Sexual Purity

SEXUAL PURITY I. It should be evident to any God-fearing person that the trend of human sexual experience is increasingly departing from the Biblical standard. II. For generations it has been understood that sexual connection is to be reserved for marriage. Anything else is fornication. A. This standard though has been all but discarded. B. Pre-marital sexual relations are becoming the accepted norm of society. This condition is on an upwardly spiraling increase. 1. A 1990 survey by Indiana University and the Marion County Health Dept. showed that sexual activity was beginning at an earlier age than ever. Things have hardly improved since then. 2. 555 of 677 middle-class students (age 12-14) surveyed had already been engaged in co-sexual activity. 3. To the disgruntlement of humanistic reasoning, the "car test-drive" philosophy of pre-marital sex has been shown conclusively to result in a much higher divorce rate than chaste abstinence before marriage. C. Another 1990's survey conducted by eight denominations polled 1438 evangelical teens. 1. Nearly half of them had already been sexually active. 2. Only one-third of them would brand sex outside of marriage as morally unacceptable. D. An informal survey at Kent State University asked college students their impressions about the word "immorality." Frequent answers were "Vietnam War," "air pollution," etc. 1. When asked, "What is sexual immorality?," answers like "having sex with someone you don't love," or "having more than one boyfriend at a time," or "one-night stands" were offered. 2. None of the respondents said, "sex before marriage." E. This trend is characteristic of a redefined code of behavior which is pervading society at every level. The national committee report of the Presbyterian Church (USA) states: "A reformed Christian ethic of sexuality will not condemn....any sexual relationship in which there is genuine equality and mutual respect. What is ruled out...are relations in which persons are abused, exploited or violated." F. The present pathetic state of our society's sexual standards is the harvest of a people who have "changed the truth of God into a lie," and do "not like to retain God in their knowledge." ROM 1:25-26, 28-29. III. Sadly, a contributing factor to this is the fact that modern Bible versions (NASB, NIV, NKJV) have eliminated the harsh, precise words of the KJV like "fornication" and "whoremonger" for more value-neutral terms like "immorality," "immoral person" or "immoral people," etc. A. "Moral" comes from the Latin "moralis" which means the customs or manners of a people. As such it is a relativistic term which, in the absence of an absolute standard of right and wrong, will see the eventual inversion of terms and of accepted behavior. See ISA 5:20; 32:5; MAL 2:17; 3:15. B. If someone wanted solid proof from an NIV bible that pre-marital sex was wrong in God's eyes, a counselor would have a harder time making the case. C. I was once asked to counsel with a young "Christian" who did not think there was anything wrong with pre-marital sex or polygamy. I thank God for the clarity of the KJV. IV. Clearly, the Bible teaches that fornication is forbidden. GAL 5:19; EPH 5:3. A. Fornication: "Voluntary sexual intercourse between a man (in restricted use, an unmarried man) and an unmarried woman. In Scripture, extended to adultery." B. To deny that Scripture proscribes against unmarried sexual intercourse is to deny the plain definition of "fornication." The importance of a non-subjective word should stand out here. C. Incest is also fornication. 1CO 5:1. V. That God expects sexual connection to be reserved for marriage may be seen from the following: A. In the law of Moses, a penalty was assigned to a man who had sex with a woman before marriage. DEU 22:28-29. 1. Betroth: "To engage (a woman) in a contract of marriage." 2. Note the contractual nature of the relationship. It speaks of being bound in a covenant; a commitment. 3. Those who engaged in pre-marital sex were obliged to marry until death separated them. 4. If a woman whose virginity had been voluntarily violated chose to marry another man and the latter discovered that she was not a virgin, serious ramifications resulted. DEU 22:13-21. a. Such promiscuity was considered whoredom and punishable by death. b. "To play the whore" means "to commit fornication or adultery." B. Even before Moses' law, premarital sexual intercourse was deemed wrong. The man who deflowered a virgin was considered to have defiled her. 1. Defile: "To render morally foul or polluted; to destroy the ideal purity of; to corrupt, taint, sully." 2. This is what happened to Jacob's daughter, Dinah. GEN 34:1-2. 3. Mark how premarital "defilement" contrasts with liberated sexual expression within marriage. HEB 13:4. 4. Sexual activity is not the problem. Bad timing and the wrong partners are where the law is violated. 5. Mark how the Holy Spirit makes it plain that what Shechem did with Dinah was wrong. GEN 34:6-7. C. If pre-marital sex was permissible, then what sense could be made of Paul's words in 1CO 7:1-2, 8-9. 1. Note that God does NOT prescribe pre-marital sex as the solution to sexual desire with a partner, but MARRIAGE! 2. See this again in 1CO 7:36. a. For relief, Paul says "let him do what he will...let them MARRY." b. He does not say, "let him do what he will and go ahead and lie with her, and later let them marry if it looks like they can get along." VI. What about polygamy? Wasn't that done in scripture? Didn't some great men of faith have more than one wife? A. It cannot be denied that a co-existent plurality of WIVES (but never husbands) was once permitted and engaged in by men of faith. 1. Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon all had more than one wife at a time. 2. Mark, though, in Abraham's case, his taking of Hagar to be his wife (GEN 16:3-4) to bring forth the promised seed was an error. God intended all along that Sarah should bear Isaac. B. Under Moses' law, God even gave rules to regulate polygamous unions. For example, see DEU 21:15-17. C. However, that God tolerated such unions is one thing---that He ordained such unions to be in man's best interest is another. D. There were various things that God suffered men (and particularly Israel) to do, though it was not in their best interest. 1. It was not a good thing for Israel to desire a king like the other nations had. 1SAM 8:6-7. a. Nevertheless, God gave them their desire and gave them rules for this new, sub-ideal condition. 1SAM 8:9; 12:20-25. b. God's giving in to them was actually a judgment against them. HOS 13:11. 2. God also tolerated loose marital bonds in Israel. a. A man could put away his wife for virtually "every cause." DEU 21:10-14; 24:1; MAT 19:3. b. The fact is: God “...hateth putting away” (MAL 2:16). c. Jesus explained why such loose bonds were permitted. MAT 19:8. d. As with tolerating Israel to have a king, this did not speak well of them. 3. In the same discourse, Jesus prescribed the proper order for marital relations under His reign. a. He appealed, not to the Mosaic law, nor the pre-Mosaic fathers, but to the original pattern in Eden. MAT 19:4-9. b. The lenient marital code of the O.T. has ended. LUK 16:16-18. c. Christ greatly shortened the leash on divorce and established that God's plan for humans was/is one man with one woman for life. In Eden, it was not: (1) Adam and Eves. (2) Adam and Steve. (3) Adams and Eve. (4) Madam and Eve. d. If we are going to drag polygamy over from the O.T., then why not drag over the liberal divorce laws also---and thus claim divine justification for what is presently happening in the breakdown of marriage in our society, which "the Lord hateth?" E. Some have tried to justify polygamy from the qualifications given for the ministry in 1TI 3:2; TIT 1:6. 1. The argument is that "since Paul is setting the standards for the office of bishop/elder as special, they are not allowed to have more than one wife. Church members must not be under this restriction, otherwise the distinction is not there." 2. Should we also conclude that the average church member is free to be a non-vigilant drunk void of good behavior? 3. In the early church, the trappings and ideals of former errors were likely still extant in the membership. Thus, it would have been necessary for the apostle to THEN deal with those things. F. The point should be clear. Marriage is a solemn covenant before God that a husband and wife should look upon no other as the object of their sexual love. It is a covenant of the eyes. JOB 31:1; GEN 20:16; MAT 5:28. 1. How does a man who is already married not violate this covenant of the eyes by desiring a second woman to be his wife? 2. Concerning sexual purity, note the singular case of the nouns and pronouns of 1CO 7:2, “...let every man have his own WIFE...", NOT "WIVES." VII. The popularity of shifting standards is no defense before God. EXO 23:2; PRO 11:21; ROM 12:1-2.

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