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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Marriage of Priests – part 34

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1 Corinthians 7:5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

In the meanwhile, good people will know how to moderately use marriage. This is especially so when they are occupied with public service, which often provides good people with so much labor that all domestic thoughts are removed from their minds. Good folk also know this, that Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 4:4, commands every one to control their own bodies with holiness. They also understand that they must sometimes abstain, in order that there may be time for prayer. Yet Paul does not wish this to be perpetual (1 Cor 7:5).

Pulling It Together: There must be good order in all things. I once did marriage counseling with a couple whose problems always seemed to come back to talk about sex. He was unsatisfied; she was overwhelmed by his constant advances. When I asked him what would be an agreeable number of times in a week for sex, his answer was first thing in the morning and last thing at night—every day. Twice. My counsel was that they not have sex for the next week but instead, devote themselves to prayer. Of course, he turned a deaf ear to this advice.

I was not encouraging celibacy but that he practice controlling his body and its urges for a while. This is about as far as Scripture takes us in terms of abstinence. It does not demand celibacy for anyone, not even ministers. But it does insist upon godly order and holiness—in bed and otherwise.

Prayer: Lord, give me such devotion to you that I honor you with my body as well as my spirit. Amen.

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