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Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Attack of Rampant Hedonism

Marriage is under intense attack by Satan. Over the next few articles I will examine three ways Satan attacks: 1. rampant hedonism (the playboy philosophy) 2. widespread acceptance of adultery 3. easy divorce

All three of these attacks of Satan are made palatable, acceptable, and even desirable to us by the love of self. If our philosophy is, “I’m number one!” where we elevate ourselves to the most important position, we won’t defend our marriage. We won’t fight for it. The “me” marriage isn’t one we are usually willing to put any effort in to.

Let’s look at rampant hedonism. This is also called the “New Morality,” which really means “No Morality.” It is sometimes referred to as the “Sexual Revolution,” a revolt against Biblical morality. The philosophy is simply this: sex with whomever and whenever we feel like it. “After all, everybody is doing it.” At least that is what they want us to think. Sex is fine, they say, before and outside of marriage. That’s why we need to hand out condoms in our high schools, because we can’t expect the kids to show any restraint. Really? Why can’t you? Who is giving them all this unsupervised time anyway? It’s too bad they don’t have parents.

In reality, the new morality is simply sex out of control, sex with no ethical norms, except some vague, “As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” That, of course, is determined by the situation, we are told. Ethics are situational, that is their mantra. But who can really tell what the situation is? Do you know all the facts in any given situation? Can anyone make a rational decision in the passion of the moment while alone in the back seat of a car on some secluded lane? Or while cuddled alone in front of the fireplace in your apartment? Can you rationally consider the consequences in the passion of the moment? Not on your life! The raging hormones turn off the rational part of the brain.

Can you always anticipate the consequences of getting AIDs or herpes to take home to your marriage partner? How about an unplanned baby? Nor do people consider the hurt to their spouse at having to share what God intended as exclusive. That applies even to your future spouse who, yes, will be sick at heart that you didn’t wait.

Or can you know the consequences caused by the dissatisfaction it might bring into your marriage? You might find that your spouse does not live up to the excitement the other illicit relationships brought you, or that pornography showed you. You live continually with the desire for someone else other than your spouse, feeding off fantasies or pornography. As Gary Thomas writes concerning the man effected by pornography, “His expectations have been jettisoned to a dangerous place. He’s trained himself to think that women like to do certain things, actually enjoy certain things, and act in ways that bear zero resemblance to reality.”

Or, your past indiscretions could leave such guilt or such bad feelings toward sex that you rob your partner. When you get married, you always bring your past into the marriage. And illicit sex may leave you experienced, but it never gives you the tools to enjoy God-ordained sexual intimacy in marriage.

Hedonism is always destructive to marriage. As Gary Thomas says:

“If there weren’t consequences to sexual sin, it seems unlikely that God would forbid it. He is a gracious God, not capricious, definitely not malicious, and amazingly kind and generous. Directly rebelling against His wisdom, doing nothing about it, and then expecting there to be no consequences is worse than calling God a liar; it is calling Him a pleasure-killing, malicious liar.”
If that defined your life as a single, it carries over into marriage. Only repentance and forgiveness can break you free from its chains of slavery. According to Gary Thomas, “God can intervene, restore, and recreate, but He doesn’t do that on the back of fraud and denial. He heals through the practice of confession, repentance, and the applied blood of Jesus Christ. Anything less won’t cut it.” Only then can you, in the words of Dr. Steve Wilke, “surrender yourselves in a relationship where you are truly loved, cared for, and protected, and where there is spiritual covering through prayer and the Word.” That is the joy of Biblical sex.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Oneness in Marriage

There is a oneness in marriage much deeper than the mere joining of bodies. You live in the same place sharing the same address. There is a oneness in your name. You are now Mr. and Mrs. Whatever. You live together, eat the same food, share the same bathroom and bed. And you have a oneness because of the many memories that you have built together. All these unite a husband and a wife.

And you have a oneness in the children you create together. Each of you gives a part of yourself to create a whole, new eternal human being. And soon, Junior begins to walk like Daddy, and has that smile or dimple of his Mommy. They are like you because they are from you. They are indeed a part of you, of both of you, genetically and environmentally. They are the perfect example of one flesh. Not two, but one made out of two. That’s what a marriage is. As God said in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

In a body, there is no competition, no playing off one against another. There is no keeping score, no making comparisons. There is no insistence on a 50-50 division of anything. Each is giving 100% to the body. Each is working for the other – pulling with, not against the other. That is one flesh – loving, united, intimate and permanent. This is the kind of an earthly relationship that Christ chose to symbolize His own relationship with the church – loving, united, intimate, and permanent.

This relationship was described by Paul in Ephesians 5:28-32, which is part of his long, extended passage on marriage:

28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
A husband loves his wife as his own body because they are one flesh. It is only logical he would nourish and cherish her. But this is only symbolic of the same great union we have as believers with Christ. We are part of His body and His bride. This is why Paul calls it a great mystery. We thought this passage talked about marriage, when in reality it talked about Christ and the church. Our marriages have such deep spiritual significance because they are a picture of Christ and the church. The husband must treat his wife as Christ treated the church, loving her enough to die for her. The wife must treat the husband with the same love and submission that the church has for Christ. When that happens, our marriages reveal that perfect unity of being one flesh.