The Intimate Marriage
Sex and marriage are gifts from God.
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This week we're talking about intimacy and the role that sex plays within marriage. Paul writes extensively about sex to the Christians living in Corinth because they were living in a sex-crazed society, much like today. They worshipped Aphrodite, the love goddess, by engaging in sex with temple prostitutes. Even their views on marriage were twisted. Corinthian society recognized four types of marriage: In a Tent Companionship, two slaves could choose to live as husband and wife. Many Christians were in this position. Much like today, in a Common Law marriage, a couple was considered legally married after extended cohabitation. A Sales Transaction marriage meant a bride was purchased. And a Full Ceremony included vows, rings, and a veil. It was not uncommon for someone to marry 20 times!
So when Paul taught this church about a Christian view of sexuality, they wrote back saying: "You don't know where we live." There were two groups in the church, each representing an extreme. One group was really loose and said that they could do whatever they wanted with their bodies because sex doesn't really touch us on a spiritual level. We saw how Paul dealt with them in chapter 6:12-20. The second group went to the other extreme and believed sex was so unspiritual that Christians should never be involved, even in marriage. Paul responds to this group in chapter 7 with three instructions about sex in marriage.
Marriage is a safeguard against sexual sin.
The first thing Paul says is that marriage is a safeguard against sexual sin. In 7:1-2, Paul says, "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to ...
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Mark Mitchell is pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.