Sexual sin has always been a battleground for Christians. No one is immune to the temptation of lust, and the Christian market is full of books detailing its dangers. Still, being the fallen humans that we are, mistakes happen. So what do we do when we fall prey to sexual sin? Well, sadly, too often our first instinct is to justify our behavior.  

In a recent article from The Gospel Coalition, Pastor Matt Chandler outlines four street-level excuses commonly used to justify sexual sin. The most common of them being “My Choices Aren’t Hurting Anyone.”   

“I call this the Golden Rule idea. If it's not hurting anyone else, what could be wrong with it? If a guy is sleeping with his girlfriend and the two of them are consenting adults, why should the church condemn that behavior? Likewise, if a woman wants to be in a monogamous sexual relationship with another woman, why does it matter as long as it's not harming anyone else? The truth is, sexual sin does harm us. It's a sin against the body.”

“We also must remember that the Golden Rule (love your neighbor) is second to the greatest commandment (love God with your whole self). Jesus said clearly in the Gospel of John that those who love him obey his commands (see John 14:15). In other words, ‘If you love me, obey me.’

When you place the Golden Rule within the framework of biblical teaching, you see that sexual sin is a sin against our own bodies and is ultimately a sign of our rebellion against the God who made us.”

Chandler does a masterful job at building a Christian foundation to his arguments, but there can be no denying that his approaches, as he himself points out, are “street-level”. I once heard sexual immorality described as a monstrous hydra: just when you think you’ve figured out the right answer to cut down one question, two more rise in its place. Issues of sex cover a very broad spectrum, and even Christians in loving, God-honoring marriages have found themselves unsure of whether certain actions are morally permissible. Take this question posed to Sheila Wray Gregoire for example: “Is It Okay to Take Sexy Photos of Myself for My Husband?”

In her response, Gregoire writes,

“Men are visual, and we like to be thought of as ‘the beauty,’ as the Eldredge’s say in their books. I think appreciating a woman’s beauty, and seeing her revealed, is something that is innate in us, and isn’t necessarily bad. However, we live in an extremely pornographic society, and so many men are really struggling with porn. I do not think that you defeat porn by becoming porn. The problem with porn is not ONLY that you’re looking at someone other than your wife; the problem with porn is that it makes sex into something which is entirely about the physical and not about a relationship.”

Sexual sin will always be a difficult area for Christians. Our bodies are gifts from God, but we have an obligation to use them responsibly. In the end, what’s truly important, is that we continue to ask questions and seek out answers that will ultimately glorify Christ.

*Ryan Duncan is the Culture Editor for Crosswalk.com