Separate from the Sexual Fray

God takes all sin seriously, though sexual sin is regularly referenced as a remarkable reason for God’s judgment. Paul did say, “every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). There are additional, personal consequences.

The world has a long history of relational disaster. Our generation is a troubled one but not the first one to be troubled. God rained a flood worth of punishment down on the ancient world marked by unnatural desire. Christ came a couple millennia ago to a confused and corrupt culture. Paul told the Ephesians,

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:5–6)

God’s law is clear and the inheritance of His kingdom is for those who are separate from the sexual fray.

The good news is that Christ died for sinners of all stripes. The wrath of God is coming, but it also did come already on God’s Son. Are you a sinner? Yes. Have you done things that don’t belong, that ought not even be named among the saints? Yes. Were you in darkness? Yes. But the death of Christ really took your unrighteousness. Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, ESV)

Our worship does not depend on covering our sin but on the cross. “You were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). Confess your sins, whatever they are, and come worship in light.

You’ve Got to Know When to Get Out of There

Fight or flight are two typical reactions for a person who encounters a stressful or threatening situation. Let’s say you are walking down a dark alley late at night when three large men in masks step out from behind a dumpster. Or let’s say that your mother-in-law chooses her granddaughter’s birthday party to make a point about the lost etiquette of thank you notes and how she never gets them from this generation. You want to cry and run out of the room, or you want to slap her head in front of all the guests, verbally, of course. Escape or battle.

In the Christian’s war on sin there are times when the appropriate tactic is to run. Standing strong is good in its place, but sprinting away is sometimes the better course. It is similar to the difference between abstaining and avoiding. I can abstain from smoking in a room full of lit cigarettes, no problem. I will avoid a pit of rattle snakes.

God commands believers to flee a number of times in His Word. We must flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). We must flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14). We must flee the love of money (1 Timothy 6:11). And we must flee youthful passions (2 Timothy 2:22) which may have some overlap with sexual immorality. We aren’t to keep watching the movie to prove how pure our thoughts are.

Joseph provides an example of running par expeditious. When Potiphar’s wife kept enticing him, he initially resisted with principles. When she cleared the house and made her last advance, Joseph didn’t sit her down and exhort her about the dangers of her sin. He fled her presence. Fast. He still got in trouble because she lied. But he didn’t get in trouble with God.

We ought to be awake in the war on sin. The devil prowls like a lion seeking prey to devour. Hanging around to tell him why another target is more tasty is not a shrewd move. As Kenny Rogers once put it, you’ve got to know when to get out of there.