The Gospel is the central point of Christianity. Jesus Christ, God's only Son, entered the world in human form; lived and preached among us; sacrificed himself as the ultimate blood offering for our sins; and conquered death through His resurrection so that we can live with our LORD eternally . . . that is definitely good news, or gospel, to the whole world.
The Gospel calls us to higher principles, purposeful lives, and servant hearts. Often, we don't allow it to permeate every area of our lives. The Gospel should impact what you choose to do with your time and money, which thoughts you dwell on and which ones you resist, how you treat your friends and the restaurant drive-thru employee, and -- believe it or not -- how you approach the marital bedroom.
The Gospel matters a great deal in every aspect of life, including the intimacy you experience with your husband. These are just a few of the aspects of the Gospel that affect your married sex life:
Because of Christ, you can trust that God can redeem your brokenness.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7
If you have sexual baggage from your past -- an addiction to pornography, an affair that wrecked the trust in your bedroom, or whatever other sin you can think of -- Jesus Christ died for that sin. He brings forgiveness and healing when you confess and repent.
Because of Christ, you can forgive your spouse and give grace.
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13
Has your husband mistreated you sexually at some time? Sought his own pleasure and ignored yours? Ignored your sexual needs? Demanded sexual satisfaction or refrained from giving himself fully? Quite honestly, most of us can think of a time when our spouse was selfish regarding sexuality. But regardless of what has happened in the past, you can be generous, give grace, start over.
Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. For instance, maybe he awakened you to have sex last night at 3:00 a.m. not because he doesn't care how exhausted you were after taking care of a sick child yesterday or working on a job project with a looming deadline; maybe he was restless and started thinking about how beautiful you are to him. We can't know exactly what our spouse's motives are, so lean toward the most positive possibility. And forgive past sins, as you have been forgiven.
Because of Christ, you can have hope for your future.
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:18-20
Think about that. The same power that God used to resurrect His Son is working in your life. You have hope for better things -- in the life after this one, and in this life as well. We know that Jesus wants our lives and marriages to be full (John 10:10), loving (Ephesians 5:2), and fulfilling (1 Corinthians 7:3). When we know that God desires for us to have intimacy in our marriage and then shares His power with us, we have hope! Maybe your marriage and sex life isn't everything it should be. Continue in prayer. Continue in faith. Continue in hope.
Because of Christ, your body has intrinsic value.
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Your body is valuable and has the capacity to honor God. The verse prior says to "flee from sexual immorality," and then gives the above reason. But if you are fleeing from sexual immorality, where should you run to? Well, to sexual morality of course! Welcome to God's plan for marriage. You honor God with your body when you follow His plan for it in marriage; when you delight in the mate your Father has given you; when you seal your commitment and intimacy with physical bonding.
Because of Christ, you know what true love is.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34
I teared up while looking for passages for this one. There are SO MANY to choose from. We know what true love looks like because Jesus modeled it for us. He was patient with disciples, gentle with sinners, humble before God, and serving and sacrificial above all. Imagine taking the perfect love of Jesus into the bedroom and being patient, gentle, serving, and sacrificial. Imagine both of you approaching physical intimacy that way. Now tell me how fabulous that would be for your sex life.
Because of Christ, you know that your intimacy mirrors and symbolizes what the Church has with Jesus, her Bridegroom.
"'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church." Ephesians 5:31-32
Isn't it amazing that the verse chosen to reflect Christ and the church ends with "the two will become one flesh"? The unity of a husband and wife is like Christ's unity with His people. I desire one day to have with my LORD the intimacy that mirrors the intense closeness I experience with my husband in the midst of sex. How I long for it! And when I experience such pleasure and bonding with my husband, I know that it is a mere taste of what God has waiting for us in Heaven.
If the Gospel is true, the implications move into every aspect of our life. Our marriages are affected by God's steadfast, redeeming love. Our physical intimacy with our mate is affected by His example and sacrifice.
We Christians need not approach the bedroom as the world does. Sex isn't merely physical or all about oneself. The apex of intimacy is not multiple orgasms or more and more kinky sexual acts. The goal isn't to have sex when we want, with whom we want, however we want, wherever we want without regard to others. We have the ultimate instead: a Gospel-driven life that shows a better way in every area -- including the marital bedroom. And guess what? With God's perfect design, we can end up having the most amazing sex! (See Spiritual Intimacy While Making Love from Sheila Gregoire.)
I pray for each married couple to experience the Gospel in their bedroom -- to know the overwhelming love of Christ and to share it with their spouse.
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19
My sincere thanks to Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard who said something that inspired this post. Be sure to check out her marriage blog!