“Marriage is honorable in every respect; and, in particular, sex within marriage is pure. But God will indeed punish fornicators and adulterers.”—Hebrews 13:4 (JNTP)
“Sex without love is violence.”—Eric Jerome Dickey
Head’s up: Certainly, this is more of a “preventative measure message” for those who are single (and no matter what, you are single if you are not married). However, I would encourage married people to read this, too; especially if you had sex before marriage. It’s not going to be the most comfortable ride, but it may provide some clarity on how to confess (James 5:16), pray and be reconciled re: your relationship now.
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.”—I Corinthians 2:13-15 (NKJV)
Several weeks ago, I was talking to someone about her daughter who is a young, single mom. She said something that was, what I call, “commonly jarring”. In reference to her daughter’s relationship with her “baby’s daddy”, the mother said, “I’m praying that he can get himself [spiritually] together. They’ve already had sex. Why not try and work it out?”
Let the games begin.
On this side of abstinence, I can’t believe just how…blasphemous (bold, irreverent, nervy, out-of-line, profane, sacrilegious, ungodly) I find premarital sex to be; how blasphemous I was in the partaking of the act. I mean, I’ve always known it was wrong. My Mama told me that. Yet, just yesterday, my mom and I were talking about how much of a disservice many of us are doing to those around us re: how sex affects, not just our bodies, but our minds and hearts as well. How beautiful it is within covenant. How destructive it is without.
I wonder what life would be like if we all were taught to memorize, out the gate (since birth), the following Scripture: “Don’t you know that your bodies are part of the Messiah? So, am I to take parts of the Messiah and make them parts of a prostitute? Heaven forbid! Don’t you know that a man who joins himself to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? For the Tanakh says, ‘The two will become one flesh;’ but the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Run from sexual immorality! Every other sin, a person commits is outside of the body, but the fornicator sins against his own body. Or don’t you know that your body is the temple for the Ruach Hakodesh who lives inside of you, whom you received from God. The fact is, you don’t belong to yourselves; for you were bought with a price. So use your bodies to glorify God.”—I Corinthians 6:15-20 (JNTP)
I am pulling this from the Jewish New Testament and so for those who may not know, “Tanakh” is the Hebrew word for the Hebrew Scriptures which were divided into three divisions: the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings…or as some Christians would consider to simply call it the Old Testament. “Ruach Hakodesh” is a Hebrew word meaning, “Divine Spirit” or “Divine Inspiration”…the Holy Spirit. I have mentioned many times before that I love how the Message Version translates I Corinthians 6:16 as well: “Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.” If for no other reason, the Holy Spirit dwelling within you makes sex a spiritual mystery. And here is where I will begin this message.
When it comes to teaching the purpose of sex in marital covenant and/or the reason why it should remain there, I think that one word that should be focused on more is TEMPLE. Our bodies are temples.
Temple: an edifice or place dedicated to the service or worship of a deity or deities; any of the three successive houses of worship in Jerusalem in use by the Jews in Biblical times, the first built by Solomon, the second by Zerubbabel, and the third by Herod; an edifice erected as a place of public worship; a church, esp. a large or imposing one; any place or object in which God dwells, as the body of a Christian
And, while the following definition refers, specifically, to those of the Mormon faith, I think it’s fitting for this message: “a building devoted to administering sacred ordinances, principally that of eternal marriage”
We are a place where the Lord dwells. I wonder how many of us really get that.
While Christ was on the earth, he spent a significant amount of time in temples; especially to teach (Luke 19:47, Luke 21:37). Already that provides some perspective, doesn’t it? The Amplified Version of John 14:26 tells us, “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you” and Luke 12:12 (NKJV) states, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
The Holy Spirit dwells within us to teach us, as I Corinthians 2:13-15 states, SPIRITUAL THINGS. He’s inside of us to comfort us, counsel us, help us, intercede for us, advocate for us, strengthen us…and be our standby. That, right there, should already give you a clue as to why the Liar (John 8:44) wants to “get in” any way that he can. Why would you think the devil would want you to learn (or retain) anything? Especially anything that would build up your spirit man (Romans 8:9).
More and more, Yahweh Hoseena, the Lord our Maker, has been showing me how little what the devil does re: me has to actually do with me. In the Lord’s eyes, we are tools; in Satan’s we are pawns. I can only imagine how the Liar must feel about something as sacred, as precious, as powerful…as holy (I Peter 1:13-16) as the Holy Spirit living within me. And so, it would only make sense that he would do what he could to try and drive that spirit out; to desecrate my temple.
And so, being that the Holy Spirit dwells here and yet, obviously, he doesn’t mind dwelling (teaching) while two married people are engaged in a “spiritual mystery moment” (I Corinthians 7:5)…should it not be a given that sexual intimacy, between two covenant temples, is an act of worship? It’s not taught and/or reiterated nearly as much as it should be, but it was Theotes, the Godhead, that created sex. None of us would know about it—including the Liar himself—if they had not introduced us to the concept (Genesis 2:24-25). So, being that husbands and wives are strongly consulted (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to not deprive one another from the act…being that sex, in some ways, similar to baptism (I think), is an outward display of a personal commitment…being that it plays a significant part in making “two one”…being that two can put ten thousand to flight and two can withstand the attacking of one (Ecclesiastes 4:12)…being that SEX IS SPIRITUAL and “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), yes, sexual intimacy must be treated with reverent honor and adoring regard. One definition of “worship” is “the reverent love and devotion accorded to a sacred object”. Another? “The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed”.
Hmph. I wonder how much sex would change if every time it took place, it was honored as a ceremony of expressing godly love. After all, when people get married, they have a ceremony, right? A solemn rite takes place. Why would that be a “deeply earnest” experience, but the ability to (fellas) enter into the temple of your wife not be seen in the same light?
The fact is, it should.
Many years ago, the artist Prince wrote a song entitled, “Thieves in the Temple”. Being that sex is an act of worship when it comes to marital covenant, you can best believe that the Liar is going to do all that he can to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) that beautiful and PURPOSEFUL experience. He doesn’t support anything that El Berith, the God of Covenant, has joined together (Matthew 19:6).
And so, in walks fornication and adultery.
Matthew 21:12-17 speaks of a time when Christ went into a temple and drove out all of those who were using it for the wrong reasons. “And He said to them, ‘It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (verse 13) Now here’s the thing about a thief: it is someone who steals (something that the Eighth Commandment—Exodus 20:15 tells us not to do). However, a thief usually does it “secretly” or “without open force”.
When I public speak on sex, I sometimes say, “When a couple goes away on their honeymoon, what do you assume happened?” Prayerfully, those folks had sex…and plenty of it. And why should it be a secret? They didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t steal anything. It’s a rightful act for married people. So, if you’re currently engaged in a sexual relationship that you are covering up, yeah…you have a thief (or perhaps even thieves) in your temple. The Liar probably has you calling it, “keeping the relationship private”. The truth (John 8:32)? You’re rolling around in darkness. Remember, Adam and the Woman were naked…AND NOT ASHAMED. And we are called to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14):”Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” (John 8:12-NKJV) Darkness is not a part of a disciple’s life. Sex is nothing to be on the “hush hush” about when it’s within the Father’s will and design.
What the Lord revealed to me today is that when you engage in sex outside of covenant, it’s a lot like being one of the “false teachers”, in the Church, that the Word warns us about:
“But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.
They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”—2 Peter 2:12-17 (NKJV)
I have a friend who hates it when I say, “In the Bible, when it comes to sexual activity, you are either considered a ‘prostitute’ or a ‘wife’.” But him not liking it doesn’t make it any less true. However, I see why this is the case in a different fashion now. Some prostitutes have sex for money; others “willingly use his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way”. Either way, “A prostitute is as dangerous as a deep pit, and an unfaithful wife is like a narrow well.” (Proverbs 23:27-NCV)
A couple of months ago, a spiritual sistah of mine (thanks Candice) purchased an “I Love My Husband” t-shirt for me. I am not (yet) married, but he who finds a wife finds a good thing, right? (Proverbs 18:22) How much can a man trust me if I don’t care enough to submit to the Lord’s will for my life? EVEN NOW, IF I ENGAGED IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY, I AM BEING AN UNFAITHFUL WIFE. I am not keeping myself holy and sacred for my future husband.
This is one of the reasons why it baffles me how much we rush fornicating relationships into a covenant. I was also telling someone yesterday that when I was molested, it would have been very unhealthy to remain in a close spiritual/emotional/physical space with the one who was abusing (abnormally using) me. He took advantage of my temple. He had an authoritative role, which made him a false teacher. I’ve been one as well. The Bible refers to the Church family as “brothers and sisters” (James 2:15). Marriage is what makes a brother and sister, husband and wife. I wrote a piece a couple of years ago called, “Spiritual Incest”. When you engage in fornication or adultery, you are sleeping with your spiritual brother or sister. You violate them. You’ve trespassed into their temple. You partook in spiritual incest. You were the victimizer and victim of sexual abuse. Now why should marriage be the “cure” for that?’
Why would such a destructive thing not be treated in a similar fashion, spiritually, of those who have been sexual violated in other ways? There needs to be repentance and forgiveness, yes. HOWEVER, there also needs to be distance. There needs to be counsel. There needs to be a realignment of boundaries. There needs to be healing. I think a big part of the reason why the divorce rate within the Church is as high of that within the world (very, very sad) is that we “force” two broken people together thinking it will make them whole. Again, sex is not just a physical act, but a spiritual mystery.
And yes, I am more than aware of what Paul said in I Corinthians 7:8-9 (NJTP): “Now to the single people and the widows I say that it is fine to remain single like me; but if they can’t exercise self-control, they should get married; because it is better to get married than to keep burning with sexual desire.” But I am also aware that people do not read these two verses together nearly as much as they should.
A couple of years ago, when I took a Spiritual Gifts Test, I laughed (and took a huge sigh of relief) when I saw that I tested very low in the Gift of Celibacy. A Paul, in that way, I am not. You see, Paul was not saying that if you’re in a relationship where you’re fornicating, you should hurry up and marry the person to “right your wrong”. ONLY REPENTANCE DOES THAT (Luke 13:3). He was saying that if you are not comfortable being a single person and not having sex, marriage is probably for you. Because after all, IF YOU DON’T DESIRE TO GET MARRIED, YOU MUST NOT WANT TO HAVE SEX, EH? SEX IS FOR MARRIED PEOPLE ONLY.
Yet, we must remember what Christ himself said about marriage:
“But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”—Matthew 19:11-12 (Message)
Sex is a part of marriage. The truth is that not everyone is mature enough to have sex…but if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of sex, do it.
Earlier this week, I wrote a note to the women who are a part of the “On Fire” movement that the Comforter led me to start awhile back. I was telling them about how shook I was once I really got that it’s not good for man to be alone. FOR A MAN TO BE ALONE. A man is someone who is not a boy…he is someone who is mature. Paul said in I Corinthians 13:11 that when he was a child, HE UNDERSTOOD AS A CHILD, but when he became a man, HE PUT AWAY CHILDISH THINGS. I have enclosed the link to the note below. You might be surprised what some of the synonyms of “childish” are:
One is “marked by or indicating a lack of maturity”; to be “puerile”. To be “puerile” is to be “childishly foolish”, “immature” and “trivial”. I Peter 2:11 (NKJV) states, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” It’s a rough word but Proverbs 30:17 (NKJV) tells us, “The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.” If you were raised that fornication is wrong (and if you are a parent now, THAT IS YOUR JOB TO DO—Ephesians 6:4), as an adult, the Word says that is something that you should not be departing from (Proverbs 22:6). CHILDREN REBEL. ADULTS ADHERE. Spiritual maturity tells us that we have a mission to present ourselves as honorable before the nonbeliever. Cause really, why would they honor sex if we are dishonoring it? And for a lot of us, DISHONORING THEM BY HAVING SEX WITH THEM.
Thieves in the temple.
Fornication is a spiritually immature act. Marriage is not for people who fornicate. Marriage is for mature Christians; disciples who abide in the Word of Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God (John 8:31). The truth is that there are a lot of marriages that are suffering right now and it’s because, I believe, they did not receive this kind of counsel. They were in a sexual relationship and their counsel, in effort to also “keep the sin hidden” advised, “Well, if you can’t keep your hands off of each other, just get married so that it will be right in the sight of the Lord.” LUST IS NEVER RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD (I John 2:16). NEITHER IS A LUST-MOTIVATED DECISION. The lead verse for today says that the Lord punishes fornicators and adulterers. There is a reaping that comes even if/when you marry the person you engaged in fornication with; there is a reaping that comes if/when you marry the person committed adultery with. God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7-9). His Word accomplishes just what it pleases (Isaiah 55:11).
Some people are wondering what is going on in their marriages right now. They are simply in their reaping season. The Word tells us that fleshly lusts war against the soul. War is “active hostility”, “contention” and “conflict”. Psalm 19:7 (NKJV) tells us that, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” One of the Lord’s commands?
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.”—I Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NKJV)
Nonbelievers do not know God. So they act like it. One of these actions is to partake in lust. But do you see how the Word says that when we do, we take advantage of and defraud our brother? AND that the Lord is the avenger of such acts? To “avenge” means “to inflict a punishment or penalty in return for” an action; in this case, a choice that is not within his will.
That’s not to say the Lord cannot restore (Joel 2:25). Psalm 34:22 (NKJV) tells us, “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.” I know of several couples who had sex before marriage and are being restored. However, restoration is a process. To “restore” is “to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition”; to “reestablish”; “to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor”. Psalm 127:1 (NKJV) states, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” When I think of the FEW people in my world who WAITED until marriage to have sex with one another, this verse comes to mind: “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” (Proverbs 13:4-NKJV) You think it’s easy to desire someone, to perhaps even be engaged, but choose to wait to fulfill the Lord’s purpose for sex? IT. AIN’T. It takes lots of self-control…lots of hard work…lots of diligence. Yet, when one takes the “lazy way out”, by doing things Satan’s way rather than the Lord’s…indeed, they do “labor in vain”; they put energy into something that often ends up being “ineffectual” or “without real significance, value or importance”…because when you put the gift before the Giver (Romans 1), that’s always the end result.
When you see your errors, it takes time to correct them (Acts 1:7—Message). When you build your house upon “the sands of sin”, storms come and…sometimes you separate…or file for divorce. THE FOUNDATION WAS NOT SOLID OR STABLE. We are called to be founded on the rock (Matthew 7:24-29). The Lord and his teachings are the rock by which everything we do should be built. To build on the wrong foundation, and then not honor the Lord’s Word (again) enough to try and get out of covenant (Malachi 2:14)? Hmph. Bold, at best. Actually, bold, at least. You went into it wrong. A part of repenting is acknowledging that and letting HIM make it right; however HE deems fit.
“Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.”—Hebrews 13:4 (Message)
This Word tells us that we all, single and married alike, should honor marriage and guard its sacredness. It deserves our high respect…our public esteem…our courteous regard. When something is “sacred”, it is to be “secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right”. Sex is for marriage. It deserves all of this as well…especially from those who claim to be disciples of Christ.
In the past few days, I have seen three of my past sexual soul ties. One said to me, “You look taller.” (That would be called “obedience”, playa-LOL). Another, who I was so bound to, I loathed…for years, spoke to me and I spoke freely (“Hey, how are you?”…and meant it!-LOL). The final one? He came up to me and asked why I had not reached out to him in awhile. I simply said, “I don’t talk to anyone [intimately] who partook of the forbidden fruit.” To him, it didn’t make sense. TO HIM, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO. We’re not in covenant and to me, it shows that I am healing and taking my marriage preparation very seriously. Finally.
I pray for my friends who fornicated before marriage. I sincerely do because I love them. But my mother used to often say that “Discernment prevents experience from being your teacher.” I DON’T WANT THEIR TESTIMONY. I’ve had “thieves in my temple”. It has taken A LOT OF WORK to restore it. On my wedding night, I want to be able to present my body as “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God”. That is my reasonable (covenant) service (Romans 12:1). I don’t want to waste one day without the Holy Spirit dwelling within my temple, teaching me how to love, esteem and serve (gasp! YES, SERVE), my covenant partner. It’s only in acknowledging God, that we get direction, right (Proverbs 3:6)? Why do you think people who choose to be without him are called, “lost”.
And so, if you are a single person, I really hope you will make the choice to value your temple, soberly, starting now. If you are in a relationship where spiritual incest has occurred, again, marriage doesn’t fix that. REPENTANCE DOES and I don’t know any crack heads that go into rehab by hanging out with their dealers (I’ll leave that right there). As I often say, “What wives do for commitment’s sake, when girlfriends do it? That’s called ‘settling’.” Your “Jacob”, at the very least, needs to become “Israel”, first (Genesis 32:24-30). YOU CAN’T DO THAT. ONLY YAHWEH GO’EL, THE GOD WHO REDEEMS, CAN. Move out of the way. Get your own self healed (and your boyfriend can’t do that, either).
If you’re married, especially if it’s troubled, and you see your testimony in this message, all I’m really led to say lust is impatient; love is not (I Corinthians 13:4). Again, it’s a bold move to decide that you can sin against the Lord and be forgiven but someone who sinned against you should not (Luke 6:37). Divorce is an ultimate example of non-forgiveness. CHOOSE WISELY. Restoration takes time.
And to all of us, let us remember, daily, that we’re not just a shell. We are the place where the Holy Spirit dwells. WE ARE HOLY GROUND. Thieves take things of value. That’s what demons do, too.
Don’t let ‘em. You’re much too royal (I Peter 2:9) and Adonai’s plans are much too big (Ephesians 3:20) for that!
©Shellie R. Warren/2010