TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Intermediate Edition

II. Riches and Sex

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Chapter 38  Part II

Riches and Sex

Riches and sex are both good in themselves; in fact they are blessings from God. However they both are easily and often misused, bringing ill effects for both ourselves and others. Indeed, few things have the capacity of riches or sex for both good and harm. So it should be no surprise that they feature so prominently in the Bible’s teaching on our relationships with others and moreover our relationship with God.

Riches and Godliness

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Riches are a barrier to a relationship with God

Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … 24“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.   Matthew 6:19-21, 24  NET

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!   Mark 10:23  NET

Riches even draw one away from God

But people who want to get rich keep toppling into temptation and are trapped by many stupid and harmful desires that plunge them into destruction and ruin. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, in their eagerness to get rich, have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with much pain.   1 Timothy 6:9-10  ISV

So, do not love money and be content with what you have

Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, “I will never leave you or abandon you.”   Hebrews 13:5  ISV

Further Warnings about Riches

Riches are not secure

[Paul, instructing Timothy what to teach believers:] Tell those who have the riches of this world not to be arrogant and not to place their confidence in anything as uncertain as riches. Instead, they should place their confidence in God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.   1 Timothy 6:17  GW

Life does not last and the dead cannot take their riches with them

Surely one sees that even wise people die; fools and spiritually insensitive people all pass away and leave their wealth to others.   Psalms 49:10  NET

For we did not bring anything into the world, and surely we cannot take anything out of it.   1 Timothy 6:7  ISV

Hoarding riches will bring ill consequences in the afterlife

[Jesus:] But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your comfort already. 25“Woe to you who are well satisfied with food now, for you will be hungry.   Luke 6:24-25a  NET

Sexual Sin

Avoid sexual sin

[Paul, to believers:] But among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints.   Ephesians 5:3  NET

The experts in the law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of them 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery.7When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight and replied, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground. 9Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones, until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus stood up straight and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”   John 8:3-4, 7-11  NET

Sexual sin has ill consequences

Keep on running away from sexual immorality. Any other sin that a person commits is outside his body, but the person who sins sexually sins against his own body.   1 Corinthians 6:18  ISV

In contrast to other sins, sexual sin involves the misuse and mistreatment of one’s own body. Moreover, Paul seems to imply that sexual sin adversely affects the body or one’s being in a deeper way than any other sin (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT).

Sexual sin ultimately results in God’s judgment

Marriage must be honored among all and the marriage bed kept undefiled, for God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers.   Hebrews 13:4  NET

Prohibited Forms of Sex

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Lust

[Jesus:] You have heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you, anyone who stares at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.   Matthew 5:27-28  ISV

Gazing longingly at a woman with sexual desire, is committing adultery in one’s heart and in a spiritual sense.

Sex apart from marriage

[Moses, speaking of any woman who had had premarital sex:] She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by having sexual relations before she was married. You must get rid of the evil among you.   Deuteronomy 22:21b  NCV™

Prostitution

[Paul, to believers:] Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute!   1 Corinthians 6:15  NCV™

Homosexual acts

[Paul, speaking of ungodly people:] For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 27and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.   Romans 1:26-27  NET

This teaches that homosexual relations are unnatural. In v. 27, the phrase “received in themselves the due penalty” implies that the committing of such acts carries its own natural consequences.

Epilogue: Be Wary

Be alert and sober

So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober.   1 Thessalonians 5:6  NET

Examine and evaluate yourself

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!   Lamentations 3:40  ESV

Keep a clear conscience

Paul looked straight at the Council and said, “Brothers, with a clear conscience I have done my duty before God up to this very day.”   Acts 23:1  ISV

Pray for persecuted Christians