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 Book of Hebrews is essentially a thirteen-chapter letter—written to challenge a group of First-Century Jewish believers to stay the course with Jesus, as opposed to forsaking Him and returning to Judaism. But for a 21st-Century Gentile believer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of saying, “This letter isn’t about me, because I’ve never been Jewish—it would be rather silly to think that I would ever be tempted to go back to something I never was in the first place.”
But returning to a former religion isn’t the only way we can fall out of line with Jesus. Other things that can frame a willful abandonment of Jesus, regardless of your ethnicity. Jesus gave us the “Keys to the Kingdom” but, in his closing remarks, the writer of Hebrews gives us the “Keeps to the Kingdom,” seven ways to keep focused in your walk with Jesus. Here’s the third.
3. Keep your promise to your spouse.
To “judge” adultery does not mean that an adulterer cannot be forgiven. You can have a sexual affair and be forgiven—but that’s not the point. Restoring a broken marriage can actually be a huge step beyond that forgiveness, and that may even be possible—but that's still not the point. The writer’s point is that you can't have a sexual affair and escape unscathed.
Paul told the Corinthians that any sin can be forgiven, but “not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) The word translated beneficial actually means profitable. Evidently, every relationship has a profit and loss statement—that is, all relationships produce both joy and drama at the same time. Paul is saying that, in an immoral relationship, the loss is so significant that it wipes out whatever profit was intended—there is simply no net profit in sexual immorality. Whatever it costs to remain faithful to your spouse, immorality is always more expensive. There are a lot of things on your “I can’t afford this” list, (probably) including a mansion overlooking Dana Point Harbor and a Bentley in your garage. But Paul says we should all add another thing to that list—an adulterous affair. By the way, have you ever asked yourself why the words “adultery” and “fool” go together so often in the Book of Proverbs?
I happen to believe that marriage is the best platform from which we can demonstrate grace to the world. The reason for that is simple—even if your marriage is healthy, your spouse is going to need a lot of grace! You can hide your need for grace most anywhere else, at least for a while—but you can’t hide it at home. And grace is something that people sense—they can feel it in a conversation and even sense it as it wafts though a house. And the nuke that threatens a grace-filled environment more than any other is adultery—Jesus said it would be that way, the Apostle Paul said it would be that way and, looking back over thirty years of stories of testimonies from too many members of the HDC family, all I can say is it is that way.
You might mean it when you say, “I would never abandon Jesus!” But when you abandon your spouse, you already have.