4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

A Pew Research study from 2017 reported that the number of individuals cohabiting outside of marriage had risen to 18 million in 2016. This was a 29% growth since 2007, when the number was reported at 14 million. These numbers also coincided with a drop in marriage rates. The Pew report showed that not only had these numbers grown overall, but also the number of adults over 50 had grown by 75% since the 2007 report.

These reports give evidence that for many individuals, marriage does not hold as much value as it once did in American society. In Hebrews 13, the writer wrote to readers in a very different context than ours, but seemingly a similar approach to marriage.

The writer of Hebrews exhorted his readers to hold marriage in honor. The reason for this exhortation is founded on the truths we have studied previously this week. Christ followers are to honor marriage because it was given by God and is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church. To disregard marriage as an ancient institution or merely an invention of people is to dishonor God Himself.

One way that God’s people are to honor marriage is to exhibit purity in their marriage relationships. It’s a countercultural witness for Christ when His people are faithful spouses who value marriage. Marriage is a seemingly ordinary means by which God’s people can bring Him much glory.

• How have you intentionally or unintentionally not held marriage in honor?

• How does faithful purity in marriage show the world a picture of the gospel?

• Pray that our church would hold marriage in honor and seek to live in purity as those following Christ.

[1] Renee Stepler. "Number of Cohabiting Americans Rises, Especially among Those 50." Pew Research Center. April 06, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2019. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/06/number-of-u-s-adults-cohabiting-with-a-partner-continues-to-rise-especially-among-those-50-and-older/.