One of the most effective parts of our Gospel Romance Conference was our Table Talks. This post is taken from the notes used in one of those.
A guest post by Bubba Hines…
“Sex is for fully committed relationships because it is to be a foretaste of the joy that comes from being in complete union with God. The most rapturous love between a man and woman is only a hint of God’s love for us (Rom. 7:1–6; Eph. 5:21–33). On the one hand, this analogy anticipates the joy of meeting God face to face. But on the other hand, we realize that sex cannot completely fill the cosmic need our souls seek and that only the beatific vision will bring our loneliness to an end.” Tim Keller
This can be a challenging topic to engage in for a couple of distinct reasons:
- The inherent nature of sexual intimacy is of a very personal and private sort. At the deepest levels of our being, we recognize that and oppose making it impersonal or public by discussing it, sometimes even with our spouse.
- We live in a fallen world thoroughly infected by sin. Sex and sexuality are particularly infused with anti-biblical thoughts, desires, and actions. As a result, we tend to be very confused by what culture teaches us is ok, and what, at the deepest levels of our being, we recognize as not.
As a result of those two points, the majority of Christians fall into one of two categories.
- The Prudish: far too easily shocked or offended, feeling a sense of shame when considering the topic.
- The Crass: having no understanding of what is proper or acceptable, and probably looking to shock the prudish.
You can probably find in your own heart your tendency in one of those two directions on the topic. Yet, as ever, Christ calls us to walk the line in the middle. God is not prudish. God made our bodies “very good” with “male and female” parts and pleasures. When our first parents consummated their covenant, God was not shocked or horrified, because He created our bodies for sex. The reason that sex is fun, pleasurable, and wonderful is because it is a reflection of the loving goodness of God who created it as a gift for us to steward and enjoy (Genesis 2:24-25).
Neither is God crass. He is the very definition of what is proper and acceptable. He speaks to us clearly through scripture about sexual intimacy. There is even one book in the Bible dedicated to the topic and we don’t even have a book of the Bible dedicated to budgeting!
The number one question folks seem to have for us is, “May we do _____?” It would be nice to have an exhaustive list, but we don’t really have time for that, nor do we need it. Scripture lays out some fundamental rules for what is and isn’t acceptable in marital intimacy, summed up in four key points:
- Nothing explicitly forbidden by scripture
i.e. – Inviting a third person to join in
- Nothing implicitly forbidden by scripture
i.e. – pornography
- It is mutually agreeable and enjoyable.
- It includes a strong relational component.
Because we have a foundational presupposition that it is understood that anything forbidden by God is not acceptable, we can sum this up in the words of Ed Wheat: Anything is permissible as long as it is desired by both partners, affords mutual pleasure, and does not offend either partner.
- Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage, by Kevin Leman
- Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage, by Ed Wheat, MD
- Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, by Justin Taylor
- Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God, by C.J. Mahaney
- The Book of Romance: What Solomon Says About Love, Sex, and Intimacy, by Tommy Nelson
- Modern Sexuality: Brian Lowe
- The Art of Intimacy: Tommy Nelson
- Sex is a part of the Gospel: Voddie Baucham
- God and Sex: Matt Chandler