The apostle Paul, knowing that our joy and satisfaction in life is largely dependent upon whether we learn to walk with the same purpose and passion that our Savior did and does, says this of the passionate purpose that drove Him to the cross, “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:14
Jesus Christ, the Head of the church, died on the cross so that He might over time raise up a purified and unified people who live to know and serve Him and are increasingly zealous to please and glorify Him in this fallen world He has placed us in. To get us there He has to redeem us from every lawless deed and purify us from all sin.
We have noticed over the last 40 plus years of ministry that there are several realms of life on this earth that seem to trip we believers up more than others. And there are several areas of life that unbelievers who come to Christ out of years in the world and kingdom of darkness need more help than others to get free and clean from.
In general we believers need more redemption and more purifying in these realms than in others. I spoke to one of them in my last post re: seeing and going about our work God’s way.
Today I want to speak to another of those realms – that being experiencing God’s presence, favor, blessing and cleansing in all matters gender, marital and sexual. The Bible has tons to say about this subject thankfully. And while most of us have been significantly negatively affected by the sexualized world we live in; our Savior is more than up for the challenge of cleaning us up and helping us thrive in such a corrupt world. I would like to start with a word about Gender since that is really where God’s discussion with us begins.
God’s Design for Gender Uniqueness
I realize there is much angst in our culture over gender in these days. Often we hear commentators speak of the “gender wars”. I do not want to minimize or trivialize the very real emotional pain that some are battling within this arena.
But for us to get healthy and become whole in this realm of sex, we must first recognize that God knew what He was doing when He intentionally created two distinct genders, male and female. As the author of Genesis wrote, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27
And as Jesus Himself reiterated, “…… “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,” Matthew 19:4
There are many understandable reasons why some men and women are not able to accept their God given gender and are wanting to somehow change it. All I can say time and space wise at this point is Jesus Christ the Savior and great Lover of our Souls wants to heal and help each of us come to a place where we happily accept our God given gender and become more and more at peace with it. May we all learn to look to Him for that much needed help.
God’s Design for Heterosexual Marriage
The writer of the book of Genesis, which by the way is where many foundations for the kingdom and/or way and plan of God are laid, lays down one of the most foundational principles for all of society in the following verse,
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“One flesh” speaks of the sexual, emotional, mental and spiritual oneness God intended for every married couple. This principle is so important that Jesus also spoke to it in a discussion about marriage and divorce, “…….‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Matthew 19:5,6
The apostle Paul repeated this foundational principle in the longest treatise on the glorious institution of marriage in the New Testament, “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” Ephesians 5:31
Every good thing God has planned and intended for humanity on this earth is dependent to some degree upon the institution or relationship of marriage between a man and a woman functioning at all cylinders. No wonder Satan and his demons have gone after it with all of their diabolical fury.
God’s Design for Sex within Heterosexual Marriage
The loving and good God who created sex created it to be both a satisfying/bonding regular activity between a husband and a wife and a means of procreation. Let’s look at some scriptures that speak to this:
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh Genesis 2:24;
While this does not just speak to the sexual part of a marital relationship, it definitely does speak to the importance of regular sexual bonding.
“Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from you own well. Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.” Proverbs 5:15-19
In this passage, King Solomon by divine inspiration spoke to both the God designed satisfaction and exhilaration that was meant to be experienced by married couples sexually and the fact that sexual satisfaction and fulfillment was never to be sought elsewhere.
Song of Solomon – Sadly this book has oft been solely spiritualized or interpreted metaphorically, when its primary intended purpose was to celebrate the romantic and sexual/marital relationship between a soon to be husband and wife. Its neglect or misuse has greatly hindered the church from seeing and pursuing God’s wonderful design for romance and sex and verbal sensual affection in the marriage relationship. We highly recommend that every married or engaged person get familiar and comfortable with the Song of Solomon.
“The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 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. 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 Cor. 7:3-5
This passage makes clear that not engaging in regular marital sex is not an option for disciples of Jesus. Are there obstacles and hindrances to overcome? Yes, often there are. But if we say we love Jesus we must get help to overcome them. Jesus would not call us to something unless He fully intended to help us overcome every bad experience and negative thought pattern that might hinder it. And please note that depriving one another for non God pleasing reasons opens a door for the evil one to attack.
Please know this passage was never meant to be a club for one spouse to hold over the other. If you as a spouse long to experience this and your spouse doesn’t, then it behooves you to do three things: First ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you whatever it is in the way you relate to your spouse that might hinder your spouse getting healed and free in this area and giving him or herself to you. Second, devote yourself to prayer for your spouse so that they can find in Christ all they need to overcome and be healed of their issues. Third, if there are physical/health/bodily issues hindering this in your spouse, you should pray for their healing in Jesus’s name.
“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 One cannot claim to love Jesus and be seeking to follow Him and be a part of His church/people and not feel the way God feels about heterosexual marriage between one man and one woman for life (or at least be working towards this). If your parents’ marital experience was negative; and perhaps even your own first or second marital experience or non marital experiences with the opposite sex or even the same sex were negative, then Jesus will have to heal you over time to be able to feel the way He feels about marriage. But our Savior is so good and so great that He is more than happy to make us whole in these areas.
For the church to be a church that the Head is happy and pleased with, we must all see and feel about marriage as He does. One of the reasons He is so wonderful is He can and will get us all there though the road will be different for each of us.
Please keep in mind marriage was created before the people of Israel and before the church was created, both of whom could never fulfill their calling and purpose without healthy marriages.
Please also note that marital sex or “the marriage bed” is never to be defiled by any kind of sexual pursuit or pleasure (or impure thought pattern, desire or attitude) outside of one’s marriage. We will talk about all of this more in Part II.
Father, we thank You for the blood of Jesus, poured out and ever available for us to be cleansed and made whole in all matters sexual and marital. We pray that You would cleanse us all from all sexual impurity and immorality. We pray You would cleanse us from all impure images from what we have experienced, seen and heard over all these years on this sin stained planet. We pray You would help us to accept and see Your goodness and wisdom in giving us the gender You chose to give us. We pray that You would give us Your heart and mind about heterosexual marriage. We pray that You would heal us from all negative and sinful sexual experiences, whether we were a willing participant or not. In Jesus’s wonderful name, Amen!