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God’s gifts are perfect, holy, and never so simple as to only serve one purpose or be used for one thing. The same is true for sex. Sex can also be used as a tool for worship.

Many of us have forgotten to talk about that kind of sex. We’ve forgotten to celebrate the gift God designed to weld us together in spirit. Holy, covenant-bound sex is what’s worth waiting for.

That sex is what God always intended it to be—shame-free, pleasure-drenched, and deeply unifying. That sex unmasks the one-night stands, culture-crazed hookups, and promiscuity carried out in the darkness for what they really are—primitive, self-serving, impatient splurges that cheapen the value of the gift we’ve been given.

Sex in the Bible

Genesis 2:23–25 finds Adam, the very first man, in awe of the partner God created him in Eve.

“At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’ ”

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

Matthew 19:6 reiterates that idea. “Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

Sex is not a sin within the context of marriage—it is the very act that unifies us as one flesh and one team. In that context, there is no shame to be had. Sex is God’s. And he has gifted it to us.

Sex is not sin. So the only thing framing that misconception is unrepentant sin in us that we’re allowing to win.

Sex and Self-Control

The process of God’s call to purity in singleness is not just to preserve a righteous and clean reputation. It’s to equip us before the trials by fire come. It prepares us while we’re on deck so we know how to time our swings when it’s our turn to step up to the plate.

God calls us to self-control in singleness because self-control in marriage are required of us every day. Sex is not a performance-based or self-serving act that is purely there to serve our own wants. It’s the ultimate act of service to our partner. It’s an act of love, generosity, and vulnerability with the one we love.

Ephesians 5:21 calls us, as husband and wife, to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Sex is powerful. And purposeful. And pure in its design.

Breaking the Chains of Sexual Baggage

In our marriage, my husband, Jeremiah, and I have learned to believe that God has the power to break the chains and forgive us of the actions we took in our single lives. We’ve learned to delight in sex as an act of worship as husband and wife.

The more we’ve done those things, the more our sex life has improved and thrived.

There was beauty in coming together spiritually, because it opened the door for us to come together physically and emotionally. We’ve found our sexual rhythm and learned to openly communicate moving forward.

We found freedom in remembering that sex isn’t taboo between a husband and wife. It’s not shameful. It’s something God delights in in the right context. It trumps conviction with holy connection.

Everyone should see how things change in their intimacy when the invitation is extended to Christ to enter every area of their marriage—including the bedroom.

This post is an edited excerpt from ‘Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot’ by Mo Isom, published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.