Sexual morality Refs
 The 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”.

1 Corinthians 6:15–20

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. For
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 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; 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)
Is sexual intercourse within marriage holy and honourable? How does sexualimmorality result in wronging your brother or taking advantage of him?

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.
Sexual immorality
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)
Leviticus 18:6–17.
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.
Deuteronomy 22:5.
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. (Mark 10:6–9)

A marriage based on God’s principles requires that a man and a woman be totally committed to each other for life. The Bible
says that the two become “one flesh”, describing the emotional, 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 be born.
Genesis 1:28 God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it”. Malachi writes about the importance of parents remaining faithful to each other and 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 each other deeply, children grow up in a wonderfully secure family
environment. This is God’s ideal for parents and children.

Living together?
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 of marriage.

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
• Pregnancy
• 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?

Sexual 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 way.

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 sexuality.
• 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 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.

28. Repentance
60. Marriage
63. Friends