Those who neither honor nor thank God refuse to recognize God’s attributes of eternal power and divine nature. They suppress these things with their living. They exchange God to worship images of people and creatures. Therefore, they are given to desires of sexual stimulation and using their bodies among themselves (Rom 1:18–28).
Should each person decide what is sexually right according to one’s own sexual desires or should society choose what is legal sexuality via common law? Society without an absolute standard is sexually fluid flowing in and out of abuses from one era to the next.
Definition of Sexual Sins
What is a sexual sin? A sin is to act lawlessly, unrighteously and contrary to God’s holy nature (1 John 3:4; 5:17). Sexual sins are acts contrary to how God created male and female become one flesh (Gen 2:24). Many justify sexual sins and irrationally explain away the definition of sexual immorality. People justify their lack of self-control and personal situation rather than seeking answers to overcome sins. However, this justifying keeps many from seeing how evil sin is and the state of the evil opposing them. Christians need to have an awareness and strong conviction, so that believers abhor this evil (Rom 12:9). Without recognizing, thanking, and glorifying God, each person will pervert natural desires into strange lusts (Rom 1:20–28). Everyone can corrupt morality, and each person needs a moral corrective outside of themselves. The only selfless moral corrective is God and His Word. All other moral standards come from self, society, or instinct, and these are neither reliable nor objective in standing against sexual sins.
Fornication and Adultery
When Jesus spoke of adulteries, fornications, and lewdness, He called these behaviors “evil things” that defile people (Mark 7:20–23). The definition of fornication is from the Greek word porneia. This behavior is any sexual intercourse outside of marriage between one man and one woman (1 Cor 6:16; Eph 5:31; Heb 13:4). Adultery is sex with another’s spouse or when the married has intercourse with anyone who is not one’s spouse. Jesus revealed that adultery includes divorcing and marrying another person unless the divorce was because one’s spouse committed fornication — extramarital sex (Matt 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11–12; Luke 16:18; cf. 1 Cor 7:10–11).
Jesus condemned all sexual sins. He did not need to specify that rape, incest, and homosexuality are sexual sins, because these behaviors are outside the natural union of marriage between a man and a woman (Mark 7:20–23). However, Jesus did infer condemnation of pedophilia when He opposed the abuse of children and alluded to sexual abuses against them (Matt 18:7–10; Mark 9:42–50).
Jesus did not have to specify what He meant by fornication with a descriptive list. Jesus used the definition of fornication according to the Law of Moses when He spoke. Within the Law of Moses, immoral sexual behavior includes all extramarital sex specifically adultery, premarital sex, incest, rape (pedophilia), sex during menstruation, homosexuality, bestiality, prostitution, and uncovering nakedness (Lev 18; 19:29; 20; Deut 22:5, 22–30). Jesus’s standard is greater than the Law (Matt 5:28).
Lewdness and Lust
Christ spoke further against sexual sins like lewdness. Some translations of the Bible use the world “sensuality” that is synonymous for lewdness. The apostle Peter defined lewdness as to “entice by sensual passions of the flesh” (2 Pet 2:18; cf. Luke 17:1; Jas 1:13–14). To cause others to lust through tempting speech, revealing clothing, and nudity is lewdness. The Bible reveals that those who continue in lewdness will not inherit God’s kingdom (Gal 5:19–21; Eph 5:3–6). However, having a beautiful figure and being lovely to look at is not a sin as this is a description of Esther (Esth 2:7).
On the other side, Jesus also taught not to look to lust (Matt 5:28). This Greek word for lust is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament when
Moses commanded against coveting the neighbor’s wife in the 10th commandment (Exod 20:17). Jesus taught, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28 ESV). Looking to lust and covet is a heart problem. Jesus revealed that out of the heart proceed evil behaviors and evil thoughts such as adulteries, fornications, covetousness, and sensuality (Mark 7:20–23).
The Scriptures describe sexual impurity or “uncleanness” as a work of the flesh that keeps one from entering the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19–21; Eph 5:3–6; Col 3:5–7). The New Testament lists impurity or “uncleanness” as a distinct action among sexual sins. Holiness is the opposite of practicing sexual impurity and other sexual sins like fornication (1 Thess 4:7). The Scriptures set sexual impurity apart from fornication, adultery, lewdness, and lust (2 Cor 12:21; Eph 4:19). The practice of impurity involves the use of the members of one’s body (Rom 6:19). The Bible describes “impurity” to include sexual emissions from one’s body (Lev 15:32; cf. Gen 38:6–10; Lev 15:16, 18; Deut 23:10). In the New Testament, this impurity is an intentional sexual sin.
People personally satisfy and fulfill lust by the sin of impurity with the members of one’s body (Rom 6:19). Sexual impurity includes self-stimulation. Self-stimulation is not a “natural outlet,” but an action that leads to more sins and stirs up lusts (Rom 6:19). The sin of sexual impurity comes from the heart and can occur by looking to lust (Matt 5:28). Lust in the heart leads to the sin of sexual impurity (Rom 1:24). Those looking to lust struggle with sexual impurity as lust and sexual impurity links with sexual sins of the heart.
People will reject the definition of sexual sins when they reject the standard given by God in His holiness. However, the Christian must embrace holiness for salvation (Heb 12:14–16). The definition of the sexual sins is set according to the standard of marriage as the created institution for sexual union. God created man and woman in His image and for each other. God did not create humanity to go against their moral conscience. Sexuality is for marriage.
For further study of “How to Prevent and Overcome Sexual Sins,” the reader can simply click the link and skip to the second half because this article is a version of the first section. May God bless all who seek a pure heart to find it. Jesus preached, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8).