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Question #198

Can you explain Hebrews 13:4?

Please Explain Heb 13:4 What does it mean when the writer says "Marriage is honorable in all." Is this referring to Marriage for Christians only or would this be to all men and women (Universal) who are eligible for marriage?

The Answer:

In Hebrews 13 the author begins to conclude the letter with some general exhortations and instructions. He addresses marriage as a matter of practical importance. The society of his day demanded instruction upon marriage. Even among the Jews, at least among those who followed the teaching of Hillel, there was little regard for marriage as God had instituted it and as Christ had taught. Among the pagans immorality was widespread. Unfortunately, the society in which we now live has adopted the same lax attitude toward the sanctity of marriage. No-fault divorce is rampant. Single parent homes are far too common and the children are suffering for it.

The Hebrew writer recognizes the need for clear and specific instruction regarding society’s attitude toward marriage – it must be held in honor among all and the marriage bed must be undefiled, i.e., there must be no fornication or adultery. While many reasons could have been advanced for maintaining the sanctity of marriage, the writer goes straight to the heart of the matter – those who fail to honor marriage and maintain marital purity will come under the judgment of God.

The contemporary world has other standards, but God will judge the immoral and adulterous. While such sanctions may carry weight only among those who recognize God’s sovereignty over them, rest assured that the day is coming when that sovereignty will be recognized by all. Sadly, that day and its concomitant recognition of God’s sovereignty will come too late for salvation. Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation. Judgment Day will be a day of another sort.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)