The language and imagery of sexuality are the most graphic and most powerful that the Bible uses to describe the relationship between God and his people – both positively (when we are faithful) and negatively (when we are not).’ It’s his passionate love for his people, so passionate that it is described in sexual terms, recorded in passages like Ezekiel 16 that most deeply communicates God’s love for me.
So life without sex for a Christian should never involve an unhealthy repression or denial of their sexuality – any attempt to act as if it didn’t exist.
It is a God-given gift to be valued and expressed in the ways he’s outlined.
But as Thomas Schmidt observes: ‘It is only an aberration of our own sorry generation to equate the absence of sexual gratification with the absence of full personhood, the denial of being or the deprivation of joy.’Previous generations had different attitudes to celibacy.
The single-minded bachelors that used to prop up most British institutions, the devoted spinsters who spent their lives caring for elderly relatives, used to be admired not pitied.
He clearly expresses the benefits for the gospel of his celibate life in 1 Corinthians 7 and we need to start promoting similar thinking in our churches today.