October 23, 2018: How Beautiful You Are
October 23, 2018
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Today’s Bible Reading: Lamentations 2, Song of Solomon 7, John 7:1-13, 1 Peter 4:12-19 Song of Solomon 7: Remember that the approach we are taking is that this Song is to be interpreted both as a description of idyllic, wedded love, and as a description of God’s love for his people. (For an explanation of that approach, see the introduction to this book in the first devotional here.) Part of the challenge of commenting on the Song of Solomon – indeed, in a sense on any poetry – is that it is better read and experienced than explained in a way that leaves the living body of imagery a mere corpse. Read this part of Song of Solomon and let its words work their intended impact upon you. As you do, you will notice that the obviously sexual imagery of this part of the Song of Solomon gives the lie to the idea that the Bible is prudish about sex. It perhaps can not be said enough – in our day and age that is still living with the aftereffects of the sexual revolution of the 1960s – that Christianity does not run in panic at the mention of sex. In the Christian view, the sex act is part of a much larger tapestry of intimacy, and an exclusive intimacy in marriage, that reflects the covenant intimacy of God with his people. How much higher view of sex could there be? The Bible views the consummation of all of reality in a marriage (Revelation 21:9 and context). It does not think of sex as something to be avoided, downplayed, diminished, or generally put out of the appropriate order of things. Instead, sex is such an important part of intrinsic reality because it is part of something far more than mere physical sex. The sexual world of faithful marriage is intended to speak of Christ’s love for the church (Ephesians 5:32). That is why we find the language of Song of Solomon in the Bible. Not because we are embarrassed by sex, nor because we think of physical sexual intimacy as the be all and end all of life. We worship, after all, a Savior who was single throughout his earthly life. While many of the apostles were married, the apostle Paul was not – and commended the celibate life. No, we have this book of the Song of Solomon in our Bibles because it not only affirms physical intimacy within the contours of marriage, but because it also speaks to the fulfillment of that in Christ, and our relationship with him. There, in Christ, is a brilliant intimacy that pales into insignificance the mere shadows of physical sexuality. So then, single Christian, your status as a single person is deeply important and affirmed by the Bible as a real calling (1 Corinthians 7:7). You will not ultimately miss out on the point of sex, for that is ultimately fulfilled in a relationship with Christ at the coming of Christ and the bride of Christ with him in the new heaven and the new earth of Revelation 21. And, married Christian, find in your sexual intimacy a joy that is good – and fulfilled in Christ. Therefore, seek intimacy with each other in marriage as an expression of God’s good gift to the married. Therefore, seek intimacy in Christ as the ultimate fulfilment of such intimacy.]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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