Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 26: Thursday
“Now therefore, my sons, listen to me,
And pay attention to the words of my mouth.
Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths.
For many are the victims she has cast down,
And numerous are all her slain.
Her house is the way to Sheol,
Descending to the chambers of death.”
Thursday’s Bible reading is Proverbs 7. As you read the book of Proverbs, notice the emphasis that outward acts begin from within—the word heart is used 69 times in Proverbs in the New American Standard Bible. Proverbs 7:3 contains the same phrase that was in Proverbs 3:3: “Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Chapter 7 begins with this admonition from father to son to keep and treasure his commands, and continues with parental warnings about sexual sin by describing the heart, personality and deceptive words of the adulterous woman as well as contrasting the illusion she uses to entice with the consequences of immorality.
Adultery is a sin against God, and a breaking of the promised commitment made exclusively to one person to love that one person and forsake all others. The English marriage ceremony from The Book of Common Prayer of 1662, contains vows widely used by many Christians, in which part of the question asked of the man and woman states, “…and forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him [or her], so long as ye both shall live?”
Genesis 2 speaks of a man and a woman becoming one flesh, in Ephesians 5, Paul writes that the marriage relationship between a man and a woman is like Christ and the church, and in 1 Corinthians 6, he writes:
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “ THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 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 you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:15–20
I wrote the post, Religious Liberty & the Attempt to Redefine Marriage, last Saturday on the vote in New York the previous Friday evening to redefine marriage in New York by giving legal recognition to couples of the same sex. This week Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online interviewed Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, about the vote and marriage. I wanted to include a quote from this interview in this post because Dr. George has some profound thoughts on legalization of same-sex couples, and its roots found in the sexual “liberation” and licentiousness propagated and mainstreamed in the twentieth century (emphasis added):
“As Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and I argue in our Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy article once one buys into the ideology of sexual liberalism, the reality that has traditionally been denominated as “marriage” loses all intelligibility. That is true whether one regards oneself politically as a liberal or a conservative. For people who have absorbed the central premises of sexual liberation (whether formally and explicitly, as liberals tend to do, or merely implicitly as those conservatives who have gone in for it tend to do), marriage simply cannot function as the central principle or standard of rectitude in sexual conduct, as it has in Western philosophy, theology, and law for centuries. The idea that sexual intercourse (the behavioral component of reproduction) consummates and actualizes marriage as a one-flesh union of sexually complementary spouses naturally ordered to the good of procreation loses its force and even its sense. The moral belief that sex belongs in (and only in) marriage, where it is of unitive as well as procreative significance, and where the unitive and procreative dimensions are intrinsically connected (though not in a mere relationship of means to end), begins to seem baseless — the sort of thing that can be believed, if at all, only on the authority of revealed religion. As a result, to the extent that one is in the grip of sexual-liberationist ideology, one will find no reason of moral principle why people oughtn’t to engage in sexual relations prior to marriage, cohabit in non-marital sexual partnerships, form same-sex sexual partnerships, or confine their sexual partnerships to two persons, rather than three or more in polyamorous sexual ensembles.”1
Sexual sin and sexual choices never affect only those involved: there are consequences to the trust, love and well-being of families and children, and there are increasingly devastating and destructive consequences to society. As I mentioned last week in Proverbs 5–6: Honey & Wormwood, one of my pastors, Mike Braun, said that God has morally underwritten His universe. You may decide that gravity is no longer true for you, but you cannot jump off a cliff without consequences. In the same way, we cannot live against God’s laws without wrecking lives. We as Christians must recognize and understand what marriage is, its joys and benefits, and the consequences of sexual sin, and teach our children by precept and by our own example to honor God and obey Him.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1Kathryn Jean Lopez, “Sex and the Empire State: Losing marriage to sexual liberalism,” National Review Online, June 28, 2011.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter