November 19, 2017 laurelglenbible

Are we free to disregard Bibical prohibitions on sexual immorality?

In the 1960s Bob Dylan sang that famous line, “The times, they are a-changin’.” Indeed it was a time of many changes as a new generation began to push back against many of the social mores, conservative values, and question the authority of various instititutions. It brought forth a change in the way we think and look at the world as a culture. This questioning and suspicion of any institution that would seek to place restraints on society is still a part of our culture that simmers within our country today. Perhaps one of the most contentious of these changes is how our society has altered its view on sexuality.

It’s clear to see who has won the fight over the institution of human sexuality. If you have any question, just turn on a tv, open a magazine, or tune your radio to almost any station. The pervasive thought today is that our Bible is just not up with the times when it comes to sex. Is this true? Was the Bible just written in a time before we better understood human anamoty, psychology, or became enlightened by advances in modern science? Many would agree that – yes. Those that adhere to a strictly Biblical view of sexuality are simply too old fashioned. However, Gods word tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that:

“16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”1

This passage shows us the absolute nature that God communicates in his Word. A major mistake people make when understanding sexual sin is that people assume that sexual sin is about homosexuality only. We know from Romans 1:18-32 that homosexuality is a sin, however, it is one of many forms of sexual immorality. In the Bible, sexual immorality applies to “sexual immorality of any kind.”2 The word for sexual immorality in Greek is porneia which applies to “various extra-marital sexual modes of behavior insofar as they deviate from accepted social and religious norms (e.g., homosexuality, promiscuity, pedophilia, and especially prostitution).”3 In summary, sexual immorality is any sexual act committed outside of marriage between one man and one woman. God’s design for sexual desires to be satisfied is in marriage between one man and one woman.

God is not the God of anti-sex and anti-fun as some might think. God’s design transcends what we would see as right in our own eyes – it gives us meaning, worth, and dignity. Pornography robs the mind and reprograms it. Through porn, people do not learn that sex is face to face with a person. They learn what sex is like as entertainment rather than an expression of love in marriage. The consequences of sexual immorality are devastating and yet different from other sins. The Bible tells us that sexual sin is a sin against God and a sin against one’s own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 tells us that :

18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.4

Sexual sin is unique, because it is a sin against God and our bodies. Sex is the uniting of two into one, and when that happens outside of marriage, the unity is torn apart and damages the individuals. The two people will forever be a part of each other, thus sexual sin is not a worse sin than other sins, but the consequences are uniquely different. Sex outside of marriage objectifies people and makes sex about personal pleasure creating a false expectation of how your spouse should make you feel.

God’s design for sex in marriage is a synergy of relationship and physiology. In marriage, you are to fulfill each other emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Those three are never to be separated. When one is separated, the person is objectified. The goal of sex in marriage is mutual satisfaction and that comes when the spiritual, emotional, and physical are present.

People often ask how to abstain from sexual immorality. God’s answer to this is to mortify sin through the Holy Spirit. That means you confess your failure and ask God to forgive you as well as to help you. The Bible also tells us to flee, because sexual immorality, if left unchecked, becomes such a strong desire that we have a hard time overcoming it. Fleeing sexual immorality is the act of leaving the situation immediately and not trying to see how close you can get to the sin. Dying to sin is a lot of work, and fleeing sexual temptation is hard.

Joseph in Genesis 39 is a great example of fleeing sexual temptation and bearing the consequences of fleeing. Joseph valued obeying God over worldly success and sexual gratification. A good rule of thumb is that you cannot get in trouble if you do not have the opportunity. Limiting opportunity means not being alone with the opposite sex except for family, limiting access to TV channels, and taking precautions when using the internet. The goal is not to let pride get in the way of being cautious and intentional with what you allow to feed your mind. Guard your mind, limit opportunity to fail and have accountability. Are there people in your life that ask about your sexual purity? This article by no means has all the answers, but hopefully, you will put safeguards in place and be proactive in the fight against sexual immorality.

 – Pastor Eric


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 2 Ti 3:15–17.

[2] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 770.

[3] H. Reisser, “Πορνεύω,” ed. Lothar Coenen, Erich Beyreuther, and Hans Bietenhard, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 497.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 6:18–20.