You are a trooper! I know this has been an intense series and today’s post is by far the hardest. I am letting you know now: I am going to be very direct with this one. There are a lot of scriptures- read them carefully. Sexual sin is not a joke. It is very serious and the consequences are often long lasting. But, although it may be a tough topic to tackle, my heart is not make anyone feel ashamed. No matter what our past (or even our present) may look like, Jesus is greater. That being said, let’s dive in to truth number three:
SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE IS SIN.
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.’ Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body,” (1 Corinthians 6:16-20 MSG).
“God’s will is for you to be set apart for him in holiness and that you keep yourselves unpolluted from sexual defilement. Yes, each of you must guard your sexual purity with holiness and dignity, not yielding to lustful passions like those who don’t know God,” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 TPT).
“Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right,” (Song of Solomon 8:4 NLT).
I know this sounds super old school, but truth is still true even if it is unpopular. Sex before marriage is not safe and is sinful. I understand that the temptation is real and very intense. If God gave us the desire to have sex, then why would He tell us that we can’t act on it? While the desire for sex is very real, so is self-control. It is a fruit of the Spirit. God requires us to deny our flesh and to say “no” to things we really want when they aren’t His best for us. He knows that there are great consequences to sin and is trying to protect us.
I was asked to teach abstinence classes when I was in high school. They would send me and a few other students into a classroom to talk to our peers about STD’s and teen pregnancy. (I wish I could have gotten a picture of the face my little brother made when I had to teach his class. He was so embarrassed!) STD’s and pregnancies are well-known consequences of sex, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that.
When two people have sex, they are connecting in the most physically intimate way possible. When that is not under the covering of marriage, great emotional trauma can also be a consequence. God created us as triune beings: body, soul, and spirit. I’m going to refer back to the scripture listed above, “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact,” (1 Conrinthians 6:16 MSG). Sex isn’t just the unifying of two bodies. Our souls (mind, will, and emotions) get all tangled together too and we can end up filled with shame and/or rejection.
I picture it like this: God wants us whole and complete. His heart for us is that we aren’t stolen from and are able to give our whole selves to our spouse. When we decide to have sex outside of marriage, we give a chunk of ourselves away. Then when we meet the person we want to marry, they don’t get all of us. The spouse inherits a person who has a lot of holes. In the end, it isn’t worth it to give in to this temptation. Next week we will talk about how there is hope even when we have made the choice to give ourselves away. It is never too late. My heart is just to try to prevent you from engaging in anything that will rob you of God’s best for you.
The next generation needs to understand the truth about sex. They are going to learn about it one way or another. I, for one, would rather face the awkwardness and talk about it. I want my children hear about these things from me and not from the world. We simply cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand.
This next section is not just for people who are single. I don’t get embarrassed easily, so this list may sound blunt to some. I just want this to be plain so that it is easy to understand. These sinful, sexual behaviors are inappropriate whether they are done in the confines of marriage or not. Flee from:
- Pornography – this is a HUGE issue for men AND women. Enough is Enough statistics says that there were 962 searches per SECOND on one popular porn site last year. That means in 2018 there were 30.3 BILLION searches on that one site alone. Not to mention all of the other sites. This is not just an issue for people who aren’t believers in Jesus. Christians struggle greatly in this area too. Charisma News research says that, “68 percent of church-going men and over 50 percent of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76 percent actively search for porn,” (emphasis added). Once this door gets opened, it is very difficult to close it. If you have not viewed porn, please do not. RUN from this temptation. There is nothing productive about it. If you struggle with pornography, get accountability quickly. Porn is sinful even if you are married. We mentioned last week that the “marriage bed is undefiled” but that doesn’t include bringing other people into it. Viewing another person lustfully is the same sin as adultery. “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 ESV).
- Masturbation – there aren’t good statistics out there for this one. Most things that I read said 75% (or higher) of men masturbate and about 50% of women do. Here is why I want us to avoid this: 1. Often pornographic images are swirling around in your mind while that is occurring. 2. Sex was designed to be an intimate experience for two people to share inside of marriage. “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul, (1 Peter 2:11 ESV).
- Homosexuality – This is not a new temptation, it has been around for as long as people have been around. And it is not a “worse” sin than adultery between a heterosexual couple, alcoholism, or gossiping. However, I don’t think there’s been a time in human history where it has become so widely defended and celebrated. Almost every show on tv, social media, and news outlets are aggressively pushing this agenda. The university in our town has a required class that teaches about homosexuality. It is taught by a queer professor who told the students to explore their sexuality and try being gay. But Scripture tells us that when we live this lifestyle (along with many others), we are walking in direct disobedience to God and aren’t walking in His best for our lives. I know I am repeating myself, but sex was made to be between a married man and woman. Our God-given identities as men and women don’t get to be challenged. Gallup polled Americans and asked them how much of the population they thought was LGBT. The assumption was that that 23% of Americans identify with this lifestyle. In reality it was only 4.5% of Americans. “Surely you must know that people who practice evil cannot possess God’s kingdom realm. Stop being deceived! People who continue to engage in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse, or extortion—these will not inherit God’s kingdom realm,” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 TPT).
- Prostitution – No one should have to use their body in this way. It makes a person who God uniquely created, into an object used only for pleasure. Sex is an act of love for two committed, married people. “Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity,” (Leviticus 19:29 ESV).
- Adultery – Statistics say that in the U.S., 22% of married men and 14% of married women have had an affair. I think “adultery”covers way more than sleeping with someone else’s spouse. Flirting, flattery, emotional affairs, touching, kissing, etc., all go into this category. If you are married, the only source of any of this kind of attention should be your spouse. “You must not commit adultery,” (Exodus 20:14 NLT).
- Rape – Victims of Sexual Violence says that 1 out of every 6 women has been a victim of rape. This is such a betrayal and a theft of one’s humanness. Rape was punishable by death in the Old Testament. “But if it was out in the country that the man found the engaged girl and grabbed and raped her, only the man is to die, the man who raped her. Don’t do anything to the girl; she did nothing wrong,” (Deuteronomy 22:25-26 MSG).
- Child Abuse – RAINN says that 80% of sexually abused children were assaulted by their parent. There aren’t a whole lot of words that are needed here. It is evil and the effects of child abuse are extremely long lasting. “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble,” (Luke 17:2 NIV).
I spend a lot of time with college students. I love them so much and believe that with them, the future really is bright. One thing I love about them is their willingness to ask questions. They come up with really good ones! When they ask me about some of the behaviors listed above, I just ask them to picture Jesus. He didn’t do any one of these things, but faced every single one of these temptations. His victory over these sins lets us know that we don’t have to give into them either. If you are battling sexual temptation or are actively engaged in sexual sin, you are not alone. All of us face these temptations, and we can all walk in victory. Jesus did and so can we.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it,” (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG).
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin,” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV).
Next week will talk about how Jesus restores all things and can restore our lives after sexual sin. But if you are struggling with sexual sin, seek out accountability. If you need counseling, get it. If you need to break up with that person, do it. Do not stay trapped in sin- it’s not worth it.
I know this has been a hard post to read. It was extremely difficult to research and write. But sexual depravity is all around us and it can feel overwhelming. It is time for this stuff to come into the light so that we can live in victory. Jesus died so that we could be free. Not just so that we wouldn’t sin, but so that we could live the life He created us to live. I love you, I am for you and I am praying for you.