Q. Does God, in this commandment, forbid only such scandalous sins as adultery?
A. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, body and soul, and God wants both to be kept clean and holy. That is why God forbids all unchaste actions, looks, talk, thoughts, or desires (1) and whatever may incite someone to them (2).
Read: (1) Matt. 5:27-29; 1 Cor. 6:18-20; Eph. 5:3-4; (2) 1 Cor. 15:33; Eph. 5:18.
Around 50% of women of all ages masturbate at least 3 times per week. 72% of women between the ages 25-29 masturbate (Indiana University. National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior). 1 in 3 women watch porn at least once a week (Marie Claire’s Survey on Porn Habits). Boys and girls 12 years old engage in sexting (Covenant Eyes). Kids are first exposed to porn at 11 and by 14, 94% of kids will have seen porn (Conquer Series Stats). 76% of 18-24 year old Christians actively seek out porn (Barna Group Survey, 2016).
We live in a hyper sexualized age and most times we don’t even recognize it. If we see the statistics of what is considered porn, we will see that what was scandalous 25 years ago, is now considered normal today. From premarital sex to sex scenes in movies; from masturbation, to sexually charged text messages; from homosexual relationships to sexaully charged talk. We are not shocked by any of these anymore. Sexual purity is not championed by our society and most of the times, as Christians, we don’t champion sexual purity either. But sister, what does The Bible say about this? Let’s study question 108 of The Heidelberg Catechism to figure it out.
All of sexual immorality is encompassed in the Greek word “porneia” which means “the selling off of sexual purity”. According to God’s Word, sexual purity is kept when sex is confined to a heterosexual, monogamous relationship through marriage till death. Therefore any sexual activity, thought, talk or desire outside of an heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sexual immorality. And this includes lustful thoughts, masturbation in most scenarios, pornography and anything that incites or stimulates sexual thoughts. Now you may think that this is archaic and outdated and frankly impossible. But sexual immorality has proven to be destructive and God, in His love, warns us against it and condemns such actions.
Sexual desire was given to you by God to be expressed in a monogamous, heterosexual, marriage. And in that, sexual intimacy is beautiful. But when our sexual desire is defiled by disobeying God’s design for sexuality, then we will offend God and will destroy ourselves. And again, sister, the expression of sexual impurity is a sexual action, but the root of this is that our desires are lustful. We desire excessively to feel pleasure so we masturbate. We desire excessively to be free to do what we want, when we want, because we want to feel free so we engage in premarital sex or porn or lesbian relationship. We desire excessively to be loved, desired, valued and accepted.
“For this is God’s will: that you become holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to possess his own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God.” We forget that freedom from God is slavery to sin. We forget that the passions of the flesh lead to destruction. We forget that self control is a fruit of the Spirit. And most importantly, we forget that we have been excessively loved, desired, valued and accepted by the finished work of Jesus on The Cross when He died for our sins and by faith we believe. It is easier to believe that we need to have the freedom of engaging in sexual immorality and to make myself and my pleasure my idol because the world does so rather than accepting that Jesus loves me and knows my desires and submit to His good plans and good design. But sister, today He is challenging for you to trust Him and to express your sexual desire within the God established limits of a monogamous, heterosexual, till death do you part- marriage.
Sister, I don’t know if you struggle with masturbation or porn. I don’t know if you are having sex with someone who “you love” but is not your husband. I don’t know if you struggle with same sex attraction. If you do, please talk to your pastor. My intent is to show you the God given limits of sexuality but your pastor or a sister in Christ can walk with you and help you if you want to repent and walk according to God’s good plan for sexuality. Please do not be afraid and go get help. God will forgive. God will restore. God will be enough. And you will find that sex God’s ways is fulfilling and beautiful. I am praying for you.
In Christ alone.