So here’s some fun things you may or may not have known about sexual immorality. A few of them surprised me during my study.
First, I want to clarify the terms. This is a topic that is usually obscured by word trickery, so I want to make sure you know where I’m coming from first.
sexual immorality (porneia) – to sell off one’s body; to engage in “whoremongering”, prostitution, or other forms of promiscuity.
idolatry (eidólolatria) – service or worship rendered to an image
For clarity, I will be using the more readily-understood word “promiscuity” in place of the ambiguous word of “sexual immorality.”
With that out of the way, here’s some interesting finds in quick-hitting fashion:
1. Promiscuity on part of the wife is the only biblical grounds for a husband to divorce a wife (Matthew 5:32; 19:9)
Hence the disciples shock at Christ’s teaching. When a man takes a wife, she is under his care and instruction for life… in spite of any foolishness or sinful behavior she engages in. It would do a man well to learn to enjoy the process of shaping an imperfect woman into a radiant bride.
2. Promiscuity is a manifestation of one’s inner character and desires. (Matthew 5:28; Mark 7:21)
One does not simply fall into promiscuity by impulse. It is a manifestation of one’s inner thought life. If someone is engaging in promiscuity, it is because they already corrupted themselves on the inside. It’s a reflection of their true character. Hence we should not “feel sorry” for someone living a sexually promiscuous lifestyle. Rather, we should expose the error of their ways and lovingly point them to repentance and the path of life.
3. Promiscuity is a sin against one’s own body (1 Cor 6:18)
Similar to how King Solomon instructs his son not to waste his seed on unworthy women (Prov 5), so Paul instructs us not to sin against our bodies by uniting them to prostitutes. The fact that it is our own body makes it an especially shameful sin. Our bodies were made to serve the Lord (including sex in marriage). Why would you throw away your body like a piece of trash by uniting it to whores?
4. The temptation to engage in promiscuity is a righteous reason to marry (1 Cor 7:2)
As far as I can tell, there are only three (initial) biblical reasons for a man to marry:
- To make babies (Genesis 1)
- Sexual attraction (Song of Solomon)
- To avoid promiscuity (1 Cor 7)
In other words, the reason to marry is sex, sex, sex. Other than avoiding pairing with a bad spouse, no other advice is given.
5. We are to cut off anything that energizes us towards promiscuity (Col 3:5)
This could mean different things for different people. It could mean that a woman shuts down her Tinder account. It could mean avoiding frat parties. It could mean changing friends. Any situation that gives creates a temptation for you to engage in illicit sex should be cut out of your life.
6. Rather than engaging in promiscuity, men are to learn how to get a wife and “possess” her (1 Thess 4:3-4)
I believe if the Apostle Paul were alive today, he would be a big proponent of the “married red pill.” He does not simply instruct young men to get a wife. He essentially tells them to grasp the reality of women (i.e. take the red pill), get a wife, and learn how to make her hot for you within the context of your marriage.
7. Promiscuity is frequently associated or caused by idolatry (Rev 9:20)
It’s easy to imagine how idolatry can lead one to promiscuity. In ancient times, many religious ceremonies involved engaging in orgies, having intercourse with animals, or other such promiscuous behavior. Even today, women who serve the idol of Feminism engage in the “ceremony” of riding the “cock carousel” to prove they are a “sexually liberated” woman. And pick up artists boast of their notch count while they pump-and-dump as many of these “sexually liberated” women as they can.
8. Promiscuity is used as a symbol for idolatry (Rev 17:4)
God frequently uses references to promiscuity to help us understand how he feels about idolatry. Idolatry is described in Romans as becoming debased and focusing on the created thing at the expense of the larger context:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.
The most graphic example of such darkened thinking is found in Ezekiel 23:20:
There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
In other words, idolaters miss the point. They are like women who judge men solely on the size of their cock… not realizing that there is a purpose to sex beyond just seeing how big of a member they can stuff into their overstretched vaginas.
9. Promiscuity is not synonymous with idolatry
All this leads to this final point, which surprised me.
I had always assumed that sexual immorality was equated with idolatry. In other words, sexual immorality was equivalent to “worshiping sex.” I’ve heard this sentiment expressed in churches many times.
But I could not find a single passage in the Scripture that made this connection. There are passages that describe sexual immorality as a result of idolatry. And there are passages that use sexual immorality as a metaphor for idolatry. But nothing saying that that sexual immorality is the same as idolatry. (Someone please correct me, if I overlooked any data.)
So why does this distinction matter? And why were we led to believe they were the same?
I have a good guess.
It’s a diversion to prevent us from seeing what is synonymous with idolatry… namely, pleonexia, which is typically translated in Colossians 3:5 as “greed” or “covetousness”:
So put to death your worldly impulses: sexual sin, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).
The definition of pleonexia is telling:
properly, the desire for more (things), i.e. lusting for a greater number of temporal things that go beyond what God determines is eternally best
The Strong’s Concordance sheds further light on the term:
From pleonektes; avarice, i.e. (by implication) fraudulency, extortion — covetous(-ness) practices, greediness.
In light of these definitions, the equation of pleonexia (greed) with idolatry makes perfect sense:
If one’s desire to gain more possessions drives one to commit fraud and extortion, then that is serving an idol rather than God.
Now can you think of any institution that might want to hide this sin?
And can you think of a reason that institution would want us to think that our sexual “immorality” was the problem instead?
The Second Lateran Council of 1139 A.D. presents sheds some light on the motives [emphasis mine]:
5. We enjoin that what was laid down in the sacred council of Chalcedon be rigidly adhered to, namely, that the goods of deceased bishops are not to be seized by anyone at all, but are to remain freely at the disposal of the treasurer and the clergy for the needs of the church and the succeeding incumbent. Therefore, from now on, let that detestable and wicked rapacity cease. Furthermore, if anyone dares to attempt this behaviour henceforth, he is to be excommunicated. And those who despoil the goods of dying priests or clerics are to be subject to the same sentence.
6. We also decree that those in the orders of subdeacon and above who have taken wives or concubines are to be deprived of their position and ecclesiastical benefice. For since they ought to be in fact and in name temples of God, vessels of the Lord and sanctuaries of the holy Spirit, it is unbecoming that they give themselves up to marriage and impurity.
7. Adhering to the path trod by our predecessors, the Roman pontiffs Gregory VII, Urban and Paschal, we prescribe that nobody is to hear the masses of those whom he knows to have wives or concubines. Indeed, that the law of continence and the purity pleasing to God might be propagated among ecclesiastical persons and those in holy orders, we decree that where bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, canons regular, monks and professed lay brothers have presumed to take wives and so transgress this holy precept, they are to be separated from their partners. For we do not deem there to be a marriage which, it is agreed, has been contracted against ecclesiastical law. Furthermore, when they have separated from each other, let them do a penance commensurate with such outrageous behaviour.
8. We decree that the selfsame thing is to apply also to women religious if, God forbid, they attempt to marry.
In other words, the church couldn’t have men with wives or concubines in leadership. This would mean that the property would go to the man’s own heirs rather than to the church. And that just won’t be favorable for building a religious empire.
But it would be too obvious to simply try to take the property by force like a barbaric army. No. You’d need something much more subtle. Something that rings with holy rhetoric.
So the church presents a fraudulent gospel. A gospel where marriage is seen as unholy and the congregation is held in a state of perpetual guilt under an ambiguous and expanded definition of sexual sin.
With the sexual men ousted from leadership, and the congregants distracted by their perpetual guilt over sexual sin, there is no one left who is fit enough to call out the sin of idolatry in the church.
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (1 Timothy 4:1-3)