Advice about sex for those married and single
1 Corinthians 7:1-16
Jerry A Collins
ō Does God expect us to marry or remain single?
ō Is sex in marriage Godís way of controlling these urges?
ō What should we do if we are married to an unbeliever?
While I was driving I listened to the Dr. Randy program where people called in about any biblical topic they wished to discuss. When this lady called she described what was for her one of those moments when she says she felt the presence of the Lord very strongly as she was singing in worship in some setting. During this emotional time for her she said she sensed the Lord asking her to give something up for Him as a demonstration her devotion to Him. She decided that that would be wearing makeup especially since this was something already bothering her. Se did not need to try and improve upon the way God created her. So she decided to do his. But she had a problem she told Dr. randy. Her husband likes her wearing makeup. He says it enhances her looks and he likes it. Now she feels guilty whenever she does because she said, she is out of Godís will. She wanted to know how she could help her husband to understand that she should not sin against God and wear makeup. (Oh boy!) I was waiting for his answer. He began by acknowledging her dilemma. He suggested that first, then approach her husband and have the hard conversations but trust that the Lord will enlighten her husband to this since God would not want her out of His will. I gagged! The answer is in 1 Cor 7:32-34. The whole thing was silly. Her experience was just an emotional thing. God already told her what she should do. Wear make-up! You get married, you also assume the responsibility associated with that & here is what we learn about that.
1. MARRIAGE IS NORMAL & CELIBACY IS GOOD †1-7
In chp 1-6 we were dealing with questions from others. Now this section thru chp 15 begins with questions the Corinthians were asking vs 1a. This first question resulted in advice about single, sex and marriage. (1) Donít touch 1-2! Probably not handshaking or greeting hugs but touches which could result in sexual stimulation. It is a good thing to remain unmarried and single. Singleness as long as it is celibate can be good. But command for man & woman to have sex in marriage is because of immoralities 2. Since sexual temptations in singleness the only legitimate outlet for that is marriage. Sexual relations in marriage is preventative against sexual immorality outside of it. So each man is to sexually have his own wife and wife sexually have her own husband. Marriage is full of responsibility and this is one. (2) Donít deprive 3-5. First, sex is a drive that must be controlled but there is a limit to that control 3. That limit is within marriage and must be maintained by married partners. Husbands and wives have a duty to give sexual satisfaction to each other. Second, our bodies belong to our marriage partners 4. Donít covet anotherís partner. So sex in marriage is not an option, an extra or necessary evil but a responsibility. There is mutual authority of each otherís bodies. Third, do not deprive one another of sex beyond self-control 5. †This is emphatic command. The only exception is mutual and temporary. This prayer time may be concerning grief or serious illness for example. When these urgent personal, spiritual or physical needs are past, normal marital relations resume. The reason is lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control. You should never use sexual abstinence as a tool to manipulate or intimidate your partner. That places you and her/him in jeopardy. (3) Some celibate, some married 6-7. The point of abstinence was not a command but a concession if the stipulations were met. Marriage was instituted by God and norm for mankind but not required for everyone 6. The preference, though, is celibacy 7. First, it has the advantage of freedom and independence to serve Christ. That was a good thing for Paul since he traveled extensively and often stayed in places for months and years. There are less complications this way. But he did not expect all who were single to stay that way. And for those who were married it would be wrong to become celibate while married. The point of celibacy is that our priority is the Lord. Pure dedication to God is the ideal and single celibacy is legitimate when it† makes that a priority. I am notóyou are notóall who we know are not. Paul was, Jesus was, 144000 will be. Marriage turns Maryís into Marthaís. Much of Jesusí teaching is difficult if you are married. Even in marriage, Jesus said love your wife and hate your wife. We are still responsible to God for our marriage and we must fulfill the responsibilities God says we have when we do. So priorities (1)†††††† personal & spiritual integrity then if married (2) develop marital intimacy, then if children (3) fulfill parental responsibility then (4) establish professional competency.
2. WHILE MARRIAGE IS
There are four groups given instruction about marriage issues. (1) Those unmarried 8-9† This group includes anyone not married as well as widows. It is good for these to not get married a Paul was 8. Anna became a widow after 7 yrs marriage and devoted herself to service of God in temple and at age 84 held baby Jess (Lk -38). However, lacking sexual self control---get married 9! Reasonógiven 2 choices, one is better than other. Once couple decides to get married should do so soon to stay sexually pure. (2) Those married to believers 10-11 This seems to refer to married believers since he gives instruction later about marriage to unbelievers. The Lord gave instruction about this in Mt 19:5-6 what God has joined together let no man separate. Women are not to divorce their husbands 10. If she does then only 2 options--either remain unmarried or be reconciled 11. Men are not to divorce heir wives either. Divorce is not in Godís program. (3) Those married to unbelievers not wanting out 12-14 Jesus had not specifically addressed this situation in His teaching so Paul inspired of HS gives instruction 12. For believers, the desire to have believing spouse now is strong. But if unbelieving spouse does not want a divorce do not do so just because she unbeliever 13. Reason is believer in situation not defiled by unbelieving spouse (we are product of home like this). It is the opposite. Sanctified means the home is not xian in full sense but is set apart in sense that a believer has influence in the home thru things like fruit of the spirit, prayer, convictions. If both parents were unbelievers the children are unclean in sense that this influence does not exist at all. But now they are holy since child shares in spiritual benefits of their believing parent 14. This testimony can clearly contrast with unbelievers and can lead to childís salvation. (4) Those married unbelievers wanting out 15-16 If unbelieving spouse divorces believer, has no control over outcome so let him leave. The marriage is over. No obligation to do your sexual duty. God has called us to peace generally interpreted as a peaceful divorce. But if you read 10-16 without 15 point is no divorce & keeping marriage together gives unbelieving spouse better chance to get saved 16. But if divorced against, pursue peace based on vows you made. Remain unmarried or be reconciled . Evangelism and holiness in marriage more important than happiness in it. Marriage is not eternal. People and holiness is. †1. Sex drive is perverted and needs to be controlled thru regular sexual relationship with your spouse. This is the only kind f safe sex there is Regularity is defined by the needs of the other spouse.
2. Ideally, celibacy is most perfect preference if desire it. Seems contrary to Godís command to Adam & Noah to multiply and fill the earth and promise to Abe that descendents as numerous as stars.
3. If you are divorced donít remarry except to former spouse. If you are married donít get divorced. 4. One believer in the home is better than none. Believing spouse sets apart the home for greater likelihood of unbelieving spouse & children to become believers. ††