I have asked Geoff Ashley, our Discipleship Resource Pastor, to write this last entry for the Biblical Sex Series Geoff is a gifted writer and thinker who generates a great deal of theological resources for our church.
Sex exists for the glory of God and the joy of His children.Past blogs in this series have illumined various aspects of “biblical sex,” including the parameters and purposes of the gift. This particular post will hopefully build upon the foundation laid by these previous entries in order to bring into greater focus the reality which sex represents.Put simply, sex is a picture and it is by understanding the portrait that we are better able to treasure the Giver of all good gifts. One can never truly understand sex until one begins to grasp its symbolic nature.The first truth which one must consider and comprehend is that sex is not merely a physical act, but is rather a beautiful glimpse into the mingling of souls as two become one.We see this union in the words of Genesis 2:24-25 in which the LORD declares:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
There is an old saying in biblical interpretation that states, “what is the ”therefore’ there for?“. The ”therefore“ within this passage is particularly striking. The context of the declaration is the creation of woman from man. Unlike Adam, Eve was not independently created from the dust of the earth. Rather, she was formed from the rib of man. Since woman was formed from man, ”therefore“ she will again be joined to man. As Eve was fashioned from the very flesh of Adam, sex is the reunion between husband and wife. It physically represents the spiritual realities of unity, vulnerability, intimacy, trust, and joy.Though this spiritual reality is glorious and good, it should not terminate on itself. Sex is not merely a mirror in which we see ourselves, but instead an image of a better Bridegroom and His glorious and pure bride. Within this picture we see represented the reality of the relationship between Christ and His Church.Thinking about sex as a picture of Christ and His Church can be a little uncomfortable and misleading so we should begin by recognizing that the union of man and woman is not an exact parallel to the relationship between Christ and His bride. Sex is meant to orient us toward the relationship between Christ and Church, it is not meant to describe it exactly. We must not think of the relationship between Christ and Church as sexual in nature. Such thinking is foreign to the Scriptures.Though the likeness is not perfectly parallel, the representation of unity, oneness, and intimacy is certainly clear. Nowhere is this parallel more explicit than the fifth chapter of Ephesians:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ”Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.“ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5.25-32)
The union of man and woman represents the joining together of a people called out of darkness to a Person Who is the Light. Through Him we have been reconciled into relationship even now and will one day experience the fullness of communion at the consummation of all things.
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ”Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure“ ” for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:6-10)
God has drawn the picture of sex in order to draw us to worship Him. As man and woman experience the sanctity and satisfaction of physical and spiritual union, they are compelled to contemplate the reality of the One Who created sex for His glory and our joy. May we be a people who do not exalt the gift over the Giver or ignore the glorious symbolism.