Carnal Level

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Mark 10:7-8 (ESV)
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” First Corinthians 6:15-16 (ESV)

The first level of a marriage is carnal; having sex make us one. This is not exclusive of marriage; Paul tells us in First Corinthians 7:28, “But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.” (ESV) The word trouble is the Greek word thlípsis; meaning “To crush, press, compress, squeeze, to break, tribulation, affliction. In a figurative manner, pressure from evils, affliction, distress.”[1] When a marriage stays in this level there is constant trouble.

It does not really matter how long you have been married, if you have constant “trouble” it is still in the first level. Nothing special there; your marriage is just carnal. But what do we expect at this level? At this level we are united with the worse of each other, the flesh; that is the part of us that never cooperates with God.  Galatians 5:17-21tells us,

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (ESV)

This is the fruit of the flesh:

  1. Sexual Immorality 

2. Impurity: This is the Greek word akatharsía; meaning, “Moral uncleanness, vulgarity, self-gratification in general.”[2]

3. Sensuality: This is the Greek word asélgeia; meaning “Lasciviousness (Carnality), debauchery (Depravity), sexual excess, absence of restraint, lustfulness or perversion.”[3]

4. Idolatry: (Anything we place above God)

5. Sorcery: This is the Greek word pharmakeía; meaning “Use as a poisonous one. Pharmakeía means the occult, sorcery, witchcraft, illicit pharmaceuticals, trance, magical incantation with drugs.”[4]

6. Enmity: (Hatred)

7. Strife: (Contentions, fighting, verbal fighting) 

8. Jealousy

9. Fits of anger

 10. Rivalries: (Focus on self-interest) 

 11. Dissensions: (Division, discord, separation, etc.) 

 12. Divisions: This is the Greek word haíresis; meaning “To choose, or select heresy, a form of religious worship, discipline, or opinion.”[5] Because the flesh is contrary to God it will always false doctrines; in this case heresies; totally contrary to God’s righteousness.”

 13. Envy 

 14. Drunkenness: (Alcoholism)

 15. Orgies: This is the Greek word kṓmos; meaning “Riotous conduct; festivities in honor of several gods, especially Bacchus, the god of wine, hence feastings and drunkenness with impurity and obscenity of the grossest kind. Therefore, it always presupposes a festive company and drunken revellers.”[6]

Soul Level

A Soul level relationship has nothing to do with sex and it is not exclusive of marriage. First Samuel 18:1 tells us how folks in a soul level relationship look like,

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (ESV)

Ever wonder why you get along better with your friends than you do your own spouse? Because many marriages never archive this level of harmony. If you look at the story of David and Jonathan; these two should have never ever become best friends as they did. They had too much against it, but they did, because they agreed from withing their souls: their mindset, their decision-making and emotions were in the same page.Jonathan was the King’s son; he was supposed to be next in line after soul die. Jonathan should have been jealous of David and agree with his dad in attempting to kill him. However, he was in harmony with David and, most of all, in harmony with God as he trusted God’s will for David. We can also see this unity of the soul in Acts 4:32,

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. (ESV)

Notice that they had everything in common; what a beautiful marriage that would be!

Spiritual Level

This is the maximum expression of a marriage. This is when our willing spirit, according to Matthew 26:41, come together with a spouse who also has a willing spirit and, together, we worship God in spirit and in truth according to John 4. As we get closer to God, we automatically get closer to each other. 

The Bible describes the Church as the Bride of Christ and, there is a future marriage with our Lord coming (Revelation 19:7-9). That marriage is not sexual, that marriage is spiritual. In John 17 Jesus prayed to the Father for us to be one; that union is spiritual. Paul encourages us to love our wives as Christ love the church (Ephesians 5:25) There is nothing sexual involved in that love. Christ love for us is deeper than that… it is spiritual. 

Couples that never move away from the Carnal Level are the ones who fall apart in adulteries, these are the ones who fall apart when menopause hit the wife or when the husband is not as sexually potent as he used to. Beloved, no matter how healthy the women or the men is, eventually the sexual drive and potency diminishes. Ever ask yourself why? Because there are higher and deeper levels of intimacy; levels that many couples NEVER EVER experience. 

A marriage that has reach a spiritual level love the Lord together; they know how to love each other and, they have each other’s backs for better or for worse. Beloved, there will be no marriage in heaven other than us marrying Jesus and, there will be no sex in heaven, but our lives will be indescribably better. This is not an article against sex in marriage and, I am not saying that marriages will be perfect; we are imperfect people. However, our marriages can get better, much better as we move from carnal to spiritual. 

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[4] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[5] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[6] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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