“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.” (Proverbs 6:24-29)
Rather than diving into the characteristics of a wise, biblical marriage, I continue to pray and explore the Bible texts, both Old and New Testament. Our present world’s radical departure from biblical marriage as an institution is leering down at us. Satan is undoubtedly behind the trend to make the marriage relationship between a man and a woman a throw-away, antiquated idea. The Bible nowhere gives any approval or allowance for sexual activity outside of marriage. In the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 18, the Lord gave Moses a list of prohibited sexual relations including incest and adultery. The prohibitions are prefaced with this warning: “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 18:2-5)
It is a significant challenge of our times to hold fast to biblical values and principles, as believers are called to do, in a world that has jettisoned them for self-pleasure and convenience. A single woman no longer has to be childless; she is “free” to have a child with a man or even by in-vitro fertilization. A gay couple can do the same, or men use a surrogate woman to carry their child. Couples excuse themselves from marriage because of their fear of commitment or pressure to produce a costly wedding. Unfortunately, there are plenty of Christians who think that compromising with God’s statutes relating to marriage is without consequence. However, Proverbs warns that violating these commands will be like carrying fire and getting burned or walking on hot coals, scorching the feet. Negative consequences for sexual intimacy outside of marriage include children being confused about marriage and family, people are overly sensitive, and more concern about how others treat them eclipse their ability to relate to others with confidence and trust. National and local legal systems are tied up with determining personal rights and nomenclature. Christians, in particular, are led to think that the Bible is no longer relevant or autoreactive. Of course, the greatest consequence is the rejection of Christ, who alone can offer the love we all yearn for in this life.
Many of us now have family members or acquaintances who reject God’s institution of marriage for individual preferences, which are endorsed by society. What is the wise person to do? When Christians sin sexually, we are called to help them by asserting, mercifully, with love and grace biblical truths that are to be obeyed. However, Unbelievers need the gospel, when God provides the opportunity to share.