Preaching through books of the Bible lands me in some strange places. For example, this coming Sunday I will be speaking in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 about sexual intimacy within marriage.
Not only is this passage about a subject that is rarely spoken of in church, but it also is a subject I don’t think many people want to hear about from their pastor. And when that reality is coupled with the plethora of misunderstandings and abuses of this passage, the result is A LOT of reading and studying on my part. And this is the Word of the Lord. And it is good. And I am confident it will work into our souls in a beneficial way.
While preparing for this message, I feel like God gave me an image from this passage that has increased gratitude within me. I believe that God has designed healthy marriage to be a fortress of covenant intimacy. The protective nature of intimacy between husband and wife is clearly given in the text as a reason to continue building this fortress.
Many will read into this passage a very technical view of romance and intimacy. Some find Paul’s rationale for an ongoing sex life in marriage to be lacking in pizzazz. But there is something very beautiful about God’s good design.
He has granted to those who enter into the covenant of marriage, a fortress of protection over each, against temptation to commit sexual immorality. This doesn’t mean that married people never cheat or never fall into immorality. But I wonder if that has anything to do with a lack of application of this very passage (especially in the context of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20). I believe that a married couple that puts these principles from 1 Corinthians into practice, will communicate more, will consider the other more, will USE the other less, will give more and will generally be better protected against the temptation to look outside of the marriage for gratification.
God’s Word is good. It is challenging. And yet it often challenges our culture, simply by showing us a better way.