A series of articles written by Joel Virgo are currently being featured on The Resurgence Blog, a resource based in America and run in partnership with Mars Hill Church Seattle and the Acts 29 network. With over 20,000 subscribed followers, the blog is a significant resource and speaks into the lives of many. For the Resurgence Blog Joel has written a series of articles on prayer entitled; “You actually have to pray’”, which looks to the book of Nehemiah for lessons in how to pray fervently and effectively. Please take a look at this helpful resource and be encouraged to share it with others.
Parts of this passage are potentially confusing; ‘It’s good for a man not to have sexual relations with a women’. This seems to contradict Genesis 2 and other scriptures. However, Paul (the writer of this letter) is quoting their (the Corinthians) opinion back to them, this is obviously something they would have said. The bible teaches that sex is good and encourages it wholeheartedly within marriage.
But as well as promoting marriage Paul believes that there is a wonderful role for singleness and is
keen to honour it. Singleness is a unique calling and can bring a liberty to follow God. The bible elevates a certain kind of singleness; for some kind of callings of God singleness can be appropriate.
The church needs to look after and dignify singles and families should be hospitable to them and serve them.
In our culture marriage has a very bad reputation and this has led to people embracing singleness or avoiding marriage for the wrong reasons, even within the church.
People in the church are nervous about marriage and can stay single for some of the following wrong reasons;
Concerned that they are loving their prospective partner more than God. They feel they’ve developed a unhealthy devotion which deflects from their relationship with God. Don’t be hooked into false spirituality, If that isn’t a tension we are balancing in courtship perhaps we should question the relationship?
The ‘Who is the one mentality’ is also to be avoided. God restored you to sonship not to be a robot. We’ve been given ability to make decisions and choose our own partners.
Guys can be picky, they can have a picture of beauty that isn’t biblical. Obviously you need to be attracted to your bride but physical beauty is quite secondary.
For some women misinterpretations of what a spiritual man is can hold people back. Don’t look for the ‘platform gift’ or christian eloquence, look at the heart.
Fear can hold people back but we can be set free by knowing God. If we are fearful we are then not really enjoying God. If we are exposed to the love of God it will overwhelm fear.
We can make marriages our God and try and make them perfect, this is not possible. There has only ever been one perfect husband.
Story of the bible is one of a husband and a bride.God pursues us as a husband to a bride He is perfectly faithful to us and utterly beautiful. To see proof of this look at the cross of Jesus Christ where the greatest husband in history died for his wife, the people of God. He is faithful enough to be tortured and murdered for us.
The first experience of sex in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2) was without shame, there were no hang ups. But Adam and Eve fell away from God into rebellion and immediately were ashamed. One of the many results of our rebellion is a sense of shame and embarrassment associated with nakedness and sexuality. We now no longer use sex to worship God but now we can worship sex itself.
God’s model for us is to enjoy sex within a covenant relationship, a lifelong marriage commitment made before God of the body and soul to one another.
In sex we are looking for pleasure
We are designed to look for and find our pleasure in God. God intends pleasure for us and ultimately only He can give it to us. We look for it elsewhere but it can only give limited returns.
Sex is a magnificent gift from God but in itself it makes a terrible God.
In sex we are looking for love and security
We crave physical intimacy because we are looking for love, support, security, protection etc. Again God intended that this need was ultimately fulfilled in Him and Him alone.
A lifestyle pattern can develop of desiring physical intimacy and this, or the person who gives it, can become our saviour. This can lead to a blinding dependence on people which can lead to abuse.
Defilement and the answer
The reason we are left feeling defiled is really the same reason we feel guilt. We feel guilt because of guilt. We feel defiled because we are defiled.
In the end something has to objectively be done to set us free and the fullest true answer is what Jesus alone can do. Through real repentance, which is rediscovering the person we should have been worshipping in the first place, we can be free. The route to freedom is finding our joy in Jesus.
Through the cross we can receive forgiveness and also cleansing from our sin. Part of the work of the cross is the removal of shame from us. It’s taken away. In our place Jesus has became the scapegoat, he became shame for us.