I have been privileged to work with a broad audience during my ministry, both Christians and those seeking to know more about God. In my 15 years of experience in Christian ministry, I have worked with many youths struggling with sin, especially sexual morality. Since most of these youths want to know more about the Bible and what it says about sexual immorality, they constantly ask, “what is the meaning of sexual immorality in the Bible?”
The Bible suggests in 1 Corinthians 7:2 that any sexual activity that is not between the husband and the wife is sexual immorality. The book of Leviticus 18 also describes various unlawful sexual relations considered sexual immorality. This involves adultery, fornication, incest and bestiality.
So, join me to the end as we talk delve more into how the Bible defines sexual immorality, what the Bible teaches about sexual immorality, how God feels about sexual immorality and how you can identify sexual immorality as a Christian. Kindly read on to the end as we answer these questions and many more.
How does the Bible define sexual immorality?
The Bible suggests that sexual immorality is any sex that is not practiced by a husband and a wife. The Bible has provided us with different scriptures on what sexual immorality looks like. Below are ways in which the Bible defines sexual immorality;
This is the first way in which the Bible defines sexual immorality. Adultery can be defined as a sexual practice between someone who is married to another person that is not their partner. This can be a husband having sex with another woman that is not his wife or a wife having sexual interactions with a man that is not her husband. Hebrews 13:4 implies that marriage should be honored by everyone and that it should be kept pure. The verse goes ahead to reveal that God will judge all those that are involved in adultery and sexual immorality. The seven commandments warn us not to engage in adultery, as Exodus 20:14 speculates.
In the Old Testament, God passed a judgment that any person found committing adultery, be it a man or a woman, was to be put to death, as suggested in Leviticus 20:10, to show how much he is against this act of sexual immorality.
This is another sexual act that the Bible defines as sexual immorality. Fornication is defined as any sexual relationship that is done outside of marriage. In simple language, fornication is sex practiced between two people who are not married to each other. This sexual immorality can mostly be seen in the modern world, where youth practice it and are clearly not married.
The Bible did not give us an age where it is okay for one to have sexual intercourse but gave human beings this gift to be enjoyed in marriage and procreation, as implied in Genesis 1:28. Another Bible scriptures that are against the act of fornication is Hebrews 13:4.
The Bible also uses incest to define sexual immorality. Incest can be described as a sexual relationship between people who are related. This can be between a father and daughter, a mother and son, siblings and other people closely related. The book of Leviticus 18:6 suggests that one should not approach any of their close relatives to have any sexual relation. The book goes further ahead to speculate in verses 7 to 18 what incest relations look like.
Homosexuality is also used to define the act of sexual immorality. Leviticus 18:22 warns against sexual practices between a man and a man as it is detestable before God. 1 Timothy 1:10 also describes homosexuality as sexual immorality. The sexual relations between people of the same sex are also covered in the book of Romans 1:26-27.
Bestiality is a sexually immoral act practiced between a person and an animal. The Bible strongly condemns this act, and the punishment for it was death during the days of Moses, as written in Leviticus 20:15. The book of Leviticus 18:23 also instructs that one should not have sexual relations with any animal as they will be defiling themselves. It further warns women and instructs them not to present themselves to animals for sexual intercourse as it is considered a perversion.
The Bible also defines lust as sexual immorality. Lust does not involve any sexual interaction but is defined as a thought or act of thinking or looking at the other person with sexual desires towards them who are not your partner. The author of Job 31:1 reveals that he made a covenant with his eyes to never look at any young woman lustfully. The Bible also reveals that adultery and lust are related as it states that one has already committed adultery if they look at a woman lustfully, as recorded in Matthew 5:28. Other biblical scriptures about lust include Isaiah 57:8, Jeremiah 5:8 and Jeremiah 13:27.
Prostitution is the kind of sexual practice that is done in exchange for material goods, be it money or any other tangible valuable. The book of 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 speaks highly against prostitution as sexual immorality. Apostle Paul reminds the church that their bodies are members of Jesus Christ himself and that they should not be united with any prostitute. The book of Leviticus 19:29 also warns parents to degrade their daughters by making them prostitutes, lest their land becomes wicked.
What does the Bible teach about sexual immorality?
The Bible is against sexual immorality and encourages Christians to flee from it. Apostle Paul encourages his church members in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 to flee from sexual immorality as this sin is against their bodies. He further reminds them that their bodies are the temple of the holy spirit, who is in them and was given to them by God.
The Bible also teaches us that sexual immorality is wrong and should not be practiced by the children of God. Matthew 5:27-28 implies that man sins when they look at a woman lustfully.
The Bible also clearly states that sexual immorality is not from God but from the world. 1 John 2:16 reveals that lust of the flesh and eyes do not come from the father in heaven but are from the world. This means that sexual immorality is a worldly thing.
The Bible teaches that not any Christians should have a hint of sexual immorality in them or any other impurity as it is improper before God, as speculated in Ephesians 5:3.
The Bible also teaches that sexual immorality is the work of the flesh and should be avoided and overcome, as suggested in Galatians 5:19. The book of Colossians 3:5 also teaches us to put to death anything that belongs to the world (earth), such as sexual immorality, impurity, evil desires, lust and greed.
The Bible also teaches us that people who practice sexual immorality will not inherit the kingdom of God, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
How does God feel about sexual immorality?
God hates sexual immorality, as it is one sin practiced within his temple. The book of 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 suggests that no sin is usually practiced within the body other than sexual immorality. The book further reveals that our bodies are special as they are where the holy spirit of God lives, and we will be defiling the holy spirit by engaging ourselves in sexual immorality.
God wants us to sanctify ourselves from any sexual immorality by abstaining from it. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 records that God’s will to his children is to avoid any sexual immorality and that they should learn to control their bodies in an honourable and holy way before him and not to act like the pagans who do not know God.
God detests sexual immorality. Deuteronomy 22:5 reveals that a woman should not put on any man’s clothing, and a man putting on a woman’s clothing because it is detestable to God.
How can you identify sexual immorality as a Christian?
There are a few ways in which you can identify sexual immorality as a Christian. First, you can identify sexual immorality if it is not practiced between two married people (the husband and the wife). As stated earlier, any sexual interaction that is done by two people that are not married is considered fornication which is sexually immoral.
You can also identify sexual immorality as a Christian if people of the opposite sex are not practicing it. For instance, if a sexual act is performed between two men or two women, that is sexual immorality and is addressed in the Bible as homosexuality. This is clear in the Bible.
You can also identify sexual immorality as a Christian if it is not genuinely practiced. God gave us sex as a gift that a married man and woman should enjoy without expecting anything. When a person engages in sex for material benefits, the act can be considered a sexual sin, which the Bible calls prostitution.
What are the consequences of sexual immorality?
There are many consequences of sexual immorality, as it is one sin that is done against our bodies.
The first painful consequence of sexual immorality is judgment. Hebrews 13:4 suggests that everyone should honour marriage and keep it pure because God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
A sexually immoral person cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
As children of God, we live every day in the ways of the lord with the hope that one day we will be united with him and Jesus in heaven. However, for a sexually immoral person, the Bible clarified that no sexually immoral person would inherit the kingdom of God. The Bible, however, tells us that we can be forgiven of this sin if we confess it to God so that he may cleanse us and make us righteous, as suggested in 1 John 1:9.
Defilement of the temple of the holy spirit
When one involves themselves in sexually immoral activities, they are defiling the temple of God and the holy spirit because that is where the holy spirit dwells. The book of Corinthians is clear that sexual immorality is the only sin that involves our bodies, and practicing it is damaging where the holy spirit dwells.
Disobedience from God
Disobedience comes when one does something that they have been warned about. We have discussed over ten scriptures in the Bible that are against any sexual immorality; if one goes ahead and gets involved in sexual immorality, they have disobeyed God and broken one of the commandments he gave us. Ephesians 5:3 records that there should be no sexual hint among Christians as this act is improper for God’s holy people.
Sexual immorality is a gateway to other sins
Sexual immorality is not a sin that usually stands on its own and tends to lead the person to other sins. For instance, when a married man commits sexual immorality by lying to a woman who is not his wife, he will be forced to lie to the wife to convince her of what came over him. Sexual immorality can also lead to other sins like murder. We have witnessed and read how people have killed their spouses once they found out they were cheating (practicing sexual immorality).
It takes away the glory and purpose of God
When God created the first man Adam, he saw it fit to create him a female Eve, who was to act as his companion. He then gave them sex as a gift for them to enjoy as one in marriage and for procreation purposes. When one goes against God’s primary purpose of sex, they take what he intended for human beings.
Sexual immorality also takes away God’s glory, as he created us with our physical bodies to glorify him. One takes away his glory by getting involved in sexual immorality and making their body unclean or unholy.
Sexual immorality defiles the heart
Sexual immorality does not only defile one physically or emotionally. It also defiles one’s heart, making one unrighteous. The Bible indicates that only the pure in heart will see God. This only means that when one defiles their heart through sexual immorality, they will never see God or be close to him.
Sexual immorality can also result in death. When one involves themselves in sexually immoral activities, they may contract deadly diseases such as STI or HIV and AIDS. These types of diseases are known to weaken a person’s immune system and can cause one’s death if not managed.
How can you avoid sexual immorality?
Accepting and acknowledging that sexual immorality is a sin against God
One way to avoid sexual immorality is by acknowledging within yourself that sexual immorality is a grave sin before God your creator and should not be practiced at all. By doing this, you will constantly avoid this sin as you know it is against God’s will to practice it.
Praying to God to help you overcome the temptation to engage in sexual immorality
Another way to ensure you avoid the sin of sexual immorality is by praying to God to give you the power and will to not give in to this temptation. The book of 1 Corinthians 10:13 records that every humankind is prone to temptation. It further reveals that our God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle. The book further states that God will give you a way out of sin so that you can overcome it. The scripture shows us how to rely on God to avoid sins such as sexual immorality.
Retreating from the sexually immoral act
Sexual immorality can sometimes happen against one will. This may happen when one forces you to engage yourself sexually with them. Sexual immorality can also happen when an external force pushes us to engage in it (we use pornographic sites). The best way to avoid sexual immorality in this position is to immediately retreat from it or, as Paul tells the Corinthians, flee from it. Just like Joseph in the Bible avoided sexual immorality by running from Potiphar’s wife, you can also avoid it by removing yourself from the situation, be it shutting down the pornography site or fleeing from wherever room you have been held in.
Identifying with the identity that you are a child of God
Another way to avoid sexual immorality is by knowing your true identity in the kingdom of God and knowing that you are a child of God. Romans 8:14-17 lets us know that we are the children of God since the spirit of God leads us. Just like we are careful not to do anything that might upset our parents, knowing that you belong to God will help him not to fall into the trap of sexual immorality.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.