The wisdom the Bible offers on the topics of sex and marriage is extremely unpopular these days, sometimes even for those within the Church. Some may even consider the Seventh Commandment against adultery to be immoral—that it’s perverse and unhealthy to restrict our “natural” sexual impulses in any way. But the Bible tells us that God is for us and our sexuality, not against us. We’ll start to discover this when we see how this commandment was given to protect our souls and to reveal the heart of Jesus, our true and faithful Spouse.
Study Guide (pdf): 03.02.08 Seventh Command: Heart of Adultery (Exodus 20.1-17)
This particular passage is notorious for raising questions and controversy. Does it reveal the trivial nature of Christianity- concerned with haircuts and hairstyles? Does it reveal the narrow-mindedness of the Bible? Does the Bible teach women are inferior to men? Was Paul a chauvinist? None of these gets to the heart of the issue. Rather, within the context of marriage, this issue we find Paul addressing is more fundamental and profound- the importance, diversity and glory of the genders.
Is the body and sex something pleasing to God? Do married people owe each other sex? Are there appropriate reasons for divorce? Is being a single person superior or inferior? The Apostle Paul addresses all of these questions in this section of his letter to the Christian community in Corinth and the answers are still just as counter cultural.
Is marriage more than two people merging their goals and agendas? A oneness that is deeper and more profound? One that is both a demonstration and experience of glory? This is the message of Ephesians 5.
In Ephesians 5 Paul gives us the way back to the glory which God intended in marriage. In their make up and roles men and woman offer a distinctive picture of God’s glory–given to compliment one another. However, that glory now comes with a rub.
When it comes to the discussion of gender and roles in society at large, and marriage specifically two tendencies dominate: One is oversimplification of gender and roles, the other obliteration. The Bible avoids both and presents the glory and mystery of men and women, husband and wife.
The glory of romance is most often depicted outside of marriage. Marriage itself as boredom and drudgery–the end of romance. Yet, Ephesians 5 teaches the opposite. It says apart from the commitment of marriage, the glory of romance is superficial and short-lived. And, the intimate and lasting love for which we long, can only be experienced in the commitment of marriage. No Guts, No Glory.