Beware of Sexual Immorality (Hebrews 12:16-17)

Written by Juli Camarin on .

Hebrews 12 16-17See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears” ( Hebrews 12:16-17 )

Did you know that faith in Jesus brings you into an elite group of royal priests ( I Peter 2:5 ). Jesus bestows His righteousness to you the moment you believe ( Romans 3:21-22, II Corinthians 5:21 ). The result is that God looks at you in the same way, with the same love as He looks at His Son Jesus ( John 17:22-23, I John 4:17 ). This is incredible! Not only are we redeemed and saved from wrath and judgment but we are given the rights of sons and daughters of the Most High God ( Romans 8:15 ) and entitled to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade ( Romans 8:17, I Peter 1:4 ).

This change happens at the moment we believe and it makes us entirely different than we once were, ( II Corinthians 5:17 ). We no longer belong to the rank of sinners; instead we belong to God as a holy and righteous people. Therefore, it is important for us to act as who we are, not what we were.

Previously, the writer of Hebrews instructed us to be holy by pursuing holiness and acting on the Word of God which gives instruction ( Hebrews 12:14 ). Now, the charge in this verse is geared specifically toward our sexual nature. As believers we are to abstain from sexual sin, because it is God’s will that we are holy ( I Thessalonians 4:3, I Peter 1:16 ).

Paul wrote specifically about this, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” ( I Corinthians 6:18-20 ). The reason the sin is committed against your own body is in the previous verse, “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” ( I Corinthians 6:17 ).

To help us understand this, the writer uses the example of Esau, who by tradition, rightfully owned the birthright as the oldest son,. In his lust for the physical, Esau traded this incredible blessing for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:29-34). The Bible calls him godless and sacrilegious because of this ( Hebrews 12:16-17 ). He despised and disdained the family blessing for that which was temporary and afterwards, Isaac honored this transaction and Jacob received the blessing as rightful heir, regardless of the tears and protest of Esau ( Genesis 27:27-29, Hebrews 11:20 ).

In the same way, we are not to trade a holy relationship, defile the marriage covenant for temporary gratification of the body. God has given sex as a special thing between a husband and wife. He has given it to us, to bless us and uses the marriage relationship to illustrate His covenant with us ( Ephesians 5:25-32 ). Which is why, as believers we are to protect this from defilement and honor it our entire lives. God desires so much more for us that what is temporary; “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” ( II Corinthians 4:18 ).