Sex is meant by God to be one of the bridge experiences between earth and heaven. It awakens and intersects our deepest physical and spiritual desires. Sex, like music, fills us simultaneously with notes of an intense immanent bodily pleasure and with the sonorous reverberations of another world that is transcendent and holy.

It is no wonder that the enemy of God is relentlessly committed to fouling both immanent pleasure and transcendent joy. Evil hates sex and is ruthlessly committed to tearing down the bridge between desire and holiness.

We live in a world where sexual desire seems anything but holy. Instead, it is bound to self-absorbed indulgence, transgression, and violence. To link holiness and sexuality seems like an oxymoron in our day. Yet this is simply the by-product of evil’s desire to free sex from true spirituality and holiness.

Two core assertions: First, sexual desire doesn’t begin to be released on the altar the second after you say “I do.” It begins in the womb and grows irregularly and progressively through our lifetime until death, and from childhood until death this journey is fraught with turns, twists, disasters, failure, and growth. Second, sexual desire is meant to become more holy and whole the longer we live. It is important to consider what it means to be holy and how that relates to sexual desire.

Holiness is a central and core description of the character of God. He is holy. All that he does is holy, and he requires holiness of those in his presence. What does it mean to be holy? There are three key elements to the meaning of the word. To be holy is to be set apart; to be without flaw, blemish, or stain; and to shine with a fire-like brightness, full of glory and awe. We are to be like God, set apart as his beloved; to be beautiful, without flaw or blemish; to be bright and shining in his sight, a blessing to him and to the world. All holiness involves being beloved, beautiful, and a bright blessing.

Holiness grows as we surrender more and more to God’s calling for us to be his—a beautiful bride—revealing through our brokenness the allure of his undeserved, unexpected, matchless love. We grow in our capacity to hold his glory and increase our heart’s desire for him the more we are seized by the extravagance and lavish love of our beloved. Sex is about pleasure. It is about an intimate, exclusive, loyal bond that is beyond words and comprehension, but not outside what our mind and body can imagine and desire.

God intends to purify our desire in the holy consumption of his love. We must take the risk of bringing our desire—holy and impure before his eyes—to be caught up in what sex is meant to offer: the arousal of our deepest desire to be in union with him.

 

Excerpted from God Loves Sex by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III (Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2014). Visit http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/god-loves-sex/344160 for more info.