And he answered and said, “Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh’? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matthew 19:4-6).
Sexuality remains the “50-ton elephant” among God’s people. Western society is obsessed with sex and is saturated with sexualized images and conversations. Yet among God’s people we find it awkward and difficult to talk about sexuality beyond the condemnation of all forms of sexual immorality and exhorting young people to avoid sex until marriage. Many Christians hear these exhortations and know they should comply, and yet they may not have heard God’s intentions for sexuality. Far too many learn about sex not from the Bible or godly men and women but from various worldly sources and find it very difficult to avoid temptation. This is a great tragedy, for God’s intentions for sexuality can both encourage our faith in Him and give encouragement unto chastity.
Human sexuality was created by God and is good (Genesis 1:26-31). Both men and women are made in God’s image and are to come together and become one flesh (Genesis 2:18-25). God has thus joined them, and man is not to separate them; the marriage bed is to be held in honor (Matthew 19:4-6, Hebrews 13:4). Human sexuality is easily corruptible and used toward impure and ungodly ends (Romans 1:18-32), but such does not mean that all sexuality is bad, evil, corrupt, or dirty.
In fact, the intimacy experienced in human sexuality between a man and a woman in marriage is the closest physical experience as a type of the deep spiritual intimacy experienced by God within Himself and which He desires to maintain with people. God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4-6), and yet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God and yet distinct persons (John 1:1, 8:15-18, 2 Peter 1:21). God is thus One in relational unity, indwelling each other yet remaining distinct persons (John 17:20-23). The closest human analogy is sex in marriage as seen in Genesis 2:24 and especially Matthew 19:4-6: the two are no longer two but one and yet remain distinct persons. Not for nothing, therefore, does Paul speak of the divine mystery of the relationship of Christ and the church in terms of the husband and wife becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:32)!
God thus intends for human sexuality to represent a means by which He has demonstrated His divine nature in what He has created (Romans 1:20). As the Father, Son, and Spirit indwell each other and remain distinct persons, so a man and a woman indwell each other and yet remain distinct persons (Matthew 19:4-6, John 17:20-23). As God shared love within Himself and wished to share that love with His “offspring,” humanity created in His image, so when a man and a woman share love and know one another, offspring may result, the ultimate expression of the two becoming one, since the child will manifest characteristics of both father and mother (Genesis 1:26-28, Acts 17:26-29, 1 Corinthians 11:8-12, 1 John 4:8). As God maintains relationships with humanity through covenants, providing a bond of blessings and obligations which can support deep intimacy, so the deep intimacy of sexuality is designed to be expressed only in the covenant bond of marriage (Genesis 2:24, Malachi 2:14, Matthew 19:4-6).
Sex can be good; it was created and designed to provide a consistent yet unique bonding experience for a man and a woman already committed to one another in the covenant of marriage, expressing the deepest form of intimacy which can be experienced in the flesh. When human sexuality remains elevated over the base animalistic impulse it can reflect in us, however dimly, the image of the God who is one in three and three in one. Yet when human sexuality is debased it can unleash savagery and untold amounts of pain and suffering. Let us honor God’s intention for sexuality in our mind and heart and glorify God in our bodies!
Ethan R. Longhenry