Sex and Marriage:  What Constitutes a Marriage, Biblically?

Hello Steve,

I was wondering if there’s any scripture that comes to mind for this question:  How are we as Christians supposed to handle sex?  It seems confusing as to what constitutes a marriage (biblically).

Thank you,

Steve’s Answer:

Hi A.G.,

Good question, especially in this day-and-age in which, in terms of sex, anything and everything seems to go.

I’m not going to get into the Biblical law, in this matter, because that would take a book.  Nevertheless, I will get right down to the Biblical bottom line:

Sex outside of marriage is unbiblical.  It’s considered to be an act of flesh lust.  It might be culturally acceptable.  But it’s not Biblically acceptable.

After all, from a Biblical standpoint, in God’s eyes the one with which you first have sex is the one you’re married to.  In other words, “marriage” occurs when you sexually “merge” with your partner.  It’s the flesh merger that creates the marriage.

Think about it:  Merger = Marriage.  In other words, Biblically speaking, the sex act always consummated the marriage.  It was always the sex act that made the marriage an actual “marriage.”

Jacob’s Marriage to Leah and Rachel

Let’s take a quick look at one prime example of how that worked.  In the verses below, we find Jacob haggling with his uncle Laban over his desire to take Laban’s daughter, Rachel, to wife:

Gen 29:18  And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.

Jacob wanted Laban’s younger daughter, Rachel, for a wife.  He was deeply in love with her.  So Jacob told Laban he’d serve him for seven years if Laban would allow him to marry his daughter Rachel afterwards.

Gen 29:19  And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.


Gen 29:20  And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.


Gen 29:21  And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her

After seven years in Laban’s service, tending his flocks, Jacob came to Laban to collect his bride, Rachel.

The phrase Jacob used in verse 21 above, “that I may go in unto her,” is polite Bible language for “that I might have sex with her.”  In other words, it’s a euphemism for sex.

You see, it’s the sex act that consummates the marriage, i.e., that makes the marriage legitimate in God’s eyes.

You can mumble words over a man and woman all you want.  You can bring in priests or preachers and perform any ritual or ceremony you want.  But it’s not a “marriage,” in God’s eyes, until the merger takes place, meaning the sex act.

(There are exceptions, of course, such as old age, or when a medical or physical condition prevents the sexual act from taking place, but both parties nevertheless want to be life partners.  But in general, the sexual merger consummates the marriage, in God’s eyes.)

Gen 29:22  And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

This is a traditional week-long feast in which the family members celebrated the merger that took place between the man and woman, meaning the family members all got together and celebrated the consummation of the marriage.

Gen 29:23  And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.

Back then, whenever a father agreed to give his daughter in marriage, she would go into her dark tent, at night, cover up, and await the arrival of the man she’s about to marry.

He’d then come into the tent and have sex with her (i.e., again, the phrase “he went in unto her” in the above verse is a euphemism for having sex).

That sex act consummated the marriage, i.e., made it official in God’s eyes.  Then, the week-long family celebration of the marriage began.

In this case, however, Jacob got tricked by Laban into marrying the elder daughter, Leah, rather than the younger daughter Rachel, who he actually wanted to marry.  Laban snuck Leah into that dark marriage tent, instead of Rachel, thus deceiving Jacob.

Gen 29:24  And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

It was a tradition for the father of the bride to give the bride a handmaid, or servant girl, to help with her new household responsibilities.  So Laban gave his daughter, Leah, one of his own household maids, Zilpah, to be her servant girl.

Gen 29:25  And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

Jacob woke up at the first light of dawn and discovered that the woman he was laying with, and whom he’d just had sex with, was Leah instead of Rachel.

Rachel and Leah, being sisters, probably looked closely enough alike in a dark tent that Jacob apparently couldn’t tell the difference until the sun came up and shined some light on the situation.

Imagine waking up after a dark night in a marriage tent with your new bride, only to discover that she’s not the one you actually wanted to marry.  Jacob rightly felt deceived by Laban.

Gen 29:26  And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

Laban tells Jacob that he had to slip Leah into that tent, because in their country it was a tradition that the elder daughter has to be married off before the younger daughter can be.

This was most likely a bald-faced lie, or at the very least a very flimsy excuse.  Laban simply wanted Jacob to serve him another seven years, because God blessed everything Jacob touched, and Jacob’s service to Laban, therefore, was making Laban quite wealthy.

So Laban deceived Jacob into marrying (i.e., sexually merging with) Leah, the elder daughter, instead of Rachel, the younger daughter.

Gen 29:27  Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

Laban says to Jacob, essentially, “Look, don’t cause a ruckus over this.  You’re now married to Leah.  Finish off the week-long marriage celebration with her, and agree to serve me seven more years, and when this week-long celebration is over, I’ll also give you my daughter Rachel for a wife, too.”

As you can see, Laban was quite a card.  A real smoothie.  But, Jacob was head over heels in love with Rachel, so…

Gen 29:28  And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 

Jacob loved Rachel so much, he agreed to Laban’s proposal.  He finished out the week-long celebration of his marriage (i.e., merger) with Leah.  He agreed to serve Laban for seven more years.  And after the week-long marriage celebration was over, Laban did as promised and gave his younger daughter Rachel to Jacob, so he could marry her, too.  (Again, this was completely legal back then.)

Gen 29:29  And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

Just as he had done for his daughter Leah, Laban also gave Rachel a servant girl to help out around the house, now that she was officially married to Jacob.  Again, this was customary.

Gen 29:30  And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

The “he” in the verse above is Jacob.

He “went in also unto Rachel,” meaning he climbed into her tent and had sex with her.  He merged with her, so to speak, consummating the marriage just as he had done a week earlier with Leah.

Now he had two wives.  But, did you see any kind of marriage ceremony taking place?  Did they bring in a priest to mutter words over the new bride and groom?  Were there any kind of religious rituals performed?

Nope. Back then, you asked the girl’s father for her hand in marriage, and if he agreed you’d climb into bed and merge sexually with the girl of your dreams.  The sex act consummated the marriage, which was life-long.  Then, the two of you partied for a week with the family, to celebrate the marriage.

Ruth’s Marriage to Boaz

Another quick example of the fact that the sex act creates the marriage/merger, is Ruth’s marriage to Boaz, as described in the great book of Ruth.

In the following verses, Ruth, a young widow whose husband had died unexpectedly, is talking to her mother-in-law, Naomi, who is essentially instructing Ruth in how to determine whether or not the wealthy and Godly landowner, Boaz, is interested in marrying her.  As it’s written:

Rth 3:2  And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.

Biblically speaking, a widow who chose to remarry after losing her husband was supposed to take her new husband from among the male kin of their deceased husband.

The wealthy landowner, Boaz, was kin to Ruth’s deceased husband.  So, he was fair game for Ruth.  She could legitimately check to see whether or not he wanted to marry her.

Naomi continues instructing the young widow Ruth how to handle the situation in a Godly manner:

Rth 3:3  Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.


Rth 3:4  And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. 


Rth 3:5  And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.


Rth 3:6  And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.


Rth 3:7  And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. 


Rth 3:8  And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.


Rth 3:9  And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.

Men, at that time, wore skirts, which we now call robes.

To spread one’s skirt over a woman is a euphemism meaning the man would lift up his robe, and then set his body down on top of the woman in order to have sex with her.  That was the marriage act.  Ruth is asking Boaz if he wants to marry her.

Rth 3:10  And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

Ruth wasn’t out chasing after young, handsome, hunky men.  She was doing things God’s way, looking for a proper husband from among the kinsfolk of her deceased husband, as the Bible says.  And Boaz recognized this, and complimented her for it.

Rth 3:11  And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.


Rth 3:12  And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.


Rth 3:13  Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

Boaz basically agreed to marry (merge with) Ruth. At that very moment, he could have spread his skirt over her and consummated the marriage.  But he always did things God’s way.

And in God’s way, Ruth, who was a young widow, was supposed to marry the nearest kin to her deceased husband, in order to raise up children to the family line she’d originally married into (Ruth 4:5 and 4:10).

Boaz was indeed kin to Ruth’s deceased husband.  But there was another kinsman even closer.  So Boaz, being ever-mindful of God’s Word, said he’d check with the one person who was even closer than himself in kinship to Ruth’s deceased husband.

You likely know the rest of the story.  Boaz and Ruth eventually married (i.e., sexually merged), after all of the Biblical legalities were out of the way.  But here’s the important Scripture to remember:

Rth 4:13  So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.

Boaz “took” Ruth and made her his wife by going “in unto her,” meaning he had sex with her.  The merger consummated the marriage.  See?

I think it’s important to note that when Ruth had first offered herself to Boaz as a wife, although Boaz admitted he wanted her, he resisted any fleshly lustful urges to consummate the marriage on the spot, and instead, acted in compliance with God’s Word.  That’s a lesson for us, today.

Only afterwards, having made sure he was acting in full compliance with God’s Word, did he “take” her and go “in unto her.”  And that was that.  In God’s eyes, in their own eyes, and in the eyes of the community, they were considered to be married for life from that point forward.

Again, there’s nothing said about priests of preachers officiating over a marriage ceremony.  Nothing said about ceremonial rituals being performed.  No “marriage license.”  No government involvement.  Nothing.

She wanted him.  He wanted her.  And once he was sure he was in compliance with God’s Word, he “took” her and they became man and wife.

And as a by-the-way, their child (see verse 13 above), who was named Obed, later grew up to become the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David, who of course was the forefather of Jesus Christ!

Compared to Today

I really like the way Biblical marriage worked a lot better than what we have today.

These days, when we’re younger, the men lustfully have sex with as many women as possible, counting them as conquests, like notches on a belt.  And likewise, the women lustfully have sex with as many men as possible, having been told (erroneously) that’s the way to find a good husband.

Then, often being riddled with STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) from all of the sexual encounters they’ve had, they eventually tire of the sex chase, find someone at least remotely compatible, and get “married,” meaning they get the government’s permission (i.e., “marriage license”) to have a religious or civil ritual performed, which in turn gives them a piece of paper saying they’re officially “married.”

But speaking from a Biblical perspective, they were actually married all along, to the very first individual they ever had sex with.

What’s more, every individual they had sex with afterwards, constituted an act of adultery, in God’s eyes.  Why?  Because the original person they had sex with was, in God’s eyes, considered to be their spouse.  They had sexually “merged” with someone, which means they were supposed to be “one” with that person for life.

Again, don’t let this put a guilt trip on you.  Sincere repentance, in Christ’s name, is a most wonderful gift that really clears the slate of such things, as long as, after repenting, you turn to God’s Word and God’s way and stick with it.

If you made mistakes early in life, as we all have, go to Father in prayer, admit the sin, apologize for it, and ask Him to forgive you in Christ’s name.  He’ll cleanse the slate.  Then, carry on with your life, but do it God’s way from that point forward, as best as you possibly can.

The two takeaways I get from this are:

1.)  There’s no “recreational sex” in God’s Word.  At least, none that’s approved of by God.  In God’s eyes, if you have sex with somebody, you’re married to them.  If you continue to have sex with others, after you’ve had sex with someone, you’re then considered by God to be an adulterer.

2.)  Biblically, there’s no prescribed “marriage ceremony” or ritual.  The man simply “spreads his skirt” over the woman he loves, or climbs into her tent and comes “unto” her.  In both cases, that means they have sex with each other.  At that point, they’re considered by God to be married (merged).

Finally, for those who might think I’m saying Christians should ignore or reject modern marriage practices, ceremonies and legalities, and just hop into bed with each other and say “We’re married,” please understand that I’m not saying that at all (though there is such a thing as “common law marriage”).  I’m just contrasting what God’s Word says, with what modern man tends to do, which is all too often 100% opposite of God’s way.

Always remember that we’re supposed to obey civil law, to the fullest extent possible (Romans 13:1-7).  So marriage licenses are fine.  I’d prefer not to have one.  But…I got married a bit over a quarter of a century ago, and my wife and I got the license, first.  It smoothes out a lot of civil legalities, and helps a bit with tax issues, too.

And there’s nothing wrong with marriage ceremonies.  As you’ve seen above, you don’t need a priest, preacher or local magistrate to be considered married in God’s eyes.  But nowhere in God’s Word does it say such a tradition is wrong, either.  If you want a traditional modern marriage ceremony, go for it.  Enjoy the heck out of it.  (I’ll be waiting for my invitation, by the way.)

In God’s Word they usually had the “honey moon” first (i.e., the sex act came first), and then the week-long marriage celebration afterwards.  But modern culture often has the marriage celebration first, replete with a ceremony and big party, and the honey moon afterwards.  It’s okay.  It’s not a violation of God’s Word to do it that way.

In other cases, it’s quite common nowadays that a man and woman might have had premarital sex, and then decide to get married afterwards to make the relationship “official.”

But clearly, after what you’ve read from the Scripture above, you can see that the couple was already married in God’s eyes, the moment they had sexual relations with each other.  But making the marriage “official” with a license and ceremony is fine, and the right thing to do from a civil perspective.

My point in all of this is that, in God’s eyes, the sexual act (i.e., the merger) constitutes the “marriage.”  Not the ceremony.  Not the government paperwork.  Not the words of some priest of preacher.

Biblically speaking, when you first engage in the sexual union, you’re married.  It can be after having a ceremony, or before.  But it is what it is:  a marriage (i.e., merger).  As it’s written, the “two shall become one” (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:8).

Christ’s Teachings on Lust, Adultery, Marriage and Divorce

The Scripture really doesn’t teach much about sex, explicitly.  But we can garner some insight on it from Christ’s teachings on topics such as lust and divorce.  For example:

Mat 5:27  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:


Mat 5:28  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

The “woman,” in this case, is a married woman (see Dr. Bullinger’s side note on this verse in your Companion Bible).

The Greek word translated “looketh” in this case means to continue looking, or to repeatedly or habitually look (see Dr. Bullinger’s side note on this verse in your Companion Bible).

Christ is saying that any man who continues to look upon a married woman with lustful intent is actually committing adultery with her “in his heart,” meaning in his thoughts, feelings and emotions.

The sexual act does not have to take place, in such a case.  The man is guilty of adultery with that woman (short of repentance, of course) because that’s what he’s continually thinking about and imagining.

As one of my favorite Bible teachers used to say, our heavenly Father is a cardio-knower.  Father knows the secret thoughts and intents of the hearts of all of His children (Hebrews 4:12).  And you’d better believe He keeps track of those thoughts and intents.

So while such thoughts and intents might seem to be perfectly normal for the flesh man to indulge in — and while some folks might excuse such things in their lives by saying they “can’t help” their feelings — a Christ-man, meaning a true Christian, knows God’s Word on this subject (i.e., “Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife,” for example) and uses his own inner spirit, or inner man, to squelch such unholy thoughts before they take root and become habitual or lead to an unholy act.

After all, the Christian man or woman is supposed to be a “partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1:4).  But if he (or she) fails to work to control his thoughts and lusts he instead becomes what St. Paul refers to as “incontinent” (II Timothy 3:3), meaning without self-control.

Rather than practicing control of his fleshly thoughts and lusts, he (or she) becomes servant to them.

And as the Scripture says, no man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).  You either serve the Lord, and work to partake of His divine nature, or you serve the lusts of the flesh and devolve to the lower animal nature which cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. 

In short, as Christians we’re to put our spiritual inner man in charge of the flesh, rather than allowing the flesh to dominate and control our life with all of its animal lusts.  And if that doesn’t work for you, then you turn to the Lord and ask for His help, for as the Scripture states, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations…” (II Peter 2:9)

My point in bringing up Christ teachings on adultery is that we learn through them the very simple fact that our heavenly Father expects us to take control of our lustful, fleshly thoughts and feelings, and not allow them to drag us off into areas that are unchaste, unholy and ultimately ungodly.

The bottom line is that we, as Christians, are to make it a priority in our lives to work to control fleshly thoughts and lusts that go against His Word — nip them in the bud, as soon as they start, rather than nurturing and following them as so many tend to do these days.  As it’s further written:

1Th 4:3  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain [i.e., hold oneself off] from fornication


1Th 4:4  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 


1Th 4:5  Not in the lust of concupiscence [i.e., longing for what is forbidden], even as the Gentiles which know not God: 

I think that’s about as clear as you can get.  Take control of your “vessel.”  I’ll leave it at that.  Let’s move on to Christ’s teachings on divorce:

Mat 5:31  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:


Mat 5:32  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery

Wow.  Think about that.  If a man divorces his wife (or vice-versa) for any reason other than sexual immorality (i.e., “fornication”), he’s actually causing her to commit adultery when she marries another man.

And why?  Because in God’s eyes, she’s still married to her original husband.  The divorce was illegitimate, because there was no Biblically legal cause for it.

As it’s written of Biblical marriage, “The two shall become one” (Mark 10:8).  And Christ tells us that the only legitimate way this life-long merger can be dissolved is if one of the parties has committed sexual immorality with someone else, meaning her or she cheated on their spouse with another thus adulterating the marriage/merger, and thus giving the offended party the right to move on from the marriage, afresh, should he or she want to.

What’s more, Christ explains that any man who marries the improperly divorced woman (and yes, it’s vice-versa, as well, i.e., any woman who marries an improperly divorced man) is also committing adultery, because, once again, in God’s eyes she’s still married to her original husband (again, unless sexual immorality was the cause of the divorce).

Now please understand:  I’m not trying to get into a teaching on divorce, here.  It’s a complex issue.  And we should never forget that sincere repentance can change everything.  So it must be factored into the equation. And quite frankly, all of that is between God and the two parties involved.

Nor am I trying to put a guilt-trip on anyone who’s been married and divorced.  Again, sincere repentance brings about forgiveness.  Divorce is not the unforgiveable sin.

I’m simply trying to make the point that we, as Christians, are never to take marriage lightly.  It’s a very serious matter.  The merger is life-long.

And Biblically speaking, the only way it can legally be broken is through adulteration of the merger, meaning one of the parties to the merger commits sexual immorality with an outside party.  That renders the original marriage/merger null and void in God’s eyes, short of proper Biblical repentance and reconciliation.

And yes, reconciliation is indeed possible.  After all, is not God divorced from Israel (Jeremiah 3:8)?  And rightly so since Israel cheated on Him with other gods, thus nullifying the spiritual merger between God and His People.  Nevertheless, He calls out to Israel, “Yet return unto Me, saith the Lord,” and calls on them to repent of their idolatry/adultery (Jeremiah 3:1, Jeremiah 3:12-15, Jeremiah 4:1-4).

So yes, even in a Biblically legal divorce, forgiveness (and even reconciliation, if both parties want) is still possible through sincere repentance, in Christ’s name.

St. Paul’s Teaching

St. Paul would later teach that flesh marriage is actually an illustration of the marriage relationship between Christ and the church.

Each member of the ekklesia (i.e., the body of the “called out” ones) is to be married/merged, spiritually, with Christ, for eternity, just as a man and woman in the flesh are to be married/merged for the remainder of their flesh lives.

Therefore, in Revelation 3:21, where Christ says that those who overcome the deception of antichrist will become an integral part of His ruling body, He’s speaking of a very special spiritual marriage.  As it’s written:

Rev 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

That’s the spiritual marriage we’re all shooting for.  Christ sits with the Father in His throne (because He and the Father are one).  And we’re to sit with Christ in His throne (because He takes us to wife, spiritually, making us “one” with Him and an integral part of His ruling body).

That’s also what Christ was talking about in John 17: 21-23, where He said, speaking of the elect:

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Christians should really study those verses carefully.  That’s the very definition of a spiritual marriage.  And that’s what the soon-coming Kingdom Wedding is all about, i.e., the culmination of the eternal spiritual merger between the Father, Christ and His many-membered ruling body.

Let’s take a quick look at St. Paul’s teachings on this important subject:

1Co 6:15  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. 


1Co 6:16  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

Paul likens our flesh bodies to the limbs (i.e., “members”) of Christ Jesus’ body.

In other words, speaking by way of analogy, I might be a little toe in the body of Christ, you might be a knee, someone else might be an arm, or an elbow, or a hand, etc.  It’s figurative.  The body is a single entity.  But it’s made up of many working parts, and figuratively speaking, each one of us constitutes one of those parts.

Being one of the “limbs” (i.e., “members”) of His body simply means we’re working parts of His body. We’ve become “one” with Christ, spiritually speaking, by learning, and then implementing, His will on this earth, in faithful service to Him and His great plan to save His children.

If we’re truly in tune with Him, truly serving Him, truly following His will to save His children, then wherever His body goes, we go, too, because we’re part of His body. Likewise, wherever we go, there He is with us, because He dwells inside us through His Holy Spirit.

That’s the spiritual marriage.

But if, in the flesh, you’re out running around with harlots or fornicators (women or men who make a practice of having sex with just about anybody; think of the modern-day practice of “hookups”), then you’ve made your body, which is supposed to be one with Christ and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, into an integral and working part of a whore’s body.

And you can’t be “one with Christ” and simultaneously be one with the lusts of the flesh.  The two don’t match up.  Christ is Holy, meaning He’s set apart from such worldly ways.  And He says “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16).  We’re supposed to imitate Him, which is to say, we’re supposed to conform ourselves to Him and His holy ways.

Chasing after sexual conquests with loose women (or loose men, if you’re a woman) and thus ignoring God’s Word on the subject of marriage, isn’t holy.  It’s base.  It’s fleshly.  It’s animalistic.  (And, again, thank God for repentance, because to one degree or another we’ve likely all been guilty of this at some point in our lives.)

St. Paul goes on to say:

1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.


1Co 6:18  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 

The word “fornication” means to indulge in fleshly lust as a way of life.  We’re to avoid that, altogether.  It’s a sin against your own body, because your body is supposed to be Christ’s very habitation.  We, as Christians, are supposed to take that seriously.  We’re supposed to do sex and marriage God’s way, not modern “hook up” culture’s way.

Someone who claims to be part of the body of Christ, but spends their life chasing loose women (or loose men, if you’re a woman), is not, and cannot be a partaker of God’s Holy Spirit, which is to say, they cannot be part of the body of Christ (short of repentance, of course).

Why?  Because there’s no match-up, there.  They’re habitually and routinely acting in disobedience to God’s Word.  So they can’t legitimately be “one” with God and His Word.  Right?

1Co 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

We might think we own ourselves.  We might think we’re in charge and can run our lives whatever way we want.  But we’re not taking God seriously when we think like that.

We don’t own ourselves.  And we’re not in charge.  God created us.  And God owns us.  We’re His.  We’re here to make Him happy and to serve His will (Revelation 4:11), which is to help save His children (II Peter 3:9).

And our flesh body is supposed to be a vessel with which to carry forth His Holy Spirit of truth to others, so they too can participate in the coming spiritual marriage with the Lord.  It’s not to be a vessel with which to chase harlots or hunks.

It’s pretty hard to serve Christ humbly and faithfully, making our flesh bodies servant to His will, if all we have on our mind is fleshly sexual conquest.  Those are two different mindsets.  And one of them is diametrically opposed to God’s Word.

1Co 6:20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Christ Jesus paid a staggering price for us, so that we could gradually, through study of God’s Word and through practice of the Christian values elucidated in that Word, become an integral working part of His Holy body — a “member” of that body, ultimately making us “one” with Him.

Yes, it’s a holy spiritual merger we’re all supposed to be working toward.  So…we’re supposed to use our flesh bodies — the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God — for Godly purposes, and not for ungodly purposes.

When we do things God’s way, conforming ourselves to His Word, we glorify God.  When we do things our own way, conforming ourselves to the lusts of the flesh, we generally end up debasing ourselves and potentially alienating ourselves from God.

I think I’ll leave it at that.  It’s all pretty plain, and simple.

The world wants us to get all wrapped up in sex, as if sexual proclivity is the most important thing we can engage in.  But it’s not.  Serving God faithfully is the most important thing.

Nevertheless, sex is given to us, by Him, for the specific purpose of the merger.  As it’s written in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

The word “cleave” means to adhere to, or to be joined together with one another.  That’s the sex act, which consummates the marriage bond.  That’s its purpose.  And as it’s further written, “Be fruitful and multiply.”  (Genesis 1:28)

Those commands are the very nexus, if you will, to Christ’s final command to His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”  (Matthew 28:19-20).

You can’t follow the latter command to teach the multitudes, if no one has followed the former command to create the multitudes through…well…yes…sex and marriage.

Regards in Christ,

Steve Barwick


Steve Barwick

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