Thursday, 10 July 2014
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 1 Corinthians 7:4
This verse is a truth which goes back to the very creation of man. In Genesis 2:24 it says –
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Because they are now “one flesh,” there is an authorized control over one another that cannot be dismissed. This verse is not to be separated from the previous verses. Paul noted the appropriateness of marriage because of what would otherwise devolve into “sexual immorality.” After that, he showed that a man is to give his wife due affection and the wife is to offer the same to her husband. In other words, they are not to deny the rights of the bed in marriage.
To further strengthen this concept, he provides this verse of clarity. “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does.” The wife cannot force the husband to live as a celibate. Nor should the wife force him into even temporary celibacy. Instead, she is to offer herself to him because he possesses authority over her.
“And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” In the same manner, the husband it not to deny the wife what she desires in the marriage bed too. She has like-authority over the body of her husband. Neither has a higher standing in this relationship; both are to be granted the fulfillment of their needs and desires. And the reason, based on his previous words, is obvious.
If either denies the other their rightful due, it will more than likely end in frustration leading to divorce or adultery. If to divorce, it may still be considered adultery (as will be seen in the coming verses). Whichever is the case though, sexual immorality (and thus sin) is the expected result. And this sin came about from denying what is otherwise a God-granted right because of the marriage vows which were taken.
Life application: Marriage and the marriage bed are not to be used as weapons between spouses. They are to be used to build a harmonious relationship which meets the needs and desires of one another.
Glorious God! Thank You for the wondrous creation You have given us. There are a seemingly infinite number of smells, tastes, and sensations to delight our minds and souls with wonder. Even those things which are offensive actually serve a purpose, because we can then have something to use as a contrast. Adam and Eve didn’t know how good they had it until they lost Eden. We have that knowledge and even more… because we have the surety of being in Your presence, surrounded by delight, forever. And it’s all because of the shed blood of Christ. Thank You for the Lord Jesus! Amen.