There are two extremes people fall into with sex. Some think sex is gross and should be rarely, if ever mentioned. They think sex is only to make babies.
Others treat sex as god. They build their lives around it, treat it as the highest good and greatest pursuit. Both of these views are dangerous and wrong.
The Bible has a better view. God invented sex. God gave sex to people before sin entered the race. God likes it. He is for it. He is not embarrassed by it.
He made it for three main purposes in marriage: propagation, recreation, and unification. Most people understand that one purpose of sex is to make babies (whether they like it or not). So, I won’t address that here.
The Bible gets a bad reputation when it comes to sex. If you asked most people where they Bible talks about recreational sex they’d laugh. Proverbs 5:18-19 is a great place to start. In a book about wisdom and taking God seriously, husbands are commanded to delight in their wives sexually. Specifically, they are commanded to be satisfied by her breasts.
The next phrase “Be exhilarated always with her love,” literally means to get lost in her love. Lose track of time. Enjoy yourself. What a command!
If that’s shocking turn to Song of Solomon. It’s a book in the Bible all about romantic love and sex. It never mentions God or kids. Chapter four speaks of passionate kisses and wanting to make love all night long. At the end of the chapter the woman invites her husband to consummate their marriage. He does. And it seems at the end of 5.1 that God speaks his blessing on their sex life telling them to drink deeply, to be drunk with sexual love, desire and attraction. God is a great God and loves to give great gifts to His kids.
David Jeremiah says “No loving expression of physical intimacy was out of bounds for them then as they gave themselves completely to each other. ‘Blow on my garden’ is an invitation to spread the kisses of verse 11 to the rest of the woman’s body. Neither of them hesitated to drink their fill of love.”
Why is this so important? God made us for passion. If we don’t seek fulfillment for passionate desires in God designed ways we will seek them in sinful destructive ways. If you are married drink your fill of love with your spouse. The Bible commands it.
The immediate problem with the idea of drinking our fill of love with our spouse is that what fills our spouse up may be very different than what fills us up. A husband might want sex every day whereas his wife only enjoys it once a week. A wife might enjoy a slower more relaxed pace to the love making whereas the husband may be a little more aggressive. Drinking our fill of love in marriage is easier said than done. What are we to do?
In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul says that a wife’s body belongs to her husband sexually. Just as much, a husband’s body belongs to his wife. This is great theologically. It’s a little harder to work out practically.
When the wife wants to have sex and her husband doesn’t, what should be done? At those points we must remember, recreation is a purpose of sex. It is not the most important purpose of sex. Unification is. Sex is supposed to bring us closer together in every way, not drive us further apart.
One of the biggest consequences of all the sexual sin in our culture is that it has made most of us so sexually selfish. Even in marriage our minds can be consumed with what I want, when I want it and how I want it. We must remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Tim Keller says that a Christian should receive the greatest arousal by giving pleasure to their spouse.
Genesis 2:24 tells us a man and wife are to become one flesh physically in sex. But the oneness of sex is meant to point to a much deeper oneness in other arenas. It points to a deep covenantal oneness at every area of the relationship. Husband and wife are meant to be naked and unashamed in every area of marriage. They are supposed to be open and honest with one another. They are not supposed to hide from one another.
They are meant to share their thoughts, desires, dreams, fears and hopes. The two are meant to become one relational unit. Sex is meant to be a miniature picture of how husbands and wives are one in all areas of their relationship. John Stott says “God intends sex…to symbolize and express a union of personalities.” This is why sex outside of marriage is so terrible because it is a lie.
Sex is a physical tangible way to say to another that you are fully giving yourself to that person for the rest of life. D. S. Bailey says sex “by reason of its very nature, engages and expresses the whole personality, in such a way as to constitute a unique mode of self-disclosure and self-commitment.”
THE DEEPER PURPOSE
In Ephesians 5:31-32, Paul quotes from Genesis 2 about a husband and wife becoming one sexually. But then he says that it actually refers to Christ and the church! What can this mean?
Sex points to something deeper than itself in the marriage relationship, namely the oneness of a husband and wife. Sex also points to something even deeper woven into the fabric of the universe, namely the oneness of Christ and the church. The book of Revelation uses the imagery of a bride and groom to picture Christ and His people finally coming together for all eternity. Heaven will be a type of ongoing consummation.
The greatest purpose of sex is to tell us something about the glory of Christ. For sex to be done right there must be sacrifice. There must be a sense of service. There must be a giving of oneself to bless and promote the other.
Furthermore for sex to work, there must be a weakness and a vulnerability. Think about it, we take the tenderest parts of our body, remove our clothes and offer them to another person. There is also a high level of trust involved. This leads to deep intimacy. In the nakedness of marriage our spouse see us for who we really are, warts and all.
When Christ came to save His sinful people He was willing to sacrifice His life for us. He gave His life to benefit and bless us. He was stripped naked on the cross and became fully weak and vulnerable in our place before a watching world.
If we trust in Him we come to Him in weakness and humility. We strip off all our self-protection and self-righteousness. We fully trust Him to save us. We can’t save ourselves. We become one with Him in spiritual intimacy.
Sex shows us a picture of the glory of Christ. As we meditate on the gospel it ought to inform our sex life as well. When we think of how sacrificially Christ has loved us and at such a cost, it should make us happy to sacrificially serve our spouse sexually, for the glory of Christ.
So, when the age old battle comes up, where one spouse is in the mood and the other is far from the mood, what should you do? Both should seek to be Christ to the other. The wife who doesn’t want to have sex that night should be willing to serve because Christ has served her so fully. And the husband who feels his needs won’t be met that night should be happy to patiently and sacrificially wait because Christ has been so patient with him.
When the battle in sex becomes who can sacrifice the most, who can give the most, who can out serve the other, that’s when an amazing sex life truly starts. There’s where intimacy in all areas will begin to grow. Much more importantly, that’s when Christ is pleased and honored. That’s when we will know and experience Him more.