Turn on any television, look at any magazine in the checkout lane at your local supermarket and you see sex. Illicit sex! Sex sells! It is what the world craves. It is what the flesh wants. The eyes are the gateway to one of two things; either they are to glorify the Lord, resisting sin and the things God condemns or they can be used to damn a man.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
I can promise you in the 2000 years since Christ, there has been more than one man who has actually yanked out his eye in response to his visual sin. Is this practical? Probably not, as the mind has these images imbedded in there for the time on Earth; plucking out the eye will not remove those images. However, the point is taken. Better to pluck it out than be ‘thrown into hell’.
I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.
I have found, that as God sanctifies you, even the ads in a Walmart circular can stumble you; The mind and the devil know your weakness. An underwear ad can be pornographic. Believe that.
I was at a local restaurant recently; there was a young girl, probably in her later teen years, at the buffet line; She was w/ an adult. I would pray this was not her dad as she was wearing a shirt only; it was a sheer shirt at that. To be perfectly honest with you, it was a bit difficult to not glance at her twice. To look twice would inviting sin and indulging the flesh.
14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
The passage says that not all things illicit that are viewed by the eyes are immediately sinful per se, but after one indulges it, feeds on it. This visual sin does not necessarily have to be sexual in nature; it can be a number of different things. Watching a bloody, gruesome movie could as well be seen as in the category. There are many things that we should not put before our eyes.
1 Thes 4:3-5
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.”
In light of this passage, it should be the goal of every believer to understand as full as possible what the apostle meant by ‘sexual immorality’. We will pursue this in this paper.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
The apostle uses frank language here: “a warped and crooked generation”.
We have two important facets to research: sexual immorality, things that are warped and crooked in light of Gods truths.
The antithesis to these things is: sexual purity and Gods gift of sex to His creation and a generation aligned with Gods word;
Gods word alone is able to make the crooked things straight.
I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight:
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
Sexual immorality; what exactly is it? It is defined scripturally in a number of things:
The 7th commandment is Thou shall not commit adultery. For one to break this law, one would need to be in married. In early biblical times, the judgment for adultery was death. Lev 20
This is an assault against unmarried individuals. It is a consensual act, generally, between two persons-however, in this age, it can be more than two. It can be between the same gender. Fornication does not necessarily imply intercourse. There are other things that fall under fornication that are not intercourse. God leaves it up to the individual to decide based on the Holy Spirits guidance in all things, to define this adequately; In other words, you will know.
Tina and I had our first kiss at the altar…….
There is a movement out there that’s called The Purity Movement. It is not a bad thing per se; it is much akin to what Tina and I did. We don’t press people to follow our situation as it is extra-biblical. However, it is prudent. There is much wisdom there. Prudence. If I was to counsel any youth in this regard, I would still recommend full abstinence in their courtship. The bible warns about awakening love before it’s time. In the Song of Solomon, it reads:
8:4 Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.
At the basis of this sin is lust. Lust is not covetousness, but they are related. To be accurate, lust is a break in the 2, 7, 10th commandments.
My friend Josh says:
Lusting – an inordinate desire for otherwise inherently lawful things or an altogether illicit desire for inherently unlawful things. Lust has a very broad usage and so also has it a broad definition.
From the WLC:
Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.766
Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections,767 words,768 and behavior;769 and the preservation of it in ourselves and others;770 watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses;771 temperance,772 keeping of chaste company,773 modesty in apparel;774 marriage by those that have not the gift of continency,775 conjugal love,776 and cohabitation;777 diligent labor in our callings;778 shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.779
Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,780 are, adultery, fornication,781 rape, incest,782 sodomy, and all unnatural lusts;783 all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections;784 all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto;785 wanton looks,786 impudent or light behaviour, immodest apparel;787 prohibiting of lawful,788 and dispensing with unlawful marriages;789 allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them;790 entangling vows of single life,791 undue delay of marriage,792 having more wives or husbands than one at the same time;793 unjust divorce,794 or desertion;795 idleness, gluttony, drunkenness,796 unchaste company;797 lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays;798 and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.799
Matt Winzer says:
“Adultery supposes marriage. The sequel relative to divorce also speaks of the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is what sets apart human sexuality from brutes. It creates a domain of propriety in which sexual activity is to be confined. One must “have” in order to “hold.” To “hold” without “having” is an impropriety because it indulges in the pleasure of the opposite sex without first committing oneself to love, honour, and cherish the person. It treats that person like an object upon which to satisfy one’s own desires and thereby degrades her personhood. Looking but not touching is still a “holding” of the mind and a degrading of the person in one’s own mind.”
Jesus defines lust:
(1Jn 2:16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
(1Jn 2:17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
(Gen 3:6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Notice the order is the same. Lust of the flesh, Lust of the eyes, and the Pride of Life.
1. Looking at or noticing someone (not sinful)
2. Merely noticing a body part, that is, it enters our field of vision (not sinful)
3. Merely appreciating or mentally acknowledging someone’s physical beauty (not sinful)
4. Dwelling upon, imagining further, desiring for one’s self, thinking what it would be like… (definitely sinful)
Augustine: “Lust is the pursuit of things temporal rather than the things eternal“.
1 Cor 6:18
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
Against his own body. Get it? Sexual sin is personal. It happens locally. Solo sex, Autonomous sex, independent sex, self love.
*I want to make note, if you are struggling in other areas, stumbling at this sin will be at the base of your problems. You will find, in counseling sessions, people that have a sin problem or struggles are essentially missing the boat as they are sinning in this area and advocating it as not sinful.
If you are a married man and are assaulting your flesh, it is affecting your relationship with your spouse in more ways than one; for one, you are committing a form of adultery. Your lusty thoughts are a reproach to God and are a break in your marriage covenant. If you are viewing porn on the web, you are compounding the sin. If you are a believer and are caught somehow, it will bring reproach to your ministry as well as your family. Your wife has grounds for divorce! God hates divorce and your wife would be counseled to forgive you and move on in the Lord, as with any sin; however, if this problem is malignant and the person refuses to repent, it is grounds, IMO. Believers should heed this warning. It should make them fearful of Gods hand; His leaders are there to wield the hammer when needed.
The porn industry is a scourge; it is an abuse to either gender; those that participate in production as well as those who watch it. As previously mentioned, the mind is an amazing creation; once you upload images into it, it is there for life to recall at any given moment. Do not think for a minute that the porn industry underestimates the power pornography has over people who view their trash-they are well aware of the addictive capacity of what they produce. Search Google when you have a moment in regards to studies done on the addiction of porn.
I do acknowledge that this addiction is as strong as any other bondage, i.e. drug and alcohol addictions. Men and woman who struggle with this sin need to take action by gaining an accountability partner so that they can be held responsible to this sin. There are a few excellent options for the believer in ‘Covenant Eyes’ and search engine filters controlled by their spouses.
Doesn’t the bible call us to deny ourselves? Pick up our crosses? What separates us from the beasts of the field who just, at a scent, copulate in view of every living thing? They cannot resist their flesh-they are not made in the image of God. But men, are to have self-control.
1 Thes 4:3-5
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
As I have already mentioned, the unbeliever does not know God and thus, they are by default, indulging all these things.
When one speaks of sexual purity, a few obvious things come to mind: Purity and sex. Purity is an outworking of sanctification. We are called to be holy. Purity does not come about without participation of the person. God cooperates with His created in that He works and the believer works. As previously mentioned, this work is a fruit of conversion and not essential to salvation. Remember, salvation is by grace alone. All works are a outworking of the grace God saves us with.
The first thing we should discuss is that God made man and woman. He mandated that the man and woman are married and that this covenant creates one flesh out of the two. This marriage covenant has a main goal in mind and that being, to be fruitful and multiply; to bring forth godly seeds-to enhance the kingdom of God; to bring God His deserved glory. In combination, with a goal in mind, God created the sexual union. Using a modern terminology, this interfacing had a twofold rationale. To unite the male and female and as well bring enjoyment. Yes, I said it; Sex is made for the married couple. You will be hard pressed to find anywhere in the bible where sex, when used correctly is outside of the union and individually. Independent sex is a sin and is rooted in lust and pride.
The concept of multiplying is brought about in a miraculous fashion. The joining together of the fleshes, spiritually and physically brings about a miracle of God. The seed of the man and the egg of the woman meet, interact and life begins.
The world by and large are at enmity with God; their father is the devil and the works that they do justify this charge. They have sexual encounters with numbers of partners; married and unmarried. They have sex w/ the same genders. They make the gift of god into an illicit thing, abusing it and reeking havoc with Gods intent; The reprobate is feverishly working towards filling up their cups of condemnation; the scriptures say that God has turned them over to their sins.
“You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you CAN stop it from building a nest in your hair”. – Martin Luther
(Job 31:1) I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
Putting on the mind of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:16 – For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Philippians 2:5 – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Punish disobedience with obedience
2 Cor 10:6 We are ready to punish every act of disobedience when you have become completely obedient.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Ephesians 4:27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.