References Intimate Allies by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III
People look to sex to prove a lot of things. Their partner’s love for them, social status, how attractive they are, etc. But is a physical union of two people really the most appropriate way to measure these things? And what does the Bible say sex is supposed to represent? The authors of “Intimate Allies” argue, among other things, sex is a mirror of our relationship with the Lord.
As a Mirror of Relational Intimacy
Because we cannot sit down with God face-to-face, he has designed symbols and other relationships to give us an idea of his character and to remind us of the pleasures found in communion with him. One is sex. “Just as we experience deep joy as we lose ourselves and merge into oneness with our spouse at the moment of sexual climax, we experience ultimate joy as we become one with Jesus Christ in a union that leads to incomprehensible joy. Marital intercourse mirrors our relationship to God and causes us to worship him for giving us this good gift.” (234)
There is a reason it’s called sexual “intimacy.” Sex is supposed to be intimate. You and your mate are comingling the most private parts of your body. There is the possibility of creating new life. All of this points toward the need for intimacy in our relationship with God. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV) King David recognized that he could not commune with God unless he was willing to have the Lord know everything about him. Marriage is the same. You must be willing to let your spouse know you if you want to experience powerful, meaningful intimacy.
As a Mirror of Creation
God created sex. That is the only explanation for why humans have body parts that create erotic stimulation. Physical pleasure is yet another enjoyable aspect of intimacy. Lovers in the Bible often look to other elements of God’s creation to express these sensations. The man in Song of Solomon says his beloved has “dove’s eyes,” is “like a lily,” and “honey and milk are under your tongue.” In return, the woman describes her beloved, “his countenance is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars,” “his cheeks are like a bed of spices,” and “his head is like the finest gold.”
They rely on familiar and concrete images and pleasures from creation to describe the mysterious pleasure that is sexual intimacy. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—For your love is better than wine.” (Songs 1:2 NKJV) They celebrate this gift of God’s creation by comparing it to other God-given pleasures they revel in.
As a Mirror of Covenantal Love
Not only does sex mirror the closeness of the relationship God desires to have with his children, it also mirrors the strength and longevity of that relationship. God created a new covenant in Jesus Christ. One that would replace the burden of the Law’s myriad animal sacrifices with one final offering– his son. “’This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (Jeremiah 31:33)
This covenant was a promise from God to believers that anyone who looked to his son would be saved. It was a strong promise. Marital love is meant to be the same, and we see language reminiscent of Jeremiah in Song of Songs. “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” (Song 8:6-7 NIV) The image of a seal sounds similar to that of a brand– a symbol of ownership. But that is not what the woman was saying. She wasn’t trying to jealously dominate her beloved; she was making a pledge of devotion. (248) Love is meant to be a verb. She wanted him to know she was making an agreement to nurture their relationship.
Christian Counseling for Intimate Sex
“God’s plan is for us to pursue and know him in and through the sexual intimacy we have with our spouses. Spiritual intimacy and delight are not opposed to sexual intimacy; spiritual intimacy is actually found in the midst of the relational, fleshly delight of reunion.” (214-215) If you and your mate struggle with emotional and physical intimacy, call a professional Christian counselor. They will bring Biblical principles alongside therapeutic techniques to help your marriage experience the kind of “inward parts” intimacy David speaks on in Psalm 51.
Images cc: Spices– Flickr user Adam Baker, Rings– Flickr user jwm_angrymonkey
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