3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Eph 5:3-4)
This horrible meme has been floating around – about how a husband needs sex, sandwiches and submission.
I don’t want to link it because I don’t want to give the godless people who support it any more support, even by a click.
But it got me thinking about this false idea promoted by patriarchialists of every stripe. The idea is this: the cure for fornication is to get married.
The problem is that it is unbiblical. Now I know that many of you are thinking about 1 Corinthians 7:
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (1Co 7:2)
In fact, there are many false teachers that teach that it is the wife’s duty to make herself available at all times in order to keep her husband from committing adultery or watching porn.
I wish I could tell you how many times I have heard of pastors giving that counsel to wives whose husbands would rather use porn. “Well, are you making yourself available to him?”
We have to do better. All of scripture is inspired by God. There are no contradictions. There is only one route to purity, and it isn’t taking your fornicating heart into the marriage bed. “Let the marriage bed be undefiled”, the scripture says (Heb. 13:4).
What does Paul mean? As a Reformed pastor, I hold to historical/grammatical exegesis. In order to understand any portion of scripture, you have to look at it in the historical context to see what it is addressing. Paul is addressing a specific situation, which he summarizes in 1 Corinthians 7:1. There were those who were teaching that marriage was not good, and a man should just avoid it all together.
But then what about those young couples in love? Do you remember those years when the bloom of spring is upon you and young hearts are turning to love? Do you remember not being able to keep your hands off of each other?
And now some false teacher is forbidding you to marry. Paul says, “What do you think you will accomplish?” God created sexuality and called it “very good”. Let them marry. Let them rejoice in the wife of their youth. Let them give thanks to a good God who created them and who rejoices at their union (Song of Songs 5:1).
In a twist of self-contradictory thinking, many patriarchialists also throw so many obstacles in the way of their sons and daughters dating and getting married that fornication increases ten-fold in those kinds of circles…This is exactly what Paul is addressing to the church at Corinth.
Paul is most certainly NOT teaching that the cure for a fornicating and adulterous heart is to inflict yourself upon your wife. He is not teaching spousal rape, sexual abuse and domination – no matter what you call it.
Because Paul wasn’t a fool, who said one thing in one place and another thing in another place. The opposite of fornication, according to Ephesians 5, is thanksgiving.
The opposite of fornication is NOT marriage. It is thanksgiving. “But rather, giving of thanks,” God says.
God created men and women and filled the earth with wonderful, beautiful things. He created beautiful things, things with color, shape, form, texture. He gave men and women bodies and made them beautiful. Sin twisted that beauty. Fornication lashes out at beauty, consuming and devouring it for our own twisted lusts. God, who created men and women, created them to be “one flesh”, with sex and touch and sight and smell and taste all rolled into the relationship. Spirit and matter united in a holy bond of love and unity.
And we made it hateful – possession and conquest, lust and demand, devouring and destroying…
The heart of fornication is this: God isn’t good. His gifts aren’t good. I need to reach out and grab the fruit for myself on my own terms. God will not give me every good thing. When you see the heart of the issue, you see that ingratitude and fornication are different sides of the same coin.
Instead of rejoicing at the beauty of the world, the unthankful heart says, “God just created all sorts of beautiful women and then said, “Don’t touch”. But I’ll show HIM!”
It isn’t enough to have EVERY OTHER tree in the garden. I must have them ALL!
THAT is what fornication is, and that is how it has twisted and devoured beauty as God created it. The powerful seduce and devour and consume the weaker like a rich man roasts and eats a lamb (2 Sam. 12:1-4)
And the cure is not to take your twisted, hateful self and inflict it on your spouse. The cure is to take your naked, sinful self to Christ and throw yourself on his mercy. Listen to the accusation of God’s prophet: “THOU are the man!” and then follow David in repentance and faith.
Then you will know what love is. Then you will see what it means that “Christ loved the church and gave himself for her”.
And that is when you are ready to learn how to love a woman (or a man, as the case may be. I do want to be “gender inclusive” in the call of the gospel).
In the Heidelberg Catechism, written over 450 years ago, the Reformers understood that. In the exposition of the 7th commandment, they wrote:
108. What does the seventh Commandment teach us?
That all unchastity is accursed of God, and that we should therefore loathe it with our whole heart, and live chastely and modestly, whether in holy wedlock or in single life.
You CAN be unchaste, unholy, ungodly in wedlock. If you treat your wife like an object to be used, a thing to be broken and discarded, if you refuse to learn what makes her rejoice , then you certainly do not have the heart of Jesus Christ.
Before you can even begin to understand the problem with “Sex, sandwiches and submission”, you must first understand that no one who knows Christ can possibly say such a thing. You are in great danger. Flee the wrath to come.
This is not the heart of a thankful man or woman. This is the heart of fornication – I demand to be served. I demand my own way. I demand that this woman take up the cross and follow ME. I demand sex now…
You have no idea what love is. And you also have no idea what sex is. You understand rape and murder, you understand lies and reviling. But you do not know what love is.
Go and learn what love is at the foot of the cross. Until then, please keep your hands to yourself.
7 responses to “Sex and sandwiches”
Thank you ,
Good post, Sam. Something that really bothers me, “submission” has become all about sex. It’s practically a euphemism for “sex” and therefore a works based reward for alleged Godly men. Entitlement. The prize is a woman’s submission. But that’s actually a concept that comes from pornography, from BDSM, from the world, not from the Lord, not from the bible. It’s a perversion of a very beautiful concept. We submit to the goodness of God, to His provision, to His protection, to His love.
“Submission” is really not about sex at all, which should be obvious since it is a spiritual concept. Our whole porn culture has tried to make it a material thing, our porn culture heavily aided and abetted by some religionists trying to teach the same perversions, just disguised as faith, disguised as “biblical.”
insanitybytes22 – You are making such an excellent point! Entitlement clothed as reward for the righteous husband who’s position deserves her “respect and submission”, and reward even for those women who submit (if only a spiritual one) because they are being “godly” by submitting. And yet, they are, like anyone who is being abused, being fed a lie about the nature of God, that somehow his love could look like THIS?!?!?! And, the other strong aspect of submission (besides being almost a euphemism for sexual submission) is submitting to abusive behaviors that are not sexual in nature, which is more of the satanic twisting of freedom into slavery on every level.
Pastor, thank you so much for this.
And thank you for not pointing out where you got that horrible meme from. They are not worth one bit of attention. I’m beyond shocked that anyone even dared to put something like that out for public view, and then had the gall to slap the Lord’s name on it—as if that is something He would endorse, and approve of?
“The idea is this: the cure for fornication is to get married.”
Marriage is not a solution to any problem. Marriage IS problematic. It comes with its own set of struggles as two separate people work hard to merge their lives into one.
To tout it as some sort of “antidote” to a sin problem makes me wonder if Christians, of all people, are reading the Word as carefully as they should be.
The reason I think it’s portrayed that way is because of a fundamental misunderstanding of sexual sin. The problem with sexual sin is NOT entirely wrapped up in a desire or even a need for sex. If that were so, then marriage WOULD be the solution. Have all the sex you want with your spouse, which is Biblical to do, and now you won’t be tempted to sin sexually anymore.
You explained and broke it down beautifully why that is totally false. And also going deeper into Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Verses that are used to put couples into bondage need to be explained with a lot of context, as you did.
“The opposite of fornication, according to Ephesians 5, is thanksgiving.”
I have never heard that before, but it expresses a fundamental need in marriage. If you aren’t thankful for your spouse, it’s way easier to disregard and dehumanize him or her. Grab that last sausage on the platter and wolf it down fast—-barely tasting it and barely taking a moment to appreciate it.
And of course—it never crosses you mind to share it, or offer it to your spouse, who might actually still be hungry. Even if they weren’t hungry, ti’s still nice to be offered before snatching it for yourself.
But you never even bothered to ask, because you don’t care. It’s all about you. And, your spouse is more like your competitor than your companion. You didn’t want to “fight over” that last tasty morsel (not unless you were sure you would win out) You want it all for you, because you matter more than your spouse.
Translate such an attitude into the bedroom, and it is disastrous. Your spouse is nothing more than a piece of meat that you want to consume, not connect with.
Marriage doesn’t come in a ready made box. It doesn’t come with a “built in” desire to love and respect your spouse. You have to have that before getting married in order to enjoy intimacy in marriage.
I would venture to suggest that marriage can actually cause sexual sin to not only keep existing, but keep growing as well. We give off the impression that marriage “covers” for your lust, so such a spouse feels more and more entitled to hurt the very one they are supposed to cherish.
And the spouse that is inflicted with all of this does not have a voice to protest, or object—lest he or she is told that to say “no” means their spouse will not be “cured” of their lust issues. That is a huge burden to put on someone, yet we do it so easily, so readily—-and so callously.
This is also why I believe we foolishly tell girls and women to “cover up” in order to not be sexually attacked or abused in any way. Cover up, and you “cover” any temptation a male might have to hurt you.
If only people truly understood this all important fact: sexual sin is NOT about a desire for sex. There is 0% interest in intimacy in their minds. It’s not even about pleasure. It’s about power. Such an criminal uses sex as a weapon to hurt and humiliate. Sex is certainly a factor, but it is not the driving force. It is their need and greed for power that drives them, and no amount of “covering up” your body will derail that.
To even BEGIN to endorse even one iota of that sick attitude as a Biblical marriage is beyond despicable. I’m with you: “You have no idea what love is. And you also have no idea what sex is. You understand rape and murder, you understand lies and reviling.”
Exactly. You hit the nail on the head.
Wish I’d known that before I married the devourer. Happily divorced now.
You’re a very special man-God bless you.