An improper relationship with the opposite sex is probably
the number one problem among teenage Christians. The increasing permissiveness of society has
even entered into the Lord's church.
The strong sexual desire that is part of every human being
is not sinful. It is a natural instinct
of man placed there by the Creator for the good of mankind. However, with each natural, human desire God
gives, He gives us also the responsibility to maintain control of it.
As with all matters studied in morality, we will examine
human sexuality in the light of God's word.
This lesson will show that God does not expect us to behave however we
wish to fulfill these desires, but He has set limitations. Concerning sexual immorality, the apostle
Paul states, "it is shameful even to speak of those things which are
done," (Ephesians 5:12). The
intention of this study is not to embarrass or offend the student but to
frankly identify sinful behavior.
Biblical Words Of Sexual Immorality
Let's define what we're talking about. It is the first four words in Paul's list of
the deeds of the flesh:
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which
are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness…
This word appears 26 times in the New Testament. Each time, the King James Version renders it
"fornication." Some English
translations use the phrase "sexual immorality." This may give a connotation too general; for
example, viewing p0rn0graphy is sin and can be considered sexual immorality,
but it is not fornication. Fornication
always involves improper sexual relations with others. J. H. Thayer offers the following definition
fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, etc.
intercourse with close relatives;
intercourse with a divorced man or woman;
the worship of idols
the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to
The phrase "sexual intercourse" is defined by Merriam-Webster
as "physical sexual contact between individuals
that involves the genitalia of at least one person." It continues to explain that this is not
limited to only the so-called "sex act," but also includes other
physical contact of sexual body parts.
Three key points are noted in these definitions:
Fornication always involves activity with
Fornication always involves physical sexual
contact of some kind.
Fornication always involves illicit or lawless
The word "fornication" therefore includes every
kind of unlawful sexual relations:
Pre-marital sex (1 Corinthians 7:1, 2)
Adultery, extra-marital sex (Matthew 19:9)
Homosexuality (Romans 1:26-28)
Harlotry and prostitution (1 Timothy 1:9, 10)
Incest (1 Corinthians 5:1)
Bestiality (Leviticus 20:15, 16)
Plainly stated, when physical, sexual contact takes place
between two who are not lawfully husband and wife, that is fornication, and the
Bible calls it sin. God's disdain for
such immorality is seen in the fact that there are seven lists of evil in the
writings of Paul; fornication is listed in five of them and is the first one
mentioned in each case.
This is simply the special case of fornication involving
married people, or as W. E. Vine puts is, "unlawful intercourse with the
spouse of another." So far-reaching
is this offense that a marriage bond can be broken that might have otherwise
survived a lifetime.
J. H. Thayer defines this as not only physical uncleanness but,
in a moral sense, the impurity of lustful living completely given over to
lewdness and the self-indulgent gratification of fleshly desires.
Literally meaning "without restraint," Thayer
defines this as unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness,
wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence, and continues to add
"unchaste handling of males and females."
Is A Beautiful Thing
In former times, sex was considered shameful by some
societies and to be engaged only for conception. This notion probably arose because of abuses,
such as prostitution. However, the Bible
shows that, in the proper circumstance, sex is an approved gift of God. Nevertheless, in improper circumstances, it
is the proper place
A story is often told of a farmer who, outside in his
garden, picks up a handful of soil from the ground. As he handles it, he can see the parts of
sand, clay, and decomposing organic matter that comprises it along with the
occasional earthworm or other bug. He
brings it up to his nose and smells the life-supporting nutrients and knows he
can grow vegetables in that soil. He
then throws the soil back to the ground.
That's where it belongs, and it is beautiful there in his garden. He would never take that handful of soil into
the house and throw it on the kitchen table.
It doesn't belong there. That
would be dirty.
So it is with sexuality.
The Bible teaches that marriage between a man and a woman is the proper
place; sex is right and beautiful there.
Outside of marriage, it is unclean. Consider these passages:
Hint to reader: he's
not actually talking about water from cisterns and fountains.
Song of Solomon 5:1
Marriage is the only divinely appointed relationship where
these desires may be gratified.
Modern-day preachers in false religion teach that the Bible
does not condemn sex between unmarried couples but only condemns harlotry,
incest, and adultery. Is this true? What does the Bible say? Read carefully these passages and note the
1 Corinthians 6:12-18
To begin, these verses condemn fornication in clear
language, and fornication is not limited only to incest, harlotry, and
adultery. Every reputable definition of
that term includes pre-marital sex in its meaning. Read on…
1 Corinthians 7:2, 8, 9
If sex is lawful between unmarried couples, why would the
apostle say in verse 2 that, in order to avoid fornication, a man should take a
wife and a woman should take a husband?
Again, if pre-marital sex is okay, why would he say to unmarried couples
in verses 8 and 9 that they should get married to satisfy their burning
False teachers want to distort the truth because it is not
very enjoyable to tell people they are involved in sin. However, this is God's word, and the truth is
the truth. Whether we want to accept it
or not, that's just the way it is, and this is the standard by which we will be
Is The Rule
The New Testament Greek language has at least four different
words for love:
AGAPE = Godly love; the love for strangers or
enemies that always seeks their highest good.
PHILEO = the love of close friendship and things
familiar to us.
STORGE = the natural love between family
EROS = the love of romance between the sexes
that arouses physical attraction.
The word EROS does not occur in the New Testament, but the
concept of this passionate love does appear, as our study shows.
The word AGAPE has the deepest meaning of all. It defines the way God loves. This is sacrificial love and always puts
others ahead of self. This love, which
governs and controls all other kinds of love, is best described in 1
Corinthians 13. Note particularly these
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does
not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave
rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not
rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all
things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Let's consider the way AGAPE controls the behavior of EROS.
The Song Of Solomon most vividly describes the nature of
physical love between a man and a woman.
One of the strongest messages learned is about mutual admiration and
friendship. Note the language of
adoration and respect between them:
Song of Solomon 4:8-11
Song of Solomon 5:16
True love will never do anything to belittle another or put
them to shame.
The Song Of Solomon teaches young lovers to wait until the
proper time to fulfill these desires, indicated poetically by the repeating
phrase, "Do not stir up love until it pleases."
Song of Solomon 2:7; 3:5; 8:4
The woman is described as a garden enclosed and filled with
delicate flowers and fruits in the following verses:
Song of Solomon 4:12-16
The lovers do not rush in and stomp through the garden; this
would damage the "tender grapes," (2:13) the things that are to be
kept fresh and new. Note particularly
the phrase "Awake, O north wind, … That its spices may flow
out." This suggests waiting until
the proper time; you have to wait for the "north wind" to blow.
True love will never say anything to pressure or tempt
is not self-serving
The one who loves you the most will be the one who loves
what is right like you do and will do everything in their power to help you get
Song of Solomon 2:4-6
True love will never use another for selfish purposes or
So strong is the emotion of this love that it can cause
significant side effects: our heart rate quickens, our palms get sweaty, our
speech begins to stutter, and we get weak in the knees. No wonder she says, "I am
Song of Solomon 8:6, 7
True love will always stand and do the right thing.
Right Way, Divine Design
God designed sex, and He ordained marriage, so He knows what
is best for us. If we fulfill these desires
according to God's law, we will find ourselves much happier in the end. It may be hard for young people to understand
now how that could be, but if you will do it God's way, when you become older,
you'll be glad you did with no regrets.
Paul compares marriage to the relationship of Christ and His
church. If Christ's relationship with
the church is pure, then marriage is pure.
Sex is a privilege of marriage the same as forgiveness is a privilege of
being in the church.
What is lost when people engage in sexual relationships
outside of marriage? Remember, once a
deed has been done, there's no undoing it.
You can repent and say you're sorry and be forgiven, but still there is the
loss of something special. Your chastity
is a gift you can give only once. A
relationship is deepened and special when both parties have waited until
marriage. The world may see this as
foolish and old-fashioned, but from the beginning, we have established that the
world's view is not our standard.
So what do you stand to lose?
Respect for your partner
A clear conscience
Your eternal salvation
There's a lot more to marriage than sex. If sex is engaged without marriage, all the
other wonderful things God designed for you are missing:
It is not based on love but physical lust. If it were truly love, it could not be sin;
love and sin are incompatible (1 John 5:3).
Also, consider this, when the physical attractiveness begins to fade due
to years or disease, the relationship will probably not endure.
True companionship is not enjoyed (Song of
Solomon 6:3). There is no commitment in
a relationship of convenience. Whenever
one pleases, they may up and leave, and where will that leave you?
There is no genuine mutual concern (1
Corinthians 7:2-5). When each partner
puts the other ahead of themselves, there is a contentment like no other. This selfless, sharing care is of divine
Trust is missing (Proverbs 31:10). To know that the promises of the spouse are
as unfailing as the promises of God brings a peace no one else knows. There is no need for suspicion and no place
This is a false oneness (Genesis 2:18-25). "One flesh" suggests much more than
sexual oneness. In fact, it is
completely possible to be married, that is "one flesh," and be
physically incapable of sexual intimacy due to an injury or deformity. Such a relationship would likely crumble if
not based upon godliness. The flesh is
the medium through which we experience life on this earth. To be "one flesh" means to share
every aspect of this life; your hopes, your dreams, your goals, your desires,
your plans, and your wants are one.
Confidence is lost (Proverbs 28:1). If you engage in random sex, you have to
worry about venereal disease and unwanted pregnancy.
Homosexuality is sin, though many religious leaders today
1 Timothy 1:9, 10
Many people today claim that the homosexual inclination sometimes
naturally occurs in certain people, as if simply a physical feature or
personality trait. Once this is
presumed, the next conclusion is that, if this is the way God makes certain
people, then they do not have the ability within them to be anything else, and
they ought not be judged on that.
However, we must accept God's word as authority rather than the
suppositions of men. The Bible tells us
that it is indeed possible for people to give up their homosexual practices.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 "Such
were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified,…"
Even if a person has an inclination toward homosexuality,
that does not permit him to gratify the desires of the flesh simply because he
likes it. The pleasurableness of sin has
never been its justification. Besides,
we would not think a fit of rage would be acceptable behavior of someone just
because he has more inclination toward anger than others as a personality
trait. Homosexuality is practiced by
people who simply want to abandon self control and
serve their own desires rather than the Creator.
Since homosexuality is sin, it is not a laughing
matter. It is not something in which a
Christian should find any humor.
Television shows, movies, and theatre today press homosexuality upon society,
calling it merely an "alternate lifestyle." The word "gay" has been adopted by
them as a euphemism to suggest that they are simply happier and friendlier than
others. However, the Bible calls it
depraved, unnatural, degrading, indecent, and improper. With jokes and making light of any who would
say it is wrong, they attempt to "desensitize" our culture to the
activity. A Christian professing moral
virtues ought never become desensitized to sin.
1 Timothy 4:2
Furthermore, it is not adequate simply to refrain from
actively practicing homosexuality. If we
are not willing to openly state that this is wrong when confronted with the
matter, we effectively give our approval and thereby take part in this sin.
Learning what the Bible teaches on sexual immorality and
putting it into practice every day are two entirely different things. When you are out on a date, for example, what
can you do to help make sure you keep yourself pure? Here are some important things for young
people to think about to help maintain control.
selective who you date.
This doesn't mean you have to view everyone you date as a
candidate for marriage, but you should know something about their
character. This is especially important
if you date a non-Christian; they may not have the same moral standards as you
or recognize the same limitations as you (1 Corinthians 15:33). Be careful about becoming involved in a serious,
on-going relationship with a non-Christian who shows no interest in spiritual
things. Ask yourself, "Is this
someone who will help me get to heaven or hinder me?"
on guard during private times.
When you're on a date, there will be occasions when the two
of you are all alone. Do not think that,
because no one sees you, anything is different.
We may hide these sins from others, but nothing is secret from God
(Hebrews 4:13). Do not invite problems
by planning a date where much of your time is spent in private. It is always easier to stay out of difficult situations than to get out.
your affection with moderation.
There's nothing wrong with hugging and kissing, but long
sessions of this can easily get out of hand.
The next step is inappropriate touching, or petting. Remember that the Bible warns against
lewdness, which includes by definition "unchaste handling of males and
females." Read Ezekiel 23:1-3, and
remember that fondling private body parts is equivalent to fornication.
Paul's instruction is to "flee fornication" (1
Corinthians 6:18), "flee also youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22), and
"abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22). This does not mean see how close you can get
to doing it without actually doing it!
Try kissing less and talking more with each other; you may learn
not deceive yourself.
There's different kinds of sexual activity. You may be asking yourself what exactly
constitutes having sex? If you have to
wonder about it, you have probably gone too far. Remember, if intimate physical contact is
made, sex with an adjective in front of it is still sex.
And Questions For Discussion
What is the difference between fornication and
The Bible says that God provides the way of
escape in every temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). What if I feel like I just can't help myself?
If I'm engaged to another, isn't that like being
married, since we've already given each other a pledge? What would then be wrong with beginning
Genesis 2:24 says, "A man shall leave his father
and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one
flesh." What does it mean to be one
Is there anything wrong with making fun of
homosexual people? Explain your answer.
What's wrong with petting?