Posted April 18, 2012
"For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money... without self-control... lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:2-4).
Bible prophecies have long predicted decadent immorality and its devastating consequences, especially in the end time. Think how often we hear of salacious scandals involving "leaders" in positions of power!
"The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (1 Timothy 6:10). And since "sex sells," we have a highly sexualized, "hot" society. To make money, countless people are willing to be a bad influence, even on children.
What is especially shameful and sad is when we learn the moral behavior of people who consider themselves "Christian," is not much better than that of the non-Christians!
In 2008 The Barna Group, which does research regarding religious faith and culture in America, conducted a survey about moral issues. Founder George Barna, concluded: "The consistent deterioration of the Bible as the source of moral truth has led to a nation where people have become independent judges of right and wrong, basing their choices on feelings and circumstances. It is not likely that America will return to a more traditional moral code until the nation experiences significant pain from its moral choices."
The Good News has regularly reported on the tragic trend toward neglecting and rejecting the Bible. And the more "people have exchanged God's truth for a lie... and serve what is created rather than the Creator," the more they tend to slide into "shameful passions... indecent acts" and innumerable other vices (Romans 1:19-32, God's Word). One sin leads to another sin and to worse sins as one's conscience becomes seared.
The Bible has much to say about sex
God is the Authority on sex because He created it. Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in His own image... male and female He created them." We should trust God to teach us about sex and what makes for health and happiness.
The Bible is plain-spoken about the subject. The Bible emphatically does not teach asceticism or Gnostic "dualism" (claiming that physical pleasure is evil and denying or punishing the flesh is spiritual and good). "God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (verse 31). Amazingly, God's first command to Adam and Eve was to "become one flesh"—enjoy sex together, and not just for procreation (Genesis 2:24).
Marriage is sacred. In fact in the Old Testament marriage is a metaphor for the relationship between God and His people, and in the New Testament it as a metaphor for the relationship between Christ and His Church. Accordingly, infidelity to God and Christ is spiritual adultery . And physical adultery blasphemes that holy relationship.
Many things that have great potential and power for good likewise have great potential and power for evil. That certainly includes sexuality. Practically every book in the New Testament warns about sexual temptations!
The Seventh of the Ten Commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," is focused on protecting marriage from being adulterated —polluted and damaged. This is the umbrella command for the many biblical laws that forbid the various kinds of illicit sex. These include laws that proscribe (specifically or by implication) adultery (extramarital sex), fornication (premarital sex), homosexuality (sex with someone of the same sex), incest (sex with a close relative), cohabitation, polygamy, prostitution, bestiality (sex with an animal), rape, sexual abuse, pornography (from the Greek word for immorality, porneía, which occurs 11 times in the New Testament), sexualized pagan rituals, sexual lust (including viewing erotic entertainment), filthy language, indecent exposure (public nakedness), immodest dress, and gender confusion (cross-dressing).
Immorality clearly leads to other terrible sins including abortions, child neglect and abuse, breakdown of marriages, spousal conflict and abuse, and murder. The Bible candidly tells of terrible penalties suffered by Samson, King David, King Solomon and many others.
Those who are unmarried should think in terms of not only being loyal to God's laws but also faithful to a possible future spouse by remaining pure—a virgin—until marriage. Rather than indulging in illicit "safe" sex, one should save sex so it can be great sex with that future mate. Illicit sex is not only physically pernicious (destructive), it damages the mind and heart and destroysthe maximum potential for marital bliss.
The good news!
For those who have committed sexual sins, it's vital to understand God's amazing grace —how He will forgive any and all sins upon sincere repentance (Acts 3:19-21). This is the awesome truth we in United Church of God celebrate each year when we observe the Passover! Also, when a person repents of sexual sins and then stays faithful to God's laws, God gradually bestows more and more healing of the scars on his or her mind and heart.
The moral of the story? Be moral. And for past immorality, a good start is to pray sincerely, "Have mercy upon me, O God... blot out my transgressions... Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Psalm 51:1, 10).
For further understanding—for yourself and for your older children—of what the Bible teaches about sexual morality, I suggest a series of four articles I wrote in 2006 for United News :
Good Sex, Bad Sex
Heart-to-Heart Talk With Men and Teen Boys
Heart-to-Heart Talk With Women and Teen Girls
Teach Your Children Godly Morals and Modesty