Proverbs 5:3–6 “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, 4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; 6 she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.”
We have noted that Proverbs uses the imagery of the “forbidden woman” as a type of all temptation to sin. The picture is especially poignant for a young man, but we do not want to lose the impact of it for both men and women in all sorts of temptation. The idea is, that it is alluring and appeals to the natural appetites, but contains the element of drawing us toward what is not rightfully ours.
The 6th verse contains a massively important insight. Temptation always includes this element of failure to consider the end of what it is proposing.
The first part of that diversion is found in that It offers “an” end – some pleasure, some satisfaction, to supply something which we imagine is missing and “ought” to be ours – but not THE end. It obscures, distracts us from seeing the ultimate end of succumbing – death.
Here is why the appeals of sin and temptation have such an apparent sincerity to their claims – they are deceived themselves. The arguments they use are plausible and seemingly filled with good will. But the deception of blindness is there. And we must bring the Light to it to understand. We must bring Christ into the situation. We must ask: How does what we are contemplating accord with Who He is and what He is about in the world? This is the question which must ever be in our hearts and minds.
We must also ask – as Believers – How does what we are contemplating accord with who WE are IN Christ? With how our mission as His ambassadors in the world fits with this act, or attitude, or pursuit?
This theme of considering what is fitting given who Christ is and who we are in Him is found throughout Scripture – and it brings us back to think about ultimate ends versus immediate ends. If I have planned a trip to California as a final destination where my family is and my job is and all the things I truly love are, but someone has said if I go to New York City I will be really happy for a day – I have to ask myself, can going east get me west? No. Obviously not.
Can any sin move me closer to Heaven? No. Can any sin move me closer to the image of Christ? No. Can any temporary pleasure which will be immediately followed with days or even years of guilt, shame, regret and the ruinous impact on other’s lives if not my own really be worth it? No! And yet that is the very decision we often make. No wonder one old wag said that “sin is the divorce of reason from the will.” In it, we will what is in the final analysis unreasonable.
So the Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:2–3 — “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”
We don’t want to overstate this, but in some ways, more important than asking “does the Bible say this is sin or that is OK?” is asking – how does this fit with who I am as God’s image-bearer? Is it “proper” among the saints? Does it fit? Will it take me where I am supposed to be going?