[This] is not about the culture out there. It’s about those of us here—about what we as Christians are doing, what we are seeing, and what we may not know we are doing and seeing. I’m afraid we (including I) don’t have the eyes to see how much the world has squeezed us into its mold. If we could transport Christians from almost any other century to any of today’s “Christian” countries in the West, I believe what would surprise them most (besides our phenomenal affluence) is how at home Christians are with sexual impurity. It doesn’t shock us. It doesn’t upset us. It doesn’t offend our consciences. In fact, unless it’s really bad, sexual impurity seems normal, just a way of life, and downright entertaining.
I fear many of us have become numb to the poison we are drinking. When it comes to sexual immorality, sin looks normal, righteousness looks very strange, and [Christians] look a lot like everybody else.
The first characteristic of sexual sin is deceit. It never delivers what it promises. It offers great satisfaction but gives great disappointment. It claims to be real living but is really the way to death.
No sin that a person commits has more built-in pitfalls, problems and destructiveness than sexual sin. It has broken more marriages, shattered more homes, caused more heartache and disease, and destroyed more lives than alcohol and drugs combined. It causes lying, stealing, cheating and killing, as well as bitterness, hatred, slander, gossip and unforgivingness.
Because marriage comes from God above and not from man or beast below, it involves moral, not merely physical problems. A sin against the commandment of purity is a sin against God, not simply the outraging of convention, the thoughtlessness of youth, the evidence of bad taste. The Savior tells us that, when God’s children are joined in wedlock, they are united by God, and beneath the evident strength and courage and love that this divine direction promises there is a penetrating, ominous warning. Those who tamper with God’s institution have lighted the fuse to the explosive of retributive justice. Marriage is so holy that of all social sins its violation invokes the most appalling consequences. Sodom and Gomorrah were burned out of existence because of the vile disregard of the holiness of marriage. David’s rule over Israel was blackened by his marital follies and by the royal lust that forgot God and dedicated itself to raging passion. The Hebrew people dropped out of the family of nations largely because of the vicious practices associated with Balaam worship (Walter Maier).
A few years ago the former Surgeon General of the United States, David Satcher, reported that some twelve million Americans are infected by sexually transmitted diseases each year. Worldwide there are more than one hundred million cases of gonorrhea alone. In addition, there are cases of syphilis, chlamydia, herpes (millions of people have that), as well as the dreaded AIDS and twenty-one other horrible sexually transmitted diseases. So maybe God isn’t such a killjoy after all by forbidding sex outside of marriage. And maybe every good gift and every perfect gift does come down from above, and not up from beneath with a hook in it and Satan at the other end of the line (James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe).
Homosexual’s Deadly Lifestyle by James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe taken from What’s Wrong With Same-Sex Marriage by James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, copyright 2004, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, p. 89-90.
The stakes in the current conflict over sex are more critical, more central, and more essential than in any controversy the church has ever known. This is a momentous statement, but I make it soberly, without exaggeration. Conflict over sex these days is not just challenging tradition, orthodoxy, and respect for authority in areas such as ordination, marriage, and gender roles. And it does not just affect critically important decisions like the sanctity of human life, the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture, the Trinity and the incarnation of Christ. Rather, war over sex among Christians is now raging over absolutely essential matters of faith without which no one can be a Christian in the first place – matters such as sin, salvation, the gospel and the identity of God Himself (Daniel Heimbach).
The deepest problem of our lives, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is the terrible exchange of the glory of God for images (Romans 1:23). The exchange of the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25). The disapproval of having God in our knowledge (Romans 1:28). Failed worship is our worst disorder. This is beneath all the maladies of the world. Repairing this, not first our disordered sexuality, is our main business in life.
The only sinner who can successfully battle his sins is a justified sinner. In other words, you fight against sexual sins from relationship, not for a relationship.
There is not one instance in all of God’s Word where God advocates or celebrates sex outside of a marriage relationship between a husband and wife. Not one.
Even Christians who refuse to indulge personally in sinful sexual activity often watch movies and shows, read books and articles, and visit Internet sites that highlight, display, promote, or make light of sexual immorality. It’s as if we’ve said to the world, “We’re not going to do what you do, but we will gladly entertain ourselves by watching you.” It’s sick, isn’t it, this tendency that brings delight to us when we observe others in sexual sin?
Ethnic identity is a morally neutral attribute. Black or white is not an issue of right or wrong, and any attempt to say otherwise should be opposed. However, sexual activity is a morally chosen behavior. To be sure, similar to how we have different skin colors, we may possess different dispositions toward certain sexual behaviors. But where our ethnic makeup is not determined by a moral choice or contrary to a moral command, our sexual behavior is a moral decision, and just because we are inclined to certain behaviors does not make such behaviors right.
Every single one of us has a heart that tends toward sexual sin. These tendencies produce different temptations in each of our lives. Some of us experience sexual desire for the same sex, and others of us are prone to fulfill [unbiblical] sexual desire with the opposite sex. Even the ways we want to fulfill those sexual desires vary among us. Without question, part of the mystery of this fallen world includes why certain people have certain desires while other people have other desires. We do not always choose our temptations. But we do choose our reactions to those temptations.
In our thinking, we actually begin to believe that our ways are better than God’s. We take this created gift called sex and use it to question the Creator God, who gave us the gift in the first place. We replace God’s pattern with our preferences, exchanging what God’s Word says about sexuality for what our observation and experience say about it. Yet we’re blind to our own foolishness. It’s as if we’re living out Proverbs 14:12 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” The real danger here is our claim to know better than God what is best for our bodies and to justify sexual sin as a result.
We are all personally, biologically, culturally, and spiritually predisposed toward sexual sin – some of us are simply predisposed in ways that are more culturally acceptable. In the end, every single one of us is a sexual sinner. And that means every single one of us is desperate for a Savior.
God has not left you in the dark regarding what you should do. “Flee!” He says. “Stop reasoning with sexual immorality, stop rationalizing it, and run from it. Flee every form of sexual immorality as fast as you can!”
Sexual immorality might occur for many different reasons: erotic pleasure, financial advantage, revenge on a spouse or parent, fear of saying no to an authority, pursuit of approval, enjoyment of power over another’s sexual response, the quest for social status or career advancement, pity for someone and playing the savior, fear of losing a potential marriage partner, escape from boredom, peer pressure, and so forth.
I have a friend who was sent to plant a church in a hostile city, in a neighborhood dominated by sexual perversion. While making the rounds, introducing himself to pastors already serving in the city one pastor warned him that so many others had sought to minister to that demographic, but, the pastor reasoned, they just weren’t reachable. My friend, though he had served in the special forces, and could well be Chuck Norris’s younger brother, broke down in tears. He explained to the pastor, “If the gospel has no power to save them, it has no power to save me.”
Remember, the strangest fire is that which we think safe to take into our bosom [Pr. 6:27].
The biblical exhortations to resist sexual sin are motivated by a recognition of how it deprives us of even greater satisfaction. The principal reason for saying No to physical immorality is that it undermines the ability of our hearts to deeply enjoy the multifaceted joys that God provides for His children. Sexual sin diminishes our capacity to feel God’s delight in who we are. It drains us of His power and hardens us to the loving overtures of His Spirit.
What are [most] rationalizations based on? One lie. The most pernicious, heinous, Satanic lie of all. They are based on the lie that God really isn’t good after all; that God is neither able nor willing to do for our souls or bodies what they so desperately need done; that therefore God can’t be trusted with our fears and doubts and hopes and hurts. Since God doesn’t care and can’t be trusted, we’ll find satisfaction somewhere else. And so often, we do.
Consider the popular “I need sex.” When this is elbowed out of the category of desire and lust into the biological, the assumption is that sex is a biological need, nearly identical to food and water. The reasoning is that since it is a biological need, sexual self-control is unnatural, and the only option is to practice “safe” sex. Abstinence, therefore, is both old-fashioned and biologically untenable.
Sexual sin never begins by accident. People do not suddenly fall into an illicit sexual act simply by having an opportunity confront them. There is always some specific preparation. This preparation we call “pre-sexual” experience. Pre-sexual experiences are those experiences of mind and action which excite, train, or develop our sexual drives.
In cases I have seen, some common threads emerge and seem characteristic of men who have fallen into sexual impurity:
1. The macho image and a sense of dominance.
2. A perceived failure in one’s job or a blow to one’s ego or pride.
3. A feeling of being “above the rules.”
4. Going easy on one’s self…in many areas like diet or exercise.
5. Carelessly allowing one’s self to be in places or situations that boost temptation.
6. A roving and undisciplined eye.