Continuing our look at D. F. Wright’s essay on Pauline sexual ethics, we read about the apostle Paul’s thoughts on “sex in relationship.” He writes,
“Paul cites Genesis 2:24 (“the two will become one flesh”) to demonstrate what is involved in the seemingly casual one-night stand with another woman; you become one body with her (1 Cor 6:16; note that Paul substitutes his own favorite s?ma for the Septuagint’s sarx). It is the peculiar dignity of the one-flesh union of heterosexual marriage, on the other hand, that not only is it quite compatible with spiritual union with the Lord (1 Cor 6:17), but also it expresses the myst?rion (“mystery”) of the union between Christ and his church (Eph 5:31–32; 2 Cor 11:2). The analogy covers not merely reciprocal mutual love, respect and care but the union itself. A couple’s becoming “one flesh,” which entails sexual congress whatever else it may entail, is comparable to the bonding between Christ and believers. They become members, limbs, of his body, just as a husband loving his wife loves his own body, his own self (Eph 5:28–30). There is a close affinity between the teaching of 1 Corinthians 6–7 and Ephesians 5.” (Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, 872)
There has been a lot of discussion about the sexual progressiveness of our culture due to the recent Super Bowl half-time show (e.g., Denny Burk), I am reminded that sex is not to be viewed as “dirty” or “evil” or anything like that. No! The way that God intended sex to be experienced actually requires that we have more depth in our relationship with our spouses. Very provocative.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.