King Solomon writes in the Song of Songs 2:3
“Like the finest apple tree in the orchard is my lover among other young men. I sit in his delightful shade and taste his delicious fruit. He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much he loves me. Strengthen me with raisin cakes, refresh me with apples, for I am weak with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right. Ah, I hear my lover coming! He is leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My lover is like a swift gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he is behind the wall, looking through the window, peering into the room. My lover said to me, “Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one! Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air. The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming. Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one!”
Now, you may be thinking, is that really in the Bible?! It is. It’s been said that the Song of Songs is so passionate that Jewish Rabbi’s would prevent their students from reading it until they were 30 years old! As Christians, we should not be ashamed of this kind of passion, but we are to celebrate it in context with God’s design for sexuality. Today we continue our conversation with Dr. Juli Slattery. We are discussing her new workbook for single women; it’s called “Sex and the Single Girl.”
On today’s podcast, we’ll discuss several things:
- How and why the consequences of sex outside of marriage impact us in a unique way.
- Why the sexual union between husband and wife is a mysterious metaphor for Jesus’ relationship with us.
The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:21
“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
For us to understand this passage correctly, we have to define love. We can’t use the world’s definition of love because their definition is a counterfeit. Love includes sacrifice; it’s putting someone else before me – no matter the cost to me.
Let’s face it; we don’t like to do that do we? We love ourselves – and that’s not good. But what is good is that Jesus loves you more than you love yourself. And we see this on the Cross.