Chapter 7: Recapturing the True Values of Sex—the Commanded Functions
It assuredly is evident by now that sex was designed
neither as something evil, filthy and degrading—nor, on the other hand, to be used in premarital, extramarital, homosexual or other manner of perversion.
Sex did not aimlessly evolve without purpose. It was designed by the Creator, and is to be held in sacred and holy honor. It was created for man’s good, not his destruction.
When God Almighty created sex in humans, there was purpose so high and wonderful it transcends human ability fully to comprehend. It was designed directly to reflect our relationship with the Holy God! Man’s destiny is to be born into the very God Family—to become a member of the divine Kingdom of God.
What an incomparable destiny! Think of it! To be privileged to enter the divine Family—to be enabled to know and experience the blessings of family relationship—a God-plane relationship allowed to no other species or kind of life—to be given the joys of the love relationship of marriage and family here and now—in this present mortal life!
All this is beyond the comprehension of those deceived by repressive prudery, and those contaminated by the modern sweep of immorality being falsely labeled “the New Morality.”
God, in His wisdom, knew the necessity of preparing potential members of His divine Family, during this life, for that peaceful, happy, loving family relationship. Man should be boundlessly grateful, instead of polluting, profaning, perverting these blessings of God!
God Commands Sex Love
Now back once again to God’s original instruction to our first parents!
Because, after creating Adam, God created the female Eve, He said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Now what does that mean—a husband and wife “shall be one flesh”?
Remember, this Genesis record is the most abbreviated summary of God’s instruction to the first man and woman. Man must not try to interpret Scripture. The Scripture interprets itself! One scripture interprets another!
What, then, is the Bible explanation of what is meant by being “one flesh”? It is explained very plainly in 1 Corinthians 6:16. There we find this very passage of Genesis 2:24 quoted and explained.
Condemning fornication between a man and a harlot, this passage says: “… Now the body is not for fornication …. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? [the temple of the Holy Spirit—verse 19] shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh” (1 Corinthians 6:13, 15-16). And verse 18 adds, “Flee fornication.”
The words in this passage, “for two, saith he, shall be one flesh,” is a direct citation from Genesis 2:24!
That is plain speaking!
In 1 Corinthians 6:16 this act between a man and a harlot is condemned as a capital sin! But in Genesis 2:24—and also in Jesus’s quotation from it in Matthew 19:5—this same act is commanded between husband and wife! God says a man and wife shall—a direct command!—“be one flesh.
So, translated into frank and plain words, God says that, because God made humans male and female—a man shall marry a wife, and they shall have sexual intercourse!
And the Bible also commands, “Husbands, love your wives!”
And Jesus added, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).
Marriage was ordained of God! Marriage has God’s blessing! God commanded the first humans to have sexual intercourse—and so this relationship is directly commanded by God, and has God’s blessing!
But only in marriage!
Sex in marriage, far from being a sin, is “what God has joined together.” It is a holy and sacred relationship!
All through the Bible, God condemns lust. Fornication—the sex act committed prior to marriage—is a sin and breaks the Seventh Commandment. Homosexuality is condemned in the Bible as sin—sodomites shall not inherit the Kingdom of God! Any use of sex, except as an expression of love in marriage, and, also, for the purpose of procreation in marriage, is a sin, and breaks the Seventh Commandment! That includes masturbation, bestiality—any perversion—any use except that of love and reproduction in marriage!
The marriage relation is the very type of Christ’s relation to the Church! The family relationship is a sacred God-plane relationship! It must be kept sacred. For the good of both husband and wife—as well as for their future in eternity—it must be kept inviolate between themselves alone!
Now understand this entire passage in the 6th chapter of 1 Corinthians—for you probably have never looked at it closely enough to fully comprehend it before.
“Glorify God in Your Body”
This chapter continues the thought of the preceding 5th chapter. It is, of course, part of a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Church of God at Corinth. These people, as a whole, were converted Christians—they had really repented of the former life, and had received God’s Holy Spirit. But of course that does not remove human nature. Real repentance and receiving God’s Holy Spirit does remove the spirit of hostility against God and neighbor—but not natural and normal self-concern. A Spirit-begotten person still must resist inordinate desires of the flesh.
Those of the Corinthian church were still spiritual babes. Paul’s letter was corrective. Some were being enticed into fornication and immorality. One, in particular, had been indulging in a sex relationship with his stepmother.
It seems the Church at Corinth was adopting the attitude of some ministers today. They showed “compassion” on this fornicator by condoning and approving his sin. Paul sternly commanded them, by authority of Jesus Christ, to put this evildoer out of the Church (chapter 5, to verse 13).
In chapter 6, some church members were taking their personal disputes before the civil courts. Paul condemned this, saying they should bring such matters before Church officials for settlement.
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” he asked. He was speaking of the time, after Christ’s coming and the resurrection, in the coming “Millennium,” when the begotten children of God shall have been born into the world-ruling Kingdom of God! Here Paul reminded the Church (for his epistle was inspired as God’s Word for God’s whole Church, even of our day) of man’s tremendous destiny! “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” he continued (verse 3). “[H]ow much more things that pertain to this life?”
He continues, verses 9-10: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals], Nor thieves … shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Then Paul shows that, even though one has led such a life—committed such sins—he can be forgiven, if he repents and turns from them—and still can inherit eternal life. In the next (11th) verse, he continues: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed …” (forgiven and cleansed of such things, through Christ).
This morality subject is continued in verses 13-15: “… Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord [Christ’s resurrection], and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.”
Then follow the verses first quoted above: “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh” (verse 16). Then verse 18: “Flee fornication. … What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy [Spirit] which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price [by Christ’s death!]: therefore glorify God in your body …” (verses 18-20).
Look at that carefully! The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The body does not belong to the individual—we are not our own—Christ bought and paid for us! Therefore glorify God—HOW? It does not say with “your mind”—but “in your body”!
All through this passage, even from the preceding chapter, the theme has been sex. These two chapters forbid and condemn the misuse of sex through fornication, adultery, homosexuality, masturbation. But God established marriage. Marriage is honorable—marriage has God’s blessing—it is God who joins the husband and wife in a God-plane relationship. And God has said a man and wife shall “be one flesh”—shall express marital love in sexual intercourse!
This glorifies God—because God ordained it—because God actually joined the husband and wife. You thus glorify God in your body by keeping it pure from fornication, adultery or other wrong use, and also by this God-ordained right and sacred use of sex in marriage.
This is a direct command thus to glorify God by using the body in this God-ordained use.
Minds Unknowingly Perverted
If a husband and wife approach the sexual union in love, as an expression of love, comprehending the divine significance and God-ordained meaning of this use of sex—and giving God thanks—they are glorifying God with their bodies!
But have some minds become so perverted by this satanic teaching that even God-ordained married love seems shameful, degrading, and leaves some with a sense of guilt? One of the tragedies of all time is the fact that some actually have been thus branded!
What a catastrophe in human experience! What a cunning, diabolical deception of Satan!
God blessed mankind with the holy God-plane institution of marriage—the very picture of the Christ-Church relationship. God made possible this expression of marital love, by which two whom God has joined for life may glorify God in their bodies! God endowed mankind with the God-plane institution of the family and the home—the very type of the Kingdom of God into which we may be born. Thus God ordained that even in this mortal life we may experience the blessing of family life, to prepare us for life in the Kingdom of God!
But humanity has lost the knowledge of these glorious truths!
Today the new immorality calling sex good—even in promiscuity—is sweeping the world. Nevertheless, a large portion of girls being drawn into mental acceptance still feel a sense of shame and guilt. It’s a psychological hangover from the agelong “Old Morality.”
I know, too, that thousands of wives will read this book—accept this truth with gratitude to God—and still find themselves unable to eradicate false convictions. They are simply victims of this agelong “moral” teaching of Satan.
Many of today’s women—or especially those of the not-too-long-ago ’40s and ’50s—have been taught from early childhood by well-intentioned parents that sex is some kind of “animal instinct”—that sex is “not nice,” but shameful, degrading, sinful. This attitude has been so deeply embedded they now find themselves unable to free their minds.
Coming to know the truth intellectually, a wife may really want love and a good physical relationship with her husband. Yet she finds that she just somehow can’t “let herself go.” Lovemaking, which a benevolent God formed her to enjoy with her husband, just somehow seems to be contaminated. It leaves her with a sense of shame and guilt. She knows better, in her mind—yet this false sense has been inculcated so deeply, it seems still to hold her in its clutch.
Do you know why?
“Seared with a Hot Iron”
Do you realize that one can be taught a thing so intensively, so repeatedly, that the false concept has become literally burned in to the extent he (or, usually she) is unable to root it out?
It becomes a scar that can never be removed.
It is like a woman—some 37 years ago—who was chief librarian in the science section of a large city library. I had been making a critical study of the theory of evolution, side by side with my first study of the biblical account of special creation. I had found the “trunk of the tree” of the evolutionary hypothesis. Every argument—every purported “evidence”—was merely a branch off that main trunk. If it fell, the whole tree fell with it. I had written a brief thesis setting forth the facts, and since I knew this librarian was well schooled in science I asked her to read it and give me her evaluation.
“Mr. Armstrong,” she said, with a sharp but half-puzzled gleam in her eye, “you have an uncanny knack of getting to the very heart and core of a subject. You have reduced it to comparatively few words. You have, beyond question, felled the trunk of the tree of evolution. With my mind, I can recognize that you have disproved the only premise that could be proof of the doctrine. Your argument is correct. Your facts are true. Yet, in spite of your positive proof that evolution has no foundation, I could never in all my life cease to believe in it. I am simply too steeped in it. All my life I have been associated in scientific circles. I have devoted years doing graduate work at Columbia, the University of Chicago and other universities. Everything I have always read, been taught and accepted in every field of science is based on evolution. You force me to admit evolution is unproved by your paper—yet I am unable to put evolution out of my mind.”
We read, in 2 Thessalonians 2, of those who have been indoctrinated with Satan’s delusions, that “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (verse 11).
Because of this ungodly teaching that sex, even in marriage, is degrading and shameful, countless wives, even after coming to a knowledge of God’s truth, are utterly unable to bring themselves to feel right—as God intended—about the marriage relationship. This is actually a form of perversion—mental perversion in which the mind has been trained to reject what is holy and good and God-ordained as if it were something evil! It is incurable by human means—incurable except by divine miracle! It takes God’s power!
Most assuredly some who will read this book will find themselves in this category. With their minds, they will now see the truth. Yet, in the marriage relationship, they will automatically freeze up in dread. They will, in spite of true knowledge, feel dirty, with a sense of condemnation and guilt. This has been “brainwashed” into their subconscious minds—burned in—as if cauterized; and cauterizing deadens sensation.
To enjoy the rich blessings a loving God wishes to lavish on every true wife who follows His laws and is led by His Spirit, God’s TRUTH must be not merely recognized by the mind—it must be acted upon!
Every victim of this foul satanic mind-branding should pray earnestly, prevailingly with the whole heart, to the Holy God to remove root and branch that false concept. Pray, as did David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit [attitude] within me” (Psalm 51:10).
When David, filled with remorse and emotion, prayed this prayer, he was in brokenhearted repentance because of his sex sin with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah. He was repenting of his wrong attitude toward sex. He was beseeching God to take this dirty attitude of lust out of his heart—to create in him a clean heart, and to restore a right spirit—or attitude—a right concept toward sex—in his mind.
Read again and again this and the preceding three chapters. Read all the Bible passages. Learn to obey God gladly, wholeheartedly, in love and loving anticipation, when He commands, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18). Even as husbands are commanded to love their wives, so wives are commanded to give love to their husbands (Titus 2:4).
God’s law—God’s way to every happiness—safeguards this holy, pure, righteous, personal and intimate loving marriage relationship. It has God’s blessing!
Travel this way, in prayer and thanksgiving, in love, and in deep gratitude to a benevolent and loving God!
Frank New Testament Teaching
Now study the 7th chapter of 1 Corinthians.
The Bible—as originally inspired—speaks out in plain and frank language, not only against every misuse and perversion of sex, but just as frankly instructing us in God-ordained right uses!
Remember, we read the Bible as it has been translated into the English language. Some translations—especially the Authorized (King James) version—were made at a time when sex was universally regarded as shameful and evil. The King James translators tried to cover up the true meaning, feeling it was “not nice” to speak so plainly. But every original word was inspired by God’s Holy Spirit! And it is time we throw off Satan’s false accusations that some of the Word of God is “not nice.” It is holy and sacred!
For this reason, the Moffatt translation will be used, as well as the King James, in expounding this crucial New Testament chapter on sex. The Moffatt translation renders the inspired original Greek in the English words of its true meaning.
This was written originally as a letter from the Apostle Paul to the Church of God at Corinth. But it was inspired through the Holy Spirit. It is part of God’s Word for us today.
We have seen, earlier in this chapter, that in his 5th and 6th chapters the apostle was writing about sex. There were sex abuses—sex misuses—in that church, which God through Paul condemned. But we have seen how Paul, in the latter part of the 6th chapter, taught that husbands and wives, through God’s sacred marriage institution, should glorify God in their bodies—by giving love through sex between husband and wife—as well as by keeping their bodies clean from fornication, adultery or misuse.
Chapter 7 continues the instruction from God of the true God-intended use of sex.
Notice verses 1 and 2: “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”
Notice that! Get its real meaning! Every man and woman should marry—but WHY? Because it is a sin to remain single? No—verse 1 says it would be good for “a man not to touch a woman”—that is, to remain free from sex, and unmarried. It is not wrong to remain single.
Then why does this passage teach that men and women should marry? Does it say “marry in order to beget children”? No, it says nothing here about the purpose of marriage being reproduction.
Why, then? This scripture answers, “to avoid fornication”! Paul has just been condemning premarital sexual intercourse—fornication—as a sin, which breaks the Seventh Commandment.
The plain teaching here is that, to avoid sexual intercourse out of marriage, a man and woman should marry! Have sexual intercourse in marriage! This has God’s blessing. This is commanded by God!
To avoid the sin of fornication—unmarried sex—and to have the sexual relationship with God’s blessing in true love, let men and women marry!
The purpose here given is not reproduction, but lawful and righteous sexual intercourse instead of unlawful and sinful fornication. This becomes even more plain as we proceed.
Now verse 3: “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.” The King James translators in the year 1611 tried to translate this in “modest” language, and this largely covers up the true meaning. However, “benevolence” does mean disposition to do good, charitableness, love.
Now read it with the false modesty stripped away, in the Moffatt translation, “The husband must give the wife her conjugal dues, and the wife in the same way must give her husband his.” And the word “conjugal” means sexual or marital.
Notice in this verse these points. The sexual relation in marriage is a command, “The husband must … and the wife … must ….” Notice, next, God’s principle of giving, sharing. Each is to GIVE this sexual-intercourse love to the other. God does not speak of it in terms of carnal taking, or receiving sensual gratification—but in terms of giving love.
Continue, verse 4—Moffatt: “a wife cannot do as she pleases with her body—her husband has power, and in the same way a husband cannot do as he pleases with his body—his wife has power.”
Notice how the principle of God’s law—that of love—of giving of outgoing concern rather than selfish gratification, is stressed. It is a command, “a wife cannot ….” It does not say “ought not”; it flatly forbids, as contrary to the law—and consequently sin—for either husband or wife to use his or her body selfishly. The wife made frigid by false concepts must not withhold sexual intercourse from her husband. Her sex organs do not belong to her—they belong to her husband!
In the same way, a husband cannot withhold participation in coitus from his wife—or, conversely, neither shall a husband make inconsiderate demands on his wife, so that he may use his sex organs as he pleases for his selfish gratification. His sex anatomy does not belong to him. Christ bought both husband and wife with the price of His very life.
Actually our bodies belong to Him—but He, here, gives the right and power of the husband’s body over to the wife, and the right and authority over the wife’s body to the husband. Yet the teaching of God—the way of His law—denies selfish, taking, and demands considerate giving.
The motive and intention are here involved. Actually, it devolves down to direction of mind and intent—to attitude. The man who argues that this verse of God’s teaching gives him the right to make inconsiderate and selfish demands on the use of his wife’s body—arguing that her body belongs to him—overlooks the fact that his motive and purpose is merely to use his wife’s body for his own sensual gratification without any consideration or outgoing concern for her wishes.
There are times, in the life of any married couple, when it would be cruel, totally inconsiderate, utterly selfish on the part of a husband to demand his own satisfaction and gratification by use of his wife’s body. At such times, God’s teaching, when understood, says the husband’s sexual apparatus does not belong to him—he has no right to use it selfishly at cost of pain, suffering or mental harassment to the wife. God commands each husband to be considerate of his wife’s feelings—to be tender, gentle, as much concerned for her desires and comfort and pleasure as his own.
On the other hand, there are times when sexual union is a definite need for a husband. At such times, the wife must be considerate, and not defraud her husband. At such times she must not claim her body belongs to her and deny it to him.
Then again, the selfish “frigid” wife who deliberately denies love in coitus to her husband, merely because she “isn’t in the mood,” is violating God’s command which says “a wife cannot do as she pleases with her body—her husband has power”—her body belongs to him.
God’s law, at all times, is the way of love—which is concern and consideration for the other at least equal with that for the self. Selfishness becomes lust. Love flees when the whole concern is for self.
Verse 5 of this 7th chapter of 1 Corinthians becomes still more plain: “Do not withhold sexual intercourse from one another, unless you agree to do so for a time, in order to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again. You must not let Satan tempt you through incontinence.”
Now notice that same verse in the King James Version. It shows that abstaining from sexual intercourse in marriage—except by mutual agreement at infrequent intervals—or, for either one to selfishly deny coitus to the other—is actually defrauding the other!
In other and plainer words, to practice what falsely called “Christian” teaching has demanded for 18½ centuries—withholding sexual intercourse except for begetting children—is a direct violation of God’s teaching—is itself sin and disobedience to God—and is DEFRAUDING one’s mate!
This dualistic paganism piled up a mountain of human woe and frustration through these 18½ centuries higher than all the geological mountains of earth piled one on top of the other! It taught millions of husbands and wives to disobey God’s commands—to commit sin—and the human suffering is the evidence. Obedience to God’s law brings happiness and joy. Sin brings suffering and misery. The very fruits of this medieval prudery demonstrate that it has been the way of sin!
Here, then, is that same verse 5 in the King James translation: “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”
Painful Experience SPEAKS OUT!
Not only does Almighty God, through the Bible, speak out in plain language against this pagan and medieval teaching. The voice of cruel experience also cries out!
This stern teaching that sex must be used only to beget children has put marriages beyond count into an injurious, impossible situation.
Augustine, Aquinas and the church “fathers” who preceded them in their “chaste severity” could see no love in the marital union. Marital sex, except for procreation, was viewed always as lust, concupiscence, degrading and sinful self-gratification. And, even if a husband and wife mated in coitus for the express purpose of begetting a baby, they viewed it with suspicion.
Of course those men—at least Augustine, and those priests after him including Aquinas—never experienced the happy joys of married love. Augustine’s conscience was wracked with guilt over his fornication and sex vices. He never married. He largely influenced the establishment of priesthood celibacy. He was not without quantitative sex experience. But all that experience was motivated by concupiscence. He never experienced the giving of love in marriage. He knew nothing of its happy and blissful joys. All he knew, by experience, was inordinate, self-desire, followed by the conscience-stricken pangs of self-condemnation and guilt. Such men never experienced that clean, wholesome, love of a pure wife, mingled with respect, admiration, high regard, esteem and honor.
Yet thousands of intelligent husbands and wives, victims of that repressive teaching, have come to see—in spite of that teaching—that the expression of pure love between husband and wife through coitus is every whit as vital a purpose as producing children. Of course, probably the overwhelming majority, blinded by the false teaching, never discovered this. But where did it leave those who did?
Thousands of case histories—and I know of enough to be sure of what I am saying—have found that this repression robbed their marriage of spontaneity and joy. There are times when circumstances dictate either the spacing of the next child, or else that there should be no more children. Even in the case of couples who have discovered the true, clean and beautiful happiness of giving and bestowing love in the sexual union, where does this teaching leave them?
They have been sternly taught that “they must hear the church!” To disobey this teaching they have been led to believe, will mean an eternity of indescribable torture of burning forever and ever in hell! This has been made real to them! They are filled with fear and the terror of it! They dare not disobey their church teaching. And, usually, they want to obey it—because they have been made to believe it is right! So what happens? They strive to live without sex. Sex comes to carry the hateful meaning of fear that destroys love!
Many, in their desperate dilemma, have gone tearfully to their parish priest for counsel and help. And if and when they are told that the only difficulty is lack of self-control, they are really frustrated.
They may struggle and wrestle with the one allowance of the church—resorting to the “rhythm method.” In desperate determination, they restrain themselves for what is calculated (often erroneously) to be the prescribed period. Then, often, they find this method simply didn’t work!
And today many priests are beginning to see—in their hearts if not in public statement—the evils of this traditional misteaching.
Today many doctors admit that this “rhythm method” is a faulty theory. There is no part of the month during which all women are for a certainty immune from conception. There may be a decrease in probability—but the matter is only relative. Medical charts show conceptions occurring at any or all times of the month.
And so millions, under the whiplash of this unscriptural teaching, even if they had once found the joys of true marital love, find their marriages twisted. Wives become frigid. Husbands become frustrated.
Case histories by the uncounted thousands prove that the biblical way, once rightly understood, is right and its fruits are abundant happiness and joy. But man’s way, whether of medieval prudery or modern promiscuity, produces only the bitter grapes of wrath!