Money, Sex and Power (2)

“For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast”

Proverbs 5:21-22, NIV

This is the second of a series of Seeds of the Kingdom about the three most dangerous temptations, money, sex and power – temptations which remain a constant threat, even to believers, no matter how far they have run in their personal race of life. For Paul reminded believers (in 1 Corinthians 10:12), “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”

The book of Proverbs is full of amazing wisdom to help guide the believer along the road of life. But almost three whole chapters of Proverbs are devoted to the consequences of sexual sin. It must, therefore, be a very serious issue for God to think that warnings against adultery should have such prominence. And this isn’t the only place in the Bible where the warnings are so specific. In his letter to the Galatians (5:19-21) for example, Paul lists sexual immorality amongst the sins that people do which could disinherit them from the Kingdom of God. To the Ephesians he said (5:3) “among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” And of course Jesus himself said (Matthew 5:28) that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” He knew that lust of the eyes precedes the lustful fulfilment of a physical relationship.

So why is sexual sin so dangerous that it merits so many scriptural warnings, in addition to the seventh commandment not to commit adultery? The heart of the answer lies in our Scripture for today which comes at the end of Proverbs Chapter 5, which is headed in my Bible, Warning Against Adultery. And in 1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul warns believers to “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his own body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” In these two verses we have an important answer to the question and enormous wisdom which, if followed, can be truly life-saving.

When a man and a woman enter into marriage and, thereby, into a godly sexual relationship, they enter into a covenantal, God-ordained, union by which the man and the woman become one with and part of each other. A similar, but ungodly, union also takes place when a sexual relationship takes place outside of marriage. But this time, instead of it being a union which is blessed by God, it is sinful bondage. For, as our Scripture says, the cords of such sin hold a man fast. He is now joined with someone in a union which God did not intend and which He cannot bless. Not only, therefore, is the sin against God, it is, as Paul said, a sin against your own body, because you have now joined your body, indeed your whole being, to someone else who now has spiritual access to and, even, influence over who you are – a privilege that God had reserved for a husband-wife relationship.

Every time a person enters into an ungodly sexual relationship, they lose something of their own identity to that sexual partner, and gain something of the identity of the person they have slept with. No wonder Proverbs describes sexual sin as cords which hold us fast. And in Proverbs 6:32 it says “A man who commits adultery lacks judgement, whoever does so destroys himself.” The pleasure may be for a moment but it is like pressing a self-destruct button to our own identity.

Praise God that there is a way out of the mess. In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul lists many of the sexual sins people can commit, but in verse 11 he states the unequivocal good news that, “That is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” He was simply stating the wonderful Gospel truth that where there is true repentance there can be forgiveness and healing.

Prayer. Thank You, Lord, that Your Word warns us of the dangers of sexual sin. I ask You, Lord, to forgive me and cleanse me from every bit of sexual uncleanness in my life. And where there have been wrong relationships, I ask you to break the cords of bondage, so that I might be free to serve you, unimpeded by the consequences of my sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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