One of the most pernicious lies to come out of the “purity” movement is the lie that a young man can cure his ungodly lusts by getting married.
The damage that this has done to marriage is astounding. All false doctrine destroys in one way or another.
Young women are guilted into marriage, and the subjected to all sorts of abuse inflicted on them. And then they are denied any sort of help or relief, because “God hates divorce”, which isn’t even in the Bible.
So let me give you a interpretive guide. According to Jesus, everything in the scripture is for the purpose of increasing our love for God and our love for our neighbor. (Matthew 22:36-40)
So if you believe that Scripture is giving you a justification for marital rape, abuse, assault, neglect and any other forms of hatred, I am here to warn you and to disabuse you of that notion.
God hates pride, scorning, reviling and the twisting of sexuality into a weapon of hatred.
So, where does the idea come from that if a man is burning with ungodly lust, then he is to get married and inflicted it on his wife?
From this passage:
8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.
9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. (1 Cor. 7:8-9)
Is Paul really teaching that self-control comes from pouring your lust upon your spouse? That cleansing and healing come another way than by the gospel?
Paul is answering a specific question. First century Christians had a lot of questions about life and how to live now that Christ has come. Some early Christians were plaguing the church by teaching that really holy Christians didn’t get married. Others taught that really holy Christians were always married. Paul answers one of these questions, and then another.
In our text, he is responding to the accusation that he wasn’t really an apostle because God intended people to be married, and Paul wasn’t married. Paul is answering that accusation.
But he doesn’t want the “anti-marriage” party to have ammunition either. He is promoting love, not quarrels over the law.
So now, suppose there are two young people who have fallen in love. Both are believers. They can hardly sleep at night. They long to hold one another and live together as husband and wife.
And someone tells them that they can’t marry because…whatever reason they wish to insert here.
Paul is teaching them that marriage is good, designed by God. Sexuality is created by God and is good. A whole book in the Bible is about godly sexuality and how it is a picture of Christ and his church.
When we deny the right of lovers to marry in the Lord, we are needlessly putting them at risk of fornication, but far worse than that, we are denying the goodness of God’s creation, teaching them that there is something about their bodies that is evil and wrong. False teaching about sexuality always increase shame and guilt and drive us into hiding, just as it did with our first parents in the Garden.
Even if they manage to avoid sinning against God, they are burning with passion with no relief in sight. It is like telling a starving man that food is a sin. It is not only wrong, it increases the torment of the conscience with no relief.
This is Paul’s concern. Let them marry!
He does not at all mean that a man who is addicted to pornography, violence, ungodly lusts and other sins can be “cured” by inflicting them on his wife.
There is only one cure for that. Repentance and faith and crying out daily for the gift of the Spirit.
Jesus died for us so that we might live. He did not die that we might continue in our pursuit of death.
Marriage is about love and unity, becoming “one flesh”. Sex is powerful and can become a tremendous weapon of hatred against those who are supposed to be safe. Love is safe, affirming, mutual and life-giving. Hatred destroys.
Don’t use the Bible to justify hatred.