The Big Idea: Christian hope radically transforms how we think about sex, romance, singleness, and marriage.
I. The Revolutionary view on Sex
Two common views of sex both in Pauls day and in ours: a. sex as appetite it is just a physical thing that I need like hunger for food; b. sex as dirty the body is bad and the spirit is good, sex is just for procreationbut barely.
Today often sex is approached with the attitude that I want to have sex with you but I want to keep my independence I am my own person. However, Paul shows in contrast that the radical view of sex that it is the radical, self-donation and personal transformation and completion process.
After 15 years of marriage to Jodi, I have been transformed through this radical, self-donation process of personal transformation and fulfillment. Now, when I enter a room, for instance, I have a read of all situations through my own experience AND how Jodi would see the room. Because I have not held to my independence, I now see two ways to approach a social setting or a room: where Jodi would start, how she would approach it, what questions she would ask first, and also the approach I have also developed over the years. I now have a whole range of options and wisdom to chose from that were never open to me until I have been transformed by giving my life into her monogamously.
II. The Revolutionary view on singleness
Singles are in no way missing out: After taking such a high view of sex, it is astounding to see Paul then in these verses say that if you dont every experience it, you will live just as a fulfilled life. What? This, again, was radical to Pauls day and ours. In a traditional society, there is no such thing as individual accomplishment or fulfillment. You did will if the family as a whole did well. You only had honor that was ascribed to the family. The main single adults were prostitutes. Singleness was not an option. Now it is! Paul says if you are married, stay married. If you are single, dont pursue hard after marriage you can live fulfilled in this new life either way. Why is that? Point three below
III. How Christian hope reshapes our attitude and approaches
- The future ultimate family the church in the overlapping kingdom (i.e. after Christ came the first time and before he comes a second time) is THE family you have regardless of if you have a biological one or not. Mark 10 talks about the kingdom in such a way that if we give up family we have 100 more here in this life and eternal life to come. What?
- The future ultimate journey approach marriage as the journey through the gracious gift of life that God has given us according to 1 Peter 3. View your spouse as someone you want to go on the journey with AND figure out everyway possible to help them get there on the journey. Ephesians 5 calls men to do this for their wives, making them more beautify. What are you doing to make your spouse better suited for the journey? Keller relates the story of the man who said his wife has been married to 5 different men in the last 20 years and they have all been him. We all change. Are you helping your spouse adapt to Gods mission for them as the chapters of life change?
- The future ultimate lover recognize in marriage that your spouse is only meant to point to Christ not be your functional savior. Verse 15-17 says that Christ is who you were made for. Why did Christ when talking to the woman at the well immediately change from everlasting water to marriage and her 5 husbands? Because He was saying, woman, I am your maker and will satisfy you with water that your failed marriages never delivered. I am your ultimate lover. You cannot have intimacy with God unless you lose your independence. God, in Christ on the cross, lost His independence, in a sense, so that He could have intimacy with us, uniting us to His son.
This is truly a radical view of sex: this is the highest view of purity and satisfaction yet you are not missing out on anything if you remain single; if you get married or not, you get a new family, Christ changes you on the journey, and he becomes your greatest lover!