I'm rearranging the order of this series and next week will close with 'Familiarity breeds contempt', how Jesus had no credibility nor respect in the eyes of those in His hometown.
Sex has fallen from the place of honor and holiness it once held
Many Christians have never heard a sermon on the subject, nor a small group Bible study about it - and in the absence of proper teaching sin has entered, so that the body of Christ and even leaders, look pretty much like the world in terms of affairs and secret sins.
But how important and holy is sex in the eyes of God? Rabbi Michael Strassfeld makes this observation in his book, 'A Book of Life':
"'Be fertile and increase (pru urvu) and fill the world*' are the first words addressed by God to human beings. Not 'keep the Sabbath'; not 'don't steal' or even 'you should have two dish drainers, one for dairy and one for meat." *Genesis 1: 28
In other words, "Have sex" is the first command God gave to mankind via Adam and Eve - that command came before the Mosaic law, demonstrating it is for all people Jewish or not. In giving them instructions about how to run the world, He must have had 'the talk' with Adam and Eve which would have set the proper context and understanding of the act of marriage. That this instruction happened is proven in their understanding of the cycle of family:
"(The Lord God)...brought her to man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she will be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and will cling to to his wife; and they shall be one flesh." From the start they understood the cycle of separation and the search for wholeness. Genesis 2: 22-24
That sex is for procreation is understood and it is just built in us to want to have babies with our spouse. That it is also enjoyable was God's doing, and within that we find holiness.
But like all of God's gifts to mankind, like all grace, it can be abused. As the gifts of the Spirit can be abused and removed from their high place of awe and respect that God moves in our midst, so too is sex often removed from the place of holiness it was intended.
Sex maintains holiness or provides wholeness
Our bodies came from the earth like all animals, which the Bible teaches - the Lord sculpted the body of Adam out of clay and then breathed into the sculpture, which was transformed into a living, breathing, human body. Therefore faith teaches us that we take those things we have in common with the animal kingdom and make them holy.
All animals eat food, but we elevate food as a type of consuming every word that comes from the mouth of God for our nourishment. Animals have fur or hair, and we elevate our covering to realize when God made coats of skins for Adam and Eve, it was the first sacrifice for sin - so clothing has been (or should be) seen as holy and a type and picture of God's covering of righteousness over our nakedness.
Sex is the same way; to keep sex at the basic animal level is to defile ourselves who are made in the image of God. Sex is intended to be part of a holy and whole relationship with our spouse, including affection, tenderness, intimacy and more. It should involve our whole spirit and soul and body which is holy, not just our body which is merely animal.
The physical act of sex is the ongoing confirmation of being in covenant with that person. In the best case scenario, a couple has made vows in their hearts to one another and to God, and the act of marriage follows as the physical consummation and confirmation of those vows. Each time a couple comes together they reaffirm the covenant they made in their hearts - whether it be romantic in nature, or a fun spur-of-the-moment romp in the hay. It is holy.
In the same way the kingdom of heaven is compared to a seed, we can say that seed is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. For how many plants and fruit and seeds are within that one tiny seed? In the same way limiting sex to being with just one's spouse is in fact larger on the inside than it is on the outside - the marriage bed is undefiled as Hebrews 13: 4 says, meaning that couple has great freedoms to mutually enjoy God's gift of sex - bound by love and consideration for each other. Within those boundaries, the act of marriage is much larger than it would appear on the outside.
Sex is a gateway not just to holiness in relationships, but the holiness of God
The act of marriage is a type and shadow of the spiritual union of Christ and the church. In the same way on earth we experience wholeness in the moment of sexual union with our spouse, that is a type of being in heaven with the Lord and the whole body of Christ united together with Him. It is mystical, mysterious, and something we will only realize in fullness once it happens.
In Mark 12: 20-25 Jesus was asked about a woman who had been married 7 times, and in heaven whose wife would she be? Jesus said they were in error because they understood neither the scripture (Word) nor the 'power of God' (Spirit).
Human nature hasn't changed and the question they asked is still being asked today. I've been to heaven and can offer some insight. What I noticed in talking to people while there was that they had a personal depth of intimacy with every other person they knew in heaven that was far beyond the intimacy that even my wife and I share with each other.
We retain our memories therefore the memories we have with spouse #1 will still be common between us, as will the memories and times share when we were with spouse #2 - but the level of intimacy elevates all relationships equally to a level beyond the intimacy possible on this fallen earth.
In other words, imagine the most intimate, private, holy moment of one-ness with your spouse in sexual union, and know that level of intimacy is nothing compared to the level of intimacy between people in heaven. In heaven there is no devil, and with power of the Holy Spirit in each of us, there is no misunderstanding - when we share a point of view with someone in heaven it is perfectly communicated via the Spirit so that person knows exactly what we are saying.
There is no devil, there is perfect understanding, there is no risk of being misunderstood - only oneness that comes through complete transparency and perfect understanding - all are one. Imagine the most close and perfect marriage on earth, and that level of unity and understanding can hardly begin to touch the intimacy and love in heaven's relationships.
That's why the act of marriage on earth is a type and shadow of Christ and the church. A level of intimacy awaits us with our friends and relatives in heaven that is closer than any friendship or marriage on earth. True oneness in Christ.
When our children see a healthy mom and dad growing up, when they come of age they will know the context and holy use for sexual union in marriage. Unfortunately good teaching on the subject has largely been ignored by the church, with the sad results we see around us.
God made sex and the drive for sex. His first command to Adam and Eve was for them to have sex. We are created in the image and likeness of God, therefore we should treat one another with the respect and honor due. To treat a person as an object of sex is to fall from that esteem and respect that person is due. If a person holds sex in its proper place of holiness in their heart, they won't have issues with porn or movies that incite one's passions, for they will reject any improper uses of this, God's gift.
Closing out the series next week, until then, blessings,
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