The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. – 1 Corinthians 7:3

Throughout history, the majority of our world’s view of sexuality has been driven by a very male-focused view of sex. Men have typically been the aggressors who have sexual “needs” that a woman has a duty to fulfill. In fact, the general sexual mores of most societies tend to be manipulated by men, in order to cater to men’s supposed “needs.” For this reason, our views of sex and sexuality have become very self-centered. It is about meeting my needs and knowing what I want. Even now, in our enlightened days, where men and women are much more equal, our views of sexuality have only become more selfish. For this reason, I find it incredibly interesting that Paul completely reverses this trend.

Paul does not begin with a male-centric view. In his view (thus the Biblical view), sex is not the first and foremost duty of the woman to her husband, but the duty of a husband to his wife. This may only seem like a subtle shift, but in those days, this was a massive change! Sadly, women were often treated as property or, even worse, as sexual play toys (not a far cry from how far too many people see women today). Paul is suggesting that it is the husband’s duty to take care of her needs first. This changes everything!

In case you think that I am reading into this a little too much, the words that immediately precede this verse are, “each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” Yes, Paul used an active imperative here. This is a command. This is a “should” that applies to all married people. And while the command applies equally to both parties, I am thankful the man’s duty is mentioned first, because in so doing, Paul places the onus on the husband to lead by taking care of his wife before he thinks about himself. The Biblical view of sex within marriage is one of mutual responsibility to serve the other. There is no hint of selfishness here. Sex is supposed to be an act of intimate service within the marriage covenant, not simply a place where you try to get your needs met.

So, whether you are married or not, I want you to hear today the radical and all-encompassing nature of the Christian Biblical ethic. It is an ethic and a worldview that teaches us to always put the needs of others above our own … even in matters as intimate as the marriage bed. Why? Because the way we treat people really does matter. Because all people are important. And mostly because we follow the One who gave us the ultimate example of selfless love on the cross. Let’s commit today to live like Jesus in every aspect of our lives.

Josh Rose
Teaching Pastor

Subscribe to the Daily Fill