IS TO BE HELD IN HONOR AMONG ALL: Timios o gamos en pasin:
(Genesis 1:27,28; 2:21,24; Lev 21:13, 14, 15; 2Ki 22:14; Pr 5:15, 16,
17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Is 8:3; 1Co 7:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16; 9:5; 1Ti 3:2,4,12; 5:14; Titus 1:6)
LET LOVE OF THE
BY HONORING MARRIAGE
Don't forget the context of this
paragraph which begins with let love of the brethren continue.
This charge is the overarching command for the entire chapter and is
especially relevant to our present passage. How better to let love of
the brethren continue, then to let it continue in marriage between
Covenant: As It Relates to
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary -
article on marriage
Most authorities feel that this
exhortation represents a response and a refutation of the practice of
which downgraded the high value God has placed on the institution of
marriage. Paul warned against this practice in his
letter to Timothy...
But the Spirit explicitly says that
in later times some will fall away from (purposeful, deliberate
departure from a former position)
the faith (pistis), (note the
source of their "new spirituality"!) paying attention to deceitful
spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars
(pseudologos = False speakers - Expresses the notion of definite false
statements) seared (kauteriazo = branded with a hot iron, English
cauterize!) in their own
as with a branding iron (The demonic teacher's consciences were so
branded by evil that they lost all moral sensitivity and were no
longer able to distinguish between right and wrong!), men who
forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods (~asceticism),
which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe
and know the truth. For everything created by God is good (including
marriage), and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with
gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and
prayer. (1Ti 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
The other dangerous extreme in the early church
was libertinism, which describes one who is unrestrained by
conventional (Biblical) morality (the Bible is the only true source of
what is moral before a Holy God) leading to personal dissolution
(utter lack of moral restraint) and decay of a society that engages in
such profane practices.
Some first-century Christian ascetics practiced strict self-denial
(from sexual activity) as a "spiritual discipline" and even considered
(to quote one source)
“virginity as necessary to Christian perfection.” This later developed
in the second century into what became known as the
Montanist movement, which spawned
celibate monasticism. These individuals falsely concluded that those who choose marriage choose
inferior spirituality. Wrong! I have been married for
and the greatest sanctifying "tool" in my life is my wife!
I am far
more "spiritual" with her than I ever would have been without
The logic (illogic) of these celibates dishonors the God ordained institution of
marriage. The ascetics were bad, but the real assault on the integrity
and honor of marriage came from the libertines who
saw marriage as irrelevant thus pursued unbridled sexual
fulfillment. Also wrong! Very wrong!
Does modern church
need this exhortation to honor the marriage bed? Here's a
comment from pollster George Barna that speaks to the morality
crisis in America and even in the church (from a report in 2003)...
The data trends indicate that
the moral perspectives of Americans are likely to continue to
deteriorate. Compared to surveys we conducted just two years ago,
significantly more adults are depicting such behaviors as morally
acceptable. For instance, there have been increases in the percentages
that condone sexual activity with someone of the opposite gender other
than a spouse, abortion (up by 25%), and a 20% jump in people’s
acceptance of ‘gay sex.’...Most of the people we interviewed believe
that they are highly moral individuals and identify other people as
responsible for the nation’s moral decline.
This is reflective of a nation
where morality is generally defined according to one’s feelings.
In a postmodern society, where people do not acknowledge any moral
absolutes, if a person feels justified in engaging in a specific
behavior then they do not make a connection with the immoral nature of
Yet, deep inside, they sense that
something is wrong in our society. They simply have not been able to
put two and two together to recognize their personal liability
regarding the moral condition of our nation. Until people recognize
that there are moral absolutes and attempt to live in harmony with
them, we are likely to see a continued decay of our moral foundations.
The generational data patterns make a compelling case for this
Even most people associated with
the Christian faith do not seem to have embraced Biblical moral
Things are likely to get worse
before they get better - and they are not likely to get better
unless strong and appealing moral leadership emerges to challenge and
redirect people’s thoughts and behavior. At the moment, such
leadership is absent. (Read
The Barna Report = Morality
Continues to Decay)
CONCLUSION: The modern church
desperately needs to hear and heed Hebrews 13:4!
described a public ceremony in which a man and a woman entered into a
marital relationship and so speaks of a wedding or wedding feast (Jn
2:1). Here in Hebrews 13:4 gamos describes the actual state of
being married. Eschatologically (prophetic, future) gamos refers to
the wedding ceremony of the Bridegroom, Christ, with His Bride, the
Church, at the outset of the Messianic (Millennial)
Kingdom. (Rev 19:7-note,
is used for wedding hall, the place where the wedding takes place (Mt
Gamos = 16x in 16v in
NAS - Mt 22:2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 25:10; Lk 12:36; 14:8; Jn
2:1, 2; Heb 13:4; Rev 19:7, 9. NAS = marriage(3), wedding(5),
Gamos - 4x in 4v in the
- Ge 29:22; Esther 1:5; 2:18; 9:22;
Gamos - 21x in 20v in the
Apocrypha - Tobit 6:13; 8:19, 20; 9:2, 6; 10:7; 11:19; Tbs. 6:13; 9:2,
5f; 10:8; 12:1; 1Macc 9:37, 41; 10:58; 3Macc 4:8; Wis 13:17; 14:24,
Marriage is to be held
in honor among all - The words "is to be held" are added to
make the reading more fluid. More literally this reads "honorable the
marriage in all". Note also that honor (precious) is the
first word in the Greek for emphasis. This tells you the high
and holy value God Himself places on His institution of marriage.
Young's gives us a more
honorable is the marriage
in all, and the bed undefiled, and whoremongers and adulterers God
Regard for marriage and for the physical intimacy of marriage
is an essential aspect of the pursuit of holiness he has just
discussed in the previous chapter (Heb 12:14-note).
Honor - The literal
rendering is "Precious the marriage in
Honor (5093) (timios -
see study of related verb
timao) literally speaks of things
which are costly, precious or valuable (Re 17:4-note)
or of persons who are "precious" and thus are highly regarded,
honored (Acts 5:34, 17:34). Timios describes that which
possesses exceptional value (costly, of great worth). Timios was used to refer to precious
metals and stones.
There are 13 uses of timios
in the NT - Acts 5:34; 20:24; 1Co 3:12 (referring to works that endure
eternally for they are built upon or with "gold, silver and precious
stones"); Heb 13:4-note; James 5:7; 1Pe
(referring to the "precious blood" of Jesus); 2Pe 1:4-note
(the "precious and magnificent promises" of God); Re 17:4-note;
Re 21:19-note -
observe the striking
contrast between the two "women" in the last part of Revelation).
The NAS translates it - dear(1), honor(1), precious(8),
respected(1), very costly(2). The KJV translates it - precious
8, most precious 2, more precious 1, dear 1, honourable 1, had in
There are 33 uses of timios
in the Septuagint - 1Sa 3:1; 2Sa 12:30; 1Ki. 5:17; 7:9, 10, 11; 10:2,
10, 11; 1Chr. 20:2; 29:2; 2Chr. 3:6; 9:1, 9, 10; 32:27; Ezra 4:10; Job
28:16; Ps 19:10; 21:3; 116:15; Pr 3:15; 6:26; 8:11, 19; 12:27; 20:6;
24:4; 31:10; Eccl 10:1; Je 15:19; Lam 4:2; Da 11:38; Ho 11:7
Marriage is honored when the husband is the head (1Co 11:3, Ep 5:23-note),
the wife submits (1Pe 3:1-note,
1Pe 3:6-note), there is mutual love and respect
(1Pe 3:7-note). Marriage vows must not be taken lightly. Marriage means
fidelity and commitment to one's spouse. Only as partners honor
marriage can sexual union bring its intended fulfillment. (See Pr
5:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; 1Co 7:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.)
Kent Hughes writes that...
Today radical secular wisdom claims that marriage impedes
self-actualization—an unforgivable "sin". The main attacks today are
mostly libertine. For many, “marriage” is at best a provisional
arrangement between two people (sexual orientation is irrelevant) that
can be dissolved whenever one wishes, for any reason. To be sure, not
all conventional attitudes toward marriage are as extreme, though
there is a growing skepticism regarding love and marriage. As one
person sarcastically put it, “Love: temporary insanity curable by
But what does this have to do with the survival of the church?
Everything! I can think of no more efficient way to sink that ship
than through adultery and sexual immorality. The reasons are
elementary. Immorality perverts theology. I have seen this time and
time again with preachers—famous and unknown. They become involved in
a secret affair (perhaps several) and yet keep on preaching. But over
time an amazing phenomenon takes place—they unconsciously detach
themselves from truth. Like the ancient Averroists, they divide truth,
so that there is a truth for them and another truth for others. They
may not articulate this, but they become practical relativists, and
their relativism so eats away at their belief that many, after the
trauma of discovery, leave the faith. Tragic shipwreck!
The damage to the church is immense. Preachers caught in such sins
suffer a reduction in spiritual ethos. They increasingly sound like
old-time railroad conductors who loudly invite people to embark to
destinations they themselves have never visited and to which they are
incapable of traveling. Powerlessness becomes the hallmark of their
And, of course, they discredit the Word. I can think of no better way
to damn the soul of a junior-higher who is just beginning to
experience spiritual stirrings than through the fall of a pastor,
Sunday school teacher, or other spiritual leader. There can be no more
efficient way to dampen the spiritual aspiration of a young family man
than adulterous leaders. Because such sin is a particularly lethal sin
against the church, I have at times prayed this with my ministerial
colleagues: “Lord, if adultery would lie in the future for any of us
should we continue to live—then take us home now.” Better dead than
damage the church!
R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. Crossway
emphasizes the effect of the fall of man on God's institution of
The fall made human hearts hard toward
God and toward each other. The relational aspect of God's image became
marred. Rebellion against submission to male leadership was Satan's
initial temptation (Ge 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 17; contra Ep 5:33; 1Pe 3:1).
Male domination and harshness crept into leadership (cf. Col 3:19; 1Pe 3:7). Sin caused polygamy, concubinage, incest, adultery, rape,
prostitution, and all kinds of immorality (cf. Lev. 18, 20; Ro 1:26,
27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32) to damage or destroy the marriage
relationship. Marriage commitments are violated. Divorce, premarital
sex, and couples living together out of wedlock would never have
occurred had not sin entered the world. The fall severely damaged the
For marriage to function now according to God's ideal, believers in
Christ need to marry only believers. Whenever God directly brought
a man and woman together in marriage, both were believers. Although
pagan customs encouraged marriage with anyone (cf. Gen 16), Israel was
given explicit commands not to marry foreigners who would lead them to
worship foreign deities (Dt 7:1, 2, 3, 4; 13:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; 17:1,
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; 20:17; 23:2). New Testament believers are also not
to be "unequally yoked" with unbelievers (2Cor 6:14), meaning any
action causing the union of believer with nonbeliever, or
non-believing ways, must be avoided. (Baker's
Evangelical Dictionary - excellent, recommended article on marriage)
Study Torrey's Topical
collection of Scriptures for an excellent summary of what God says
This would make a great Sunday
School series or Sermon series -- simply walking through the
Scriptures and allowing God to say what He says about the honorable
institution of marriage. Is there a desperate need? Did the sun rise
this morning! The post-Christian society in American is rapidly and
radically jettisoning all Biblical truth related to the divine
institution of marriage and in so doing is removing one of the
foundational pillars of our society. It is time for the Church of
Jesus Christ to take a radical stand for righteousness and holiness!
Divinely instituted. Ge 2:24.
2. A covenant relationship. Mal 2:4.
a. The happiness of man. Ge 2:18.
b. Increasing the human population. Ge 1:28; 9:1.
c. Raising up godly seed. Mal 2:15.
d. Preventing fornication. 1Co 7:2.
expectation of the promised seed of the woman an incentive to, in the
early age. Ge 3:15; 4:1.
5. Lawful in all. 1Co 7:2,28; 1Ti 5:14.
6. Honorable for all. Heb 13:4.
7. Should be only in the Lord. 1Co 7:39.
8. Expressed by
together. Mt 19:6.
b. Making affinity. 1Ki 3:1.
c. Taking to wife. Ex 2:1.
d. Giving daughters to sons, and sons to daughters. Deut 7:3; Ezr
Indissoluble during the joint lives of the parties. Mt 19:6; Ro 7:2,3;
10. Early introduction of polygamy. Ge 4:19.
11. Contracted in patriarchal age with near relations. Ge 20:12;
12. Often contracted by parents for children. Ge 24:49-51; 34:6,8.
13. Should be with consent of parents. Ge 28:8; Jdg14:2,3.
14. Consent of the parties necessary to. Ge 24:57,58; 1Sa 18:20;
15. Parents might refuse to give their children in. Ex 22:17; Deut
Forbidden to contract, with their near relations. Le 18:6.
b. Forbidden to contract with idolaters. Deut 7:3,4; Jos 23:12; Ezr
c. Often contracted with foreigners. 1Ki 11:1; Ne 13:23.
d. Sometimes guilty of polygamy. 1Ki 11:1,3.
e. Careful in contracting for their children. Ge 24:2,3; 28:1,2.
f. Betrothed themselves some time before. Deut 20:7; Jdg14:5,7,8; Mt
g. Contracted when young. Pr 2:17; Joe 1:8.
h. Often contracted, in their own tribe. Ex 2:1; Nu 36:6-13; Lk
i. Obliged to contract with a brother’s wife who died without seed.
Deut 25:5; Mt 22:24.
j. Considered being debarred from, a reproach. Is 4:1.
k. Considered being debarred from, a cause of grief. Jdg11:38.
l. Often punished by being debarred from. Jer 7:34; 16:9; 25:10.
m. Were allowed divorce from, because of hardness of their hearts.
Deut 24:1; Mt 19:7,8.
n. Exempted from going to war immediately after. Deut 20:7
not to contract, with divorced or improper persons. Le 21:7.
18. The high priest not to contract, with a widow or a divorced or
profane person. Le 21:14.
19. Contracted at the gate and before witnesses. Ru 4:1,10,11.
20. Modes of demanding women in. Ge 24:3,4; 34:6,8; 1Sa 25:39,40.
21. Elder daughters usually given in, before the younger. Ge 29:26.
22. A dowry given to the woman’s parents before. Ge 29:18; 34:12; 1Sa
18:27,28; Ho 3:2.
great rejoicing. Jer 33:11; Jn 3:29.
b. With feasting. Ge 29:22; Jdg14:10; Mt 22:2,3; Jn 2:1-10.
c. For seven days. Jdg14:12.
benediction pronounced after. Ge 24:60; Ru 4:11,12.
25. The bride
Received presents before. Ge 24:53.
b. Given a handmaid at. Ge 24:59; 29:24,29.
c. Adorned with jewels for. Is 49:18; 61:10.
d. Gorgeously apparelled. Ps 45:13,14.
e. Attended by bridesmaids. Ps 45:9.
f. Stood on the right of bridegroom. Ps 45:9.
g. Called to forget her father’s house. Ps 45:10.
with ornaments. Is 61:10.
b. Attended by many friends. Jdg14:11; Jn 3:29.
c. Presented with gifts. Ps 45:12.
d. Crowned with garlands. Song 3:11.
e. Rejoiced over the bride. Is 62:5.
f. Returned with the bride to his house at night. Mt 25:1-6.
Garments provided for guests at. Mt 22:12.
28. Infidelity of those contracted in, punished as if married. Deut
22:23,24; Mt 1:19.
29. Illustrative of
union with the Jewish nation. Is 54:5; Jer 3:14; Ho 2:19,20.
b. Christ’s union with his church. Eph 5:23,24,32.
AND THE MARRIAGE BED BE UNDEFILED : kai e koite amianto:
(Heb 12:16; 1Co 6:9; Ga 5:19,21; Ep 5:5; Col 3:5,6; Re 22:15)
Marriage bed...be - The
word "marriage" is added but literally it simply reads "bed".
Similarly the verb "be" is not present in the Greek but added to give
flow to the sentence.
literally refers to a place for lying down and rest and thus refers to
a bed or bedroom. Koite was used also of the den of an animal
or the nest of a bird as well as of a box or basket. In certain
contexts it was used to refer to the marriage bed,
a figurative way to refer to the sexual relationship between a husband
and his wife.
Koite is also used to describe illicit sexual promiscuity,
refers to a place or structure
on which one can lie down and in this context is
writes that koite
"literally means a bed and has in it
the meaning of the desire for the forbidden bed. This was the typical
heathen sin. The word brings to mind the man who sets no value on
fidelity and who takes his pleasure when and where he will. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The
Koite - 4x in 4v - Here
are the other 3 NT uses...
Luke 11:7 and from inside he
answers and says, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been shut
and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you
Romans 9:10-note And not only this, but
there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one
man, our father Isaac;
Romans 13:13-note Let us behave properly
as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual
promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.
a = negates what follows +
miaino = to defile by staining, as with color) means without
contamination, unpolluted, untainted, unstained (stainless), unsoiled,
without uncleanness or impurity. The idea is free from that by which
the nature of a thing is deformed or debased, or its force or vigor is
impaired. In secular Greek writings amiantos was used to
describe things such as unstained hands, heart, flesh or body.
Aeschylus calls the sea simply "the undefiled".
Amiantos - 4x in 4v in NT -- Heb 7:26-note;
Heb 13:4; James 1:27-note; 1Pe 1:4-note.
The idea is that our marriage bed
should be in perfect condition, free
from any spot of moral dirt or ethical pollution, free from any
influence that might defile it. We should allow nothing to cheapen the
marriage bed in any way.
as our future inheritance in heaven is pure and free from anything that would deform
it or cause it to
lose its vigor, so too should the Christian couple's marriage bed be
untainted by moral/ethical impurity.
Matthew Henry adds that
"sin and misery, the two grand
defilements that spoil this world, and mar its beauty, have no place
Christian marriage is in marked contrast to an earthly inheritance, all of
which is corrupted and defiled (2Pe1:4 [note]
corruption that is in the
lust.") Corruption cannot touch our
inheritance or ever wear out its freshness, brightness, and beauty.
The writer of Hebrews uses
amiantos to describe Jesus, writing that "it was fitting that we should have
such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled (amiantos - free
from any moral or spiritual blemish - not even a taint of sin - Not
merely ritual purity [Lev 21:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15] but real
ethical cleanness), separated from sinners and exalted above the
heavens. (see note
James says real religion is
"pure and undefiled
(amiantos)...in the sight of our God and Father...(and is shown to be
genuine when we) visit orphans and widows in their distress, and...
keep oneself unstained by the world. (Jas 1:27-note)
Trench aptly remarks that
"it is a remarkable testimony to the
reign of sin, and therefore of imperfection, of decay, of death
throughout this whole fallen world, that as often as we desire to set
forth the glory, purity, and perfection of that other, higher world
toward which we strive, we are almost inevitably compelled to do this
by the aid of negatives; by the denying to that higher order of things
the leading features and characteristics of this.” (see Re 21:1-note
To keep the marriage bed
undefiled was a radical concept in the first century Greco-Roman
world, and by such supernaturally enabled behavior, the first century believers proved themselves
to be blameless and innocent,
children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse
generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world" (Php 2:15-note,
Kent Hughes comments
sexual morality was unique in the pagan world and a source of wonder.
And it has become increasingly so today in a world that considers
adultery irrelevant, purity abnormal, and sex a “right” (however and
with whomever one may get it) and that has invented the egregious (Ed:
conspicuously bad) term
We Christians are called to be outrageously pure—to be a source of
wonder and even derision to this glandular world. From the beginning to the end of
Hebrews, the abiding concern of the author has been to so instruct the
tiny Hebrew church that it would stay afloat on the increasingly
hostile seas of first-century Roman culture. Their ship was a
microscopic dot on the massive billows of the official pagan/secular
enterprise—and eminently vulnerable. It appeared to outside eyes that
the external forces could sink it at will. But the author knew that
the internal threat to the church was far more deadly. In fact, he
knew that it could ride out any storm if things were right on the
inside. He knows that nothing will sink a church faster than moral
wavering in respect to sex, materialism, or mental outlook. Here is
intimate advice regarding how to keep our ship afloat. It is so
essential that any church that ignores it will founder and possibly
even sink. (Ibid)
Spurgeon - And terrible
will be their doom when God does judge them. They may think that,
because they sin in secret, therefore they shall escape punishment;
but it shall not be so. Whether men judge them or not, God will
David Guzik writes that...
Perhaps through a past of sexual
sin, many people have a difficult time really believing that the
marriage bed is undefiled. Guilt and sexual hang-ups are appropriate
to extra-marital sex, but not in marital sex. But this is where the
guilt and sexual hang-ups often exist, and where they most frequently
The enemy of our souls wants to do everything he can to encourage sex
outside of the marriage bed, and he wants to do everything he can to
discourage sex inside the marriage bed. We need to recognize this
strategy and not give it a foothold among us.
Though God allows real freedom in the variety of sexual expression in
marriage, all must be done with a concern for the other's needs and in
love (1Corinthians 7:1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Eph 5:21, 22, 23, 24,
25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33). (Commentary)
FOR FORNICATORS AND ADULTERERS GOD WILL JUDGE: pornous gar kai
moichous krinei (3SFAI) o theos: (1Co 6:9 Ga 5:19,21 Ep 5:5)
(Ps 50:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; Malachi 3:5; 1Co 5:13; 2Co 5:10)
TO KEEP THE
MARRIAGE BED UNDEFILED!
For (gar) is a
term of explanation
we must fight the good fight of faith to keep the marriage bed
undefiled. Our joy in both time and eternity are at stake as explained
John MacArthur writes
The world today is obsessed with
sex as never before. Sexual activity apart from marriage is considered
acceptable and normal by more and more people.
from pernáo = sell in turn from
= to pass thru, as a merchant would do, passing thru and then
coming to mean to sell) (see also study of related word
porneia) means a
fornicator, one who is sexually immoral or who commits sexual
immorality. Pornos originally meant a "male prostitute" but
came to be used in the universal meaning of "fornicator" or one who
engages in sexual immorality, whether a man or a woman. A pornos
in secular Greece was a person who prostituted themselves for gain.
Fornicate is from Late
Latin fornicatus, past participle of fornicare to have
intercourse with prostitutes, from Latin fornic-, fornix
= arch, vault, brothel. The 1828 Webster's says fornicate means to
commit lewdness, as an unmarried man or woman, or as a married man
with an unmarried woman.
1828 Webster's defines
fornication as "The incontinence or lewdness of unmarried persons,
male or female; also, the criminal conversation of a married man with
an unmarried woman."
translates pornos as “whoremonger”, which describes one who
consorts with whores (a lecher). One can carry on the life of a
"whoremonger" in "private" on the internet's plethora of sleazy porn
sites, in filthy magazines at the newsstand (or even at the checkout
stand at the grocery store!), or at the movies (unfortunately even PG
Rated can be contaminated with pornos). In our local cable
listings in Austin, Texas (Summer, 2008) there are some 5-10 channels
devoted solely to pornography (I don't subscribe to any of them
by the way). America is in very serious trouble beloved. Let us pray
for revival (2Chr
7:13,14, 6:37, 38, 39)
10x in 10v in the NT - 1Cor 5:9, 10, 11; 6:9; Eph. 5:5-note;
1Ti 1:10; describing Esau = Heb 12:16-note;
describing those who defile the marriage bed = Heb 13:4-note;
describing those who will not be in heaven = Rev 21:8-note;
translates pornos as fornicators(2), immoral(2), immoral
men(1), immoral people(2), immoral person(1), immoral persons(2). The
KJV as noted translates pornos with the word whoremonger (5 times).
not found in the non-apocryphal Septuagint.
has this note on the classical Greek uses of this word group...
porneuo from pernemi (to sell) (Hdt.
onwards), means trans. to prostitute. It is usually in the pass. of
the woman: to prostitute oneself, become a prostitute. But it is also
used of the man, to whore, to fornicate. Derivations include (a) porne
(Aristot. onwards), a woman who is for sale, a prostitute, courtesan;
(b) pornos (likewise Aristot. onwards), the fornicator who has sexual
intercourse with prostitutes, but then also an immoral man, i.e. one
who allows himself to be misused for immoral purposes for money, a
male prostitute; and (c) porneia (Dem. onwards, rare in cl. Gk)
harlotry, unchastity (also of a homosexual nature).
According to G. van der Leeuw,
“the instincts of sex and hunger
are the two great impelling factors whereby the will climbs to power
and even rises to heaven; in the face of these the consciousness of
impotence collapses. Food and drink on the one hand, and on the other
sexual intercourse, are therefore not merely the two outstanding
symbols of community with the god, but are also the means wherewith
human potency sets to work” (Religion in its Essence and
Manifestation, 19642, 230).
For this the most varied
religious actions and rites are required. These include cultic
prostitution as part of the ancient fertility rites. It was believed
that performance of sexual intercourse in the sanctuary (!) would ensure
the fertility of everything living in the land and prevent the loss of
the procreative and generative faculties. Evidence of cultic
prostitution is first found in Babylon. Herodotus recounts that once in her
life every Babylonian woman had to “sacrifice” herself to the goddess Mylitta by giving her body to a stranger in the temple precincts (1,
199). Similar customs are attested in other areas, including Cyprus.
In the Greek world cultic
prostitution gained acceptance primarily in the great sanctuaries of
Corinth, Eryx and Athens. According to the historian Strabo (8, 378),
over a thousand courtesans consecrated to Venus lived in Corinth
played a particular role for Israel in the Baal cult.
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
commenting on the use of pornos in the description of Esau
in Hebrews 12:16 says that "the word pornos, fornicator, is not
to be limited to the idea of spiritual fornication, it includes the
actual sin and all such sensual and lustful practices. Esau’s
profanity consisted not merely in his satisfying his immediate desires
and abandoning his birthright, but in treating the holy privileges of
the patriarchal family, the priesthood, and the title to the land, and
the ancestorship of the Messiah, as of no value compared with the
satisfaction of a natural hunger of the moment (“one mess of meat”).
The warning is against renouncing our privileges and duty and “the
recompense of the inheritance” in order to enjoy an indulgence of the
flesh or the pleasures of the world. That is profanity as here
adds that pornos is "a man who prostitutes his body to
another’s lust for hire, a male prostitute, a man who indulges in
unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator.
(Hebrews - Wuest's
word studies from the Greek New Testament)
makes a strong statement declaring that "Paul says your heart tells you and
your spirit confirms that if you are a whoremonger—if you are
delighted by and caught up in pornography—you are not part of the
kingdom. You can come to church every time we meet; you can show up
every time the doors are open. But if you are involved in this
stuff—if this is your idol, if this is what you’re living
for—you’re not saved. (Courson,
J. Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)
FIRST - AGAINST GOD
THEN - AGAINST SELF
Remember that sexual sin is
first of all a sin against a Holy God (Joseph running from sin with
Potiphar's wife = Ge 39:9, David after sin with Bathsheba = 2Sa 12:13,
Who is obligated by His very nature to judge sin (see Nu 32:23).
Paul explains that sexual sin is
also against self in his command to the saints at Corinth to...
= Keep on fleeing! We will
never reach a point in our life when we can stand in the presence of
immorality and be victorious. We must flee now and forevermore! cp 1Co
10:14 - idolatry and sexual immorality are common evil bedfellows)
Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the
immoral (porneuo in the
= continually immoral) man sins against his own body (Because sexual
intimacy is the deepest uniting of two persons, its misuse corrupts on
the deepest human level). Or do you not know that your body is a
temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and
that you are not your own? For (term
= The reason that the believer can no longer claim free choices is
that he is now the personal property of another) you have been bought
with a price (1Pe 1:19-note):
= Do this now! Don't put it off! Just do it!) God in your body. (1Co
Comment: Passion is not
rational or sensible, and sexually dangerous situations should be
avoided or fled, not debated. Sexual immorality is far more
destructive than alcohol, far more destructive than drugs, far more
destructive than crime. "Sexual immorality" has a peculiar effect upon
the body. The sole purpose of this sin is the gratification of the
strong desires (lust) inherent in the flesh (Old Man) and, therefore,
it is probably the most selfish of all sins. The internal spiritual
sensitivities are wrecked by this sin.
J C Ryle: The violation of
the seventh commandment is the sin above all others, that, as Hosea
says, "takes away the understanding" (Hosea 4:11). It is the sin that
leaves deeper scars upon the soul than any other sin that a man can
commit. It is a sin that destroys thousands of young men in every age,
and has even overthrown a few of the saints of God in the past. Samson
and David are fearful proofs. It is the sin that man dares to smile
at, and smooths over using the terms: thrills, love, uncontrollable
passions, and natural desires. But it is the sin that the devil
rejoices over, for he is the "unclean spirit;" and it is the sin that
God abhors, and declares He "will judge" (Heb13:4). Young men, "Flee
from sexual immorality" (1Co 6:18) if you love life. "Let no one
deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath
comes on those who are disobedient" (Ep 5:6). Flee from the
opportunity of it--from the company of those who might draw you into
it--from the places where you might be tempted to do it. Read what our
Lord says about it in (Mt 5:28). Be like the holy servant Job (who
feared God and as a result turned away from evil Job 1:1): (Job 31:1).
Flee from talking about it. It is one of the things that ought not
even be hinted about in conversation. You cannot even touch black
grease without getting your hands dirty. Flee from the thoughts of it;
resist them, destroy them, pray against them--make any sacrifice
rather than give way to them. Imagination is the hotbed where this sin
is too often hatched. Guard your thoughts (Pr 4:23), and there will be
little fear about your actions.
C. T. Studd: I had known
about Jesus dying for me, but I never understood that if He died for
me, then I didn't belong to myself.... If I belong to Him, either I
had to be a thief and keep what wasn't mine, or else I had to give up
everything to God. When I came to see that Jesus Christ had died for
me, it didn't seem hard to give up all for Him.
Perhaps this passage in
Hebrews 13:4 is difficult to read because you have fallen into the
snare of sexual sin via a work or counseling situation (with a person
of the opposite sex) or become enticed and ensnared by the internet
(pornographic images, lewd videos on youtube, iphones giving internet
access anywhere, anytime [including face time phone calls]!, chat
rooms leading to inappropriate liaisons, social networks like
facebook, twitter being abused and misused, etc, etc - when these
"tools" which can be used for good become perverted Romans labels
those who pervert them as "inventors of evil"! Ro 1:30-note),
which is tragically becoming a soul deadening, joy killing, rest and
peace stealing "epidemic" even among genuine followers of Christ!
These things ought not to be beloved!
Read the warning and the promise
He who conceals (Hebrew verb is
intentional/intensive - It means to intentionally, actively cover over
so as to keep secret - contrast Ps 32:1-note)
his transgressions will not prosper (will not experience victory from
the Lord, spiritual prosperity, thrive spiritually, accomplish
satisfactorily what God intended), But (contrast)
he who confesses and forsakes them (Did you catch that? Not just
a God given desire and power to turn away from the sin that so easily
entangles) will find compassion. (Pr 28:13)
Comment: Hiding sin does not
pay off. Solomon’s father David knew this from experience (Ps 32:3, 4-note).
It is far better to deal with sin by confessing and renouncing it. As
David found out, confession results in God’s mercy and forgiveness (Ps
Don't sweep sin under the
Instead put it under the blood!
There are two kinds of forgiveness,
judicial and parental. When we trust Christ as Lord and Savior, we
receive forgiveness from the penalty of sins which is judicial
forgiveness. When we now as believers confess our sins, we receive
parental forgiveness (1Jn 1:9) which maintains fellowship with God our
Father. Anyone who confesses and forsakes his sins has the assurance
that God not only forgives but forgets (Heb 10:17-note).
We too need to forget (Php 3:13-note)
and press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus (Php 3:14-note).
The sins that would entangle us
Must never be ignored;
For if we try to cover them
They'll pierce us like a sword.
J Vernon McGee: This is a
great proverb. It seems a common practice today for Christians to try
to cover their sins. You will find in the average church that there is
a Band-Aid of silence wrapped over the cancer of sin. People don’t
like to talk about it; in fact, they don’t admit its existence. They
like to think they are very good.
To summarize, these two sexually
related sins are distinguished as follows and thus leave no reader
relieved of the obligation to follow the charge in Hebrews 13:4...
Unmarried & impure
Moichos = Married & impure
Bruce - Fornication and adultery
are not synonymous in the New Testament: adultery implies
unfaithfulness by either party to the marriage vow, while the word
translated "fornication" covers a wide range of sexual irregularities.
cp study of related word
describes one who is unfaithful to a spouse. Figuratively, moichos
describes one who is faithless toward God.
Moichos - 3x in NAS -
here in Hebrews 13:4 and in...
Luke 18:11 The (self-righteous)
Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that
I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or
even like this tax collector.
Comment: This Pharisee was
self-deceived by his self-righteousness which was like filthy rags in
the sight of God to Whom the only acceptable righteousness is the
perfect righteousness of His sinless Son Jesus Christ and the only way
to obtain that acceptable righteousness is by grace through faith,
believing you are a sinner destined for hell but accepting and
receiving and believing the "price paid in full" for your eternal
redemption in Christ!
1Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not
know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (cp Jn
3:3 = Paul is referring to those who give no evidence of having been
born again or regenerated by the Holy Spirit)?
Do not be deceived
with a negative means "Stop being deceived" implying they being
deceived - this deception is especially deadly and dangerous because
it can deceive the one deceived all the way into the reality of an eternal torment in
hell! Woe!); neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
Moichos - 3x in
Ps 50:18; Pr 6:32; Job 24:15; Isa 57:3
See related resource = on
site commentary dealing with sexual sins in Proverbs:
Proverbs 5:1-14 Commentary
Proverbs 5:15-23 Commentary
Proverbs 6:20-35 Commentary
Proverbs 7:1-27 Commentary
Moichos - 2x in Apocrypha - Wis 3:16; Sir 25:2;
The Lord's purpose for His creation of Adam and Eve was that it was to
be a permanent,
monogamous marriage (Ge 2:21, 22, 23, 24;
Mt 19:4, 5, 6), with children raised in the corresponding family unit. Any
other type of sexual relationship is wrong (NO MATTER WHAT SOCIETY
SAYS!), whether pre-marital, extra-marital, homosexual, incestuous
or anything else. How serious is this issue?
John Piper emphasizes
God created us in his image, male
and female, with personhood and sexual passions so that when he comes
to us in this world there would be these powerful words and images to
describe the promises and the pleasures of our covenant relationship
with him through Christ.
God made us powerfully sexual so that he would be more deeply
knowable. We were given the power to know each other sexually so that
we might have some hint of what it will be like to know Christ
Therefore, all misuses of our sexuality (adultery, fornication,
illicit fantasies, masturbation, pornography, homosexual behavior,
rape, sexual child abuse, bestiality, exhibitionism, and so on)
distort the true knowledge of God. God means for human sexual life to
be a pointer and foretaste of our relationship with him. (Read or
listen to the full message
Sex and the Supremacy of Christ,
Part 1 2004 Desiring God National Conference)
For (1Th 4:1, 2-note)
this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you
abstain from sexual immorality (cp 1Pe 2:11-note);
that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification
and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know
God (1Th 4:3-note,
1Th 4:4, 5-note)
Comment: Notice that the
will of God is not unclear in the area of sexuality. Note also that
followers of Christ are to be radical in the midst of a sexually
permissive society. Notice that the problem with the pagans gives us a
strong clue to the solution for believers. Dear married believer, if
you are having difficulty obeying Hebrews 13:4, note that the solution
is first of all to "know God" because not
knowing God is the root cause of lust. As John Piper
Paul doesn't mean that mere head
knowledge about God overcomes lust. In Mk 1:24 Jesus is about to cast
a demon out of a man when the unclean spirit cries out, "I know who
you are, the Holy One of God!" In other words, Satan and his hosts
have some very accurate knowledge of God and Jesus, but that is not
the kind of knowledge Paul has in mind here. The knowledge he has in
mind here is knowledge of God described in 2Cor 4:6-note
-- the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
Christ (Gal 4:8; 1Co 2:14; 2Pe 1:3, 4-note).
It's the knowledge of God's greatness and worth and glory and grace
and power. It's knowledge that stuns you, and humbles you. It's
knowledge wins you and holds you (2Pe 3:11,12-note,
It's the kind of knowledge that you
don't have when you say ho-hum during the Hallelujah Chorus or grumble
on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Hearing they do not hear and seeing
they do not see. It's not that kind of knowledge. It comes like it did
for Lydia when the Lord opened the eyes of her heart (Acts 16:14). At
one moment you think you will burst with its fullness and suddenly
there is a chasm of longing for more. It's the knowledge we call faith
-- the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen
It's a knowledge that is so real,
so precious, so satisfying to your soul that any thought any attitude
any emotion any addiction
threatens to hinder this knowledge will be attacked with all the
spiritual zeal of a threatened life. This is the fight of faith that
rages in the godly soul when lust lures the mind away from God. (Battling
the Unbelief of Lust - Desiring God)
It is noteworthy that of all the
exhortations in Hebrews 13, the only one associated with a judgment
warning is Hebrews 13:4!
John MacArthur warns...
God is serious about sexual
purity--very serious. You may fool around with illicit sex, you may
fool around outside your marriage, and you may get away with it from
the judgment of man standpoint, but you’ll never get away with it from
the judgment of God. God will judge; somehow and someway chastisement,
Some of the more obvious results of
such views are the heartbreaking increases in extramarital
pregnancies, forcible rapes, illegitimate births (despite birth
control measures and abortions), and in venereal diseases of all
sorts. Billy Graham has commented that writings coming out of
contemporary authors are “like the drippings of a broken sewer.”
Judgment already exists in the broken homes, the venereal disease, the
psychological and physical breakdowns, and the murder and other
violence that is generated when passion is uncontrolled. It is not
possible to live and act against the moral grain of the universe
established by God and not suffer terrible consequences.
When Christians are immoral, the
immediate consequences may even be worse, because the testimony of the
gospel is polluted.
John: Hebrews. Moody Press)
When Christians commit sexual
sins (believers are not immune unfortunately), God will (must)
judge us because He is holy, righteous and just and He desires
a holy people whose lights are not tarnished and dim and dirty but
bright and pure and holy. And thus He will take us out to His "holy
woodshed" and "beat the hide off of us" (no sacrilege intended - see
note below), the writer of Hebrews explaining this divine judgment on
You have forgotten the exhortation
which is addressed to you as sons, "MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE
DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR
THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES
(mastigoo = literally flog Mt 10:17, Jn 19:1, figuratively "whip our
hide"!) EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES."...
THE GLORIOUS BENEFITS
OF DIVINE DISCIPLE
For they disciplined us for a short
time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that
we may share His holiness.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful;
yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the
peaceful fruit of righteousness
(right living before God and man, clean conscience, pure heart, holy
devotion, etc). (Hebrews 12:5, 6-note,
Comment: Believers also do
well to frequently ponder the judgment seat of Christ and let this
future truth motivate our present battle against lust, for Peter warns
us that this will be a life long struggle - we will continually battle
against the strong desires to gratify self sexually while we are in
these fallen, mortal bodies...
Beloved, I urge you as
(It does us good to
frequently remind ourselves that this fallen godless, God hating world
is not our home. PTL!) to
continually ~ continual need to hold ourselves away from snares that
would tempt us - see James 1:14-note)
lusts (strong desires to gratify needs in
an non-God honoring way!),
which wage war (present
This is a continual war manifest by many battles and will not cease
until we see Jesus face to face) against the soul. (1Peter 2:11-note)
= Keep on doing this -- all of your life beloved!) yourself for the
purpose of godliness for bodily discipline is only of little profit,
but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for
the present life and also for the life to come. (1Timothy 4:7, 8-note)
Now if any man builds upon the
foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each
man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it
is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality
of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it
remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he
shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through
fire. (1Corinthians 3:12, 13, 14, 15)
Therefore also we have as our
ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him (eg, in the
context of the current discussion - Ge 39:9). For we must all
(this is for believers only) appear before the judgment seat of
Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2Corithinians
God will judge sexual sin
in marriage. As alluded to in the previous passages there eternal
consequences for believers but there are also a different genre of
eternal consequences for men and women who habitually practice
such sins. If sexual sins constitute one's lifestyle, then that person
in plain English, is not a genuine believer and is destined for
eternal torment. Paul makes this very clear in his warning in first
Or do you not know that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived;
with a negative = Stop being
deceived by your sin - see Heb 3:13-note
for the power of sin to deceive.) neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the
covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit
the kingdom of God (cp Jn 3:3 for who inherits this kingdom).
(1Cor 6:9, 10)
Comment: Notice that twice
Paul twice states that people who practice such sins will not inherit
God’s kingdom! Once should have been enough to get our attention but
twice makes this doubly sobering! It is important to note that a
Christian may fall into these sins and be forgiven, as was David, but
no genuine follower of Christ continuously practices such sins (Read
1Jn 3:1-10 for description of a true believer).
God will judge sexual sin
in marriage as Jesus sternly
You have heard that it was said,
'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you, that everyone who
looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her
already in his heart. And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it
out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the
parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into
hell. And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw
it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your
body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell. (Mt 5:27-note, Mt 5:28-note, Mt
Comment: Note our Lord's definition of "adultery"!
This is serious business! Take a moment and John Piper's
discussion of whether a practice such
masturbation. is a sin
against God and self!
John Piper adds: I have
learned again and again from first hand experience that there are many
professing Christians who have a view of salvation that
disconnects it from real life, and that nullifies the warnings of the
Bible and puts the sinning person who claims to be a Christian beyond
the reach of Biblical threats. And this doctrine is comforting
thousands on the way to hell. Jesus said, if you don't fight lust, you
won't go to heaven. The stakes are much higher than whether the world
is blown up by a thousand bombs. If you don't fight lust, your won't
go to heaven (1Pe 2:11-note;
1Co 6:10; Heb 12:14-note)
Are we not then saved by faith -- by believing in Jesus Christ? We are
indeed! Those who persevere in Faith shall be saved (Mt 24:13; 10:22;
How do you lay hold on eternal
life? Paul gives the answer in 1Ti 6:12 -- "Fight the good fight of
faith: lay hold on eternal life. the fight against lust is a battle
against unbelief. And the fight for sexual purity is the fight of
The great error that I am trying to
explode in these messages is the error that says, faith in God is one
thing and the fight for holiness is another thing. Faith gets you to
heaven and holiness gets you rewards.
You get your justification by
faith, and you get your sanctification by works. You start the
Christian life in the power of the Spirit, you press on in the efforts
of the flesh. This is the great evangelical error of our day. (Ed:
1988!) The battle for obedience is optional, they say, because only
faith is necessary for salvation (Ed: See
Obedience of faith
Relationship of faith and
Our response: the battle for obedience is absolutely necessary for
salvation because it IS the fight of faith. The battle against
lust is absolutely necessary for salvation because it is the battle
against unbelief. Faith alone delivers from hell and the faith that
delivers from hell delivers from lust. I hope you can see that this is
a greater gospel than the other one. It's the gospel of God's victory
over sin, not just his tolerance of sin. It is the gospel of Romans
"Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but
under grace." Almighty grace! Sovereign grace! (Read the entire
Battling the Unbelief of Lust)
He breaks the power of cancelled
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
Will judge (2919)(krino)
primarily signifies to distinguish, separate or discriminate; then, to
distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, without
necessarily passing an adverse sentence, though this is usually
Krino - 114x in 98v - Mt
5:40; 7:1 2; 19:28; Lk 6:37; 7:43; 12:57; 19:22; 22:30; Jn 3:17 18;
5:22, 30; 7:24, 51; 8:15 16, 26, 50; 12:47 48; 16:11; 18:31; Acts
3:13; 4:19; 7:7; 13:27, 46; 15:19; 16:4, 15; 17:31; 20:16; 21:25;
23:3, 6; 24:21; 25:9 10, 20, 25; 26:6, 8; 27:1; Ro 2:1, 3, 12, 16, 27;
3:4, 6 7; 14:3 4 5, 10, 13, 22; 1Co 2:2; 4:5; 5:3, 12 13; 6:1 2 3, 6;
7:37; 10:15, 29; 11:13, 31 32; 2Co 2:1; 5:14; Col 2:16; 2Th 2:12; 2Ti
4:1; Titus 3:12; Heb 10:30; 13:4; Jas 2:12; 4:11 12; 5:9; 1Pe 1:17;
2:23; 4:5 6; Rev 6:10; 11:18; 16:5; 18:8, 20; 19:2, 11; 20:12 13
Krino is translated in
NAS as - act as...judge(1), concluded(1), condemn(1), condemning(1),
considered(1), decided(8), determine(1), determined(2), go to law(1),
goes to law(1), judge(42), judged(25), judges(10), judging(5),
judgment(1), pass judgment(1), passes judgment(1), passing
judgment(1), pronounced(1), regards(2), stand trial(2), sue(1),
trial(3), tried(1), try(1).
W E Vine speaks of the
judgment of God regarding sexual sins noting that...
God has appointed retributive
effects of these evils in this life. The certainty of divine judgment
hereafter is declared in Rev 21:8-note;
Cp. 1Th 4:6-note.
And terrible will be their doom
when God does judge them. They may think that, because they sin in
secret, therefore they shall escape punishment; but it shall not be
so. Whether men judge them or not, God will judge them.
As Ray Stedman
Nonconformity to the world must
certainly involve these areas. The loose sexual standards of our
generation and the intense materialistic spirit of this age constitute
a constant peril to our hearts, and we must beware of them. We must
realize that God has undertaken to sustain the sacredness of marriage
and that He unceasingly, unrelentingly judges violations of it.
Therefore, we dare not heed the fine sounding declarations being made
today about a "new morality," as though we had passed beyond the
ancient standards and they no longer had significance.
As this writer reminds us, God judges the immoral and adulterous. He
does not mean that God looses lightning bolts from heaven against
them, or that he causes terrible diseases to come upon them; these are
not the forms of judgment. But we can see the judgment of God in the
terrible tempest of mental pressures and crackups which sweep like a
plague across this land. They are due to the breakdown of moral
standards. The certain deterioration of life is the judgment of God
when sex standards are violated. It is the brutalization of humanity,
so men become like animals and live on the level of animals. This is
so apparent in our day. (Hebrews
13:1-6: THE INTENDED LIFE)
Those who have taken up adulterous lifestyles (emphasis on
lifestyle) and remain unrepentant
(exhibit no repentance and no evidence of repentance > cp Mt 3:8, 4:17,11:20, 21, 22, 23, 24,
12:41, Mk 1:15, 6:12, Lk 3:3, 8, 5:32, rich man in Sheol = Lk
16:29, 30, 31, Lk 24:47, Acts 3:19, 11:18, 13:24, 17:30, 19:4, Acts
20:21 Acts 26:20 Ro 2:4-note
Study especially 2Cor 7:9 and 2Cor 7:10. 2Cor 12:21 2Pet 3:9-note
Re 2:21, 22-note,
"of their immorality" = Re 9:21-note, Rev 16:9-note,
Re 16:11-note) will suffer
the ultimate judgment of God with eternal separation from God. Despite their
insistence that they are “Christians,” they are self-deceived (See 1Co
6:9, 10, 1Co 15:33, Gal 6:7-note,
Ep 5:5, 6-note,
Titus 3:3, 1Jn 3:7, Mt 7:21-note,
Mt 7:22, 23-note). God’s Word is clear
that all who live a life (habitually) of adultery or fornication
and are unrepentant are under God’s wrath and ultimate judgment
regardless of what they assert about their salvation experience.
God's judgment on sexual immorality in marriage is not just future but
is also seen in the present. Physical disease is an ever present threat
(herpes, Chlamydia, AIDS). In addition their is mental anguish with guilt, self-hatred and ego disintegration.
Couples become alienated,
estranged, hateful and occasionally even commit murder. And then there
is the toll on society with the problem of a plethora of illegitimate children
without fathers and the plight of abortion.
Unrepentant adultery and sexual immorality
will not go unpunished as all these various aspects of present
judgment attest. In addition a terrible judgment awaits for all
unrepentant sinners will stand before God, who is a “consuming fire”
(cf. Heb 12:29-note;
Kent Hughes writes that...
I will never forget a young coed who came to my office, obviously
shaken. She said she was a new Christian and that soon after her
conversion she started attending a church youth group. The president
of the group asked her for a date, and she was flattered and thrilled
to be going out with a Christian. “How different it will be from what
I’m used to,” she thought. But before the night was over, he had
destroyed her purity, shattered her faith, and ruined his own
testimony. The last I heard from the girl her life was still a
Within marriage, sex is beautiful, fulfilling, creative
of marriage, sex is evil, ugly (contrary to the "Hollywood
commentaries"), destructive, and damning.
The pithy nineteenth century
bishop J C Ryle wrote that...
The violation of the seventh commandment is the sin above
all others, that, as Hosea says, "takes away the understanding"
(Ho 4:11). It is the sin that leaves deeper scars upon the soul than
any other sin that a man can commit. It is a sin that destroys
thousands of young men in every age, and has even overthrown a few of
the saints of God in the past. Samson and David are fearful proofs. It
is the sin that man dares to smile at, and smooths over using the
terms:thrills, love, uncontrollable passions, and natural desires. But
it is the sin that the devil rejoices over, for he is the "unclean
spirit;" and it is the sin that God abhors, and declares He "will
judge" (Heb 13:4). Young men, "Flee from sexual immorality" (1Co 6:18)
if you love life. "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for
because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient"
(Ep 5:6-note). Flee from the opportunity of it--from the company of those
who might draw you into it--from the places where you might be tempted
to do it. Read what our Lord says about it in (Mt 5:28-note). Be like the
holy servant Job: (Job 31:1). Flee from talking about it. It is one of
the things that ought not even be hinted about in conversation. You
cannot even touch black grease without getting your hands dirty. Flee
from the thoughts of it; resist them, destroy them, pray against
them--make any sacrifice rather than give way to them. Imagination is
the hotbed where this sin is too often hatched. Guard your thoughts
(cp Pr 4:23-note),
and there will be little fear about your actions.
Pastor Steven Cole (all
of his messages are highly recommended -
see all his sermons by book - Pdf and some audio)
has the following excellent message on...
The Right and Wrong Place for Sex
Perhaps you’re wondering why I
would spend an entire message on a single verse that is fairly easy to
understand, a verse that most churchgoers would agree with. Let me
Over the past 40 years, our culture has taken a U-turn away from the
Christian view of marriage and sexual morality that was prevalent
before that time. While divorce and sexual immorality are not new,
they used to be frowned upon and marital faithfulness was viewed as
desirable. But beginning in the 1960’s, our culture threw off
Christian standards and openly embraced “free” sex and easy divorce.
Openness toward homosexuality began to make in-roads, so that now it
is widely promoted as a way of life that should not only not be
condemned, but be accepted as normal.
It would be naïve to think that the church is insulated from these
powerful cultural trends. Frances Schaeffer observed,
People drift along from generation
to generation, and the morally unthinkable becomes thinkable as the
years move on (cited by Erwin Lutzer, The Truth About Same-Sex
Marriage [Moody Press], p. 57).
It is a commonly known fact that
the divorce rate among evangelical Christians is no different than
that of our culture at large.
Also, evangelicals are not doing well in the area of sexual purity.
Leadership ([Winter, 1988], pp. 12-13, 24), a journal for pastors,
commissioned a poll to determine how common is pastoral indiscretion.
They found that since entering local church ministry, 23 percent of
pastors had done something with someone other than their spouse that
they considered sexually inappropriate. Twelve percent admitted to
having extra-marital intercourse. Among those who were not pastors,
the figures doubled! Also, 20 percent of pastors admitted to looking
at sexually oriented media at least once a month, and that was before
the internet! I assume that the numbers have not gotten better in the
Because of the importance of godly marriages as the foundation of our
church and society, our text is extremely important.
with the preceding context is that love of the brethren (Heb
must start in the home, between Christian couples. To practice
biblical love, husbands and wives must guard themselves against sexual
infidelity. To restrict sex to marriage was a novel idea to many in
the first century. Men often had mistresses or could go to temple
prostitutes. To call people to lifelong fidelity to a single spouse
was radically counter-cultural. It has become so again in our culture.
We have an opportunity, through moral purity and godly marriages, to
shine in the darkness around us for Jesus Christ (cp Mt 5:16-note,
We can sum up our text:
Since God ordained marriage and sex within marriage, He will judge
those who practice sex outside of marriage.
Before we look at the verse, note that Satan tries to get us to go to
extremes on one side or the other. If he can’t get us to move towards
sexual promiscuity, he tempts us with asceticism.
Asceticism is the
idea that you attain godliness by denying yourself certain things that
are not prohibited in Scripture, whether food, certain comforts, or
sexual pleasure in marriage. The apostle Paul strongly condemns
asceticism in Colossians 2:16-note,
Col 2:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 (see notes
where he concludes (Col 2:23-note)
These are matters which have, to be
sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and
self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value
against fleshly indulgence.
4:3, he warns against
men who forbid marriage and
advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully
shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
So we need the balance of Scripture
to avoid extremes.
1. Marriage, including
the sexual relationship in marriage, is to be held in honor among all.
The word honor means precious or valuable. Paul uses it of “precious
stones” (1Co 3:12). Peter uses the word to describe the “precious
blood” of Christ (1Pe 1:19-note)
and God’s “precious and magnificent promises” (2Pe 1:4-note).
Marriage bed is a euphemism for sex in marriage.
A. We should honor
marriage because God ordained it at creation.
Marriage is honorable or precious because God instituted it in the
Garden, before sin entered this world. Before that, He concluded that
it was not good for man to be alone (Ge 2:18), and so He created Eve
for Adam (Ge 2:21, 22, 23). Since marriage comes from God and was begun with the first
man and woman, it should be held in honor among all. (Ge 2:24)
(1) All three persons of the Trinity honor marriage.
God the Father honored marriage by instituting it in the Gar-den. God
the Son honored marriage by performing His first miracle at the
wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). He also con-fronted the
loose divorce practices that had evolved in Jewish society and
reaffirmed God’s original intent in marriage (Mt 19:1-9). God the Holy
Spirit honored marriage by inspiring the apostle Paul to write that
marriage is an earthly picture of Christ and His church (Eph 5:25-33 -note;
see also Rev 21:9-note).
(2) Honorable marriage as ordained by God is a covenant between a
man and a woman for life.
God created one woman for Adam, not many women and not a man! While
God tolerated polygamy in the Old Testament, you can-not find a single
example of a harmonious polygamous marriage. It always created
problems. Also, while God tolerates divorce under certain conditions,
it always reflects the hardness of the human heart (Mt 19:8) and God
states plainly that He hates it (Mal 2:16). As for the idea of
homosexual “marriage,” there is no biblical basis for it, in spite of
the attempts of some to justify it. Homosexuality is uniformly
condemned in the Bible as sin (Lev 18:22; Ro 1:26-note;
1Co 6:9; 1Ti 1:10).
It is important to affirm that biblical marriage is a lifelong
covenant relationship (Mal. 2:14). The sexual union is to be
restricted within the bounds of that covenant relationship. To engage
in sex outside of marriage is sin.
I want to mention several ways that we dishonor marriage and then some
ways that we can honor marriage.
B. We dishonor marriage…
(1) By viewing celibacy as more spiritual.
Paul makes it clear that celibacy is a special gift from God that
enables a person to remain single and control sexual desires so that
he or she has more time to be devoted to the Lord. But he readily
acknowledges that not all have this gift (1Cor 7:1, 2, 8, 9, 32, 33,
34, 35). As we’ve already seen, he specifically condemns those who
forbid marriage (1Ti 4:3).
But in spite of Paul’s warning against those who forbid marriage, the
early church developed the view that it is more spiritual to be
celibate. Origen, an early church father, had himself castrated so
that he could be free of sexual temptation. Augustine, who had a
concubine and a son with her, thought that he had to give her up and
devote himself to celibacy to follow Christ. I think it’s sad that he
did not marry her. He viewed sex in marriage as a necessary evil to
procreate children, but not as God’s gift to be enjoyed. The Roman
Catholic requirement that priests be celibate furthers the view that
celibacy is more spiritual. Martin Luther broke with that unbiblical
view when he married a former nun and extolled the blessings of
(2) By saying that homosexual “marriage” is valid.
I’ve already commented on this, but let me add that we do not hate
homosexuals by proclaiming God’s holy standards. Sin of any kind
always damages those who engage in it. If I saw someone blindly
running toward a cliff, the loving thing to do is to yell, “Stop!” We
do not love people if we do not warn about the dangers of all sexual
sin. Paul wrote (1Co 6:18),
“Flee immorality. Every other sin
that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins
against his own body.”
We dishonor God’s institution of
marriage and we do not practice biblical love if we do not proclaim
His standards of sexual purity.
(3) By following our culture’s no-fault divorce practices.
I realize that many Christians have been divorced, and that if you
could, you would turn back the clock and do many things differently. I
do not want to add to your grief and pain. But I must set the biblical
standard back where it belongs. As God’s people, we must reverse the
trend of the past 40 years. People should be able to look at Christian
marriages and marvel that we have stayed together and worked through
difficulties because of the covenant that we entered into before God.
Covenant: As It Relates to
(4) By marrying an unbeliever.
Many Christians do not even consider it a sin to marry an unbeliever,
and yet God calls it an abomination (Malachi 2:11). Paul makes it
clear that we are not to be bound together with unbelievers and that
we are only free to marry in the Lord (2Co 6:14; 1Co 7:39). Since
marriage is to be a picture of Christ and the church, it destroys that
picture to enter into marriage with an unbeliever.
I’ve had professing Christian young
women tell me that they’ve prayed about marrying an unbeliever, and
“feel a peace” about doing so. But it is never peace from God, because
He does not give His peace when we sin. You and your children will
suffer the consequences if you enter into such a marriage.
If you are already married to an unbeliever, Paul instructs you to
remain in that marriage, if possible (1Co 7:12, 13, 14, 15, 16).
Perhaps God will be gracious in converting your mate. But stories of
how God worked to convert an unbelieving mate never justify sinning by
entering such a mixed marriage in the first place (Ro 6:1, 2).
(5) By having sexual relations outside of the marriage covenant.
This is the main point of our text. Note that the two parts of the
second half of the verse correspond to the two parts of the first half
of the verse.
“Fornicators” (single people
who have sex) dishonor the institution of marriage.
“Adulterers” (married people
who have sex with someone other than their spouse) defile the marriage
bed. (For some strange reason, the NIV reverses the commands at the
end of the verse and adds the word “all” before “sexually immoral.”
This confuses the symmetrical structure of the verse.) The Greek text
omits the verb, which must be supplied from the context. Some versions
take it as indicative (“Marriage is honorable…”). But in light of the
commands in the context, it should probably be understood as
exhortation, as in the NASB.
We’ve seen that we should honor marriage because God ordained it at
creation. We dishonor marriage by saying that celibacy is more
spiritual; by saying that homosexual “marriage” is valid; by following
our culture’s no-fault divorce practices; by marrying an unbeliever;
and, by having sexual relations outside of marriage.
C. We honor marriage:
Here, we could go through the same list as in the previous point and
state the opposite. We honor and affirm marriage by viewing it as just
as spiritually fulfilling as celibacy, depending on one’s spiritual
gift. We honor it by holding firmly to heterosexual marriage as God’s
only option. We honor it by staying committed to our mate and working
through difficulties, rather than bailing out. We honor marriage by
entering into it only with a committed believer, so that we can raise
our children in the Lord. And, we honor marriage by abstaining from
sexual immorality. But I want to focus on two things:
(1) By guarding ourselves from sexual sin.
No Christian deliberately jumps into sexual sin, but as Leadership
([ibid., p. 12) reported (in 1988), among subscribers of Christianity
Today magazine who are not pastors, “45 percent indicated having done
something they considered sexually inappropriate, 23 percent said they
had had extramarital intercourse, and 28 percent said they had engaged
in other forms of extramarital sexual con-tact.” Clearly, this is a
major area where Satan hits believers! It is not enough to sit here
and agree with God’s standards for sexual purity. We must have a
strategy to guard ourselves from falling (cp 1Pe 2:11-note).
The major element in this strategy is to maintain a close daily walk
with Christ and a close relationship with your mate. If we drift from
the Lord and are not spending consistent time in the Word and prayer,
we become vulnerable to temptation. If we grow distant from our mate,
we are more open to temptation. In the Leadership survey, 78 percent
of the pastors who failed morally said that the main factor was
physical and emotional attraction. Forty-one per-cent listed marital
As I’ve repeatedly emphasized, all
sin begins in the mind. This means that to guard ourselves from sexual
sin, we must judge it and turn from it the moment it enters our minds.
Jesus made this point graphically when He said (Matt. 5:27, 28-notes,
Mt 5:29, 30-note):
You have heard that it was said,
‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who
looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with
her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and
throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts
of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your
right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it
is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your
whole body to go into hell.
Jesus did not mean literally to
maim yourself, but He did mean to underscore the serious nature of
mental lust. If you do not cut it off, Jesus says that you’re going to
hell! To obey Jesus’ words, you need to avoid watching TV programs,
movies, or videos that tempt you to lust. Devise ways to block
pornography from the internet. Be accountable to another brother in
Also, to guard yourself from sexual sin, memorize Scripture, which
transforms your mind. Psalm 119:9-note
“How can a young man
keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word…. Your word I
have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”
Another piece of the strategy is to put a fence around your marriage.
If you go to the Grand Canyon and don’t want to fall over the edge,
either stay behind the railing or don’t go near an edge where there is
no railing. Putting a fence around your marriage means that you do not
enter into a close friendship with a member of the opposite sex. These
relationships often start innocently enough. “We are able to talk as
brother and sister.” Beware! If you find yourself as a married person
attracted to a member of the opposite sex, cut off any contact and
avoid any situation that could lead to temptation. Don’t go near the
Let me add one other way to honor marriage that is implied by our
(2) By enjoying the totality of the marriage relationship,
including the physical relationship.
“Marriage bed” refers to sex in marriage, and it is not dirty.
D. H. Field writes (The New
Dictionary of Theology [IVP], ed. by Sinclair Ferguson, David Wright,
and J. I. Packer, p. 638),
“The history of the church betrays
a far less positive attitude to sexuality than the Bible’s.”
He goes on to talk about the early
influence of ascetic idealism. Then he says,
“With very few exceptions,
patristic and medieval writers condemned the sensual pleasure of
intercourse as sinful. Their attitude to marriage, too, was at best
But the Bible affirms the pleasure
of the sexual relationship in marriage, both for men and women.
Solomon instructs his son to let his wife’s breasts satisfy him at all
times, and to be exhilarated with her love (Pr 5:19). The Song of
Solomon extols the joys of sex in marriage for both partners. Paul
tells both husbands and wives that they do not have authority over
their own bodies, but their spouse does, and that they have a
responsibility to meet the sexual needs of their mate as a
preventative to immorality (1Co 7:2, 3, 4, 5). Sarah refers to sexual
relations with her husband as having pleasure with him (Ge 18:12).
Sex in marriage is directly related to the interpersonal relationship.
God designed it that way. There must be mutual sensitivity, caring,
and respect in the relationship between husband and wife as the
foundation for the enjoyment of the sexual aspect. But I am
emphasizing what Paul states, that it is a God-given preventative
against sexual sin (1Cor 7:2).
I once counseled a couple where the
husband had fallen into adultery. He and his wife had not had sexual
relations in over ten years and she assumed that everything was just
fine! He was really angry about this, but he hadn’t said anything.
When a neighbor woman became friendly, he fell. Sadly, the couple
eventually divorced. It all could have been avoided if they had
followed the clear teaching of Scripture:
“Stop depriving one another” (1Co
Our text issues a strong warning:
2. God will judge those who practice sexual immorality. Many
Scriptures hammer home this warning:
1Cor 6:9, 10: Or do you not know
that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of
Eph. 5:5, 6-note:
For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or
covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of
Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because
of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Rev 21:8-note: But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and
murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all
liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and
brimstone, which is the second death.
Many other Scriptures give the same
warning (Mt 5:27, 28, 29, 30-see
notes; Gal. 5:19, 20, 21-notes; Col. 3:5-note; 1Th 4:4-note,
1Th 4:6, 7-note; Re 22:15-note). While believers do not need to fear God’s eternal
judgment, Scripture is clear that if you habitually practice sexual
immorality, you may not be a genuine Christian (1John 3:7, 8,
9, 10 - note that the verbs for "practice" and "sin" are
= habitual action). If you are a genuine Christian, God will
discipline you severely if you engage in sexual sin (Heb 12:5-note,
Heb 12:6, 7,
8, 9, 10, Heb 12:11-note).
While He forgives us when we repent, He does not necessarily remove
the consequences of our sin (see the life of David, 2Sa 12:10, 11,
12, 13, 14). He may forgive your sin, but you contracted a sexual
disease that could be untreatable or fatal.
Some will protest, “But we’re under
grace!” But the book that was written to explain God’s grace also
warns (Gal 6:7-note,
“Do not be deceived (present
+ a negative = stop an action already in process), God is not mocked;
for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows
to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who
sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
But I want to end with this good
3. God will forgive those who repent of their sin and trust in the
blood of Christ.
Immediately following Paul’s warning against God’s judgment on sexual
immorality, he adds these wonderful words,
“And such were some of you; but you
were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1Co
Neither homosexuality, adultery,
nor any kind of sexual perversion are beyond God’s forgiveness. First
John 1:9 graciously promises,
“If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from
Paul calls himself the chief of
sinners, and yet he found mercy at the cross (1Ti 1:15, 16). You can
experience God’s forgiveness and gift of eternal life if you will turn
from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ.
Conclusion - The late comedian, George Burns, used to say that he could remember
the time when the air was clean and sex was dirty. Biblically
speaking, sex has never been dirty in the context that God ordained
for it: in lifelong covenant marriage between a man and a woman.
That’s the right place for sex. The wrong place is outside of such
covenant marriage, where it incurs God’s judgment.
If God’s Word is true, our culture is in moral darkness. But when the
darkness is greatest, the light shines the brightest. If we will
maintain God’s standards of moral purity, He will use us to shine in
this dark world with the good news of God’s forgiveness and with the
news that sex is clean in God-ordained marriages.
How can we demonstrate God’s love for homosexuals and yet His wrath
against their sin? Do you start with love or wrath?
What are some other ways (than
those in the message) that Christians can plan not to fall into sexual
Can a true believer be “addicted”
(enslaved is the biblical word) to sexual sin? (Mt 5:27, 28, 29, 30-note;
Ro 6:17, 18-note;
1John 3:7, 8, 9, 10.)
How would you counsel a single
person who wants to be married, but cannot find a suitable mate? (Hebrews
13:4 The Right and Wrong Place for Sex)