The Hidden Costs of Sexual Immorality
There was a time when those who practiced sexual sin as a lifestyle tried to hide it. They did this because even in their sin they knew what they were doing was wrong in the eyes of God and was something of which they should be ashamed.
That time has passed thanks to celebrities that flaunt their sexual sin, a godless media that celebrates sexual sin and Christian leaders who turn a blind eye toward sexual immorality for a variety of bogus reasons.
The way sexual sin is treated yields bad fruit and this is evident all around us. The spiritual ignorance of our population....even among many who name themselves Christians....prevents the people from connecting the sin and the consequence of the sin.
Addressing the sexual sin of the Christians in Corinth, the Apostle Paul gave this warning:
"Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell..." (1 Corinthians 10:8)
I think he would say the same to us today. In this verse Paul was referring to an event recorded in Numbers 25:1-9 in which God's people were worshiping another god (Baal).
Many do not realize this, but false gods like Molech and Baal are being openly worshipped by people today - they just do not realize they are doing that.
People in Old Testament times would, for their own convenience, worship the demon Molech through sacrificing their babies to the demon by burning them to death on super heated iron furnaces; modern Molech worship is found in the equally barbaric practice of abortion (sanctioned by our government) also for the convenience of the babies' parents.
People in Old Testament times would worship Baal through sexual immorality; modern Baal worship is exactly the same. If we pay close attention to people "addicted" to porn, self-gratification, and the pursuit of sexual partners outside of heterosexual marriage we will see a form of worship that was always intended for humans to direct toward the One True God.
God speaking to us through Moses:
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me..." (Exodus 20:2-5)
Please note the reality that there are reflected in this passage, as Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:8, earthly consequences connected to idolatry through sexual sin. In other words, what we secretly OR flagrantly do concerning sexual sin WILL cost us in our lives here on the earth!
"Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4)
In the ministry God does through me I have learned that sexual immorality is addressed so infrequently in the minds and lives of people today that I have had to define terms for people. Some definitions:
Sexual immorality is any sexual use of our bodies and minds that does not have to do with consensual heterosexual sexual intimacy between husband and wife.
Fornication is heterosexual or homosexual sex outside marriage (which, in the Bible, is ALWAYS defined as being between a man and woman only.) All homosexual sex is fornication and a perverse use of one's body.
Adultery is when a married person has sex with someone to whom he or she is not married. If someone has sex while separated from his or her spouse it is STILL adultery because the marriage is still acknowledged in the mind of God. All adultery is also fornication because it is sex outside the marriage covenant.
Hebrews 13:4 tells us that God will judge sex outside marriage.
How does that happen? He honors our desire to choose against His plans for us....and to experience ALL that entails - including the bad things.
"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
God says that when we commit sexual sin we sin against our own earthly bodies.
There are also eternal costs of sexual and other sin practiced as a lifestyle (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:5; Galatians 5:19-21; Jude 1:7) all of which have to do with eternal torment. To be true, this is the most important aspect of all we are discussing because what matters most is what lasts the longest and eternity lasts forever. However, the eternal effects of sin are not what I am writing about today.
I am writing this piece today because of some recent events that have to do with earthly consequences to sexual sin. I have long noticed the debris field in human lives that can almost always be traced back to some form of sexual immorality. It is true of my own past and is certainly true of many around us in this sexual sin-drunk chapter of human history.
In late 2012 the bodies of a young man and young woman were found in an apartment in a city in the DFW area. They had never been married but left behind a child. Apparently the man had shot the young woman and then shot himself. Their sexual relationship was a sinful one.
Earlier in 2012 a woman was sent to prison for 25 years for killing her boyfriend by running him over with a car after he left it during an argument. (Wise County Messenger 1/25/2012 pp 1A; 3A) They had been living together out of wedlock. In this case the perpetrator's daughter watched her kill the man.
In 1994 a woman named Susan Smith in South Carolina let her car roll into a river with her 14 month old and 3 year old babies strapped into car seats. They both drowned. This woman was sexually involved with several men, some of which were apparently married. She killed her children in order to get the sympathy of a man with whom she had been committing fornication.
There are hundreds of examples like this in the news everywhere.
Pay attention and you will see that there are many divorces and broken homes, many deaths attributed to complications from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases contracted during sexual immorality, many violent deaths and suicides all connected somehow to sex outside of marriage. It's an epidemic in our culture.
What caused me to write this at this time was something that happened in our county earlier this month. The story, as reported in our local paper, is filled with spiritual implications that are pertinent here. A young man confessed to murdering his girlfriend by cutting and stabbing and strangling her with her hands. The implication is that they had an intimate relationship prior to this.
According to him, even though she was getting a divorce from her husband, they met and “That next day I came back by. And ever since then we never left each other’s side.” (Wise County Messenger 11/21/2012 pp 1A; 3A) In his words, his reason for killing her was jealousy over her confession that she was cheating on him. There was also a warrant out for this man's arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting her in another county.
(Remember: sexual immorality is one aspect of Baal worship; another aspect of Baal worship is the unrighteous shedding of human blood. Baal worshippers often beat themselves with whips to bleed for Baal.)
The following is an excerpt from an update from our local newspaper. I have removed the names of the murderer and his victim out of respect for the victim and her family. Read the suspect's words carefully. I will highlight spiritually significant parts.
In a jailhouse interview...yesterday, (the suspect) said he murdered (his) girlfriend...after she told him she had cheated on him. “I lost it,” he said. “I kind of had an out of body experience when I was there. Satan was there. He told me why I was there. He told me the reason why I met her, because he wanted her. And so I just lost it. And after, I guess when she took her last breath, I turned around and I seen this figure, out of my peripheral vision. It was a dark shadowy figure standing there. And it just chilled me down to the bone, like it was actually Satan or the Grim Reaper standing there. I told her he was here. That’s when she passed all the way I think. There were no drinking or drugs involved,” he added. It was a supernatural thing that occurred that night.” (Wise County Messenger 11/21/2012 pp 1A; 3A)
When I read this I realized that what he was saying was true. Satan WAS there. Satan DID want her. Satan also wanted him. In the end, satan got him. I'm not diminishing the murderer's part in what happened. He DID kill the woman but he was obeying his master, the devil, as he did that.
Now, everything I have read about the victim has shown her to be a caring and loving mother. Friends have described her in glowing terms. It sounds like she really was a good person and was apparently trying to get away from the man who eventually murdered her. It is tragic to me that she died in such a horrible way. It's devastating that her husband and children will have to struggle to not remember her solely in terms of how her life ended.
The rest of the story is equally tragic. Just a couple of days after confessing that he murdered his girlfriend, the wife of another man, the murderer hung himself in his jail cell. (Wise County Messenger 11/24/2012 pp 1A; 8A) I believe satan was there when he did that too.
I am not saying that all sexual immorality will always lead to murder and suicide. I AM saying that obeying satan when he tempts us to practice sexual immorality is an open invitation for him to bring his disorder and destruction into our lives. All too often this translates to physical and mental abuse, sexual molestations, murder and suicide. Talk to anyone in the helping professions and they will most likely tell you that much of the destruction they see in human lives has a sexual immorality component.
Many will say that marriage is no guarantee against physical and mental abuse, sexual molestations, murder and suicide. To be fair, in the 20 plus years I have practiced ministry in counseling I have heard far too many stories of these things happening in marriages with the perpetrators being both male and female. However, it is equally true that in my counseling experience almost all those cases have involved people who were living together out of wedlock and/or sexually involved prior to the marriage.
I know that many reading this may be guilty of having, at least once in their lives, practiced sexual sin. Satan LOVES this kind of temptation specifically because he can get so much mileage out of it. He knows this scripture and hates for people to "see God."
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)
I hope that anyone reading this will know that I take no pleasure in writing this. As I have said before, prior to my becoming a Christian I was guilty of sexual immorality. I'm not proud of that. Everything I am saying applies to me as much as it does to anyone else.
If you have committed adultery, practiced fornication (had a sexual relationship outside of marriage), lived with someone to whom you were not married as if married or have had homosexual sex what can you do about it? Is your situation hopeless since you obeyed satan and opened a door to him through which he might bring all sorts of problems?
Praise God there is an answer!
Even if you have never received Jesus as your Lord the things written here apply to you.
"Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:13 - NASB)
Your body was never intended to be used for sexually immoral purposes. You have a much higher destiny than that. Your body is intended to belong to the Lord and the Lord has always wished to be there to protect you from undue harm.
The answer, though, is for those who have received Jesus as their Lord. Everything I write from here on out will address Christians. If you are not a Christian and would like to benefit from God's redemption from the damage brought on by sexual sin as well as His redemption from hell, please contact me and we can deal with that.
For the Christians: Paul was concerned that the Corinthians would not deal with the sexual immorality they had practiced and that would cause him to mourn for them because of how much he loved and cared for them.
"For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced." (2 Corinthians 12:20-21)
The Apostle Paul was concerned about the behavior of the Corinthians which we can see in verse 20 but it was their potential lack of repentance that would cause him to mourn. For the true ministers of God's Kingdom, one of the most common causes of grief for them is their recognition that many in God's Kingdom have not really repented.
Far too many Christians seem to be under the impression that "repentance" means to merely "stop the sin." They have been taught that this rich concept merely means to "turn around." This is nothing but behavior modification. Behavior always follows belief and if all we change is behavior but the belief remains the same its only a matter of time before the old behavior is resumed. It is very easy for satan to get a person to sin again if they think the sin is okay or worthwhile to do.
Real repentance has to do with a mindset that is in agreement with God. When I thought it was okay to practice sexual immorality, I agreed with the devil that it was a good idea.
Now, though, I can see how destructive it is and that it is, therefore, sin. Now I agree with God that it is sin and God has changed my mind about sexual immorality. This is crucial because if I just change my behavior but still think that sexual immorality (or any sinful lifestyle or practice) is not bad it is very easy for satan to cause me to fall to his other temptations.
Next we must receive God's forgiveness.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
We must sever the lasting ties we have with the souls of those with whom we have been sexually involved in sinful ways. Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 5:31 both speak of a mysterious bond that forms between the souls of those who have been sexually intimate. Some Christians refer to these as "soul ties"; that exact term does not appear in the Bible but the idea does through the term "cleaving."
Many of us believe that this constitutes a vow or covenant that may not have been spoken but was enacted by a sexual action that was always intended by God to consummate the marriage covenant. When it is the case of sexual immorality, being sinful, it provides an inroad for whatever else the tempter might have in mind.
Breaking the soul tie is a rather simple, yet profound, matter of praying to sever that sin-polluted bond between the souls involved. (For more specific information on this please feel free to contact me.)
Finally we must resolve to do out best to live as clean a life as we can.
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God..." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
Because we all need a goal at which to aim, I do not recommend that people strive not to sin as much as I encourage them to live righteously. I would prefer to focus on what I want to do more than I focus on what I do not want to do because I want my mind set on where I am going.....not where I have been.
While heavy, I hope this has been an encouraging piece to read. It was very difficult for me to write because I am well aware of the toll that sexual sin has taken in my own life and in the lives of so many that I have come to love. It was, though, a piece that I had to write because my Father prompted me to write it.
I suspect it is because He loves me.....and you.
In it the Father has shown us a bad problem, the evidence of the problem in society all around us and has given us the antidote.
It's up to us to apply it.
I encourage you to do just that.
"And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
May this be true of us all as we share this article.
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© November 26, 2012
(For use with permission)