Bible clearly teaches that God cares about our sexual behaviour.
He has designed sexual intercourse as an enjoyable expression
of love between a husband and wife to bind their relationship
together. He has also designed it so that children could be
born into a loving and committed family. Because of this wonderful
design, God strictly forbids sexual relationships outside marriage,
which the Bible calls “sexual immorality”.
Paul gave this instruction about sexual immorality to the Corinthian
believers. Like us, they lived in a society that had few sexual
restraints. To illustrate his point, Paul writes about the similarities
between the spiritual body of Christ and our physical bodies.
He argues that if we are a part of the spiritual body of Christ,
then we must not unite ourselves physically with the body of
a prostitute (or anyone other than our marriage partner). Sexual
immorality totally destroys God’s design for sexual relations.
1. Does God care what we do with our bodies?
2. How should we honour God with our bodies sexually?
3. How should we treat the bodies of others, if their bodies
are also temples of the Holy Spirit?
Paul teaches that God does care what we do with our bodies.
He requires that we exercise self-control in sexual matters.
those who are not married this means abstaining from sexual
relations. For those who are married, this means remaining
faithful to their partner for life.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that
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; and that in this matter no one should
wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will
punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you
and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but
to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:3–7)
sexual intercourse within
marriage holy and
honourable? How does sexualimmorality result in wronging your brother or taking
Right use of sexual relations
|Genesis 1:28; Proverbs 5:18–19; Song of Solomon 7:1–9; Malachi 2:15; 1 Corinthians 7:2–7.
|Genesis 2:18–24; Matthew 19:4–6; Mark 10:7; Ephesians 5:31; Hebrews 13:4.
|Acts 15:20,29; Romans 13:13–14; 1 Corinthians 5; 6:9–11; Galatians 5:19–21; Ephesians 5:3–6; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7; Revelation 21:8; 22:15.
Adultery (sexual relations with someone other than your husband or wife)
|Genesis 39:1–12; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:20; 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:18; 2 Samuel 11–12; Proverbs 5; 6:23–35; 7; Malachi 2:13–15; Matthew 5:27–28; John 8:3–11; 1 Corinthians 6:16–20.
Fornication (sexual relations with someone when you are not married)
|Exodus 22:16–17; 2 Samuel 13.
Incest (sexual relations with a close relative)
Homosexuality (sexual relations with someone of the same gender)
|Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:18–32; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10.
Prostitution (sexual relations for money)
|Leviticus 19:29; 1 Corinthians 6:13–20.
Lust (sexually immoral thinking)
|Matthew 5:27–28; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7.
Repentance and forgiveness
|1 Corinthians 6:11; Colossians 3:5.
Self-control does not just mean controlling our actions. It
is equally important to control our thoughts. Jesus said
. . . anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already
committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
Sexual relations within marriage
To understand why God hates sexual immorality, we need to
understand God’s design for sexual relations.
Jesus explained God’s pattern for marriage:
But at the beginning of creation God “made them male
and female.” “For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two
will become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but
one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
A marriage based on God’s principles requires that a
a woman be totally committed to each other for life. The Bible
says that the two become “one flesh”, describing
spiritual and physical closeness that the couple enjoy. Sexual
intercourse has been designed by God as an expression of love
between a husband and wife to bind their relationship together.
From the word pictures in the Song of Solomon we can see that
God intended sexual relations to be enjoyed.
God also designed sexual intercourse so that children could
born. Genesis 1:28 God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and increase
number; fill the earth and subdue it”. Malachi writes
the importance of parents remaining faithful to each other
nurturing their children in a God-fearing environment.
Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they
are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly
offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not
break faith with the wife of your youth. (Malachi 2:15)
When parents are committed to each other for life and love
other deeply, children grow up in a wonderfully secure family
environment. This is God’s ideal for parents and children.
The idea of having a trial before getting married by “living
What problems could
together” is totally foreign to Bible teaching. God
wants us to arise from “living
make a commitment for life before becoming one flesh. together”?
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed
kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the
sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)
Once again, God strictly forbids sexual relations outside
Overcoming sexual temptation
If you are tempted to sin sexually, or if you have sinned sexually, you need to seek help. First, pray to God and ask him to strengthen you to overcome your temptation. Make a commitment to God to be faithful. Then it may be valuable to seek help from a Bible-believing counsellor.
Remember the words of Paul:
Let us behave decently . . . not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery . . . Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:13–14)
He also wrote “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). So, if you find yourself in a tempting situation, stop and run! Make sure you do not find yourself in that situation again.
The Bible uses particularly strong language when condemning homosexual behaviour, describing it as as “unnatural”, “indecent” and a “perversion” that brings its “due penalty” (Romans 1:26–32). God made us and he intended sexual union, warm companionship and partnership to be found in the male-female relationship.
Decisions and consequences
God wants us to think carefully about what we do, and use
his principles as a guide when making decisions. He knows
what is best for us and wants us to avoid the problems that
come as a consequence of sexual immorality. Think about the
problems that can arise if we ignore his design.
Consequences of sexual immorality:
• Loss of virginity (which can never be reversed)
• Loss of self-respect
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• Shame and regret
• Breakdown of trust in relationships
• Marriage and family breakdown
• Hurt felt by children and extended family
• Bad example to others
Can you think of any others?
experiences outside of marriage will affect a person for the
rest of his or her life. The effect on other people also may
be dramatic. It is important for your own well-being that
you make a decision not to go against God’s design.
Choose friends who will respect you, your body, and God’s
view of sexual relations. Pray for God’s guidance and
strength. The rewards are wonderful for those who follow God’s
Paul emphasises the effect that sexual immorality will have
on our eternal spiritual welfare.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the
kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually
immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes
nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor
drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the
kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10)
God hates sexual immorality, but offers forgiveness to those
who repent of their sins and start a new life. Some of the
Corinthian believers had been sexually immoral in the past,
but had been washed clean through the Lord Jesus.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed,
you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:11)
God forgives sin, including sexual sin,
if we are truly repentant. However, we will still have to
face the consequences of our actions.
• God hates sexual immorality.
• We should use our bodies in an honourable way.
• Those who are not married should abstain from sexual
relations, and those who are married should remain faithful
to their partner for life.
• God created sexual relations to be enjoyed in marriage,
to help bind a marriage, and to provide children.
• Sexual immorality will affect a person for the rest
of his or her life.
• Sexual sins can be forgiven (although forgiveness
may not remove all the consequences).
1. Society’s attitude towards sexual relations before
marriage has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Why
do you think this has happened?
2. What do today’s movies and TV programs teach us
about sexual relations outside marriage? How does this compare
with God’s standard?
3. What can a couple do to maintain control in the physical
side of their relationship before they are married?
1. Why is it wrong to have sexual relations before marriage?
2. Look at the example of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife
in Genesis 39. What lessons can we learn from this incident?
3. Look at the example of Amnon and Tamar in 2 Samuel 13.
What lessons can we learn from this incident?
• Growing into love by Joyce Huggett (published by Intervarsity
Press, 1982). Guidance for young couples who are not yet married.
• Straight talk about sex by Barry Chant (published
by Whitaker House, 1975). Using the sad example of Amnon and
Tamar, this book provides plain advice for young people about
• Against the tide by Tim and Beverly LaHaye. Advice
for parents in teaching children about sexuality.
• The price tag of sex. Video featuring psychologist
Pam Stenzel. Available from www.straighttalk.org.au. Pam Stenzel
tackles the tough issues of sex with candour, insight and
a challenge to young people to “get the abstinence advantage!”
• I kissed dating goodbye by Josh Harris. An interesting
and thought-provoking book by a 21-year-old on why he considers
modern dating practices are unbiblical.
• Solomon on sex by Joseph Dillow (published by Thomas
Nelson, 1977). A commentary on the Song of Solomon, treating
it as a poetic description of a loving and intimate relationship,
and providing excellent advice on courtship, marriage and
sexuality. 197 pages.