Marriage, Sexuality, and its Deviations

Marriage, Sexuality and its Deviations

Marriage

Marriage, Sexuality, and its Deviations

 Richard Hollerman

 Until the present era in the Western world, nearly everyone knew that marriage was appointed by God as the normal and expected state for mankind.  They knew that God created one man, Adam, and one woman, Eve, in the beginning. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper, suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).  Later in this chapter we read, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (v. 24). This expression of God’s will has always been His plan for the human race: one man with one woman for life.

The Lord Jesus confirmed this divine plan when He said to His Jewish questioners: “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4). Jesus then, in verse 5, quoted Genesis 2:24 and offered this conclusion: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (v. 6).

Notice that God is the One who joins a man and a woman together. Notice also that He warned that no man is to separate what He has joined in marriage.  Therefore, marriage is a lifelong relationship between a man and woman and this should not be destroyed.  In fact, it is a divine “covenant” between the parties to marriage and God Himself (cf. Proverbs 2:17; Malachi 2:14).

The relationship in a Godly marriage must never be violated, changed, or destroyed. The Hebrew writer stated this clearly: “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (13:4).  The Lord says that those who would dare to violate this holy bond by divorcing the original partner and going to a second partner commit adultery (cf. Matthew 5:31-32; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11). This is true, according to the Lord, “except for the cause of fornication [porneia] or sexual unfaithfulness” (Matthew 19:9), a phrase variously interpreted.

Marriage is the normal and expected state in life, according to many New Testament passages (cf. Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7). However, there is an important place for celibate singleness among devoted brothers and sisters as well (Matthew 19:10-12; 1 Corinthians 7:7, 32-35).

As in most other spheres of life, sinful men and women have rebelled against God’s clear instructions and have devised their own relationships and behaviors that violate God’s revealed will regarding marriage and the sexual relationship. When a secular society no longer has the written Word of God or personal conscience to control sexual behavior, then “anything goes” in the sexual realm.  With an insensitive and defiled conscience, people can seemingly engage in nearly any sexual relationship with impunity.  They allow themselves to freely participate in some of the most debased and perverted sexual activities imaginable—and even unimaginable.

This is why Paul could write to the Ephesians and urge them not to walk as the pagan Gentiles around them do.  In the first century, people engaged in all kinds of sexual activity, thus the apostle warns the saints to live different and distinctive lives of purity and holiness.  He writes:

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17-19)

After saying these explicit words, Paul says, “But you did not learn Christ in this way” (v. 20).  When we learn of Jesus and His holy way of life and learn something of the lifestyle He wants—in absolute purity and holiness—these Ephesians should be able to see that they are not to live debauched lives as the Gentiles did. Sexual immorality must be excluded. Likewise, we are not to live the same wicked lives as our society has come to expect.  When we live in sexual self-control, we will stand out as pure people in the midst of an increasingly dirty world!

Let’s consider some of the deviations or perversions that people have committed or could engage in this contemporary age of sexual laxity and moral enslavement:

Divorce, Remarriage, and Adultery. 

At one time in America, all divorce was forbidden except for a divorce on the grounds of the spouse’s adultery.  In some cases, desertion could be a further grounds for divorce.  In the mid-twentieth century, “no fault divorce” became acceptable in one state after another until this prevailed across the country. In contrast, the Bible student knows that “whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9). We’ve read that at least 75 percent of divorces are for reasons other than the unrepentant adultery of a spouse, thus most remarriages in America must be adulterous! The husband and wife are living in adultery.

Notice these statistics that will give some idea of the extent of the problem:

·      Approximately one-third of all weddings in America today form stepfamilies (demographic estimate, Deal). In 2001, 38% of all US marriages were remarriages for one or both partners (15% for both; 23% for one) (Wendy Manning, personal communication Jan 2010, National Center for Family and Marriage Research).

  • There are 35 million Americans in the US today who are remarried. There are an additional 36 million Americans who are divorced or widowed (possibly finding themselves in a remarriage at some point) (US Census, 2007).
  • One-third of individuals who got divorced in 2008 were redivorcing, that is, divorcing again (Wendy Manning, personal communication Jan 2010, National Center for Family and Marriage Research). (smartstepfamilies.com/view/statistics)

We are not sure about all of the details of these statistics but they do highlight the vast prevalence of divorce, remarriage, and consequence of adultery (in most cases).

The Word of God is plain about this sin.  Paul quite clearly says that those who commit unrepentant adultery “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  Those who are guilty of adultery, “God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).  If one is guilty of adultery and refuses to repent and forsake his or her sin, God will be cast the adulterer into the lake of fire or hell (Revelation 21:8; fornication or “sexual immorality” is from the Greek porneia, and this means any kind of immoral sex, including adultery). This shows how heartrending and disastrous this form of immorality is regardless of how frequently it happens in our age.

Polygamy 

When we see a reference to polygamy, probably many of us think of the early Mormons such as Joseph Smith (their founder) and Bringham Young who had dozens of wives.  Some researchers say that Smith had 27 wives besides his first one (hen.wikipedia.org/wiki/ List_of_Joseph_Smith’s_wives), and Young had a total of 55 wives (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ List_of_Brigham_Young’s_wives)! Even today fundamentalist Mormons in Arizona and Utah and elsewhere continue to practice the original polygamy of this cult while the civil authorities look the other way.

We may also think of the Muslims who are permitted to have four wives, or maybe tribal chiefs who may have numerous wives in their possession.  Polygamy continues to be practiced in parts of Asia and Africa. The Hindu religion also permits polygamy. Of course, we do remember that people like Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon had a plurality of wives.  The Law of Moses even accepted this practice (Deuteronomy 21:15). Now, of course, the Law has been fulfilled and polygamy has passed away.

When we refer to polygamy, more precisely we are referring to polygny, the practice of a man having more than one wife.  Polygamy sometimes is defined in the same way but, more accurately, it refers to either a man having more than one wife or a wife having more than one husband. With today’s liberal and humanistic perspective, we would suppose that some in America may want to reinstate polygamy in our day. However, feminists would probably decry the practice—as would Biblical Christians. But since they reject the Word of God as their standard, what is there to prohibit polygamy from a moral standpoint?

How would God view the practice of polygamy?  In the beginning, God created a man and a woman (Adam and Eve) and formed the first marriage (Genesis 2:18-24).The Lord Jesus referred to this fact when He said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-5). Notice that He said that “two” shall become “one flesh.”  Biblical marriage is the union of an eligible man and an eligible woman for life. Only two people—a husband and a wife—constitute marriage for this age. When three or more are involved, this destroys the one flesh relationship. Christ takes us back to the beginning before polygamy, before divorce and remarriage, and before any other aberration from God’s original plan.

Polyandry 

As many of our readers know, polyandry is “the condition or practice of having more than one husband at one time” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). Polyandry was practiced in the past by India’s Todas people and the Eskimos (Inuit) of the Arctic region. The World Book Encyclopedia says that some people in Tibet still practice this arrangement.

As we have discovered above, Polygamy is no longer permissible by the Lord. Marriage is the relationship of a man and a woman for life. Furthermore, since the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:25) and the wife is to be submissive to the husband (vv. 22-24), it simply could not be practiced in a polyandry arrangement. How could a wife have more than one head? How could she be submissive to more than one husband?

Group Sex 

Since we are discussing the various sexual relationships possible in our age, let’s consider what has been called “group sex.” In our age of sexual license and bizarre arrangements, it could be that three men and seven women or perhaps four women and two or six men might choose to “marry” and consider themselves married! If this were legal, surely there would be certain “liberated” people in places like San Francisco or elsewhere who would choose this form of immoral relationship. Since it has been done in the sexual realm already, probably it would be formalized as a “marriage” if it were legal. When any sexual immorality is tolerated—and sometimes celebrated—why not?

Just this week the police were seeking clues for the murder and rape of a young child. As they investigated, the police discovered that there were three adults in the child’s household. All three claimed to be the girl’s parents and even the obituary listed all three as parents. Supposedly, she had two fathers and one mother. The authorities stated that they all had an “amorous relationship.” As bizarre as this may seem, probably there are other like situations in this immoral age.

Obviously, group sex and our imagined “group marriage” involves gross immorality.  Everything that Scripture says about sexual immorality would clearly apply to such an arrangement.  Paul writes that fornicators or the sexually immoral (porneia) “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Immorality is a “deed of the flesh” that will prevent one from inheriting God’s kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21). In fact, God will “judge” the immoral (Hebrews 13:4) and those who are immoral will have their part in the lake of fire or hell (Revelation 21:8). Group sex, therefore, is totally opposed to the ways of God.

Pedophilia 

This is “the act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). It is a word coming from “child” and “love.” This can be a form of homosexuality (in which an adult man, for example, may have sex with a male child). It can be a form of heterosexual immorality as well (an adult male having sex with a female child).  And, of course, this immorality may be committed by an adult female as well. It can be a form of incest when a father or step-father or older sibling has sex with a child. And it can involved the mind and fantasy as well as the act. We see this when we learn from the news that an adult has been jailed for sending and receiving sexual images of children.

As holy people, Christians are repulsed by this form of sin (and by all sin!). This sin shows the wickedness of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9).  It harms and injures a little child who should be treated with love and cared for and protected from harmful influences.  Paul says, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10a), and surely forcing a child to engage in sexual activities is doing injury and harm to a young child who should be protected!  Agape love does good to another person; it helps and cares for another person; it seeks the highest good for another person. And the practice of pedophilia does the very opposite. It treats a tender child as an object of one’s sinful gratification. It looks on a young child as a play thing and as a selfish indulgence. Followers of Christ should condemn such a sin and seek to help those who have been victimized by perverse adults who have engaged in this form of selfish activity.

Interestingly, our humanistic and immoral society allows free rein to many of the expressions of sexual immorality that we are examining. But in this case, ironically, institutions of society generally condemn pedophilia and even imposes stiff sentences on the lustful perpetrator!

Sodomy and Lesbianism 

Strictly speaking, sodomy, is a sexual relationship between two males and lesbianism is such a relationship between two females. Often the term is employed to refer to homosexual relationships and activity involving either men or women.  The term comes from the sin of Sodom mentioned in Genesis 19 when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. Lot told the Sodomites that they were “acting wickedly” when they had homosexual intentions (Genesis 19:7). The angels who had been sent to Lot and his family to save them from destruction said, “We are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it” (v. 13).

Peter refers to “the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” and said that Lot’s soul was “tormented day after day by the lawless deeds” (2 Peter 2:7) and said that the unrighteous would be kept under “punishment for the day of judgment” (v. 9). Jude also mentions the judgment on the Sodomites for their gross sin.  He speaks of their “gross immorality” and the fact that they went after “strange flesh,” thus they would undergo “the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

A variation of homosexuality would be pederasty. A pederast is “a man who has sexual relations with a boy” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). It may also be considered as a variation of pedophilia.  Greek philosophers and Roman emperors were said to have boys available for their sexual fantasies and lustful activities.  Obviously, this is perverse. In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns a sin that may refer to pederasty, sometimes translated effeminate.  The term can refer to “being passive in a same-sex relationship, effeminate esp. of catamites, of men and boys, who are sodomized by other males in such a relationship” (NET Study Bible). The man-boy perspective in America would thus be condemned by Paul’s term.

The Law of Moses was explicit that homosexuals practice “abomination” (Leviticus 18:22) and “detestable acts,” thus must suffer death (20:13; cf. Deuteronomy 23:18). We are no longer under this Law of God, but we do see what God thinks of this unnatural act and relationship. In the classic passage on the sin of homosexuality in the New Testament, Paul says that sodomites practice “degrading passions,” do what is “unnatural,” and commit “indecent acts” (Romans 1:26-27). They will suffer not a punishment of physical death, but spiritual death (1:32) and the “wrath and indignation” of God (2:8). We also learn that an unrepentant homosexual “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Although sodomy of all kinds formerly was illegal in every state of America, those prohibitions are now ether changed or at least not enforced. Ironically, large numbers of the American public actually have now come to accept this sexual perversion.  The United States has fallen so far from its “Christian” roots that just over 50 percent of Americans now favor sodomite “marriages”!

Obviously, it is impossible for such an immoral union to be considered a “marriage” but this doesn’t bother tens of millions of citizens. In their humanistic and immoral zeal, they will not be hindered by what is right, natural and Biblical; they insist on demanding the grossest of sexual relationships. Many of the larger states now have accepted such homosexual unions and the president refuses to support the Defense of Marriage Act. Like Greece and Rome, we are discovering that the most perverse sexual acts have now come to be considered “normal” and acceptable to vast numbers of people. America is becoming another Sodom—only to a larger scale.

Transvestitism, Transgenderism, and Bisexualism 

Let’s first define these terms.  A transvestite is “a person who dresses and acts in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). Thus, a man who dresses and acts like a woman is a transvestite and a woman who dresses and acts like a man is also a transvestite. Obviously, this is a deviation from God’s design and a perversion of what is holy and pure. A related term is transgender, “appearing or  wishing to be considered as, or having undergone surgery to become a member of the opposite sex” (The American Heritage College Dictionary).  These persons go so far as to try to remove or alter sexually identifying parts of their body so that they look somewhat like the opposite sex! Bisexual relates to having “a sexual orientation to persons of either sex” (The American Heritage College Dictionary).

These perversions may go beyond external manifestation. The woman who dresses like a man may have immoral sex with another woman, thus she is guilty of lesbianism or homosexuality (which we have discussed above). Conversely, a man who dresses like a woman may have immoral sex with another man, thus he is a homosexual. Sadly, people who do appear like the opposite sex may enter the restrooms of the opposite gender—camouflaged, so that others may not know that they are sharing the restroom with a member of the other gender. These impersonators may marry a member of his or her own gender, thus they participate in “homosexual marriage” that has become increasingly common.

The bisexual man or woman is guilty on many counts. When in a sexual relationship with a woman, a man is committing fornication or immorality (porneia). When in a sexual relationship with another man, the person is committing homosexuality or sodomy. Both fornication and sodomy are sinful and clearly offensive to God (and porneia is a broad term that covers both sodomy as well as immorality with the opposite sex).

Paul refers to some who have a “depraved mind” who “do those things which are not proper” (Romans 1:28).  He refers to sodomites who receive “in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (v. 27). When a person has gone so far as to involve themselves in such wickedness and sexual perversion, we can see that indeed “their mind and their conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15). We are also reminded of those Gentiles who have “given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness” (Ephesians 4:19). This confusion of gender and sexual expression is the very opposite of the way God has created us. “Male and female He created” the first pair (Genesis 1:27). When we are not content with the way God has created us and seek to alter our sexual orientation and appearance, we rebel against our wise Creator and are ripe for judgment.

Prostitution 

We have all heard about prostitution but many don’t have personal experience with this particular sin.  Prostitution is “the act or practice of engaging in sex acts for hire” (The American Heritage College Dictionary).  One authority says that “in the broadest sense,” it is “the turning of an object or process from its rightful or natural use to a base one. In the narrower sense, it is the term for sexual relations engaged in outside of marriage for professional reasons, either mercenary or religious” (The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible).

When we read of prostitutes in the first century and particularly the New Testament, we are referring to the religious sense.  When the pagans went to their temples to worship their false gods, they would often worship by means of a sexual relationship with a temple prostitute. Such a prostitute could either be a male or a female. Thus, it was a person who was willing to use his or her body for religious purposes! This may be the reference to a “dog” in Revelation 22:15, one who cannot enter the Heavenly City. Cult prostitutes also were common during the Old Testament period.

In Paul’s discussion on the wrongfulness of sexual immorality (porneia), he offers this explanation: “Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He [God] says, ‘The two shall become one flesh’” (1 Corinthians 6:16).  When a person would engage in sexual relations with a prostitute in the temple (or engage in sexual relations with a person for hire in a non-religious way), he would become “one body” or “one flesh” with her. Thus, this immoral act utterly violates the purpose of sex within a proper marriage. Such sin would be forbidden in the many references to fornication or porneia in the New Testament.

Adultery 

It is true that we have discussed adultery under an earlier category, “Divorce, Remarriage, and Adultery,” but let us focus here on another form of adultery. Adultery is “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). It is not only committed when someone wrongfully divorces an innocent spouse and marries another person (Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18), but it is also committed when a person is married to a legitimate spouse but within that marriage, one of the partners is sexually unfaithful and has sexual relations with one who is not the spouse.

Most of us would be surprised to learn that large numbers of the American public have had at least one adulterous relationship while married.  This pertains to both the husband and the wife.  Sometimes this unfaithfulness leads to a divorce and at other times the unfaithfulness is not detected or the partners reconcile and continue to live as married people.  But we must recognize that adultery in all forms violates the marriage covenant (Proverbs 2:17; Malachi 2:14). God holds people to fulfill this covenant and when the bond of marriage is violated by any sexual unfaithfulness, a terrible sin has been committed against the innocent partner, the children, and especially God (cf. Psalm 51:4).

Adultery has ruined so many marriages that could have been “a taste of heaven on earth.” Instead, adultery brings heartache, destruction, and often a breakdown of the marriage itself.  The spiritual effects for the adulterer or adulteress are great.  God will judge the unrepentant adulterer (Hebrews 13:4). The adulterer cannot enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Remember that porneia includes adultery. The term means “illicit sexual intercourse” (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).Therefore, wherever we see condemnation of “fornication” or “sexual immorality” (as the translation of porneia), we know that adultery is also being condemned.

This means that adultery will bring God’s wrath (Colossians 3:5-6; Ephesians 5:3-6) and will prevent one from entering God’s kingdom (Ephesians 5:3-5; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  It will bring God’s righteous judgment (Hebrews 13:4) and God’s vengeance (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).  Adultery will cause one to be cast into the lake of fire or hell (Revelation 21:8). Although the world may lightly call this sin an “affair,” God looks on it very seriously and calls on every adulterer to repent and forsake the sin immediately.

Bestiality 

We have examined a number of gross sins and surely this is an example of a detestable act. This refers to “sexual relations between a human and an animal” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). We may recognize this sin as utterly perverse—and it is—but some minority of people actually commit this.  Not long ago we were shocked and dismayed that the United States military has now eliminated its traditional law against bestiality!

In the Law of Moses, bestiality was prohibited under the pain of death: “If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them” (Leviticus 20:15-16). God says that this relationship is a perversion: “You shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion” (18:23).

Paul warns that those who commit “immorality, impurity, sensuality” will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).  Whenever Scripture condemns fornication (porneia), it condemns all forms of sexual immorality—and this would include bestiality.  Impurity and sensuality would also condemn such a sin as this.

Most people would find this sin to be abhorrent, but we must face the facts.  In the past, most people would have considered homosexuality also abhorrent, a shame, and perverted behavior. Today it has become accepted by over half of the populace. If this could happen with one form of moral perversion, why couldn’t it happen with another form?  If the time has come when people loudly demand the right of two men or two women to have sexual relations and even “marry,” on the same basis, what would prohibit a man from “marrying” his horse, his dog, his rabbit, or his cat? If one can commit sexual sin with a member of his own gender, what would hinder another man from committing the grossest of sexual sins with his animal? If one may “marry” a person of the same gender, why couldn’t he “marry” his pet animal?

While very few Americans would endorse such conduct, how can they prohibit it when “anything” is acceptable regardless of its morality or not? Homosexuality is considered “gross immorality” and going after “strange flesh” (Jude 7), and bestiality also would be grossly immoral and would be going after strange flesh. If one can be legalized and legitimatized, why not the other?

Incest 

In a secular dictionary, incest is defined as “sexual relations between persons so closely related that their marriage is illegal or forbidden by custom” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). Does this strike you as a humanistic definition? According to this authority, only “custom” and legality prohibit such a relationship.

We know that in the early years after creation, incest (marrying close of kin) was practiced.  For instance, the first children of Adam and Eve (such as Cain and Seth) must have married sisters or nieces, etc. (Genesis 4:17; 5:3-8). There must not have been physical negatives to this arrangement since genetic defects were not a problem immediately after creation. Remember too that Abraham married Sarah, his half-sister (Genesis 20:1-12). God must have been willing to accept a certain amount of incest during these times. However, 600 years later, in the Law of Moses we read, “None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD” (Leviticus 18:6).  Laws against incest were clearly stated (vv. 7-18). Sexual relations with close of kin resulted in death (Leviticus 20:11-12, 14).

Although we are not under the details of the Law of God revealed through Moses, we can conclude that the relationship standards under Christ would not be less than that given before.  Even our civil laws prohibit incestuous relationships because of the health dangers to one’s offspring. Interestingly, the civil prohibitions are in place and they are strict.  But since our society has come to accept all sorts of bizarre and unnatural relationships, we might expect to come to the day when incest might be tolerated—or even celebrated as an expression of “freedom of choice”!

Fornication 

The term fornication is no longer in vogue; today the term is “living together” or having a “one night stand.” An English word is used to translated the Greek porneia.  The verb porneuo  “relates to any kind of sexual immorality or fornication,” and the noun, porneia “relates to any kind of illegitimate sexual intercourse—that is, sexual immorality or fornication” (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

Fornication was quite common in the first century, the time of the writing of the New Testament.  Pagans of the Roman world worshipped their “gods” by engaging in ritual fornication with temple prostitutes.  Fornication was also common between unmarried people.  It was an accepted fact of life for vast numbers of people in the Greco-Roman world. The good news of Christ was sent to a culture like this!  Christ’s teaching (and the apostles’ teaching) of absolute purity and holiness broke upon a world of vast immorality and evil. Absolute abstinence was the message of Christ’s teaching whereas fornication, adultery, and homosexuality were nearly universal in His day (except for the Jewish people).

Studies indicate that fornication is exceedingly common in contemporary America. The majority of teens and especially those in their twenties and thirties have committed sexual immorality. Further, surveys also indicate that vast numbers of people who plan to marry first of all choose to “live together” in fornication. Then, if this “experiment” fails, they move on to another partner with whom they again commit fornication. This means that the majority of those who wed were fornicators before they marry!

Because of its prevalence at the time the Bible was written, we discover many warnings against porneia, the sin of fornication.  Jesus said that fornication comes “from within, out of the heart of men” and this serves to “defile” a person (Mark 7:21-23). Later in the new covenant writings, Paul declared, “This is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality [porneia]” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).  He then says, “. . . that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (vv. 4-5). The apostle says that God is the “avenger” of those who commit fornication (v. 6). In light of this, “God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification [holiness]” (v. 7). This should be great motivation for the Christian to live a holy life and refuse to fall into the Satanic trap of sexual immorality!

Paul has much to say about fornication in 1 Corinthians 6. He says that “the body is not for immorality [porneia], but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body” (v. 13). Our bodies are “members of Christ,” thus how can we give them to a prostitute—or any other person (v. 15). He says flatly, “Flee immorality” (v. 18a). The one who fornicates sins against his own body (v. 18b). Further, how can we commit sexual immorality in light of this: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (vv. 19-20). These are strong incentives for us to run from all immoral sexual expressions!

But is fornication that bad?  Indeed, there are disastrous consequences when we fall into immoral behavior!  God will judge the fornicator (Hebrews 13:4).  “The wrath of God” will be poured out on those guilty of fornication—and refuse to repent (Ephesians 5:3-6; Colossians 3:5-7). One who is guilty of fornication cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5). The unrepentant fornicator will eternally be consigned to the lake of fire or hell for all eternity (Revelation 21:8) and will not enter the City of God (22:15). Even in this life, think of the fact that two fornicators who marry will never be able to give pure and undefiled minds and bodies to their spouse on their wedding day. How sad—but how very common! How much better for a bride to wear white on the wedding day, indicating that she is untouched—and the husband likewise.

Unisex 

This is a modern perversion, unknown to previous generations in America. It may be defined as “not distinguished or distinguishable on the basis of sex: a unisex look.” It can mean “elimination or absence of sexual distinctions, especially in dress” (The American Heritage College Dictionary).  This certainly is found in contemporary life in this country.

The “unisex” look in pervasive in high school and on the university campus. It is also prevalent in the park, in the shopping areas, on the streets, and wherever people may be found.  Look at the men and women you see and ask, “Does this man look like a man? Does this woman look like a woman? Do I even have difficulty distinguishing what they are?”

When men and women want to look like the other gender—and are not deliberately trying to be transgender—they are seeking the unisex look. At one time, men wouldn’t think of wearing ear jewelry but today this is common. At first, we understand that sodomite men would wear an ear decoration, but now even “straight” men choose to do this. At one time, men wouldn’t think of wearing their hair long, but the 1960s changed all of that; even today the remnants of this “long hair” fad are found with some men.

At one time, the “fairer sex”—the woman—wanted to be seen as a woman, with dress and other feminine attire. Then women began to wear pants in the 1930s and this “pant wearing” practice has continued to our day. Women always wore their hair long, but the “roaring twenties” changed that with the “bobbed hair” rage of the 1920s.  Today visit a church and you will be hard pressed to find more than five percent of women with long hair and maybe none with uncut hair!  Today we have feminine men and masculine women!

In the beginning God our Creator made “male and female” (Genesis 1:27). Later, although the Israelites didn’t dress like most modern people, at least they had clothing that could be distinguished.  “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5). In the New Testament, women were to be dressed in a modest and discreet way (1 Timothy 2:9-10; cf. 1 Peter 3:3-4). There was to be a different in the genders so that one would look like a woman or look like a man. Even the hair was to be different: “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Sexual identity is important and clothing and one’s whole appearance should show that a person is a man or a woman. If you are a man, discard all of your feminine jewelry, your feminine clothing, and make sure you hair isn’t long. If you are a woman, be certain that your appearance is feminine and your hair is long. Don’t compromise yourself by looking like the oppose sex. Let a woman look like a woman and a man look like a man. Be content with the way God has created you.

All Non-Marriage Sexual Expressions Condemned 

We have discussed many wrongful sexual activities and relationships above. However, this is not an exhaustive list. There are many other sexual sins that the Scriptures condemn. Notice a few of these, with brief comments:

1.    Pornography. This may be considered visual fornication. Actually, the term pornography is based on the Greek term for sexual immorality, porneia. All forms of pornography, including that found on the internet, in books and magazines, and on TV must be rejected by the discerning and holy follower of Christ. Scripture says, “Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5; cf. Ephesians 5:3-7).

2.    Immodesty. Immodest clothing or lack of clothing arouses the lustful passions of evil people. Jesus declared, “I say to you that everyone who looks at the woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). It is lustful for a man or woman to look at the opposite gender (or the same gender!) with evil thoughts!

3.    Voyeurism. A voyeur is “a person who derives sexual gratification from observing the naked bodies or sexual acts of others, esp. secretly” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). We can see how this sin overlaps with other sins mentioned above, pornography and immodesty.  Matthew 5:27-28 and 2 Peter 2:14 cover this sin as well.

4.    Rape. Rape is “the crime of forcing another person to submit to sex acts, esp. sexual intercourse” (The American Heritage College Dictionary).  Not only is such a sin not showing love for the “victim,” but it does positive harm as well (Romans 13:10).  It is not only against the will of God but also the civil laws. It is cruel, harmful, brutal, and unloving.

5.    Masturbation. This sin is the “excitation of one’s own or another’s genital organs, usually to orgasm, by manual contact or means other than sexual intercourse” (The American Heritage College Dictionary).  Paul points out that “the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality” (Galatians 5:19). We also read that “immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires” are all condemned (Colossians 3:5). Sexual lust, of course, is condemned as wrong (Romans 1:24-25).

6.    Unnatural sex. We know that there are all kinds of unnatural sexual practices that the Christian should avoid or renounce. God has given us sex to be used in an honorable, pure, and natural way, free from perversion.

In light of all of the counsel we have observed from examining the Bible, let’s ask ourselves whether the following may be totally wrong, partly wrong, or right. Examine these in light of God’s holy Word:

      ·         Movies

      ·         TV

      ·         Videos, DVDs

      ·         Music: Rock, Country, Rap

      ·         Topless clubs

      ·         “Adult” establishments

      ·         Pornography

      ·         Sex education classes

      ·         Romance novels

      ·         Sexual advertising

      ·         Bathing suits

      ·         Mixed health clubs with immodesty

      ·         Women’s magazines

      ·         Mixed swimming

      ·         Sports

      ·         Hot tubs

      ·         Suggestive jokes

      ·         Vulgar speech

      ·         Dating practices

      ·         Engagement and courtship

      ·         Divorce

      ·         Remarriage

      ·         Group showers

      ·         Child training

Let’’s Be Holy in an Unholy World!

With all of these perversions and deviations from the right ways of the Lord, we may tend to become overwhelmed with the filth and evil surrounding us.  We definitely are living in a wicked world and must seek to remain true and pure while dwelling here.  Paul tells us to keep ourselves from being contaminated by the world and its evil ways.  Notice his instruction: “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them, for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12). This is why we have merely defined these sexual perversions and shown scriptures that condemn them instead of delving into a lurid description of what is involved in each of the sins mentioned.

Since we do live in this world, we need to know what sin is prevalent among people we are trying to reach. Additionally, it may be that we were involved in one or more of the foregoing sexual sins, thus we must learn how to deal with our guilty past by the grace of God.  All of this is part of this fallen and corrupt world system. Paul admonishes:

Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

Notice two points that the apostle makes. First, we must present our body as a living and holy sacrifice to God.  This should radically change the way we look at our body—and our sexuality.  Marriage is honorable but immorality is dishonorable (Hebrews 13:4). Second, our view of sexuality and every other matter is not to be patterned after the world but is to be formed by the Word of God. With this view of God’s will and our body, the sins we have noticed in our discussion should have no part in our life. We should renounce all such sin in our past and must henceforth live in absolute sexual purity.

Notice further that we must abstain from all porneia, the Greek word that pertains to all immoral sex—including the sins mentioned earlier. Paul the apostle discusses in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 the reasons why believers should not participate in wrongful sexual activity and relationships. As we mentioned earlier, our bodies are for the Lord and not for immorality (v.13). Our bodies are members of Christ, thus we should not abuse them with immoral sex (v. 15). We sin against our own body if we commit immorality (v. 18). Further, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (v. 19). If the Spirit dwells in us, how can we take that body and use it in an unholy manner? And, finally, we don’t belong to ourselves, but to the Lord since He bought us (v. 20). Thus, we are to glorify God with our body. We can’t do this if we are committing immoral sex!

As we read through the Word of God, we will notice again and again reasons why we simply cannot participate in immoral sex but must live in absolute chastity and holiness.  If we have already engaged in sexual immorality of any kind, we must be willing to repent of all such sin and seek God’s forgiveness.  We may be washed clean through the blood of Christ and be totally forgiven (1 John 1:7)

After Paul mentions a list of sins that the Corinthians had committed—including sexual sins such as fornication, adultery, and homosexuality—he states that these sexual sinners had been completely forgiven: “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). They had been washed from the defilement of their sexual sin. They had been set apart from sin and the world. And they had been justified (or declared righteous) before a holy God.  All of this came to them through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our living Lord.

This same experience can be yours! You can be entirely forgiven of all of your sexual sin and be absolutely holy in God’s sight. We encourage you to consult our website that has many articles on how to be forgiven and articles on God’s view of sexuality. Also, we have a selection of booklets that will offer God’s perspective on sex, sin and forgiveness. Please seek His forgiveness today! Come to God through Christ without delay!

 

Comments are closed.