Sexual Sin – God’s View of It7 min read
In today’s demoralized culture, there is no longer such a thing as sexual sin: it is no longer even an “alternate lifestyle.” Rather it is glorified as normal, and if one is to have convictions about marriage and purity, well then, he is intolerant and bigoted. Sadly, even amongst professing Christians there is a steady decline regarding this topic. But in reality, their opinion means nothing. Neither does the opinion of the world. God has spoken, and that is final. That is why our focus in this article is God’s view of the topic so that He might be the authority as He should be in all topics, rather than a simple “secondary factor” amongst our so-called “intellectual discussions.”
Definitions – What Is Sexual Sin?
According to Leviticus 20:10-16 there are essentially four categories of immorality that a person can fall into.
- Adultery – The act of a spouse having sexual relations outside of marriage. Fornication can also be included in this category, though it is considered to be different from adultery in that it is by an unmarried person. (Also belonging in this category is polygamy – multiplicity in number of spouses). This emphasizes the need for a marriage bond.
- Incest – The act of intimacy with one’s family member. This emphasizes the necessity of leaving ones home for marriage.
- Homosexuality – The act of intimacy with one of the same gender. This emphasizes the need for a man and woman specifically in order to multiply.
- Bestiality – The act of intercourse with an animal. This emphasizes the need for relational beings.
Now, perhaps not all of these have equal commonality, but we should understand that when one is made way for, all the rest can easily follow – very easily. Society only proves the validity of this statement. Certainly, then, it was appropriate to list sexual sins first in the list of Galatians 5, because this has been a main issue in every era of time. Why is this? Because it is the most physically tempting. For example, though anger is a work of the flesh, it is not something which one lusts after. But fornication, on the other hand, is so closely linked with the body that the flesh is especially attuned to it. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says that other sins are out of the body, while fornication is against the body specifically. This is why, regardless of time-period, compromise is always made in this area.
Morals – Why Is Sexual Sin So Wicked?
Anyone who asks regarding the sinfulness of sexual sin will get straight answers from Scripture. God plainly says “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and under the Law “the adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Of course, this is not the case under Grace). One might be inclined to ask “Why is this so bad?”
- It violates God’s pattern, design, and purpose for marriage. Marriage exhibits faithfulness, headship, unconditional love, sacrifice, etc.; and it is meant to provide a picture of Christ and the Church. Adultery, however, sets God’s pattern at naught and fully does away with the need for faithfulness. It also causes one to look at a person as an object, rather than a real being.
- It is done specifically in and against the body (1 Cor 6:18). As believers especially, as temples of God’s Spirit we would defile that temple and show contempt toward God’s presence.
- It produces a bond with the harlot. 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
- It is rooted in direct, flagrant rebellion. Especially in society, fornication is a sign of a nation’s turning its back against God, rejecting His pattern completely. And in history, collective sexual openness has usually preceded judgment of some sort.
Consequences – What Are The Results of Sexual Sin?
Considering that God hates fornication, it is no wonder, then, that the results are dire. Well has the apostle said “Abstain… from fornication, from which is ye keep yourselves ye shall do well.” And no wonder that Solomon wrote “Can a man take fire into his bosom and not be burned?” Scripture clearly lays out many things that “burn” a person after sexual sin is committed.
- A great fall – “For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.” (Prov. 23:27). “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” (Prov. 6:32)
- Assembly discipline – “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
- Familial discord – “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.” (2 Sam. 12:10)
- Reputational fallback – “For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” (2 Sam. 12:12)
- Opportunity for man to blaspheme – “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” (2 Sam. 12:14)
- Loss – “For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire into his bosom and not be burned?” (Prov. 6:26-27)
- Bodily recompense – “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. ” (Rom. 1:27)
- Grief/Regret – “And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!” (Prov. 5:11-13)
Precautions – How Can We Avoid Sexual Sin?
Thankfully, these consequences do not have to be ours, because we are called to “flee fornication.” Sadly, because we are called to flee, we know that it is indeed a threat to us, and we must be vigilant. In fact, this is one of the main elements of God’s will for our lives: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you abstain from fornication.” (1 Thess. 4:3) Certainly Paul’s words deeply impact us today, for we live in a promiscuous society, as it was in his day.
So then, as to refraining from this tragedy, we see from our verse that sanctification is key. In fact, it is the basis for all purity. If one is not living a holy life – a separated life (2 Cor. 6) – surely being immersed in the world, he will take on the actions of the world. Especially in the world today, with fornication and lust so unbelievably accessible, one is susceptible not only to commit sexual sin, but to feel proud about it. (Of course, this pride will not be true of the Christian). It is essential, in light of this, that we set clearly defined boundaries and stay far away from their edge. Far too many a Christian has peeked over the boundary line to see what was beyond, and has fallen fully into the sin he was trying initially to resist.
But not only is sanctification essential, a spirit of watchfulness must characterize us. You see, one will not avoid what he doesn’t see coming. We must remember our tendencies. We must remember our weakness. From that point we must turn from any provision made for the flesh. We must examine our friends, our atmosphere, our standard when it comes to movies, our thought life – everything. For these are but a gateway to a greater fall. Of course, none of this is complete without consistent communion and immersion in the things of God (i.e. His Word, His People, Biblical teaching, etc.). God alone Who saved us is great enough to preserve us. Otherwise, we have nothing except tragedy.
Thankfully, though, God is a restoring God, and just as with the woman caught in adultery, he will forgive the repentant sinner. And for believers, with the right attitude, one can be restored through the process of assembly discipline and the gentle care of shepherds if a fall should occur. God is a God of second chances. But are we willing to embrace them? And are we willing to get things right on the first chance without risking a fall? “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!”