1) When the Bible says “it is not good for man to be alone” it is not suggesting that Adam merely lacked a romantic partner! Sex is about so much more than the satisfaction of our romantic longings. Adam lacked a family, and marriage is the foundation of a new family. Marriage prepares us and enables us to welcome new life into the world.
2) The bible affirms that God’s creation is good, and that we ought to enjoy it. However, creation is God’s, and the Christian is cannot enjoy it in any way he chooses. The world has a definite purpose, and we should not manipulate it to our own ends, passions or desires.
3) Sex is not merely about physical pleasure: it connects us to another person and grants us the power to create new life. Whether we like it or not, whether we recognise it or not, sex is a profound personal and physical union between a man and a woman.
4) Ultimately, the purpose of sex is to create the next generation. When a man and woman have sex, their bodies are attempting to create a new life. Effectively, they say to one another “I am willing to have a child with you.” So, any sexual union should be ready to welcome a child: the couple should be in a permanent, faithful relationship. Sex fulfils its purpose when it creates new families.
5) Marriage ennobles sexuality through commitment, promises and love. In marriage, vows are made before God, family, friends, the wider community and the legal authorities. The couple pledge to love and be faithful, and declare that they are ready to be a family. No private contract or arrangement can be so significant.
6) There ought to be more (though not less) to marriage than romance and attraction. Love must be present in a marriage. We do not measure our love by reflecting on our feelings, but on what we would be prepared to sacrifice for our beloved. Desire is not enough for love – there must also be a passionate commitment. Unless we are prepared to make sacrifices – if we have not learned to truly love- we are not fit to bring new life into the world.
7) Christians really ought to stop saying that God gave us the “gift of sex”. God gave us the gift of marriage and sex is an essential part of that gift. Marriage is not what a young Christian does to get God’s permission to have sex! It binds men and women together physically and personally; it forces them to depend on one another and gives them a common task. Marriage binds families together and reminds them of their responsibilities to the next generation.
8 ) Marriage has a spiritual dimension: because marriage is a means of bringing new life into the world, it is a sign that “love is stronger than death”. Love, commitment and faithfulness are so integral to marriage it is used in the Old Testament to picture God’s relationship with his people. Paul borrows that image and uses it to illustrate Christ’s love for the Church.
9) However, Paul was simply giving an illustration: he was not explaining the sole, or even the primary, purpose of marriage. Marriages are intrinsically good, and the one-flesh relationship of husband and wife is intrinsically marvellous. The point is that Christ’s intimacy with, and sacrifice for, the Church should be mirrored in our relationships.The aim of this passage is not to make us wonder at the allegorical meaning of our marriages, but to wonder at Christ’s love for us – and to be morally challenged by it.
10) Marriage should be celebrated publicly. However, consumerism permeates our culture and a wedding can become an excuse to show how much money we have to spend. James 2 v 1-5 should be read before any Church prepares for a wedding.
11) Sex is not necessary for human fulfilment. A deeper love, a greater sacrifice and a more permanent commitment can be found in Christ.
12) Our inconsolable, romantic longing for perfect love and a “happy ending” cannot be answered by any human being. It would be deeply unjust to ask any human to live up to those expectations. Our deepest desires can only be met by God, through Jesus.