In Hebrews 13:4-6, Paul writes about how the church should live and grow so that it can be a pleasing sacrifice to God. It is crucial for Christians to live out God’s word in the midst of this broken world. Christ’s teachings to His disciples were not only for them to listen to, but for them to act upon it as written in James 4. For the church to grow, it is important that it does not only share the gospel to unbelievers but for it to also pursue holiness within its own congregation. Here, Paul warned his readers to keep watch of two particular sins that can destroy the church – that is, the sins of sexual immorality and the love of money.
The gift of sex that God gives to man should be treated with honour which means that it must be kept pure before God. Sexual immorality is when sex has been done with sinful intent, disobeying God’s intention for its commitment inside the boundary and security of marriage. Marriage is not merely a license or permission to have sex, but more importantly, it is to walk in a lifelong commitment with the one you truly love.
When this type of relationship is found within the security of marriage, it is consistent to God’s teachings and thus will protect us from the temptation of sexual immorality. However, when there is somebody within the church who falls into sexual immorality, this sin will often lead on to the sin of hypocrisy. The church is called by the Holy God to be vigilant disciples – to seek righteousness and to not take this sin lightly.
Besides pursuing sexual purity, Paul also reminded his readers about the love of money and how it is fueled by a sense of discontentment. Discontentment stems from the desire of wanting more than what God has already given to us. It will not go away even when we try to compare ourselves with others who are less fortunate. So as a response, we should instead remember that the ultimate “possession” we have can only be found in Christ who died on the cross for us. Christ’s redemptive work should be more valuable than any other thing in this life that God has given to us. Even though it is not necessarily wrong to desire material goods in our lives, we must keep watch to not idolize nor place our identity in the things of this world. Having the love of Christ in our hearts should be enough for us so that we can truly say as in verse 6, that “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Let us be comforted that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ shown to us on the cross (Rom 8:35-39) and hold fast to the gospel, for without it we will always be burdened with the desire for more. So with this truth in our hearts, let us learn to entrust our lives into God’s loving hands – for we know that he will sustain us and that he will ultimately bring glory to His name.