What's the big deal about sexual sin?

This is one of the top questions we receive at 412teens.org. Teens want to know what the big deal is about sexual sin. Everybody else does it, so why is it such a bad thing for Christians? Doesn't it go against our natural human drives and desires? Isn't it unhealthy to just "hold it all in"?

1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality." Sexual immorality takes many forms: sexual thoughts about other people (which is lust; see Matthew 5:28), masturbation, sex outside of marriage, pornography, and many others. Ephesians 5:3 says, "But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints." Sexual sin is an incredibly serious sin. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body."

The key to fighting sin is to realize that you are incapable of doing it on your own. The Apostle Paul wrote that "nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh" (Romans 7:18). "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do" (Galatians 5:17). Before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth" (John 17:17). We need to rely on God and the Bible for our victory in sin—not ourselves. The fight for purity can seem impossible, but it isn't impossible. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, people have triumphed over sexual sin.

The Stew of Sexual Sin

In regards to sexual sin, I oftentimes offer the story of Esau and his birthright. Genesis 29:29-34 says, "Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, 'Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!' (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, 'Sell me your birthright now.' Esau said, 'I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?' Jacob said, 'Swear to me now.' So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright."

The birthright was essentially a right of family inheritance in Old Testament days. The owner of the birthright, who was almost always the firstborn son, would become the head of the household when the father died, and would also receive a special right when inheriting the possessions of his deceased father. The birthright was an honor and something of extremely significant value.

What Esau did was trade something of great value for a soup that would last him a few minutes at best. It's almost laughable looking at it now. But is it not true for our own sin though? Especially in regards to sexual sin, we grieve our Lord in exchange for a few minutes of pleasure. That's a ridiculously poor trade-off! Sexual sin gives us a little bit of pleasure for a short amount of time yet at a massive cost.

Accountability in Purity

Maybe you feel like you can't talk with your parents about relationships and their consequences. But God puts our parents in our lives for a reason. In our younger, foolish years, they are meant to be a safeguard for us, to be obeyed and honored (Ephesians 6:1-2). Allow yourself to talk to your parents on these matters, even if the crooked culture would say otherwise. If your parents are not an option for whatever reason, it is still very important to have some kind of biblical, godly counsel in your life—perhaps a pastor, trusted relative, or close Christian friend. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." I strongly encourage you to find a Bible-teaching church if you do not belong to one already. Proverbs 11:14 says, "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." GotQuestions.org has a great resource HERE to help you find a biblically-sound, local church.

Motivation Check

Maybe you're at a point where you just want to be with someone so you can get married and finally get to have sex so you can know what it's really like. Be careful to watch over your desires for a spouse. Make sure that God is the highest treasure and priority in your life, and do not allow your impulse for a spouse to become an all-consuming covetousness—especially if your only real motivation for a spouse is to have sex. Colossians 3:5 says, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."

Remember, sexual sin is akin to selling off an item of incredible value for a soup that will be gone in a few minutes. It needs to be abstained from at all costs to protect the treasure of sexual purity. We must have godly counselors available to us, and we need to be planted at a local church. Our speech should be pure, and any inappropriate talk should be removed from it. Do not allow your desire for companionship become so strong that it leads itself to covetousness. Focus first on your own purity, then consider romantic relationships.

Fighting Sexual Sin

Ultimately, The Holy Spirit is the one who enables us to fight sin. We receive the Holy Spirit when we put our faith in Christ. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Since God is just (Psalm 7:11; 11:7), He must punish evil. The penalty for sin is death and eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). Jesus Christ came to earth, fully man and fully God, to live a sinless life, and die for our sins before being raised from the dead. When He died, He paid the price for our sin. Isaiah 53:5 says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."

All that we have to do to have our sins forgiven and completely paid for is to put our faith in Christ alone for our salvation (John 3:16).

Once forgiven, the fight continues. It's not going to be easy, but, my friend, it is NOT impossible.


Writer: Jeremy V.

Jeremy is a homeschooled high school student. He enjoys teaching spiritual truth and helping out at his church. He believes in the sufficiency and objectivity of Scripture over the subjective and unreliable nature of the heart (1 Timothy 3:16; Jeremiah 17:9). He also enjoys pin trading, marksmanship, and visiting theme parks.

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