“Blessed Are the Pure in Heart”: (A Lesson For Men on how moral purity and Christian marriage complement each other.)
The first change Adam and Eve noticed after their eyes were opened was they knew they were naked. With this knowledge came a deep sense of shame and the realization they needed to be clothed. Fear of God and blaming each other came later. Negative emotions come rushing upon those who give themselves to sins of any kind, but especially sexual sins. Adam and Eve’s fig leaf aprons (likely more modest than modern swim wear) were still nakedness, as both God and Adam acknowledged. God went forward to resolve the problem by providing “coats of skins.” Humanity still needs clothing that covers the limbs, disguises the form and is not transparent.
Proper clothing set Adam and Eve free to be relaxed in each other’s presence. Obviously, even though they were husband and wife, being in the presence of other people requires this propriety for a comfortable living arrangement.
There is an inbuilt tension in male/female relationships. Each senses an attraction for each other, a lack of fulfillment apart. God intended it to be this way, the Fall only made it very complicated.
Our Creator also designed fulfillment is found when spouses find exclusivity in their relationship with each other. First, the individuals are to leave father and mother, who had been their security. Next they are to exclude all others from the intimacy of their lives.
Satan knows our vulnerability to sexual temptation. When we had no mate, he whispered all our fantasies would be met in marriage. After marriage he whispers that fulfillment will be found with some partner outside of marriage. If we give attention to this deception, we will begin to build a fantasy that can only lead to death. The possibilities are endless. The mindset of our day is that as long as there is mutual consent and willingness, there are no boundaries. God’s standard has not changed. Adulterers and whoremongers, God will judge.
“Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
Our hearts cannot be divided. If we are looking for sensual gratification, we cannot see eternal realities. If we are looking for eternal realities, we must turn a blind eye toward sensual lusts.
Jesus knows and understands us from two perspectives. The first is as our Creator. He knows how he put us together. The second is because He Himself was a man and related to the male/female tension.
His direction is very simple. We cannot see the kingdom of God if we are looking at some earthly gratification. This is true for riches, politics or pleasures as well as lust. But it especially includes lust. Jesus forbids looking upon a woman to lust after her because when we start looking for tantalizing fantasies, we will surely stop looking for Kingdom possibilities.
It is a simple truth that when we stop seeing God we stop serving Him. We may go through the motions a long time, even as a blind man may function well because he has memorized familiar territory. Eventually light exposes sin. Those who look for pleasure in wrong places will be exposed.
There is a slippery slope between lustful looking, sinful fantasizing and moral sin. The way to stop is to refuse to start.
The father in Proverbs instructed the young man not to listen to, look upon, or be captured by the beauty of a strange woman. (Proverbs 6:23-35) Even as alcohol brings an intoxicant that releases inhibitions, lust brings a rising tide of infatuation that sweeps the participant over the edge into sin.
If a person chooses to indulge in temptations, he will eventually go too far. A person who reads material from the world’s bookshelves or listens to their books will find his convictions compromised. If he chooses to listen to the haunting love songs depicting the road of fornication or adultery, he will find himself sliding in that direction. Other areas to be mentioned are the dangers of pornography, the flaunting of celebrities and the world of movies. These temptations will carry those who indulge to sin and death.
Another area is becoming involved in romantic attachments to attractive persons. Perhaps the work world brings him face to face repeatedly with that ungodly woman. At first the guards are up. But then a personality emerges. Or maybe it’s a lady in your parish. She is vulnerable, having either an unworthy husband or perhaps no husband. Feeling a Christian duty to treat the person with respect, on some level a private communication is established. On the surface all appears right. But Holy Spirit alarm bells are sounding in the conscience.
It is humiliating to confess one’s sins, exposing how one has been indulging or feeding lustful thoughts. It is easier to hint at weakness and hope that is enough to set one free.
We must understand that the chemicals released in the brain when fear is mixed with sexual awareness creates a high, not unlike a drug induced high. When that wears down, the body craves it again. When men are young there is a natural build up of appetite driven passion. Couple that with the addiction of sexual gratification and many young people find themselves facing a beast, their own nature, they do not know how to control. For older persons, the physical pressure subsides, but the craving for lust which was nurtured over a lifetime rages on. On a deeper level, demonic spirits are involved. Satan brings bondage a man cannot break on his own.
The only answer is repentance, confession and complete change.
God intends that in married life spouses bring physical gratification and fulfillment to each other. Any interruption of this mutual benevolence must be temporary and only for spiritual purposes.
The marriage bed cannot replace immoral sexual fantasies. People who fed fantasies find they rage on in the secret chambers of the mind even though there may be physical satisfaction found in marriage. Marriage was never intended to wash the heart and mind in the way only the Spirit can.
Marriage is designed to bring physical release and emotional fulfillment to both man and woman. The husband is to regard his body as belonging to his wife. His body is to serve in a way that pleasures and fulfills her. In a similar manner the wife gives herself to her husband. The secrets of the marriage bed are displayed by the quiet rest that shines from the countenance of fulfilled partners. God wishes the couple to learn from each other what it is that can bring them to this level of relationship. The sanctity of marriage dare not be compromised by telling others about it. What happens between a husband and wife must stay there. God’s Word and nature establish some boundaries, but beyond that, couples should work out their pleasure between themselves.
God has created man with a controllable sex drive. Man will find it impossible to control these desires by feeding them Gentile concupiscence.
The Christian is to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor. One application of this is possessing one’s own body. For the single and married this is true. God has created us with the ability to bring it under subjection. If we give ourselves permission to sin in our minds or in our bodies, even in minor ways of self stimulation or gratification, we are not contributing to our long-term control. Another application applies to the married. “His vessel” may apply to his spouse. There is a need to relate to each other with honor and respect.
The Gentile draws moral lines out there somewhere and feels satisfied as long as he does not cross those lines. He may indulge in masturbation as a means to keep him from adultery. He may commit adultery but not incest. Prisoners will mete out justice on someone guilty of child molestation even though they themselves practice homosexuality. The Gentile possesses his vessel by appeasing sexual desires which eventually will bring God’s wrath.
The consequences of illicit relations are moral, physical, emotional and spiritual.
Words can hardly convey the overwhelming devastation and consequences of moral failure. Whether it is a single person outside a home, or failures of a spouse, or sin between children in a home, the road back to normal after sin almost defies description.
The person who has chosen to step outside moral boundaries commits a sin unto death. The Holy Spirit leaves him, and his conscience is seared. He loses the moral compass he needs to find his way home. He almost always feels he is treated unfairly by those who need to be just with his case. Church leaders dread to be involved in these cases, for they know they will almost always be blamed for being unfeeling or unfair in their judgments. Frequently offenders leave the church with bitterness, while if the judgment was brought on someone else they would have been in agreement.
The immoral person sins against his own body. Physically there are many possibilities ranging from a child born out of wedlock to venereal diseases. Passions are ignited that are almost impossible to live with. Being joined to an harlot brings strongholds for demonic inroads. The emotions are devastated and unreliable.
Then there is the whole world of social devastation. When a person chooses to compromise integrity, trust is lost. Even though loved ones want to forgive, they will find it extremely difficult to rebuild trust. The penitent will need to endure suspicions long after he feels he has done his part.
For the sake of room, some other truths taught in scripturess will only be given here in summary form. They are:
- Our bodies do not belong to us. We have no right to treat them in a way displeasing to God. They are His property, not ours.
- It is sinful to feed any lust that cannot be righteously satisfied.
- God will adequately punish all who wrongly take that which they cannot restore.
God created great potential for satisfaction and bonding. When Satan deceives us into the path of darkness, the same potential can be used for bondage, misery and eternal punishment. Let us use the Light of God’s Word and the fulfillment of following His plan to keep us in the blessing of moral purity.