God’s Warning for Your Bedroom
Nothing scares me more than someone giving a wedding toast. The vows have been exchanged, that special kiss completed, and now, the bride and groom invite everyone over to their house for a party. Ok, not necessarily their house, but a hall where tables are ready, and the party over the nuptials continues into the late hours of the night.
The Unique Responsibility of Giving a Wedding Toast
Then, after dinner, someone had the idea to give a person, who was drinking alcohol, a microphone to declare positive words over the newly married couple. It’s a blessing of sorts, and we call it, the wedding toast. When it was my turn to give a wedding toast at my niece’s wedding reception, I was feeling like what I was going to say wouldn’t be understood.
The Christian Perspective on Marriage
True, it was a Christian wedding, so the champagne was limited, and the audience claimed to be Christian, so what I had simmering in my heart was from the Bible. Now, the attention was on me, the special uncle who was like a second father to her. Yet, I was no longer just addressing her; now, I was addressing “them.” A man and a woman and their Savior.
Wisdom from the Bible
I started my toast, “The Bible says, to keep the marriage bed undefiled. So, other people tell you it’s okay to let your kids climb in bed with you (they didn’t have kids), but I want to caution you to make that marriage bed a place for only you and him. Also, don’t bring in anything else into that bed, not the world, or the thoughts that this world thinks, let it be a place for only you and him.”
Unpacking Hebrews 13
I think that’s what I said; I was nervous because I wanted to communicate wisdom, but the pressure to be wise was causing me to stumble. Let’s look at Hebrews 13, where this quote came from. The writer, believed to be Paul, is nearing the end of his long letter and now, he gives a quick summary:
“Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:1-4 (NASB1995)
The Marriage Bed
Love one another, be hospitable, remember the imprisoners and abused, then think about marriage and sex. It’s strange to see marriage appear in line with prisoners, but in its context, Paul is making a strong statement. That place where a man and woman come together, naked and unashamed, is an important and valuable place. It’s so important that he adds, “for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
Keeping the Sacred Space
It is the only time in this chapter that Paul turns up the volume, by adding “for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Why is it so important to keep the marriage bed from getting dirty with fornication or adultery? In my toast, I wanted to emphasize the bed as a separate space that only a husband and wife should occupy.
The Struggle in Today’s Society
I know that the audience grumbled when I said not to let your kids on your bed because it was a social image that many people felt they wanted: The door swings open, and kid one and kid two bounce on the bed, waking up mommy and daddy, who groggily laugh at the whimsical smiles of their offspring. Yes, it’s entirely a scene from a movie and rarely real life.
The World’s Thoughts About Sex
Yet, what I was saying was to create that space but don’t just keep the kids out of that space, but work to keep the world’s thoughts about sex out as well. I don’t mean to not talk about work or friends or families or sex, but to keep out the world’s thoughts about sex. Yes, the marriage bed is about sex and not breakfast and cute kiddies.
God’s Presence in the Marriage Bed
Paul makes it clear when he says what to keep out of it. Sexual thoughts involving other people are warned against. This is a very difficult feat in our oversexualized society with quick and immediate access to a broad range of pornographic imagery. Paul takes a moment to inject, “God will judge fornicators and adulterers.” If I was the first-century Jew, living in fear of the Romans and the religious Jews, I would wonder why he went from entertaining angels to call me or someone in our church a fornicator.
Recognizing the Spiritual Connection
What Paul was emphasizing when he made that connection between the sacred space called the marriage bed and sex is that God is present and there is a seriousness that many people don’t take seriously. Admittedly it was years before I understood that a Christian marriage is between a man and a woman and God.
Repentance and Commitment
Even longer, it took me to know that through sexual sin, I am bringing God in as a participant in that sin (1 Corinthians 6:16). True, it’s not literal, but a spiritual connection that God says doesn’t want us to tolerate. So Hebrews reminds us, saying, “keep that space sacred and between us three. Work hard to keep out thoughts that will set unhealthy expectations and actions, keeping in mind that God will judge you.”
Now that we’ve explored the biblical wisdom regarding the sacredness of the marriage bed, here are 4 important things you can do to honor your marriage bed:
- Guard the Sanctity of Your Marriage Bed: The marriage bed is a sacred space meant exclusively for the husband and wife. Protect it from external influences, keeping it free from worldly thoughts and actions.
“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19, ESV)
- Revere the Institution of Marriage: Honor and hold marriage in high esteem. Recognize its significance and commit to upholding its values, understanding that it deserves a place of distinction among all relationships.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 ESV)
- Acknowledge God’s Presence in Your Marriage: Understand that a Christian marriage involves not just the couple but also God. Recognize the spiritual connection established through the union and strive to align your actions with God’s expectations.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV)
- Actively Work to Maintain Purity: Actively work to keep out thoughts that could compromise the purity of your marriage bed. Recognize the gravity of the situation and commit to maintaining a space that is sacred and pleasing to God.
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18, ESV)
The essence of my wedding toast was a call to protect the sacred space of the marriage bed, acknowledging God’s presence and the seriousness of maintaining its purity. It serves as a reminder to actively work towards keeping out thoughts that could set unhealthy expectations and actions, always mindful that God will judge those who defile this sacred bond.