This will probably be an unpopular post. To clarify a few things up front. 1. The reason we are talking about this issue is because it is addressed in the scripture. 2. The primary audience I have been writing for are those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 3. There is no expectation on my part that an unbeliever would understand or live by a Christian ethic of sexual morality. 4. My comments are intended to encourage wayward brothers and sisters to repentance.
My youngest child the other day intentionally hit me with a toy and it really hurt. I said, “ouch” and put the toy in time-out, effectively grounding her from playing with it. Several moments later she came to where I was reading and asked, “Daddy, do you still love me?”
How do you think I responded? Of course I still loved her and I told her so with my words and a great big hug! But I couldn’t endorse or permit her behavior that was hurting others. The way she was playing with the toy, she was also in real a danger hurting herself. She couldn’t see it then, but it was precisely because I loved her that I addressed her behavior.
From Today’s Reading:
1Corinthians 5:1-2 ESV It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you
Immorality was rampant in the Corinthian church. There were many who were strongly influenced by the culture they were living in. A kind of immorality that was celebrated in the culture was now being celebrated in the church. This was wrong! Indeed it was one of the very few things listed by the church council at Jerusalem that gentiles who convert to Christianity should avoid.
Acts 15:19-21 ESV Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
Today in our culture sexual immorality (simply understood as sex outside of a marriage between a biological man and a biological woman) is being celebrated and championed in our culture. There are even some churches who are also championing the cause of sexual immorality inside the church today. I believe that Paul would lovingly, but strongly rebuke those churches and call them to repentance.
Sexual immorality is a serious sin. Paul reminds us that this category of sin is different because it involves our bodies in ways that other sins don’t. Our bodies are special because God has put the Holy Spirit inside of us. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and so we should pay special attention to glorify God with how we use our bodies. Sexual immorality at its core mocks God’s design in nature and His establishment of the institution of marriage and family.
1Corinthians 6:18-20 ESV Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Paul reminds the Corinthians that those who live sexually immoral life styles will not see the kingdom of heaven. Don’t be deceived though, while this category of sin isn’t great, there are other sins that will keep you out of heaven as well. Indeed, you really only need one sin to be a sinner and one sin will keep you out. All sin is serious.
1Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Yet, Paul doesn’t write to condemn you if you’ve sinned in these ways. He isn’t writing at this point to say that your side of Hell will be especially hot for this type of sin. He’s actually writing to let us know that God through Christ even forgives these sorts of sins when we come to Him in faith and repentance! There were many in the Corinthian church who had lived sexually immoral lifestyles before they trusted in Christ. Trusting in Jesus changed everything. Just look at the very next verse!
1Corinthians 6:11 ESV And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
I’m so grateful that there isn’t a sin in my past or yours that the Lord can’t redeem us from!
Father, Thank you for a direct but loving word on this topic. Give us grace and wisdom today. We ask that you would be glorified in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.