In January 2022, the Canadian government enacted Bill C-4, effectively criminalizing Christian preaching, teaching, and counseling that upholds Biblical morality for all sexuality. It specifically prohibits “conversion therapy” and defines that therapy as any practice, treatment, or service that seeks to call individuals to embrace the body God created them with and covenant marriage, with a penalty of up to five years in prison. It also condemns historic, biblical teaching on sexuality as “myths.”
A number of faithful men have called for the pastors of Canada to preach messages annually in direct defiance of that law. We, along with many American pastors, are joining them to stand in solidarity with them. With the recent passage of the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act,” American churches have even more reason to stand with our faithful Canadian brothers and to exhort and warn our own American leaders from going down this same path.
Here in this text, we are given an example of a faithful father teaching and warning his children, and his son in particular, to spot the deadly allures of sexual confusion and sin, and to pursue and rejoice in one woman in the fear of God.
“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: that thou mayest regard discretion and that thy lips may keep knowledge…” (Prov. 5:1-23).
SUMMARY OF THE TEXT
Solomon warns his son to listen to his father closely in order to stay far away from the seductive lips of the strange woman whose feet go down to Hell (Prov. 5:1-8). That path is paved with regret, sadness, sickness, and poverty (Prov. 5:9-14). Instead, the son is instructed to love the life God has given him and rejoice in the wife of his youth (Prov. 5:15-20). God sees all things, and He has fashioned the world such that a man hangs himself with his own sins and folly (Prov. 5:21-23).
There is no neutrality anywhere; every square inch of the universe is claimed by Christ. And therefore, every human moment is either submitted to that Lordship or else it is defying that Lordship. This means that children are growing up either being taught that Christ is Lord of everything, or not. This is why God required Israel to teach their children that the Lord is One God and to love Him with singular devotion all day long and everywhere (Dt. 6:4-9). This is what the New Testament calls “the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This nurture and admonition includes everything the Bible says about human sexuality. This means that whatever any human authority says, we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). This applies to all men, but it applies particularly to our children.
LIFE OR DEATH
The basic choice before us and our children is: life or death? The path of all sexual confusion and immorality leads to death; sexual obedience is the path of life (Prov. 5:5-6). This same choice is between, on the one hand: productivity, fruitfulness, and joy, and on the other hand: futility, barrenness, and sorrow (Prov. 5:10-14). Sexual obedience begins by submitting with gratitude to the biology God has given, as well as rejoicing in the respective assignments and glories that come with your body. And from the earliest ages, honoring those differences with all modesty and purity and joy. This requires joyfully teaching boundaries and enforcing them. This should be done in faith (not fear), trusting that what you’re actually insisting on is the natural goodness of the created order, like teaching them to walk or talk or sing. This should include lots of healthy physical affection, compliments, and good humor. The central “well of life” in a family is the affection, respect, and loyalty between a man and his wife (Prov. 5:15-19). Whatever you are saying, you are either confirming or contradicting by your marriage. The strongest protection from the Devil and all predators and lies is the unity of husband and wife (1 Cor. 7:5, Eph. 4:26-27).
Run from all temptation: Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:12). Jesus says to cut off the hand that causes you to sin, pluck out the eye (Mt. 5:29). It’s striking that He says this again, specifically when He warns against causing little ones to stumble (Mt. 18:6-10). Run from sexual temptation, but also run from all bitterness, wrath, and strife in your home that may cause your children to stumble.
Repent of all your sins: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God… For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God… Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry… put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col. 3:1-10).
Sin deforms the image of God; repentance in Christ reforms and restores the image of God. But Christian repentance is impossible apart from regeneration. You cannot “mortify therefore” unless you have been raised with Christ. But if you have risen with Christ, then you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God, and repentance is simply agreeing that all of your sin really is dead. And if it is dead, then you are clean and free. Full repentance includes confession to God, people sinned against, and new obedience.
Clean hearts see more clearly than dirty hearts. Sin-laden hearts have eyes with logs in them, and you can’t see dangers clearly and know how to avoid them, whether for yourself or your children (Mt. 7:3-5). There are several biblical principles for wise and faithful parenting (e.g. faith, joy, obedience, fellowship), but parenting is a lot more like cooking than a math problem. There is a general recipe to follow, but depending on a number of details, your taste must be well trained to know what is needed next. And that is only possible with clean hearts.