one considers you really married – church, society, or God.

In times past, Kings and Queens were subjected to a public consummation event at the end of the marriage ceremony to assure it was a “real” marriage. The political powers wanted to make sure the marriage alliance was not a sham.

Paul calls the physical union of a man and a woman a “profound mystery” because it’s God’s metaphor for the union of Christ and his followers. (See Eph 5:31,32) This speaks primarily to the covenant element of both relationships but that’s for another post.

Bible Thought: Sex is much more than a physical union.

Prayer: Father, help me to understand your purpose for sex in my marriage. Amen.

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