The beloved apostle Paul warned us all, “Flee fornication,” (1 Cor. 6:18). And “run” is what we must do if we are to succeed in keeping ourselves pure from sexual sins.
The Old and New Testaments are full of admonitions concerning sexual sins. King David, whom God described as “a man after my own heart,” fell victim to passion when he saw a beautiful naked woman. The adultery committed by the pair then led to a chain of sins, culminating in the murder of her husband and resulting in the death of the infant boy as punishment. The sword never left David’s house and eventually Israel was divided because of David’s sexual sin. The New Testament describes false teachers who used lasciviousness to entice newborn Christians (2 Peter 2:18), and some who taught their followers to commit fornication (Rev. 2:14-15, 20-23).
A number of sexual sins are enumerated in the New Testament, and it is noteworthy that all forms of immoral conduct are condemned, from the actual acts of illicit intercourse down to evil imaginations and “eyes full of adultery.”
Fornication and adultery are the two most often mentioned sexual sins. Adultery is used in its modern sense of sexual intercourse with someone who is not your spouse. Fornication is used differently from its modern meaning. It simply means “illicit sexual intercourse.” Thus fornication is the more comprehensive of the two terms. 1 Cor. 6:12-20 deals in detail with this sin.
In Romans 1:26-27 homosexual practices are condemned. These practices, which were so common among the Gentiles of Paul’s day, are prevalent sins of many in the United States. They are no longer hidden sins kept in the closet but open and bodacious. They marry, have children, teach school children, hold political office, newscasters and commentators, and in the armed forces. Let’s face it, homosexuality has been blended into American culture in most every respect. Even denominations are incorporating them into their clergy. Nevertheless, being gay is a sexual sin which God forbids and will punish a nation for allowing such (Rom 1:32). In 2016, history is being made in the political realm and it is not good news. All four candidates are pro gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT). America has gone the way of Sodom and Gomorrah and we all know how that ended up.
Among the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21 are three sexual sins: fornication, uncleanness, and lasciviousness. “Uncleanness” is a general term that includes all moral uncleanness. “Lasciviousness” is a word that is worthy of space in this article. It is defined as “unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, shamelessness, insolence.” In the plural it is defined as “wanton acts or manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females, etc.” Thus, in this word are condemned many things common to our culture: modern dancing with its “indecent bodily movements” and “unchaste handling of males and females,” petting, dirty jokes, scanty clothing such as shorts and bathing suits, pornography, and all the many other things which are calculated to arouse evil desires. In this category, also, is the enjoyment of lascivious things, the dwelling on them in the mind.
Colossians 3:5 mentions passion and evil desire. “Passion” is defined as emotion rather than an act, an ungovernable desire in an evil sense. “Evil desire” is similar, being the active side of passion, a desire for what is forbidden, lust. Passion and evil desire are the results of indulging in lasciviousness.
As with all our God-given emotions, our sexual desires have both lawful and sinful uses. The lawful gratification of these desires in marriage is commended in the New Testament (1 Cor. 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4). But the Christian must shun the unlawful sexual practices.
Since the American culture is so sex-oriented and so filled with sex stimuli, the Christian must be vigilantly on guard against sexual sins at all times. Parents have an especially challenging job to guard and train their children that they may grow up free from the licentiousness so common in high school and college age young people. We must set examples of modest dress and conduct, and teach them to respect God’s word.
God did not prohibit mankind from having sexual relations. In fact, man and woman are sexual beings for God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28). Sex is not a sin within legal marriage according to God’s law. The marriage bed is kept pure, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge (Heb 13:4). Sex is not immoral when done God’s way.
May God help us to “be not fashioned according to this world: but be . . . transformed by the renewing of (our) mind.” (Romans 12:2)