Sexual morality

God designed sexual intercourse as an enjoyable expression of love between a husband and wife to bind their relationship together. It was also designed so that children could be born into a loving and committed family.

What, then, is sexual immorality? Sexual relationships outside marriage were forbidden by God.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians Ch.6:15-20)

Sexual immorality is a temptation that is always before us. In movies and television, sex outside marriage is treated as a normal, even desirable, part of life. While marriage is often portrayed as confining and joyless. But God does not forbid sexual immorality just to make life more difficult. He knows its power to destroy us physically and spiritually. It has devastated countless lives and destroyed families. God wants to protect us from damaging our self and others. Address our loneliness and desires by putting God in the centre of our life.

Control in sexual matters

God requires us to use self-control in sexual matters. If you are not married that means abstaining from sexual relations. If you are married, this means staying faithful to their partner for life.

It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians Ch.4:3-7)

Self-control does not mean just controlling what we do it also means controlling our thoughts.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew Ch.5:28)

Jesus says that the desire to have sex with someone other than your spouse is mental adultery and thus sexual immorality. If the act is wrong then so is the intention.

Sexual relations within marriage

When God created men and women he had designed how sexual relations would work between the two of them. This is why God hates sexual immorality as it is men and women stepping outside God’s plan and making their own rules.

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Mark Ch.10:6-9)

The plan that God has for marriage is that a man and woman are totally committed to each other for their whole life. The emotional, spiritual and physical closeness that the couple experience is described as two becoming “one flesh”. Sexual intercourse has been designed by God as a way of the husband and wife binding their relationship together in an expression of love.

Be happy, yes, rejoice in the wife of your youth. (Proverbs Ch.5:18) The Living Bible

God does not intend faithfulness in marriage to be boring, lifeless, pleasure less and dull. Real happiness comes when we decide to find pleasure in the relationship God has given or will give us and to commit our self to making it pleasurable for our spouse.

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)

Sexual intercourse was also designed as a way of children being born.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis Ch.1:27-28)

It is important that parents remain faithful to each other and bringing up their children in a God-fearing environment.

Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. (Malachi Ch.2:15)

If parents truly love each other and are totally committed to each other, it is a secure family environment for children to grow up in.

What about living together before marriage

Some people test how their relationship will be by living together before they are married. This is completely foreign to Bible teachings. God requires people to make a commitment for life before becoming one flesh.

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews Ch.13:4)
What happens if you ignore God’s design for sexual relations?

There are people who think they know best and they can make their own decisions. However, the reality of the situation is that God is the creator of us all so – God always knows best.

God has a loving relationship with us – he doesn’t want us to make mistakes and experience the problems that will arise from sexual immorality. These problems can affect the way we think (worry, regrets, etc) or can affect us physically.

a.     An example of physically problems from sexual immorality would be being infected by sexually transmitted diseases such as  venereal disease, syphilis and AIDS. Another physical problem would be unwanted pregnancy.

b.     Examples of sexual immorality changing the way we think would be loss of self-respect, shame and regret, loss of trust in a relationship, breakdown of marriage (and family), regret over loss of virginity – can’t be reversed, the hurt felt by the extended family and the children of the person.

The Bible recognizes the importance of strong rules about sex.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians Ch.3:5-8)

Sexually immoral acts are not innocent dabblings in forbidden pleasures, as is so often portrayed in the media, but powerful destroyers of relationships. They bring confusion and tear down the climate of respect, trust and credibility so essential for solid marriages and secure children.

For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. (Proverbs Ch.6:23-32)

Sexual relations outside marriage always hurts someone. Some people argue that it is all right to break God’s law against sexual immorality if nobody gets hurt. In reality, somebody always gets hurt. Spouses are devastated. Children are scarred. Before you make a mistake ask God to help change your thoughts so that they are directed to something else more godly.

Moving forward

The Bible makes it clear as to what will happen to the sexually immoral.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians Ch.6:9-10)

However, if those who have been involved in sexual immorality want to repent and start a new life then there is a way! This verse follows on from the two you just read.

And that is what some of you were. 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. (1 Corinthians Ch.6:11)