The Book of Hebrews #70 chapter 13:1-4 pt. 3
The Book of Hebrews
Christian Ethics, Part 3:
Love, Sex, and Marriage
Hebrews 13:1-4
We are taking a course in Christian Ethics from Hebrews 13 and we saw that it impacts three different relational areas of our life, our relationship with others, our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with God.  The first area has two characteristics.   The first one is sustained Love.  In verse 1, the author says, “Let brotherly love continue”.  He then expands that requirement to those we don’t even know in verse 2. 
The second characteristic is sympathy.  Verse 3 reminds us to be understanding toward those who are in difficult situation, and especially those who were suffering for their faith because next time it might be you who is involved.  
Next he begins to deal with our relationship with ourselves and at first glance, verse 4 doesn’t seem to fit that topic.
Verse 4
Sexual impurity is not only a sin against others, but it is primarily a sin against ourselves. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body. But he who commits  sexual immorality sins against his own body.” So our responsibility to others is to love them and be sympathetic toward them, but our responsibility to ourself is sexual purity.
Now I want to point something out to you from this verse in Hebrews.  Notice the little word “is” between marriage and honorable.  It is in italics, which means it was added for clarification’s sake.  It certainly does make it read easier in the English, but the literal Greek says marriage honorable among all.
Now it seems to me there are two ways of interpreting that verse.  It might be that “is” is the correct word to use making the verse say, “marriage is honorable.” If that’s true and that’s the author intended, then it is a statement of fact. Marriage is honorable in all, and that’s a true statement.  I certainly have no argument with that statement.
God looks at marriage as an honorable thing; He invented it. It’s not honorable the way it’s treated in the world today, or even in the church for that matter.  People laugh at marriage and choose to live together.  Others seek to redefine it to justify their behavior.  So the honor of marriage has been greatly tarnished in recent years in American culture.
But not in God’s eyes.
Marriage is honorable. That is a true statement and maybe he’s making that statement to just underline that ethic in the hearts and minds of these Hebrew believers.  It could just be a blanket statement and if if it is, he’s saying marriage is honorable in all.
Then he adds this statement about the marriage bed being undefiled.  And that simply means that what you and your spouse choose to do sexually is okay, obviously taking into consideration sanity and perversion.  In God’s eyes, everything in the bed is pure if you’re married.
You don’t have to go around feeling guilty you’re your sexual activity is exclusive to the marriage relationship because whatever you do is undefiled in the sight of God. You belong to each and as far as the expression of that love, there is no impurity whatsoever in anything that you would do, together. And that’s a true statement also.  So that might be what he is saying.  He could just be reaffirming the marriage relationship and the sexual expression that comes through it.
But I’m not sure that’s what these verses are addressing.  I think it’s better not to use the word “is” exclusively, but to add two more words to the phrase so the verse reads, “Marriage is to be honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.”
Then the sentence is not so much a statement of fact, but it is an exhortation to this ethic.  And since the context of this whole section is exhortation, I think that is the intent of this verse.
Notice how verse 1 begins: “Let.” You find the same thing in verse 5.  It appears again down in verse 13.   The encouragement is “do this.  And it seems to me he is saying, “Let marriage be honorable, and let the bed be undefiled.”  And he’s calling for sexual purity rather than making a statement about sexual purity.
God designed marriage as an honorable thing and he expects the behavior of His children to demonstrate that.  After all, it is God’s chosen illustration of His relationship with us and we ought not be messing with His example.
Then he gives this great motivational reason for not becoming involved in sexual sin.
Verse 4b
Of all the ethical statements and encouragements found in Hebrews 13, only this one has a judgment statement giving along with it.  That says to me God is very serious about sexual sin.   
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 God’s chastisement and punishment comes.
Our society now views as normal pregnancies before marriage.  They are celebrated and honored as if it’s no big deal.  I realize every baby is precious and every life is special, but it seems to me we’ve lost our ability to blush.
We have people shacking up and living together as if God doesn’t mind.  Sexual crime statistics are our of sight.  The divorce rate is astronomical.  Sexual disease is epidemic.
The morality of our world would make a pigpen look clean. The entertainment industry is like a dripping sewer.  You can’t even check out at the grocery store without being inundated with pictures that just a few years ago were considered pornographic.  The headlines announce the news of out-of-wedlock babies.
All of that is evidence of the judgment of God.  It comes.  God will not be mocked.  What we sow, we reap.  Look around society today and you have all the evidence you need of the judgment of God.  It comes in the collapse of marriages, it comes in disease; it comes in family breakdown; it comes in murder and suicide and it comes because you can’t live your life in opposition to the Word of God and escape the consequence.
You can’t get much clearer than Hebrews 13:4.  God will judge fornicators and adulteresses.  Anybody that doesn’t understand that?
God expects sexual purity from His children and He has given us this wonderful gift called marriage to provide everything we need to be satisfied.  In so many words, He says, “Anything goes!  Enjoy yourself within the confines of marriage.  But if you step outside that boundary, you will have to pay the price.”
Now, what that really boils down to is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ because if you aren’t saved and unless you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, you haven’t got the slightest idea how this works, nor do you have the slightest inclination to obey it.
Apart from Jesus Christ, this whole concept is meaningless. But when you come to know Jesus Christ, it becomes the desire of your heart to fulfill His will in every area of life, including sexual purity.
Let’s pray.


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