Author

  • Scott Mehl
    Scott pastors Cornerstone Church of West LA, a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-generational church on the westside of Los Angeles. He is also the Chair of the biblical counseling department at Eternity Bible College and an adjunct faculty member at the Los Angeles Bible Training School. Scott serves on the board of IBCD and as a fellow with ACBC. He is the author of "Loving Messy People: The Messy Art of Helping One Another Become More Like Jesus" and co-authored IBCD’s "Intro to Messy Care and Discipleship" small group curriculum.
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Category: Articles

Why I Wrote a Book about Sex

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May 20, 2024

To say that our world is confused about sex is a dramatic understatement. You don’t need an anecdote or statistic. You face the reality of it every day. And, unfortunately, this confusion isn’t only “out there” in the world, but it also has dramatic effects in both the church and each of our individual hearts. And while many Christians have responded to the confusion in our world by trying to defend and clarify what sex is not. I’m afraid we haven’t spent near enough time with our Bibles open exploring what sex is.

Many of us are probably able to quote Scriptures defending that:

  • Sex is not to be experienced with someone who is not your spouse (Ex 20:14).
  • Sex is not to be experienced with someone of your same gender (Rom 1:26-27).
  • Sex is not to be experienced alone (or with a stranger on a screen) (1Cor 6:18).

However, regardless of how well equipped we are to fight the cultural battles of the moment, we also remain largely unable to answer some of the most basic theological questions about sex:

  • What is the purpose of sex?
  • Why is it so difficult to control our sexual urges?
  • Why did God create us sexual beings?

When Lara and I got married we received the standard evangelical instructions about sex. “Make sure you’re having it.” “Wives, don’t deprive your husbands.” “Husbands, don’t look at porn.” And the overarching sentiment: “Green means go! Have fun!” Unfortunately, we had enough information to feel like we shouldn’t be asking questions, but not enough information to be truly informed. There was still a lot we didn’t understand about the nature of sex, the purpose of sex, and what to do about all the challenges of sex. But we didn’t know where to turn and were too embarrassed to ask. As a result, we struggled with significant challenges regarding sex for years and years.

Having been a pastor for almost two decades now I’ve come to realize we weren’t alone. In fact, I think most Christian couples are woefully ill-informed about the most important aspects of sex. I mean, we all know the rules and the physical logistics. But it’s those more fundamental questions where many couples still don’t have clear or compelling answers. As a result, our understanding of sex is typically shallow and superficial. We see sex as a fun (or not-so-fun) component of marriage that simply exists to keep us satisfied and faithful. But God has designed it to be so much more.

Sex is about God. It is a shadow that was created to reveal something unique and powerful about our relationship with Christ. In creating us as sexual beings, God built into our very nature a vocabulary through which he communicates the “promises and pleasures” (as John Piper puts it) of his love for us. And if we fail to recognize this transcendent purpose God has for sex, we end up missing the whole point.

At its core, that’s what I want the couples in our church to come to understand about sex. I want to help open their eyes to the reality that God has beautiful, rich, revelatory purposes for sex. And I want to help people in local churches all over see the magnificence of sex too.

God created sex for a number of relational purposes.

  • Sex in a means of union.
  • Sex is a means of mutual pleasure.
  • Sex is an expression of marital love.
  • Sex can bring new life.

Each of these relational purposes bring a depth and richness to sexual intimacy in marriage. They help us understand why sex is so powerful and why it’s such an important part of the marital relationship. But that is not the end. Because each of these purposes are also aspects of the way God reveals himself through sex.

  • Sex is a shadow of our union with Christ.
  • Sex is a shadow of our eternal mutual pleasure with Christ.
  • Sex is a shadow of our expressions of love with Christ.
  • Sex is a shadow of how new life is brought through Christ.

That may sound strange—or maybe even sacrilegious—but that’s why I wrote Redeeming Sex in Marriage. I wanted to dig deep into the pages of Scripture (from Genesis to Revelation) to better understand God’s glorious purposes for sex. And I wanted to understand how the rich theology of sex revealed in God’s word can shape our sex lives in marriage. Because as our theology of sex deepens, our practice of sex is enriched. All theology is practical theology. And that is assuredly true about the theology of sex.

As Lara and I have come to understand the God-centeredness of sex over the years, our relationship has transformed. Areas of struggle have become areas of redemption. Hurt has been healed. Sin has been forgiven. And the very aspects of our relationship where we once felt most “incompatible” has become the aspect of our relationship that now brings some of the sweetest joys. And I know that same kind of healing, redemption, and transformation is possible for every couple who has the Spirit of God dwelling in them.

Whether your sex life in marriage has been glorious or disappointing, joyful or painful, there is more to be had. I’m absolutely convinced that, regardless of your age or how long you’ve been married God wants to continue to transform your sex life as your theology of sex deepens, and your love for him and one another expands. No matter what challenges you have faced, I know there is hope. Our God is a God of healing, reconciliation, and restoration. And I believe he wants to redeem sex in your marriage.

 

Learn more about Scott’s new book, Redeeming Sex in Marriage: How the Gospel Rescues Sex, Transforms Marriage, and Reveals the Glory of God, and order your copy today at Amazon or P&R Publishing.

Author

  • Scott Mehl
    Scott pastors Cornerstone Church of West LA, a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-generational church on the westside of Los Angeles. He is also the Chair of the biblical counseling department at Eternity Bible College and an adjunct faculty member at the Los Angeles Bible Training School. Scott serves on the board of IBCD and as a fellow with ACBC. He is the author of "Loving Messy People: The Messy Art of Helping One Another Become More Like Jesus" and co-authored IBCD’s "Intro to Messy Care and Discipleship" small group curriculum.
    View all posts
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