Theology of sex, pt. III

If you have missed the first two posts in this series, I encourage you to go read them.
The Theology of Sex, Pt. I
The Theology of Sex, Pt. II

In these posts I stated that I believe the ultimate purpose of sex is to glorify God. Today, however, I wanted to write about what the implications of God-created, God-glorifying sex are in our marriages.

It is crucial that you realize that sex is not an accident. It is not an arbitrary gift of marriage that God gave without thought or meaning. God does nothing without thought or meaning. And since the primary story the Bible is telling is a love story, that starts with marriage (Adam and Eve) and ends with a marriage (the marriage supper of the Lamb), our marriages here on earth are divinely ordained pictures of the whole point of creation – God creating a bride for Himself.

In order to truly understand the importance of sex, we have to understand the true importance of marriage. Marriage is a covenant created between a man and a woman “Who have no natural obligations to each other…but who voluntarily take on the permanent obligations and commitments of a family relationship.” The ability to form a covenant relationship is central to what it means to be created in the image of God. It is a reflection of Christ and His church. Covenants are serious and holy things. If you have never had the chance to study what a covenant is, I encourage you to do so. It will give you a much deeper and richer understanding of both your marriage and your salvation. One of the most important points to note about covenants is that they always have a sign. God’s covenant to not destroy the world after the flood had the rainbow. God’s covenant with us through Christ has baptism. The covenant of marriage has sex.  Let me again quote “Sex and Supremacy of Christ“:

And so it is with the covenant of marriage. Once married, a man relates to every other women in the world as if she were his sister or his mother – people you do not have sex with. He relates to this one woman as his wife, uniting to her in a one-flesh relationship of mutual love, loyalty and intimacy. The sign of that unique covenant relationship is the physical act of becoming one flesh in sexual intercourse. What this means is that intimacy and pleasure of sex is not the reward we receive for getting married. That would be like saying baptism is the reward we get for becoming Christians. No, sex is the sign of the marriage covenant itself. And to engage in sex is to call God as a witness to hold us accountable for our covenantal commitment.

Aren’t those achingly powerful words? Sex calls God to witness. Sex is the sign of the covenant we have made with each other.
This is why it matters when you are betrayed sexually. This is why it matters when sex is missing from your marriage. Because it isn’t just “icing on the cake”, it isn’t just a “nice but unnecessary” part of marriage. It is a sign of the priceless covenant you have made before God, and a reminder to you of the vows you made. It defeats the plans of the enemy to drive you apart.

It’s crucial to realize that “we glorify God when we cultivate sexual desire for our [spouse] and welcome their sexual desire for us.” I know that there are so many couples that are struggling with sex in their marriages. I hear from higher drive wives all the time whose husbands don’t serve them sexually. And the pain in their hearts reflects just how crucial this life-giving, God-glorifying, sign of their covenant is. Sex matters, dear friends. And it matters on a deeply spiritual level.

The purpose of sex is to glorify God. It is to give us a language and a model of the love He has for us, and of our relationship to Him as His bride. The purpose of sex is  as a sign of our covenant before God, and it unifies our hearts. The joy of sex is the pleasure it brings us, and the simple unity of friendship it grants us. Do I believe sex is the only thing in a marriage that unifies? Of course not – there are many things in a marriage that are needed – communication, sacrifice, a willingness to serve, laughter, friendship. But the only physical sign God has given us of our being “one flesh” is sexual intercourse. And I believe it is a cornerstone for a healthy, thriving, God-glorifying marriage.

My prayer for you today is that you would see the great love the Father has for us by giving us the gift that is our sexuality, and that we would be able to honor Him in the way we express it in our marriages. My prayer is that all of us, myself included, would continue to form our theology of sex in a way that brings a solid foundation for make choices from.

So what are your thoughts about this? How do you see sex functioning within a healthy marriage?


4 thoughts on “Theology of sex, pt. III

  1. Beautifully spoken! This confirms why I feel so strongly to turn away from the sexuality of the world and revel in the beauty of sex God has given to marriage. Your words are a wonderful description of the unity and blessing in the covenant relationship of marriage. I love this part of the book you quoted “And to engage in sex is to call God as a witness to hold us accountable for our covenantal commitment.” Wow, how honorable is that???
    There is so much talk about freedom in our culture, but only in truth is true freedom found. Reminds me of the verse Romans 1:25: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie…” I’m feeling so liberated today 🙂

  2. Great post! Sexual intimacy is the overflow of mutually genuine commitment, love, and respect in marriage.

    As a single man in his early 40s though, the fear of never finding a spouse, or (Lord willing) if I do, being denied sexual intimacy is a scary place to be. But it is clear to me that those who struggle the most are like yourself; married, but whose longings and desires for intimacy remain unfulfilled. That’s a far more difficult place to be. Praying that somehow God will bring resolution to this on your behalf.

  3. Great post Annabel. Your point about our sexuality being so central to our being touches me. I am SGA, I live with unwanted same gender attraction, and God has blessed me with an amazing husband, who knew that from the start and was SOOOOO patient with me for so many years (even though he was hurting incredibly)! Many (most?) men would have given up.


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