The Bible and Sexual Sin

Mark 7:21-23: “For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

Galatians 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (NKJV) 

The NLT lists them as: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures.

Usually sexual sins are covered in multiple words in the Bible, meaning there are different aspects of sexual sin we need to be aware of.  Also when the Bible gives lists of sins, usually sexual sins are listed first.  I believe that is because they are the most powerful and prominent.  I believe that more people are going to be lost spiritually at the end of time because of sexual sins than almost any other.

I.           Sexual Immorality

God sanctions one type of sexual union – one man with one woman who are married to each other.  That is “sexual morality.” 

“Sexual immorality” is anything outside of that. To commit sexual immorality is to pervert God’s good gift of sexuality. The ancient Greek word for “sexual immorality” is “porneia” – it is a broad word, covering a wide span of sexual sins.

This word is also used to cover “pornography” today, which creates within those who participate what Peter calls “eyes of adultery.”  2 Peter 2:14 – “They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied.” 

God teaches premarital chastity and marital fidelity – one man, one wife, for life.”  Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Adultery and fornication are generally what is in mind when the Bible uses the phrase ‘sexual immorality.’

II.          Adultery

Adultery is the word used to describe a sexual union with anybody other than our marriage partner, when one or both are married to someone else.

Exodus 20:14 – “You shall not commit adultery.”

Proverbs 6:32-33: “But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself.  He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased.”

Jesus expanded the physical act of adultery to include lustful thoughts in our hearts: Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

III.         Fornication

“Fornication” can mean any sexual intercourse of any type outside of marriage.  This includes not only premarital sex that takes place between people who are unmarried, but also includes adultery, homosexuality, incest, and sexual acts with animals (bestiality).  All of these types of sexual sins are explicitly forbidden in the Bible:

Leviticus 20:10-21: “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death. If a man violates his father by having sex with one of his father’s wives, both the man and the woman must be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense. If a man has sex with his daughter-in-law, both must be put to death. They have committed a perverse act and are guilty of a capital offense. If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense. If a man marries both a woman and her mother, he has committed a wicked act. The man and both women must be burned to death to wipe out such wickedness from among you. If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death, and the animal must be killed. If a woman presents herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it, she and the animal must both be put to death. You must kill both, for they are guilty of a capital offense. If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a shameful disgrace. They must be publicly cut off from the community. Since the man has violated his sister, he will be punished for his sin.  If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her menstrual period, both of them must be cut off from the community, for together they have exposed the source of her blood flow. Do not have sexual relations with your aunt, whether your mother’s sister or your father’s sister. This would dishonor a close relative. Both parties are guilty and will be punished for their sin. If a man has sex with his uncle’s wife, he has violated his uncle. Both the man and woman will be punished for their sin, and they will die childless. If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity. He has violated his brother, and the guilty couple will remain childless.”

IV.         Filthy language

Ephesians 5:3-4: “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.  Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you…”

“Filthy language” includes things such as obscene language, foolish talking, and filthy jokes. Christians are to not even bring up sexually immoral subjects in our speech.   The idea is that if we talk about it, we will think about it, if we think about it, we will commit adultery in our heart.

V.           Sensuality

“Sensuality” includes impure/unclean thoughts that usually lead to unclean behavior or lustful pleasures (can be affected by pornography, filthy movies, etc).  It includes the idea of a lack of restraint or what we would call “living by the senses” or letting your five senses dictate what you do.

The Greek word for “sensuality” is “aselgeia.”  However, we use several English words to translate this concept.  The NKJV/NIV in Mark 7:22 calls it “lewdness” and the KJV calls it “lasciviousness.” The RSV calls it “licentiousness.”  In Galatians 5 the NIV calls it “debauchery.”  These are all translations of one Greek word.

Ø  Debauchery:  excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.

Ø  Lascivious: arousing lustful sexual desire without restraint.

Ø  Lewd:  obscene or indecent language and songs that incite lust.

Ø  Licentious:  sexually unrestrained; going beyond proper bounds or limits; disregarding rules.

A person who engages in sensual behavior is so dominated by his lust he will allow nothing to limit whatever arouses and meets his sexual desire.  He talks about it, watches it, sings songs about it, and participates in anything that stirs it up.

VI.          Passion

Colossians 3:5-6: “Therefore put to death (have nothing to do with) your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience…”

“Passion” is simply a strong physical desire of a sexual nature.  Christians are to not allow those desires to dictate to us what we think or do.  Romans 6:11-14: “So you should also consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.  Do not let sin control the way you live, do not give in to sinful desires.  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin.  Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life.  So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.  Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law.  Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”

VII.        The Christian and sexual morality

The difference between the Christian and the person in the world is not the presence of sexual desire; the difference is in what we are to do with them.  Sexually immoral behaviors are “out of place” and “improper for God’s holy people.”  Hebrews 12:14 – “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”

If anyone is living a life of adultery and fornication, then the flesh is in control and you are out of control. A life of sexual immorality only results in wasted time, weakened bodies, warped thinking, and wrecked lives.

The end result: Galatians 5:21 – “…I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

What does he mean – eternal damnation!  If you live a sexually immoral life that is controlled by the flesh you will burn in hell forever!

Revelation 21:8 – “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Revelation 22:14-15: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”

Romans 13:11-14: “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.  Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”

Jude 7 – “And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7: “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.” 

1 Peter 2:11 – “…I ask you to keep away from all the sinful desires of the flesh. These things fight to get hold of your soul.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 

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