Nothing wrecks a believer’s life faster than sexual immorality. The author of Hebrews knew that, and he gave this warning to his readers:
And make sure that there isn’t any sexually immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal. For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, even though he sought it with tears, because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance.
There are portions of our lives where there are no take-backs. We can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Sexual purity is one of them. The author equates sexual immorality with godlessness (i.e. – acting like there is no God). Both of these behaviors are selfish; they can completely wreck a believer’s life and witness. By using Esau as an example, the original recipients of this letter would have recognized the seriousness of our choices in these areas.
As a first-born, Esau was automatically entitled to a double portion of his parents’ estate and guaranteed that he would inherit the role of patriarch in the family’s lineage and decision making. However, Esau thought so little of this inheritance that he was willing to trade all the future rights and privileges of a firstborn son…to fill his immediate, temporal appetite. Sexual temptation is also like that. The immediate appetite is satisfied…but the actions cannot be undone, our life’s course is altered, and the inheritance is lost…no matter how many tears we shed.
Does that mean if a Christian indulges in an affair that he or she are out of the family?
Will God stop blessing them?
Will they lose all inheritance?
No, they are not cast out of the family, but there will be permanent consequences – in this life, and in eternity future. Esau is still our example for how we resolve our questions:
After trading away his future inheritance to fulfill his right-now appetite, Esau eventually returned to his father and repented of his actions, saying he would be content with any remaining blessing his father was able to grant him.
From there, we find that Esau went on in life and was blessed by God – he even has his own chapter of family lineage and prosperity in Genesis 36. However…Esau never regained his rights of firstborn inheritance. Throughout the entire Bible and for all of eternity, the nation of Israel does not list Esau as one of their patriarchs. Additionally, we consistently find God identifying Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…but we never find God describing Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau.
Because of his choices, Esau missed out on blessings and opportunities – both in this life and in eternity. And the author of Hebrews is telling us that OUR sexual purity has that level of importance in God’s eyes. However, if we blow it…all is not lost…some inheritance will be, but not all opportunity to earn more in the future.
Remember what the author taught us earlier:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.
There is grace to help us when we are being sexually tempted and we can receive mercy when we fail. Our relationship with God will remain intact; however, the consequences of our sexual sin will echo throughout eternity.