Summary: Paul is trying to help Christians to be moral people in a very immoral world, and to do that he has to focus on the sex drive.

The most famous twins in history were Chang and Eng,

born in Siam in 1811. They toured Europe and America

repeatedly. They became so well known that all twins whose

bodies are physically connected have ever since been called

Siamese twins. By their early thirty's they had traveled the

world, and amassed a fortune. They decided to settle

down in North Carolina and become farmers. One of their

neighbors, David Yates, was a Quaker, and a part time

clergyman. He had a 19 year old daughter Adelaide, and a

20 year old daughter named Sarah Ann. Believe it or not,

these two girls started courting Chang and Eng. Everybody

thought it was insane, and both families were threatened by

town folk who were sure it was evil.

Nevertheless, there was a double wedding in April of

1843. Naturally they moved into the same house, and

unbelievably, they had happy and fruitful marriages. Eng

fathered 7 boys and 5 girls. Chang fathered 7 girls and 3

boys. All 22 children were normal except for a son and

daughter who were deaf mutes. Chang and Eng lived to age

63, and they were buried in the cemetery of the Baptist

church of White Plains, which they helped to build, and

where they and there family worshipped for many years.

Many of their descendants still attend this church today, and

over one thousand people trace their descent from these

original Siamese Twins.

You would think if anyone should remain single it would

be people like this, who had such an enormous handicap.

But the fact is, Frederick Drimmer, in his book Very Special

People, reports that 90% of human oddities, who use to be

called freaks, marry normal people, and have normal

children, and very few of these marriages end in divorce.

How can these people make it, and have happy marriages,

when so many people without their handicaps cannot? We

can only conclude with the Apostle Paul, these people have

the gift of marriage. In verse 7 Paul states that each person

has a special gift. His is the gift to be single and satisfied,

but if one does not have that gift, then he has another, and

that is the gift to be married and satisfied.

Just as some people can be happy and fulfilled single, so

others can be happy and fulfilled married. Paul no where

forbids marriage to anyone, for he writes to Timothy

that it is heresy and the doctrine of demons to forbid

marriage. Paul's concern is to prevent those with the gift of

singleness from entering marriage. We will see why as we

continue our study.

Since the key element in each of these gifts is the sex

drive, there is no way Christians can escape examining their

sex drive, and still be obedient to God. One's sexual

motivation, or lack of it, is a gift of God. If you have the gift

of self-control, and can abstain from sex, you have the gift of

singleness. It is foolish to be intimidated by all of the clamor

of the world that life and sex are synonymous. Consider

yourself gifted to pursue other goals for the kingdom of

God. If, however, you have a strong sex drive, consider

yourself ungifted to remain single, but gifted to make a

happy marriage. The rule here ,says Barclay, is, "No man

should attempt a way of life for which he is naturally


The key theme of this whole chapter is prevention. Paul's

advice here is to prevent those with the gift of singleness

from marriage, and to prevent those with the gift of

marriage from staying single, and to prevent in all cases the

immorality that the sex drive can lead to, if not brought

under self-control. Paul is no ivory tower mystic who

responds to all problems with the pious advice that Christ is

the answer. Of course, Christ is the answer, and obedience

to His will is the key to all of life's problems, but the question

is, what is His will, and how do I submit to His Lordship in

specific cases? It is to general to say Christ is the answer, or

pray about it. Paul is getting very specific, and actually

deals with the issues of sex so practically, that it has taken

centuries of study to bring the world up to the point where

they recognize this old bachelor knew more about sex than

most of the married people of history.

Most of the blunders of church history were caused by

Christians not taking Paul seriously as a sex counselor. This

one paragraph could have prevented centuries of darkness

and heartache in millions of Christians lives. When

Christians do not walk in the light that God gives, they are

condemned to walk in darkness, and make the same

mistakes over and over. If we are going to let the light of

God's Word guide us, we need to lay aside a false spirituality

that tries to hide the reality of lust. A retired pastor was

once asked by a friend, "How old do you have to be to stop

struggling with lust?" He responded, "Why ask me? I'm

only 70." That is realism, and Paul was a realist.

Paul is trying to help Christians to be moral people in a

very immoral world, and to do that he has to focus on the sex

drive. In chapter 6 he makes it clear that the Corinthians

were still visiting prostitutes. He writes in verses 15 and 16,

"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?

Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them

members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he

who gives himself to a prostitute becomes one body with

her?" Prostitution was a way of life in Corinth, and Paul is

fighting to change the lifestyle of these pagans who have

become Christians, and who did not realize all of the

implications of what it means to be a Christian. This is why

Paul is not dealing with marriage on the level of the mystical

union of Christ and the church. He is on the level of lust and

the sex drive, because that is where the people are he is

trying to help.

If it seems unspiritual to you, it is because you have a

limited view of spirituality. True spirituality is being able to

deal with people where they are, and to help them bring

every aspect of their lives into conformity with the will of

God. Sex is a major part of life, therefore, to help people

deal with their sex life is being spiritual. The question is

often asked, how do I know if it is God's will that I marry?

Paul says the answer may be very simple, as simple as this:

Know thyself. Examine your makeup. Do you have a strong

sex drive that is constantly pushing you toward fornication?

That is a sign you are made for marriage. If the temptation

is easy to handle, that is a sign you may be gifted for


It may sound like a very low motivation to get married,

just to satisfy the sex drive. You find a wife or husband just

to prevent your sex drive from leading you to prostitutes

and others outside of marriage. This makes marriage a sort

of corral to tame and limit the wild horses of passion. That

may seem like a low motivation, but the fact is, the

difference between ordered civilization and anarchy is the

control of the sex drive. Marriage provides men with a

means by which they keep their power under control, and

thus maintain a stable society. There can be no orderly

moral society without marriage, which limits the sex drive.

Every time a civilization has tried to ignore this God-ordained

principle, that civilization has lost its foundation, and crumbled.

Sex is not a mere side issue. It isvital to regulate it for survival and

success in any society.

Doctor J. D. Unvin, of Cambridge University, studied 80

civilizations covering 4000 years, and he concluded that any

society which chose sexual promiscuity declined, and those

that chose sexual discipline developed creative energy. Sex is

like fire, under control it is a wonderful resource of energy,

but out of control, it is a most destructive power.

Paul is saying, if you can regulate your sex drive, do not

feel the pressure to get married. So many young people

panic because they see their friends getting married, and

they feel left out. Their family and friends add to the

pressure by suggesting they may not be normal by staying

single. This kind of social pressure forces many to marry,

who ought not to. They marry out of the desire to conform

to a public image, and not because of sexual passion. This

lack of passion leads to a cold and mechanical relationship

that often leads to an affair or divorce. Paul is right, and

one should not get married just because it is the popular

thing to do. You should get married when you do not see

how you can live a normal life without a mate.

The question of the Corinthians was, how can we live in a

sex saturated society, where the sex drive is constantly

stimulated, and not be immoral? Paul says, get married.

Doesn't that make marriage a sort of legal lust? Yes it does,

but legal and controlled lust is far superior to illegal and

uncontrolled lust. It is the only way to build an orderly

society, and the only way to develop a Christian life style in a

pagan world. But notice, Paul is not so superficial as to

assume that marriage would end the problem of lust. He did

not say, get married and all your problems are over. On the

contrary, he recognized that married people still struggle

with the temptation to be immoral. He goes on to give

married people advice that will help them prevent lust and

promote love.

Here is the Pauline sex manual, written almost 2000 years

ago. If modern Christians would heed it, it would take care

of their needs. This is just what all the modern books are

saying. If you want to prevent sex outside the marriage,

make sure there is so much within the marriage that there is

no left over energy for Satan to work with. No Christian can

be effectively tempted to get into an affair if all the sex

energy he or she has is regularly released within the

marriage bond. Marriages may be made in heaven, but

their upkeep is done here on earth, and sex is the oil that

keeps the machinery of marriage from breaking down. This

gives us a clue as to why Paul did not want those with the

gift of singleness to get married. They have little interest in

sex, and, therefore, they make their mate a target that

Satan's fiery darts cannot miss.

Imagine one of these Corinthian young men who has

grown up following the pagan custom of going to a temple

prostitute. He now becomes a Christian, and decides to

marry this sweet Christian girl he met at church. She

became a Christian at a young age, and has been pure

sexually. In fact, she has no interest in sex at all. She is, in

other words, a gifted single. These two get married, and

very quickly the husband begins to feel rejection, because he

is very active sexually, and she is trying to avoid it as much

as she can. You can see the tremendous tension this puts on

the marriage. That man is going to go through enormous

conflict as to whether or not he will go back to visit the

temple prostitute. In other words, the act of marriage, or

merely becoming husband and wife, is not the cure for

immorality. The cure is in sexual satisfaction, and if a

person marries who does not have this gift, it only makes

matters worse. Those gifted to be single are a curse to their

mates, who are gifted for marriage, and need sexual


So you can see why Paul urges people to stay single if they

do not have the gift of marriage. Lacking this, if they get

married, they just change the sphere of temptation from

fornication to adultery, and this is hardly an adequate

motivation for marriage. The principle is simple: If you

can't carry to tune, don't join the choir. If you faint at the

sight of blood, don't become a nurse. If you can't add, don't

become an accountant. If you don't life sex, or don't feel the

need of sex, don't enter a partnership where sex is basic to its


Paul knows a lot of problems can be prevented if gifted

singles stay single, but this is hardly the end of the

complexity of the issues involved. Paul is as up to date as

books rolling off the presses today. The first thing he deals with in

marital sex is, the equality of the sexes. For centuries the

church ignored Paul's insights, and developed the view that

only males have sexual rights. The male is the aggressor,

and female is the passive vessel designed to meet his need.

Wives were trained to believe it was wrong for them to enjoy

sex. Millions of Christian girls were warned by their

mothers that sex was a necessary evil, and they should be

prepared to endure it, but not enjoy it.

The sex revolution broke us out of that prison of man's

own making, and has revealed what Paul was stating

centuries ago. Sexual satisfaction is the equal right of the

wife as well as the husband. They are mutually obligated to

satisfy one another. Women have looked down on Paul,

assuming he was a male chauvinist, but they failed to see

that he is really the father of women's equality in marriage.

There is not the slightest hint in this passage that the wife is

secondary to the husband. Equality is all you see, and if

mates will honor that equality, they will experience the full

joys of married life. The more you know about the history of

sex in the church, the more you can appreciate the Apostle

Paul's realism. Never once in this passage, dealing with

marital sex, does Paul even mention reproduction.

I am amazed as I read Christian history, to see how many

Christian leaders were afraid to admit that sex had any

other function than that of producing babies. The thought

that it had psychological values, and could even be a means

of entertainment, was never allowed to enter Christian

theology. The Catholic church refused to let Paul play a role

in their theology of sex. They said sex was for reproduction,

period! This being the case, any form of birth control was a

resisting of the will of God. They said it was unnatural to

prevent child birth. Of course, it is unnatural to cut your

grass, and your whiskers also, but grass and whiskers never

became a theological issue like sex. Because of this limited

view of sex, millions of Christians have had to endure all

kinds of guilt.

All of it could have been avoided by listening to Paul.

Paul says sex is an appetite, and like hunger and thirst, it

needs to be satisfied. Mates do not decide we want to have a

baby, and so lets engage in sex. Mates have the hunger for

sex hundreds of times more frequently than they have a

desire for children. The sexual appetite has no connection

with the number of children you hope to produce. Animals

are built to have a mating season in which the sex drive

functions for reproduction. Man is not made like this at all.

There is no mating season for man. He has a sex appetite all

the time, and the sexual function of mates is not just to have

children, but to satisfy this perpetual hunger. If children are

the only reason for sex, then after you have the children you

want, sex should end. Unfortunately, some mates feel this

way, and it destroys the marriage. Sexual pleasure is meant

to be enjoyed just as long as the pleasure of eating is meant

to be enjoyed.

Paul says there are occasions when you can interrupt the

regular release of sexual tension. He gives the example of

devoting yourself to prayer. In our day it would be for

the sake of going on a retreat, or visiting loved ones, or being

in the hospital, or being in a job situation that demands

separation. Even so, Paul says let this be by agreement.

In other words, Paul expected mates to talk about sex and

their needs in terms of frequency. The only time it is

legitimate to refuse sexual satisfaction is by mutual consent.

One of the major problems in marriage is the tyrannical

role of each mate over their own body. They developed a

dictatorship, and say, I alone decide what happens with my

body. Paul says this is the wrong form of government in

marriage. Marriage is to be a democracy with each mate

having an equal voice in what is done with each others body.

Marriage not only makes two into one, it makes each one

into two. You can lose 50% control over your body when

you marry, for now it belongs, not just to you, but to your

mate equally. Refusal to submit to this arrangement has

hurt millions of marriages.

Those who give heed to Paul, however, find in this old

bachelor's advice the key to marital bliss. They are those

who can live in a sex saturated society and not worry about

the stimulus to lust all about them, for they know they have

a mate that will release all tension, and eliminate the dangers

of temptation. Mates, like Paul's ideal, will be like two

scientists who worked together in a laboratory to seek a

solution to a problem. They will be open to experiment to

keep the sexual flames alive in their marriage, knowing they

have an obligation to each other to prevent Satan from

getting a foothold in their lives through lack of self-control.

Mates who give heed to Paul will be aware of sexual needs,

and will take the necessary steps to meet those needs.

Prevention is the name of the game when it comes to sex.

The only cure for bad sex is good sex. To avoid doing it

wrong, do it right. The whole history of the church could

have been different, and history can yet be different, for

those Christians who will listen to Paul's wisdom, and look

upon marital sex, not as dirty, but as duty-delightful duty

that provides mates escape from the enticing power of the

world, the flesh, and the devil. Those who do so demonstrate

to the glory of God the blessedness of the gift of marriage.