Sex On Sabbath?
1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Sex was created by God before sin. Sex is not as a result of sin. The forbidden fruit was not symbolic language for sexual activity. Genesis 1:27-28 ((27)So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
(28) And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”) God creates them male and female and tells them to multiply. Creating them male and female refers to gender distinction that makes sex possible. The command to multiply is a command to engage in sexual activity. Sex is a Divine provision and should be treated as such!
The Bible clearly prohibits certain sexual activities.
(1) Adultery – sex outside marriage – Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “(9) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, …, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) … will inherit the kingdom of God. ” (adulterers are sexually sinning but differently from the sexually immoral and the homosexuals)
(2) Fornication – sex by the unmarried – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “(9) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, …, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) … will inherit the kingdom of God. ” (Neither sexually immoral is also translated as fornicators, which is different from adulterers and homosexuals who too are listed)
(3) Incest – sex with close relatives – Leviticus 18:6 “No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.”
(4) Beastiality – sex with animals – Leviticus 18:23 “Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.”
(5) Homosexuality/Lesbianism – sex with members of the same gender – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “(9) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, …, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) … will inherit the kingdom of God. ” Romans 1:26-27 “(26) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
(6) Unnatural sexual relations of Romans 1 may include Anal / Oral sex – Romans 1:26-27 “(26) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
(7) Burning with passion of 1 Corinthians 7 may include masturbation. 1 Corinthians 7:9 “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
Our text today (1 Corinthians 7:5) shows that God expects regular sexual activity in marriage. Therefore sex is not just designed for procreation but also enjoyment. Sex is said to meet a hunger, thirst or desire, that is not necessarily related to procreation. That is why He commands that do not deprive each other. To deprive is to deny a need. God therefore expects sexual satisfaction in every marriage and will call the participants to account on judgment day! Spouses will be congratulated by God for satisfying each other and other spouses will be condemned by God to eternal death for depriving each other of sexual satisfaction.
Our text (1 Corinthians 7:5) also shows that except for a once in a while agreement, sexual activity should continue. When you agree to stop sexual activity for a short season in order to pray. Prayer may include fasting. Prayer is not limited to Sabbath. Not all prayers require sexual abstinence. Sexual abstinence for purposes of prayer needs to be mutual between husband and wife. Sexual abstinence for purposes of prayer is one of the many forms of fasting acceptable by God (fasting is not just about food and drink). Fasting is not a regular activity, but one that is planned for a certain season and for a specific purpose. Sexual abstinence for prayer is therefore as limited in practice as any other form of fasting is. Sexual abstinence as a form of birth control or as a result of monthly menstruation cannot be construed to be fasting, or abstinence for prayer.
If all prayers including Sabbath prayers required sexual abstinence, then consultation between husband and wife would not be necessary. Sexual prohibitions in scripture do not include Sabbath prohibition of sex. Sexual abstinence on Sabbath must be a mutual agreement, for a short season and not necessarily a permanent arrangement. It is not a church policy or a biblical command. It should be temporary, but key to it is that the married couple should agree on the abstinence regardless of which day of the week.
Why the agreement between the husband and wife? Because they owe each other satisfaction of this God created need. The agreement is not whether to pray or not. The agreement is on whether to pray while abstaining. The agreement is not on whether to keep the Sabbath. The agreement is on whether to engage in sex on Sabbath, during this particular Sabbath(s). It must be a mutual agreement!
Sexual abstinence for prayer must be mutual and brief so that Satan doesn’t use the abstinence to tempt. Satan doesn’t take a break from tempting on Sabbath. Therefore abstinence if forced or prolonged unnecessarily can cause temptation even on Sabbath. Even on Sabbath we must guard against temptation because of abstinence. Therefore it is in order to have sex on Sabbath if it is not a mutually agreed season of prayer. Sabbath is not an approved reason to abstain from sex. Only agreed upon prayers of a short season are permissible as an abstinence basis.
May God enable the unmarried to prove to an immoral world that abstinence is possible. May those who are guilty of sexual sins find hope in a forgiving and redeeming Saving God. May slaves of sexual sins find liberation in Jesus. May the married find satisfaction and fulfillment in their sexual lives. May sexual activity of the childless bear fruit this season. May God’s purposes for sex be fulfilled in our lives, in Jesus name. Amen!
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