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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

MARRIAGE IS HONORABLE

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

In one short verse the writer of this letter to the Hebrew Christians confirms God's approval of marriage. When entered into, and performed in accordance with God's Holy Word, marriage is honorable in His sight. And it is by His Holy Word that God will judge all that enter into this sacred union. In all dispensations of time, from the beginning to the present, mankind has tried to "improve" on that commandment, which God has already made perfect.

Some religious sects require vows of celibacy for all their "clergy" - their religious leaders, as if by remaining unmarried they could attain a higher level of holiness and spiritual purity. Marriage is not an institution that is "dishonorable" to some, and "honorable" to others. Certainly this is a direct violation of God's will, because He says, in His Holy Word, that marriage is honorable in all. Not only is marriage honorable, but it is also required for those holding the positions of elders and deacons within His church, the body of Christ (See 1 Tim. 3:2; 3:12; Titus 1:6). Would a God, that required the spiritual leaders of His church to be married to one wife, also require those that proclaim His Holy Word to be celibate? I think not! Again, God's Word says that marriage is honorable to all.

Other religious sects contend that it is God's will for man to have multiple wives. Although it was wrong in the sight of God, polygamy was common during ancient times. Common practices of mankind are often contrary to God's will, and this is true with multiple wives. However, from the beginning it was not so. God created mankind, male and female created He them (Gen. 1:27). God saw that it was not good that the man should be alone; (therefore) I will make him an helpmeet for him (Gen. 2:18). God's female creation filled this need. God did not create "helpmeets" for him - He created only one "helpmeet." To give emphasis to this, God's word tells us one man is to faithfully cling, to one wife. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Gen. 2:24).

Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled when both partners of a marriage, both the man and the woman, cleave unto each other - to faithfully hold on only to each other. Although the promiscuity of licentious sexual conduct is tolerated, and in many instances, promoted by men and women of the world, God condemns it. Fornication includes all types of sexual misconduct, whether it be whoredom, adultery, or any manner of deviate, inordinate affection. Although such illicit acts may take place in dark secret, these sins are openly performed before the eyes of the Lord (See Prov. 5:19-23). All such acts are seen, and condemned by God. And, unless repented of, and forgiven, those that commit them will be held accountable in the Day of Judgment. The word of God says, Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife (1 Cor. 7:3-4). Indeed, God requires fidelity between, both the man and the woman that make up a scriptural marriage relationship. Those that violate it must bear the consequences of any act of infidelity.

Regarding marriage, the writer continues to say, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Such acts of fornication generally go unpunished by civil law, but will not be overlooked under the law of God. It was God that created both man and woman, established their marriage relationship, enacted the rules under which marriage is to be conducted, and judges the obedience or disobedience to His laws. For instance we have this law of God: Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery (Matt. 19:9b). We also have these judgments of God. According to Paul's letter to the Christians at Corinth the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. According to the apostle Paul, included in those that are unrighteous are fornicators, ...idolaters, ...adulterers, ...effeminate, (and) ...abusers of themselves with mankind - all those that engage in illicit sexual misconduct. Paul also wrote this commandment of God to the church at Ephesus: For this ye know, that no whoremonger ...hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 5:5).

The lesson text says it all. Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. God, as our Judge, will use His laws in judgment, not those of mankind!