Ephesians 5:3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
Recently I was asked (for the gagillionth time) what the Bible says about divorce. Predictably, that led to many questions about morality and family… sexual purity being the most common inquiry, particularly adultery which sadly is becoming more and more common even in Christian homes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “but God doesn’t want me to be unhappy…” to justify adultery or sexual sin.
The problem of adultery, fornication, lust, impurity and immorality is a major issue with both genders today. While it used to be heavily skewed as a husband’s sin, the fruits of feminism has seen adultery become epidemic among wives now as well. Our society is plagued with sexual immorality and the church is no less affected. Christians have a weak and worldly view of sexual purity that ripples destruction through both individual and family lives. From our opening verse (Ephesians 5.3), notice the breakdown of the words in Greek so that we can be clear what the different terms mean:
- “immorality” (porneia) – illicit sex, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, all forms of deviant sexual activity, sex with a divorced man or woman
- “any” (pas) – all things, every, whosoever, everyone, whole, all manner of, every thing, whatsoever, always
- “impurity” (akatharsia) – uncleanness; lustful, luxurious, profligate living; impure motives
- “named” (onomazo) – call, to utter, to make mention of
Studying the original meaning helps us to understand how deep and encompassing this imperative from Paul is. He is saying, “let NO form of sexual impurity or lust or uncleanness be mentioned, uttered or named about any person who calls themselves ‘Christian'”.
- When you toy with sexual immorality, you flirt with destruction: divorce, broken homes, disease, loss (what could have been that is now forever out of reach), guilt, shame, etc.
- How sad that we trade so many treasures (fidelity, family stability, honor, vows, purity, righteousness, etc) for the enticements of sex, eroticism (porn) and temporary pleasure (illicit relationships).
And yet, this is what the world relentlessly presents to us every day as the “prize”: sex and the pleasures of the body. Some basic Biblical points to consider:
- The command for sexual purity is clear and all encompassing (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28; Acts 15:29; Romans 13:13-14; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Jude 7; Romans 12:1)
- Sexual sin does not just happen “by accident”; it is a series of steps that lead us closer and closer to edge of a sinful “cliff” where a stumble or gust of wind can blow us off into tragedy.
- We are to flee sexual immorality; run from it; get as far away as possible rather than stand and put up a “fight” (1Cor 6.18)
- We should not simply be a little more pure than the world, we should know what God’s standard is, and adhere to it.
I want to impart to you a very deep, complex and difficult concept. It’s not new. I didn’t make it up. Other writers have expounded on it and this is simply my version of it. Ready? Here goes:
Sexual immorality is always S-T-U-P-I-D.
Adultery is always S-T-U-P-I-D.
Fornication is always S-T-U-P-I-D.
Pornography is always S-T-U-P-I-D.
Okay, it’s not really complex or difficult to understand, but you would certainly think it was given how lax our standards have become. Christianity today has become so desensitized by the world’s acceptance of sexual impurity, that we tolerate, or at least are passive about, things that would have made our grandparents have a cardiac arrest. We seem to get a clue of the Church’s condition from Jesus in the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 3:14-22 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ” (NKJV; emphasis mine)
If there is a portion of Scripture that describes the state of Christianity today, it is hard to argue that these verses aren’t it. We are lukewarm – particularly about morality and purity. The Apostle Paul was well acquainted with these conditions because he wrote the Epistles of the New Testament in a time when sexual immorality was rampant.
Why is sexual immorality ALWAYS stupid?
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
God will NOT be made fun of. If you plant a seed, it will grow something. If you plant sexual immorality, you WILL reap a bitter harvest. It might take a week, or 6 months or 20 years… but make no mistake – you will reap the consequences of sexually immorality. Commit adultery or fornication today, most likely you’ll still feel the pain of it 20 years from now. It can come in the form of marriage problems, sexual problems, rebellious kids, shallow fellowship with God – any number of manifestations. We cannot know the exact form of consequences that will come, but we can know for sure that they will come. And no, I’m not being “judgmental”. Don’t shoot the messenger. If you don’t like what God has to say about adultery, fornication or porn, take it up with Him.
There are no exceptions, no excuses, no way to avoid it.
Sexual immorality is always stupid. Period.
Don’t fool yourself about it.
Conversely, purity is ALWAYS smart. God will always honor it, always bless it, always reward for it. You can never go wrong by choosing purity. (Randy Alcorn’s book – The Purity Principle – is an excellent lesson on this).
This point seems so OBVIOUS, doesn’t it? On the surface, I would agree – but given the tolerance for sexual immorality that the average Christian seems to have, it is a lesson that needs to be taught and retaught. It would appear by observing how we (Christians, churches) dress, how we talk, what we enjoy and what we entertain ourselves with, we don’t truly believe that ALL sexual immorality is stupid.
Given how many people are committing adultery and fornication and talking about their “happiness” (which has become their god), it’s obvious that sexual purity and it consequences are not taken seriously. We apparently don’t believe there should be NO HINT of sexual immorality in our lives. Or perhaps we don’t understand what “hint” means. Somewhere between our head and our heart, the message of moral purity is getting lost, diminished or distorted… and broken homes, damaged kids, disease and heartache aren’t enough to deter us from our sexual sin.
Repeat after me: SEXUAL IMMORALITY IS ALWAYS STUPID. PURITY IS ALWAYS SMART. Class dismissed.
Our Heavenly Father, Help us to realize that You have given us purity as a gift and not some sort of stingy constraint.
Help us to truly understand the stupidity of immorality. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you believe that sexual impurity is always stupid? Does your life reflect it? Does your choice of entertainment reflect that belief? Does the things your allow your eyes to look at and hears to ear confirm that you believe purity is always smart, and immorality is always stupid?
Application: Repeat after me: SEXUAL IMMORALITY IS ALWAYS STUPID. PURITY IS ALWAYS SMART. Repeat after me: SEXUAL IMMORALITY IS ALWAYS STUPID. PURITY IS ALWAYS SMART. Repeat after me: SEXUAL IMMORALITY IS ALWAYS STUPID. PURITY IS ALWAYS SMART. Repeat after me: SEXUAL IMMORALITY IS ALWAYS STUPID. PURITY IS ALWAYS SMART.