Caring for one another has been part of the writer’s focus on and off throughout his letter to the Hebrews. In Hebrews 12:15, we are charged with looking out for one another. Picking up on his exhortation, he adds Hebrews 12:16 saying that we are to “see to it…that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.” There should be accountability in the church regarding our sexual conduct. There is nothing wrong with sex! It’s God’s creation as He made us male and female. It’s just that the society and the church should restrict those urges and restrain them within the bounds of matrimony. The word for “sexually immoral” is the Greek word “pornos” from which we get pornography, but it literally means “fornication.” In general, it refers to sexual behavior outside of marriage. The writer says more about that in Hebrews 13:4. He writes, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

Marriage is a divine institution, created by God for the good of male and female as well as society as a whole. The marriage bed is defiled by promiscuous activity on the part of either party as well as redefining its meaning. This is a very unpopular view today in our culture but it’s hard to deny the biblical teaching on this issue. Brooks says it pretty well. He says that this verse “…carries with it the unchanging truth that marriage only has been, only can be, and only ever will be between one man and one woman. The thought of marriage being ‘redefined’, when it is God who gave it and defined it from the beginning, is blasphemous, and those who propose such a thing set themselves up directly against God, and will have to answer for it at the judgment. Husbands cannot have husbands, and wives cannot have wives. A husband has a wife and a wife has a husband. The truth stands: ‘male and female he [the sovereign God] created them’ (Genesis 1:27).”[1]

There is one other issue associated with marriage. It very well may have been that celibacy had already found its way into the church and it was viewed mistakenly by some as being the “superior” life choice over marriage. This verse may have been written to contradict that idea. It also contradicts that idea today as well.  In some circles the celibate life is celebrated and rewarded as being better than married life. The author of Hebrews says that marriage should be held in honor “by all.” It was God’s designed plan that fulfills his purpose in creating them “male and female.” Sex within the God ordained institute of marriage is pure (undefiled). One man and one woman is good for the society as well. It is the smallest cell from which comes the creation of other human beings and provides the stability in society as a whole.

[1] Richard Brooks, The Name High over All: A Commentary on Hebrews, Welwyn Commentary Series (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP, 2016), 431.