November 6th

Sex, Singlehood & Marriage

1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. 7For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
8But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
1 Corinthians 7:1-9 NKJV 

These days there is a lot of “sexual confusion” being propagated by the media, the entertainment industry and even the church.  When we’re surrounded by the constant barrage of sexualized messages, it is helpful to keep a firm grip on what God’s word says concerning sex.    

This passage discusses God’s plan for sex. Paul was answering a question that the Corinthians had written to him about. Though we don’t know what the question was, we get a sense that it was about sex, singlehood and marriage.  Paul pointed out that it would be better for people to remain single and celibate because then they could avoid the “troubles” in the flesh that marriage can cause (1 Corinthians 7:28) and focus on serving God without distraction (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).  

Paul conceded that not everyone was gifted to be single as he was.  He pointed to heterosexual marriage as God’s provision for those people who could not control themselves sexually.  I don’t think Paul was trying to portray marriage as solely an outlet for sex, but rather, he was highlighting sexuality because the Corinthians’ question may have addressed it specifically.   

I think it is important to notice what Paul didn’t say.  He didn’t mention homosexual acts, masturbation, anal sex, fornication, pornography (yes, even back then (Ezekiel 23:14-16)) or living together as acceptable outlets for sexual expression.  These sexual alternatives are all too popular today, and it shouldn’t surprise us to see people “burning” with unbridled sexual passions and running into sexual sin as a result.   

God’s plan keeps the powerful and wonderful gift of sex best contained within the loving commitment of heterosexual marriage. When we stick with God’s plan, we’ll have the best chance for happiness.  We’ll need the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11) to help us navigate around the many temptations in our sexualized society.  He will help us successfully live counter-culture and retain sexual purity.  

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord God in heaven, thank you for the wonderful, awesome gift of sex.  I embrace your plan for my sexuality.  I confess any deviation from that plan that I have made through sexual sin: _____________ (specify).  I turn from that sin now and ask for your forgiveness and cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Please strengthen me via the Holy Spirit to live for you and make right choices from this point forward.  I offer my body today as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to you.  Please use me for your purposes.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”