When I first heard sexually explicit banter in the locker room as a teenager, it was obvious there was a huge difference between the way the world thinks about sex and the way Christians think. But I had no idea then just how much the latest sexual revolution would influence thinking about sexuality over the next 30 years.
More than ever, husbands and wives need the Bible’s countercultural perspective on sexuality.
1. Sex has parameters.
Our culture says that if there’s consent, anything goes. But God designed sex for committed, monogamous, covenant marriage between a man and a woman. Paul makes this clear in 1 Thessalonians:
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, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. (1 Thess. 4:3–6)
Paul wants the Thessalonian church to see how sexual parameters protect and guard them. God is clear about the seriousness of sexual fidelity. He’s serious because he knows these boundaries keep sex aligned with its design. These boundaries cultivate faithfulness in us, and they’re ultimately paths to joy and flourishing.
2. Sex isn’t only physical. It’s spiritual.
After God brought the woman to Adam, the Scripture tells us, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Part of God’s plan for marriage is that a husband and wife are united so profoundly that they’re one. The physical oneness experienced in sex is one of the greatest illustrations of the spiritual unity God gives to a married couple (Mal. 2:15; Eph. 5:31).
God is clear about the seriousness of sexual fidelity. He’s serious because he knows that these boundaries keep sex aligned with its design.
The broader culture insinuates that sex is hardly different from numerous other physical actions like working out or eating, but the Bible teaches us there’s much more going on. The unity between marriage partners in sex points to the new covenant unity enjoyed between Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32). The bliss we experience in the marriage bed points us ahead to the bliss we’ll one day experience at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
3. Sex is a good gift from God.
Too often Christians are uncomfortable celebrating the beauty of sex. But God’s Word goes there. We need to remember it’s biblical to think, “I’m so glad God created sex. I’m so glad he made me to enjoy it with my spouse.”
When God talks about sex within marriage, he doesn’t blush, he blesses. In Proverbs, we read, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love” (Prov. 5:18–19).
We shouldn’t be surprised to learn the Bible doesn’t just allow but encourages regular marital sex (1 Cor. 7:3–5). Christians honor God, the Creator of sex, when they enjoy his good gift with their spouse.
4. Sex is designed to bless my spouse.
Everyone knows sex is powerful. Advertisers leverage it. Abusers take advantage of it. Married Christians, however, should use this power to serve their spouses (1 Cor. 7:1–5). In every situation, God commands us, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). This command even applies in the marriage bed.
From movies to pop music, from middle school to middle age, we’re discipled to think that since sex feels good, it must be selfish. But in God’s wisdom, married Christians often find they’re most fulfilled sexually when they pursue their spouse’s sexual desires. In giving, we receive. Learning to serve your spouse takes time, communication, and sacrificial love. But God’s way is ultimately the best, so we glorify God in our marriages when we patiently grow with our spouse sexually.
From middle school to middle age, we’re discipled to think that since sex feels good, it must be selfish.
God created sex on the same day he created marriage. But sin and the curse have warped sex, removing it from the covenant context where our joy and flourishing are most amplified.
In this broken world, Satan has turned sex upside down. He’s twisted our thinking, and the result has been great grief. But by following God’s Word, Christians can rediscover the beauty and joy of sex.