I have been teaching the Bible study “The Truth about sex” written by Kay Arthur since 2004 when I first studied it for my own personal walk with the Lord. I was amazed to see how practical the Word of God is in the area of human sexuality. One of the lessons that hit home with me was the fact that God still judges sexual sin today, as He did in the Old Testament.
I grew up after the sexual revolution and so a warped form of human sexuality was given to me at an early age, via mass media, public school, and from friends and their “experiences”. I also grew up hearing that God is not the same as He was in the Old Testament because Jesus changed all of the teachings of the Old Testament. My whole world was rocked after studying this lesson.
I. Sexual sin mentioned in the Old Testament
A passage that I would like to consider is Deuteronomy 22. There are several sins mentioned here and the consequences of those sins are mentioned.
- Premarital sex I – In verse 13-21, the scenario is a man marrying a woman, having relations with her on their wedding night and learning that she was not a virgin when he married her. She has never been married and the only way that she could have lost her virginity was having premarital sex. The punishment was death. Maintaining her purity until marriage protected her and her family.
- Adultery – In verse 22, the next scenario is a married person having sex with someone other than his or her spouse. God condemns both parties in this case and the punishment was that they were both put to death. This punishment purges the evil from the land and protects the innocent as well as the victims.
- Premarital sex II – In verses 23-24, we see another case of premarital sex. The difference between this one and the previous one is that in this case, they are caught in the act and one of the partners was engaged to another person. Both are punished. The punishment is death. It is to purge the land from evil, to keep these actions from spreading. This protects the innocent people as well as the victims.
- Rape – This is a sexual sin and it is punished by death. The one who sins and rapes a girl is the only one who is put to death. The victim is protected.
- Premarital sex III – This is the third case of premarital sex. If differs from the others because no one is engaged. If and when they are caught, they must marry and never divorce. This protects the girl from falling in to the punishment of premarital sex point number 1.
Let’s turn to another Old Testament passage to see what other sexual sins are mentioned and the punishment for them. The passage to consider is Leviticus 20:10-22. I want to look at new sexual sins mentioned in this passage.
- Incest in several different forms. A mother and her son have sexual relations. They are both to be put to death. They have condemned themselves by their own actions. A man and his daughter-in-law have sexual relations. Death is the result and they mark themselves out for this punishment by their own actions. A man and his mother-in-law have sexual relations. Their punishment is death and they mark themselves for this death by their own actions. Brothers and sisters who have sexual relations with each other will pay the price. They bear the shame of their actions and are cut off from their people. A man has sexual relations with his aunt and God condemns this. They will pay the price for their sins. Another case of incest is a man and his sister-in-law. God condemns it and they will pay the price for their sins.
- Homosexuality – Those who claim that homosexuality is not a sin because the word homosexual is not in the Bible do not read this passage. God defines their actions instead of using a specific term. The result is death and they bring this punishment upon themselves.
- Bestiality committed by men and women. Both men and women who practice this form of sexual sin are put to death and they are at fault for their death because of their actions.
- Sex during the menstrual cycle. According to God, this is a sin and should not be practiced. Those who practice this bring judgment upon themselves.
- Pornography – Uncovering the nakedness of others literally means, purposefully exposing the genitals of another to see and lust over. This is what happens when you look at porn.
At the end of Leviticus 20, we see why God condemns these sins and wants us to obey Him in the area of sexuality. Obeying God and turning away from sexual sin protects us and our society. Disobeying God defiles us, our society, and the land in which we live, causing the land to spew us out. We lose the blessings of God on our lives and our nation. The sad part is that most of these sins that are mentioned are alive and well in our society today, some of which are being promoted as a virtue instead of a vice.
II. Sexual sin in the New Testament
Is it a new day under the New Testament where God no longer pronounces judgment on sexual sin? Let’s take a look at the Scriptures and see. First, when Jesus came, He shared that He did not come to do away with the Law of God or the teachings of the Old Testament. He came to fulfill all of those Laws. Some of the laws are no longer valid, such as civil and ceremonial laws. There is no longer a need for a sacrifice for our sins. We can now eat shellfish. However, there are moral laws that still apply to us today. Under those moral laws, we find sexual sin.
- Homosexuality – Jesus, Paul, Peter, and Jude all spoke on the sin and dangers of homosexuality. Jesus agrees with the punishment applied by God to Sodom for the sin of sexual immorality in the form of homosexuality. Paul teaches why people choose to be homosexuals in Romans 1. In I Corinthians 6, Paul explains that homosexuals cannot be Christians and they will not inherit the kingdom of God unless they repent and are transformed by God (be born again). In Romans 1 there is a phrase that explains what happens to people who practice sexual immorality in any form, but especially in the form of homosexuality. It is found in verse 27, “ receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. ” Those who practice sexual immorality, especially homosexuality, receive their punishment in their own persons because of their actions. What is that punishment? I believe that this is a reference to sexually transmitted diseases. If you practice sexual sin, you are at risk and like the old saying goes, “if you play with fire, you will eventually get burned“.
- Fornication – This word is mentioned in I Corinthians 6:9-11 and it is also mentioned in Hebrews 13:4. The word translated as “fornicate” is the Greek word “pornea”. The noun fornicator is “pornos”. This is where we get the word “pornography” from that we use in English. It means any form of illicit sex, sex outside of the bonds of marriage, both physical and mental. This is the umbrella for all sexual immorality. God punishes it the same way that He did in the Old Testament. Death is the result but under the New Testament, He does not involve people to carry out His judgment. He deals directly with the person and the judgment is in the form of STD’s. Not only is there physical judgment but there is also eternal judgment for those who live in sexual sin and do not repent. This one umbrella word covers all the sexual sins mentioned in the Old Testament.
- Adultery – This is the same idea that was mentioned in the Old Testament. Again, fornication covered premarital sex as well as sexual sin after marriage. God punishes this sin both physically and eternally.
What is the hope for every person who has committed this terrible sin, who has entrapped themselves in the cycle of sexual sin? Is psychical and eternal punishment all that they have to look forward to? YES and NO. It depends on how they respond to the Gospel.
III. God’s plan of action
There is hope for all, especially for those trapped in sexual sin. In I Corinthians 6, Paul speaking to the Corinthian church members, told them they such were some of them before they came to Christ. In the congregation there were former fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, male homosexual prostitutes etc., yet God transformed them and set them free from their slavery to sexual sin. In Hebrews 13, God teaches us to take preventative measures by honoring marriage and the marriage bed by avoiding sexual immorality (fornication) and adultery. In Romans 1, we have to acknowledge God for who He is and bow our knee to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are a couple of passages that I would like to consider in how to avoid sexual immorality. One is I Corinthians 7 and the other is I Thessalonians 4:3-8.
In I Corinthians 7, Paul gives some awesome advice to the believers who want to avoid sexual immorality. The first piece of advice that God gives through Paul is that men and women are not to start a fire in each other if they are not married because they will burn with passion and the only way to put that fire out is through sexual relations. If they are married then that is okay. If they are not married then they will commit sexual sin and come under the judgment of God.
In I Thessalonians, Paul gives more advice. As believers, we are to be sanctified, set apart from the rest of the world in our view of sexuality. The world runs toward sexual sin with arms wide open. We are tor run away from sexual sin as fast as we can. How do we do this?
- Know God intimately. Without knowing and walking with God moment by moment, we cannot avoid sexual immorality.
- Abstain from sexual immorality. Run away from it. God has given us a spirit of power, love, and discipline so that we have the knowledge to run away from sexual immorality and the ability to do so.
- Possess our bodies in honor and sanctification. Do not willfully expose ourselves to things that will stir up sexual desire. Be careful about how we spend our time, what we watch and listen to, and in whose company we spend vast amounts of time. If you are not married yet spend large amounts of time alone with a person of the opposite sex, you set yourself up to burn with passion and fall into sexual sin. Even as a believer, you are not strong. You are weak and since you know it, do what God says and run away.
In conclusion, we have seen that God’s view of sexual sin is the same in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. He punishes sexual sin the same way. If you practice sexual immorality in any form then you expose yourself to God’s judgment. If you do not repent, the physical judgment will not be the worst part. There will be eternal judgment that will be heaped upon you as well and there will be no escape. Please, hear and accept the Gospel of Christ now while there is still a chance to repent and be forgiven, escaping the physical as well as eternal judgment. How does all of this line up with what you have been taught about sex and human sexuality? Will you choose to listen to eternal God or mortal man on this subject? May the Lord help us learn to possess our bodies in honor and sanctification.