I am sure that the title caught your attention. Many people have many different views on the sexual relationship. Today, there is much confusion on the subject. Confusion exists in society as well as in the church. I recently taught on this subject in a foreign country and I was surprised to find that much of the confusion that we face in our country is faced in other countries as well. In order to answer the question posed in the title of this article, we need to open up the Word of God. The Bible has been called God’s “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”. We need to discover why God created sex so that we can enjoy it the way that God intended. It is a beautiful gift from God but, it must be kept in its proper context.
I. In the beginning
In order to discover the truth about sex, we need to return to the creation of sex in the book of beginnings, Genesis.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1)
God created one man and one woman to be joined together in the bonds of marriage. The sexual relationship is part of that marriage. The marriage takes place first and then the sexual relationship follows. In order to enjoy the sexual relationship, it is to be experienced by one man and one woman within the bonds of marriage. Sex is not for any other situation. Sex is not for two unmarried people. Sex is not for a man and a man or for a woman and a woman. According to verse 28 of Genesis chapter 1, sex within marriage is blessed by God. This is the only way that sex is a blessing for people, within the bonds of marriage between one man and one woman. Anything other than that goes against God.
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2)
To reiterate this, in Genesis 2 God lays out a clear order. One man leaves his family to form a new family with one woman, his wife. Once they are joined together in marriage, then they can enjoy the sexual relationship as a blessing from the Lord.
What were God’s intentions for the sexual relationship? Let’s discover the answer in the Word.
II. God’s Intention
According to Genesis 1, the sexual relationship was given to husband and wife in order to produce children. Is that the only reason? Could God have also intended the sexual relationship for pleasure and enjoyment? Let’s take a look in the Word.
15 Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. (Proverbs 5)
The above verses were written by a father to his son to prepare him for life, included married life with his wife. The language is beautiful picture of the relationship between a husband and wife. The sexual relationship is compared to water. This is important because we discover the importance of the sexual relationship. It is not solely for procreation. It is also necessary to the relationship, as water is to us. This relationship is blessed by God within the bonds of marriage. We are to rejoice in the sexual relationship which means that it is also for pleasure and enjoyment. The sexual relationship brings about satisfaction when it is blessed by God in marriage.
Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (I Corinthians 7:5)
The sexual relationship is to be enjoyed by husband and wife. It is an act that is to be enjoyed frequently. The apostle Paul tells the believers in Corinth to stop depriving one another (husbands and wives) in the area of sex. The sexual relationship keeps us from falling into temptation in the sexual realm. It’s good for us. Sex in marriage is not dirty and it is not sinful. It is not something to simply be endured in order produce children.
III. God’s Rules
Since God created the sexual relationship, He is able to determine the rules.
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)
When people who are not married practice the sexual relationship, they defile themselves and their future marriage bed, as well as dishonor marriage. God has promised to judge those who have sex outside of marriage. In the book of Deuteronomy 22, God lays out the rules for the sexual relationship.
- Premarital sex I – In verse 13-21, the scenario is a man marrying a woman, having relations with her on their wedding night and learning that she was not a virgin when he married her. She has never been married and the only way that she could have lost her virginity was having premarital sex. The punishment was death. Maintaining her purity until marriage protected her and her family.
- Adultery – In verse 22, the next scenario is a married person having sex with someone other than his or her spouse. God condemns both parties in this case and the punishment was that they were both put to death. This punishment purges the evil from the land and protects the innocent as well as the victims.
- Premarital sex II – In verses 23-24, we see another case of premarital sex. The difference between this one and the previous one is that in this case, they are caught in the act and one of the partners was engaged to another person. Both are punished. The punishment is death. It is to purge the land from evil, to keep these actions from spreading. This protects the innocent people as well as the victims.
- Rape – This is a sexual sin and it is punished by death. The one who sins and rapes a girl is the only one who is put to death. The victim is protected.
- Premarital sex III – This is the third case of premarital sex. If differs from the others because no one is engaged. If and when they are caught, they must marry and never divorce. This protects the girl from falling in to the punishment of premarital sex point number 1.
In the book of Leviticus, God lays out more rules for the sexual relationship.
- Incest in several different forms. A mother and her son have sexual relations. They are both to be put to death. They have condemned themselves by their own actions. A man and his daughter-in-law have sexual relations. Death is the result and they mark themselves out for this punishment by their own actions. A man and his mother-in-law have sexual relations. Their punishment is death and they mark themselves for this death by their own actions. Brothers and sisters who have sexual relations with each other will pay the price. They bear the shame of their actions and are cut off from their people. A man has sexual relations with his aunt and God condemns this. They will pay the price for their sins. Another case of incest is a man and his sister-in-law. God condemns it and they will pay the price for their sins.
- Homosexuality – Those who claim that homosexuality is not a sin because the word homosexual is not in the Bible do not read this passage. God defines their actions instead of using a specific term. The result is death and they bring this punishment upon themselves.
- Bestiality committed by men and women. Both men and women who practice this form of sexual sin are put to death and they are at fault for their death because of their actions.
- Sex during the menstrual cycle. According to God, this is a sin and should not be practiced. Those who practice this bring judgment upon themselves.
- Pornography – Uncovering the nakedness of others literally means, purposefully exposing the genitals of another to see and lust over. This is what happens when you look at porn.
In the book of I Thessalonians, the apostle Paul reveals something very important about people who practice sexual sin.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; (I Thessalonians 4)
People who have sex outside of marriage, or, people who practice the sexual sins mentioned above, they do not know God.
IV. Practical Advice
The apostle Paul leaves us some practical advice in his first letter to the church of Corinth.
Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. (I Corinthians 7:1)
For the single people, do not start a fire in yourself or in the opposite sex because it could lead to sexual immorality. Like the old saying goes, “if you play with fire, you will eventually get burned”. If you are not married, stay away from anything sexually related. Don’t flirt with fire so that you will not get burned. On the other hand, as married people, do start fires in each other because you are able to put that fire out with sex.
3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (I Corinthians 7)
Stop depriving one another. Instead, carry out your duty of satisfying your spouse sexually. Before marriage, the world says “yes, yes, yes” to sex and then after getting married, “no, no, no). God says the exact opposite. Before marriage, God says, “no, no, no” to the sexual relationship and then after getting married, God says, “yes, yes, yes”. I find it ironic that we have turned things upside down.
How do you view the sexual relationship, my dear friend? Do you see it as a gift from God for married couples? Are you ready to enjoy it as being the will of God? May the Lord help us understand this amazing gift from the Lord for married couples!