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A Biblical Catechism on Sex and Marriage: Sexual Sins: Pornography, Lust, Licentiousness, Sinful Desires, Vulgar Talk

[This post continues a series of posts entitled 'A Biblical Catechism on Sex and Marriage'.  The intention is to provide basic material for further instruction by a trusted teacher of God's Word in a church that is committed to Biblical authority.  The Church’s mission is to invite all people to live under God’s righteous rule.]

Question 3. What sexual sins are mentioned in the Bible?

Answer: Any sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sin.


Comment 1: The following sexual sins can be found in the Bible:

[Previous Posts on this question: Adultery, Sexual Immorality, Bestiality, Homosexuality, Transgenderism, Prostitution, Temple Prostitution, Orgies, Incest, Premarital Sex]

Pornography, Lust, Licentiousness, Sinful Desire (the sinful heart and desire, not just actions)

Scripture does not only see sin in terms of acts or behaviours.  Sin is a condition of the heart—a disposition or orientation beginning with wrongful desires.  Sexual sins, by the same token, are not limited to acts but also have to do with the heart and sinful desire.  This is why God’s salvation is not only forgiving grace but also transforming grace (cf. Rom. 1:24-28 and 12:1-2).  Following are a few of the verses that point to sin as a problem of what is within a person and not simply their behaviour, including sexual sins of lust of the heart and the eyes, licentiousness (a term meaning lack of restraint that would include both sexual sin in the heart and actions), and sinful desires.

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

Job 31:1 "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 

Proverbs 6:25 Do not desire her [the prostitute’s] beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes….

Habakkuk 2:15 (NIV) "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies.

Mark 7:21-22 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder,  22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.

Matthew 5:27-30 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'  28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.  30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 18:9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,  20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions,  21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 (ESV) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;  4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,  5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;  6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.  7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.

Romans 13:13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.

2 Corinthians 12:21 I may have to mourn over many who previously sinned and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness that they have practiced.

Ephesians 4:18-24 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.  19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!-  21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,  22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

1 Peter 4:3-5 You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry.  4 They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme.  5 But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.

Jude 1:4 For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  (Cf. 2 Peter 2:7).

Vulgar Talk

Ephesians 5:4 Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving.

James 1:26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. [This verse is broadly stated and would cover any disconnection between the heart and outward behaviour, such as speech.]