Some topics are not considered acceptable for "polite" conversation. Consequently, some topics of genuine importance rarely see the light of day. Because of the sensitive nature of both the subject and audiences, sexual immorality is one of those. Paul declared that he had held back no profitable topic from the church and had preached "the whole counsel of God," (Acts 20:20, 27). That's a very wide swath indeed.
One of the topics Paul did not shrink from was God's righteousness concerning human sexuality and neither should we. The specificity of his instruction on the topic of sexual sin is impressive. In Romans 1 Paul details many matters in very few words. He notes that humanity claimed to have become progressive in their thinking (22), and they gave up what God had made honorable, so that they might pursue their own lusts, which dishonored their own bodies (24). From this general description he becomes more specific. Their passions were vile. Both women and men pursued sexual relations with their own gender, men with men and women with women (26-27).
These sexual sins Paul would include under the heading of the Greek word, "porneia", translated fornication in the KW.
There is considerable debate as to just exactly what all is included in that term as Paul used it. Clearly it included sins of a homosexual nature, as found in Romans 1, but it was also used to describe a man who was committing fornication by taking up with his step-mother (1 Cor. 5:1). Typically we think of sins primarily as wronging the nature of God or harming our fellow man. The sexual sin of porneia, Paul said, represented a sin against one's own body (1 Cor. 6:18), in other words, when we sin sexually we harm our own selves. Because of the temptation toward sexual sin, each person should have their own spouse (1 Cor. 7:2) and neither husband nor wife should withhold sexual interaction from one another, unless it is consensual, and then only for a short time, so that neither party would be tempted to sin (1 Cor. 7:5).
"Porneia" is one of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19) along with adultery, that would prevent one from going to heaven. In fact, to make sure that the point was not missed, Paul couched his condemnation of sexually sinful acts with these powerful words, (1Cor. 6:9-10) "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators,... nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, ... will inherit the kingdom of God." Paul notes that these sins must not be a part of the lives of Christians.
Four specific terms are applied to those sinning sexually. Adulterers are those who are married, men or women, who sin. Two separate terms are used to describe the ones who initiate and those who receive the overtures of same-sex sin. The fourth term is simply fornicators.
God's governance of Israel under the Law of Moses, required much greater detail. Leviticus 18 condemned sexual contact between any members of a man's family; father, mother, sister, brother, stepmother, stepsister, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and inlaws. Contact with the wife of any man was forbidden.
Contact between men was forbidden, as was sexual contact with animals, by either men or women. God said all of those sins had been practiced by the pagan nations that were in the land before God brought in the children of Israel. They had defiled the land and the land was vomiting them out of it.
In our world today, there are becoming hardly any sexual taboos at all. About the only laws regarding human sexuality that are currently being prosecuted are crimes against children, the trafficking of child pornography and from time to time prostitution.
One might think from watching TV and the news that our world has pretty much given up ANY concern for sexual morality. Still, let's give the word of God the last word on this topic.
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Gal. 6:7-9 NKJV)
- Tim Orbison