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What Is Sexual Immorality - Discover its Meaning and Consequences

What Is Sexual Immorality - Discover its Meaning and Consequences
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Sexual Immorality in the Bible

In the Bible, sexual immorality is strongly condemned. In the Old Testament, laws were given to the Israelites designed to discourage sexual immorality. These laws prohibited adultery and other forms of sexual misconduct, such as incest and rape. In the New Testament, Jesus taught that all sexual relationships outside of marriage are immoral. He also taught that lusting after someone is just as sinful as the act itself. The Bible makes it clear that God expects us to remain sexually pure and faithful to our spouses. God's plan for marriage is beautiful, and He wants us to honor and protect it. If we do not, we risk damaging our relationships with both God and others.

In the New Testament, “sexual immorality” is most frequently translated as porneia, which means “a surrendering of sexual purity,” and is mostly used regarding premarital sexual relations. From this Greek word, we get the English word pornography, deriving from the idea of “selling off.” Sexual immorality is essentially the “selling off” of sexual purity and involves sexual expression beyond the boundaries of a biblically defined marriage relationship (Matthew 19:4-5).

Sexual Immorality Definition

As defined in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary, Sexual Immorality is...

"Interpersonal activity involving sex organs that does not conform to God's revealed laws governing sexuality. The account of creation (Gen 1:1-28) includes reproductive activity as an essential part of the developmental scheme. This important function is given special prominence in the narrative describing the creation of woman (Gen 2:21-24). In a process cloaked in mystery, God takes an aspect of Adam and fashions it into a genetic counterpart that is specifically female, and which matches Adam's maleness for purposes of reproducing the species. 

Adam and Eve are thus equal and complementary to one another, of the same physical and genetic composition apart from the slight difference that governs the characteristic nature of male and female fetuses. God tells them to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill all the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1:28)."

C.S. Lewis on Sexual Immorality

C.S. Lewis, many years ago, in his book Mere Christianity, described our modern battle with human sexuality in the following words:

The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is what the words “one flesh” would be in modern English. And the Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a sentiment but stating a fact-just as one is stating a fact when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined.

The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which was intended to go along with it and make up the total union. The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again...

In simple terms, sexual immorality is essentially the engagement in sexual acts outside of the sanctity of marriage, the divine union of creating and fostering life. Continue reading to learn the practical and spiritual consequences of becoming a slave to your passions when succumbing to the temptation of sexual immorality.

Sexual Immorality and Biblical Teachings

(The following text uses excerpts from Sexual Immorality: Beyond Body Parts & Nerve Endings by John A. Huffman Jr.)

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

Three action principles leap out of this biblical passage.

Action Principle #1: Face the reality of your own sexuality and your vulnerability to its distortion.

John Huffman explains the teachings of Paul from 1 Corinthians, saying:

"Paul doesn’t beat around the bush. He keeps bringing up this topic because he knows both the positive and negative realities of our human sexuality. We are all vulnerable. This fact has been driven home to me as I have observed several close friends in the ministry who have stumbled into sexual immorality, with the results being catastrophic for their personal and professional lives. Fortunately, the gospel is one of healing and restoration. In a couple of these situations, the marriages have survived and even been strengthened. But the pain and the ongoing side effects continue to be felt, both within their nuclear families and in the extended family, the Church of Jesus Christ."

Action Principle #2: Deal honestly with the biblical theology of your sexuality.

Paul wrestles with this as he writes, “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,’ and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power” (1 Corinthians 6:12-14).

For you were called to freedom, brothers, and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:13-15).

Action Principle #3: Sexual sin destroys. Flee from it!

Paul writes, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Sexual sin, by its very definition and reality, is dehumanizing. You become an animal. You declare yourself to be nothing but body parts and nerve endings. It destroys you, and it destroys others.

"For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world." (1 John 2:16)

Bible Verses about Sexual Immorality

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. ~ Hebrews 13:4

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Matthew 5:28

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. ~ Ephesians 5:3

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality ~ Galatians 5:19

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

Find inspiration with 15 Bible Verses Every Christian Should Know By Heart HERE for you to download or share with loved ones!

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