Archive for November 28th, 2019

1 Corinthians 7:5-7

In 1 Corinthians 7:5-7 Paul rejects the idea that a husband and wife can be more holy if they don’t engage in sexual relations. Abstinence does have a place when it is agreed upon for a specific purpose. But withholding sex is depriving (better translated as defrauding) your spouse. When we deny physical affection and sexual intimacy to our spouse, we cheat them. “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

We need to realize that sexual deprivation in marriage has not only to do with frequency, but with romance also. When we withhold sex without agreement, it gives occasion for the deprived to look elsewhere for fulfillment – and to destroy the marriage. Anything along those lines is sin, but we should not create a situation where our spouse is tempted around sex. We all lack self control, and Satan is a master at leveraging that to cause us to fall flat on our face. This is an area of marriage where temptation can quickly gain a foothold which is why husband and wives need to understand and work to fulfill the needs of each other.

God will permit (reluctantly, as a concession) a married couple to abstain from sexual relations for a short time, for the sake of fasting and prayer. But if this concession is used, it is only to be for a time, and then husband and wife must come together again in a sexual sense. “Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.” God does not command or even recommend abstaining from sex within marriage, but it can be done for a brief time for a specific spiritual reason. God makes it clear that there is nothing wrong, and everything right, about sex in marriage. Satan’s great strategy, when it comes to sex, is to do everything he can to encourage sex outside of marriage, and to discourage sex within marriage.

Though Paul was unmarried when he wrote this letter, he probably had been married at one time. We can say this because we know Paul was an extremely observant Jew and an example among his people. “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin and an unmarried man could not be a member of the Sanhedrin, so Paul was probably married at one time. The scriptures don’t tell us what happened to Paul’s wife. But we know Paul knew singleness was good for him, yet he would not impose it on anyone. The important thing is what gift one has from God, either being gifted to singleness or marriage.

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