1 Corinthians 6:18
ESV - 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.
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Yes, sin is sin. How many lies does one have to tell in order to be a liar; how many things does one steal before becoming a thief? How many killings before someone is deemed a murderer? We need to consider that our judicial system and its principles, although greatly compromised in application and enforcement finds its roots in The Word of God. From fornication to adultery, homosexuality to bestiality, cross-dressing to incest, sexual sin is a major topic in the Bible and strongly prohibited. Violation in most all cases carried the death penalty.(Leviticus 20). Although all infractions of the law required some form of discipline I see no mention of The Lord God requiring individuals to be stoned for lying, stealing, fighting or spreading gossip. He certainly didn't destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because they failed to "love thy neighbor". Yes, sin is sin in the eyes of God. It is also true that His grace is greater than all our sins, He is a loving, merciful and forgiving God but we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). It seems that in our modern day society people overlook this principle. Oh yes, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us and in many cases will restore or repair damaged relationships where there is genuine repentance. However this all usually comes at a terrible price as others have noted. Consider the life of king David who was guilty of lust, adultery, (rape?) and murder (2 Samuel 11). The Lord sent the prophet Nathan who boldly indicted and then pronounced judgment upon David for his sins. God forgave David and used him mightily after he repented however: 2 Samuel 12:10-11-12 " Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun." Payday some day, we reap what we sow. Proverbs 6 23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. 30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; 31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. 32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Thank God for His mercy and grace! "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11) I do not believe God has changed His mind one bit concerning condemnation of sexual sin, any sin for that matter. Our problem is that we have changed our minds concerning who God is.
I agree with Sean. In the eyes of God sin is sin. To sin means to miss the mark, err, wander from Gods law. Basically it means to do something that is against the Holy Nature of God. If you think about it when Jesus was confronted with the adulteress woman who the Pharisees bought to him and said "She should be stoned according to the law of Moses (which was a trap)" he pondered, wrote something in the dust whilst they demanded an answer. He stands up and says "Ok but let the one who has never sinned throw the first rock" he sits down again writes something else in the dust, he looks up again and the accusers are gone. He then says to the woman "Where are your accusers, any of them condemn you? She says "No Lord" he replies "Neither do I, go sin no more" First thing I want to say about the way Jesus handled this situation is that he said "Neither do I condemn you" he didn't say "Until you stop sinning your under condemnation and when you stop your no longer under condemnation" Second thing he uses the word sin. He doesn't say "Stop your sexual sinning" He gently points out that this woman has missed the mark, done something that is contrary to Gods Holy nature, without condemning her he is effectively saying "I love you, God loves you, aspire to be like him" If you read Galatians 5:16-26 you will a list of that sexual sin is listed amongst a lot of other sins, like idolatry, anger and so on. The problem with the Corinthian church was that they were abusing I'm saved by faith therefore I am allowed to do anything as its outside the body/flesh but not realising that the very spirit of God is in them and to walk in the Spirit means that to walk in the flesh is sin. All sin we commit on this earth has consequences to those around us whom we sin against. I do believe however that sexual sin has far more reaching consequences. In the beginning God created Adam & Eve, they would become one flesh, this happened by his gift of sex. It was to be consumed in a committed relationship, one man one woman. The gift of sex is brings about an emotional connection, a loving connection and expression of love between two people who God has bought together and wants them to be together whilst here on earth. Walk outside of that then you break all connection/connection/trust/love. If you think about it, look at a ruler, it's a complete item, snap a ruler you will see that you can't put it back together again, it's jagged. When we join ourself to someone in sexual Union then snap the ruler we leave a jagged edge in our own life and the other persons life. The jagged edge is missing parts which leads to emotional pain and rejection which leads to bitterness, anger, broken families, unhappy children and the list could go on. We as believers, the church are the bride of Christ. We need to be faithful, fulfil the marriage vow that we have with Christ, love him as he loves us and aspire to be like him. He will never be unfaithful even when we are. "Does anyone condemn you? No, then neither do I, aspire to as faithful to me as I am to you"
I think sexual sin is not greater than other sins in God's eyes for sin is sin. However, fornication can lead to hurt feelings of another, or pregnancy and abortion or STD's. Furthermore, when we watch porn it helps to support that industry which hurts all those people involved.
God sees these things much differently than man does and definitely defines them much differently than man does. Paul was well aware of this and more clearly than any other Bible writer discusses it with his readers. Key to understanding what Paul is talking about here is the understanding of a couple of other statements made by Paul. In Ro 7:14 Paul says, the law is spiritual but I am carnal. Carnal means fleshly, not sinful as we are often taught. The point here is that the physical symbols of the law are not so important as the spiritual principles. Paul discusses this further in Col 2:16, 17 where he tells us that these physical things addressed in the law are mere shadows and the spiritual things they represent are the reality that we must be aware of and learn. Paul, more than any of the other apostles was aware of this distinction and taught it constantly. Neither Jesus nor Paul ever put away any portion of the law, contrary the teaching of most Christians today. Instead they upheld the law at every turn yet showed that the physical symbols had very little meaning in comparison to the spiritual realities behind the law. Jesus never told us murder was wrong, instead he told us that because of the presence of the hate that leads to murder we had already committed the murder in the sight of God. The goal is abundant life and hate always diminishes life, not only in its target, but especially in the hater; thus murder is committed. Adultery is mentioned in scripture somewhere around 80 times. In considerably over half of these the adultery referenced is not between a man and a woman, it is between mankind (or individuals) and God, with whom we have a marriage covenant when we accept him as our savior. When we accept the doctrines of other "gods" and bring these into our worship we are marrying ourselves to those gods and committing adultery against the God of heaven. Every reference to adultery in the prophecies, both OT and Revelation, refer to this "adultery" between man and God. Many, perhaps most of the references to adultery in the epistles are also to this definition of the term. Since Paul was constantly aware of the symbol vs what is symbolized and tried to teach us to do the same, I have little doubt that even when Paul was referencing illicit sexual activity between a man and a woman he was also specifically thinking of this other definition and considered his words to be applied to that as well and more importantly. If sexual sin is worse in the eyes of God it is for this reason. It is sin against our relationship with God, our betrothed. If it is a sin against the body it is as sin against the Body of Christ, and these realities, more than the shadows, determine why it would be a greater sin than any other. There is a reason why the Hebrew word yada (to know) is also used for sexual intercourse. All "intercourse" between a teacher and his student is spiritually a sexual act. The first teacher of any child is his parents. There is some knowledge that is not terribly intimate and can be shared with anybody, imparted to anyone by anyone. Some knowledge is more intimate and should only be shared within the family, and other knowledge is so intimate it should only be shared between husband and wife. (These are also symbols and should be applied more broadly, say as to the relationship between business partners.) The reason gossip is a sin is not because it is false witness. Very often it is absolute truth, and still a sin. Gossip is a sin because it is a violation of an intimacy, and is, therefore, adultery. The knowledge (seed) shared between you and me is often of an intimate and private nature. We can share it between us, but not with others. If I go tell my best friend what you shared with me I have now committed "adultery" against you. I am authorized to have that knowledge; he isn't. If he then shares it with someone else neither had authorization and commit adultery.
First we have to determine what the bible means by saying that sexual sin is a sin against our own body. How are we to interpret that? The wages (earnings, payment) for sin is death (Romans 6:23). If sexual sin is worse than other sins, then there needs to be a different penalty. I think that answers the question. The story of David and Bathsheba's newborn dying after only being alive a few days is a picture of what it means, in my opinion (2 Samuel 11). I've heard it said that it seems unfair to the newborn that his life was denied him because of his mother and father's sin. That's too deep for me to try to answer. But I believe it depicts what is meant by "sinning against your own body." The newborn was the fruit of his parents' bodies. He represented a harvest they got from their bodies. In essence, he was a representation of their bodies. Their sin led to the death of the fruit of their bodies. They had sinned against him, the fruit of their own bodies. He suffered the loss of his life. They suffered the loss of his life. Then there's the bible's repetitious reminder that sin produces death. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18). The first verse of the "Flee Sexual Immorality" narrative is 1 Corinthians 6:12. It says, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful." It says it twice to be sure it was heard: All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (vs 13). It goes on to describe what a man is doing when he has sex with a loose woman (the bible uses the phrase 'joins himself to a harlot.' It's calling a woman who engages in casual sex a harlot. She's not necessarily a woman who hires her body out like a prostitute, the way we usually interpret the term 'harlot'). When a man does that, he's losing his freedom, he's being enslaved by something more powerful than he. He's doing this to himself. He's sinning (enslaving, devaluing, compromising himself) against himself. Paul teaches the same concept to the Ephesians when he writes, ''Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it" (Ephesians 5:28,29). Those guys were evidently dogging their wives out. Why else would a preacher spend time on something like this? He uses the 'husband and wife becomes one flesh' metaphor to get them to realize the true value of a wife. He turns the attention of it onto themselves. I don't think I need my caring for Faye to be about me. I'd be highly offended if anyone thought they needed to tell me that about my wife, Faye. This wasn't aimed at guys who treated their wives with respect. It was/ is to men who are what we today call misogynists; the 'boys will be boys' crowd... (I like the way the saying uses the term 'boys' instead of calling them men)!
This is a deep question, Stephanie, that you asked. I used to wonder myself what it meant. I do believe sexual sin is worse than other sins. At least 1 Corinthians 6:18 implies this. Since Christians ask Jesus into their lives, He and the Holy Spirit also come to take up residence inside their bodies. Thus, a sexual sin against one's own body is a sin against God. That's a sin against the temple of the Holy Spirit, your own body. It violates the sacred sanctuary and God's presence. Furthermore, it can hurt your body through disease. That's why too that God warned us so strongly to avoid it. I don't want to get any of those diseases! And I'm sure you don't want to, either. It hurts our own personalities. I know. You're probably thinking this guy sounds like he's talking from experience. I am. I actually had my personality deeply affected as I was in anguish when I harmed myself in this way. Now I'm free from this as I've asked the Holy Spirit to take control of my life. And He has. I praise God for this! The important thing to remember is "flee sexual immorality!"
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