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Sex - Treasure or Trouble

Vince Gill sang these words in his beautiful but haunting song "A Pocket Full of Gold" several years ago — "For another man's treasure you'll say anything, but is one night of pleasure worth the trouble you'll bring?" Gill was singing the same song sung by Solomon 3,000 years ago in Proverbs 5:3-5 concerning sexual immorality — "For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, Her steps lay hold of hell." Gill's song and Solomon's proverb both remind us that what begins as a few moments of pleasure can bring a lifetime of pain into human hearts and homes and lives. The Bible has a balanced if blunt message about sex, and it is effectively summarized in 16 words in Hebrews 13:4 (New King James Version)— "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Sex can be a treasure, or it can cause terrible trouble. The Bible's clear message is that there is nothing dirty or unclean about sex when engaged in between a legitimately and scripturally married husband and wife. God says in no uncertain terms it is "honorable" (the Greek word means valuable and precious), and that the marriage bed is "undefiled" (meaning pure). Solomon, in the same chapter mentioned above, urges his son to treasure and celebrate the pleasures of physical love, but to do so strictly inside the boundaries of wedlock. With poetic words he says, "Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love" (vs 15-19). The New Revised Standard Version renders this last phrase "be intoxicated always by her love." The Bible describes and celebrates husband/wife love as a great treasure, including the physical aspects of married love.

As a culture we seem oblivious to the trouble sex brings when we ignore God's way. We insist what we do sexually is nobody's business but our own. We call it "sexual freedom," but the truth is we are sowing adultery and fornication and in the process we are reaping truckloads of trouble for ourselves and others. That trouble includes sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, unwanted babies, abortions, emotional turmoil, divorce, broken homes and hearts, loss of purity and innocence and a clear conscience, wounded children, a sky-rocketing unwed birth rate (including millions of teen moms), and, of course, billions of tax dollars spent on services to help deal with the problems created by so-called "free love." Social science, Scripture, and human experience speak with one voice – sexual love and expression within marriage is a treasure. It pleases God and provides positive benefits for humans without causing a burden on society, let alone the soul. But sex is a fruit God still forbids outside of marriage.

Those who reject God's will and eat this fruit may find a temporary treasure, but they also find themselves in trouble. Even if there is no disease or unwanted pregnancy or guilty conscience, etc., the Bible still warns, "fornicators and adulterers God will judge." The choice is ours – will sex be a treasure or trouble?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ