Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4
the exact occasion of this writing is unknown. some think it was written in opposition to the prevailing idea in the culture that marriage was not that big of a deal…that celibacy was actually a far better state of existence.
although celibacy is an honorable state as well (more on that in weeks to come), this passage is totally and completely clear: honor marriage. it is good. it is the plan that god designed for a man and woman to live out romantic love and commitment.
there is no other. there is no better.
what does it mean to keep the marriage bed pure? the actual word for pure is undefiled. it means to keep something free from that which would deform or corrupt its original nature or intent…or impair its intended purpose. (sheesh…that’s a mouthful. are you impressed?)
the author follows that command by saying that two groups of people are guilty of defiling the marriage bed…the adulterer and the sexually immoral. so without getting all theological, i think this simply means that whenever sex is happening in any way other than honorable marriage between a husband and wife (sex before marriage…sex outside of marriage…sex with anybody or anything other than your husband or your wife), it is dishonorable and not what god has intended. period.
when the marriage bed is defiled, the marriage is deformed. the union is changed from its original intent. what was designed to be honorable and blessed by god is put in a precarious position of being impaired and subject to judgment. in other words, it is never going to work right.
that’s why adultery damages so deeply. that’s why sex before marriage (even by two unmarried people who love each other deeply) will never have the capacity to fulfill us and bring health and wholeness to our souls the way marriage can.
so take care of the marriage bed, for crying out loud!