Living Honorably in a Sexual Age!

Living Honorably

in a Sexual Age!

Hebrews 13:4

  • “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

This is a short passage but one filled with shocking significance, especially in our day. Marriage is honorable. It is acceptable since God is the one who provided it in the beginning (Gen. 2:18-24; Matt. 19:4-6). Large numbers of people degrade marriage and disparage it. We probably all know of some who could well ask, “Who needs marriage? I have a meaningful relationship with someone right now so we really don’t need to get married. We have all the pleasures of marriage with none of the responsibilities. After all, what’s so important about a piece of paper?” In contrast, God says that marriage itself is good, right, proper, and honorable. Marriage must not be corrupted by impurity, degraded by unfaithfulness, or ridiculed by libertines.

The sexual relationship within marriage is also holy and right, providing it is a loving and pure expression of a rightfully married husband and wife (1 Cor. 7:2-5). However, the sexual relationship (the “marriage bed”) may be “defiled” and often is defiled by the unbelieving world. The Hebrew writer says that two sins against a rightful marriage are fornication and adultery. Both of these will bring God’s terrifying judgment. The term “fornication” (porneia) refers to “prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse” (Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament). The marriage relationship may be defiled when one commits porneia or indulges in one of many different sexual sins (cf. 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9-20; 1 Thess. 4:3-8). Marriage is also less than what God wants when the parties entering marriage have forsaken their virginity through premarital sexual relationships.

Next, marriage may be defiled through adultery (moichos, as here, and also moicheia). Adultery is committed when a married person has sex with someone other than his or her spouse. An amazing number of marriage partners have indulged in illicit “affairs” while married. Adultery also is committed when one partner wrongly divorces his or her spouse and marries another person (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; Rom. 7:2-3). This second marriage is adulterous in the sight of God. While it is a marriage, it is a prohibited and adulterous marriage. Again, this seems to be a sin of our age since millions of remarriages occur with adultery as a consequence. Obviously, a high percentage of divorced persons who have not yet remarried likewise are involved in sexual relationships which are adulterous in nature.

The terrifying aspect to this widespread sexual activity today is that there are tens of millions of people who are defiled and are involved in defiled “marriage” relationships through fornication and adultery—and many of these are oblivious to the full present spiritual and eternal consequences of these sins. Sexual sin “defiles” the participant (Mark 7:21-23), prevents him or her from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:5), brings the vengeance (1 Thess. 4:3-8) and wrath of God (Eph. 5:5-6; Col. 3:6), and destines one to the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8). In view of the contemporary laxity among most people in society, these truths are shocking! We can see that this verse from Hebrews is definitely a startling statement of the Lord!

Richard Hollerman

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