Sex and Marriage
NCW 9, April 1994
Q. Some Christians I have met say that sex should only be used for procreation and not for pleasure. They say the latter is selfish, even devilish. Others say that God ordained sex for pleasure. What is the New Covenant position?
We have often been asked this question and we cannot give you a hard-and-fast rule. Yes, sex was certainly given to be enjoyed but on condition that we are the master of it, and not it of us. If a couple feels that sex should only be enjoyed when they are seeking to conceive a child, and they are happy with that decision, then to us that is most reasonable. Such a couple will be able to devote more time and energy towards other pursuits.
What if one spouse feels one way, and the other the other way? To the one who feels that sex is only for procreation we would say: The Scriptures teach that your body is not your own, but belongs to your husband or wife to do with as they wish, in righteousness. To the other who believes that sex is for pleasure we would say: A cardinal principle of the Gospel is self-limitation and respect for the desires of the other partner. This being so, what are the possibilities? Compromise.
Now some Christians, it is true, are moved by false doctrines. Some teach, for example, that sex is evil. This is false. As we have described before, sex is a neutral force. It's how you use it that makes it good or evil. It is also God's creation. Some say that celibacy is a scriptural injunctive -- this is only a half-truth. We are to be celibate from time to time, by mutual agreement with our spouses, so that we can devote time and energy to prayer or other activities. In the New Covenant we call this "sexual fasting". Some families sexual fast for one or more months in the year for this purpose and feel enormously blessed.
It is not the business of the Church to issue dictats on how the sexual lives of its members should be conducted beyond what is revealed in the scriptures. Both positions described here are subscribed to by our members. However sex is used -- in a restricted or more liberal way -- it should be used for joy and to glorify God. And some abstain altogether. Each married person must listen to the Spirit, be sensitive to his or her spouse's needs, and act accordingly.
This page was created on 18 April 1998
Last updated on 18 April 1998
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