HOW CAN WE FIGHT SEXUAL SIN? by William Boekestein for Core Christianity
Of all out-of-style words, chastity might be the most laughable today. The best way to be uninvited from anyone’s party is to be known for chastity.
But chastity is a powerful principle that can help God’s children flee the host of sexual sins that entice us. Chastity is shorthand for sexual appropriateness, or purity (see 2 Cor. 11:2 KJV). And God demands chastity “in heart, speech, and behavior” (Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) 71). Jesus offered this commentary on the seventh commandment: “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). In other words, sexual fantasizing is on the same spectrum as adultery. Unwanted sexual advances are like rape. Pornography use is voyeuristic. Immodesty differs from prostitution only by degrees.
Instead of asking, “How far can I go?” chastity urges us to say, “How can I best honor God’s design for my sexuality?”
But Why Bother?
Is it really worth fighting sexual sin’s powerful magnetism? Yes! And Scripture’s two great commandments—love God and love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37–39)—summarize why.
Be chaste for God’s sake. God expects every Christian to “control his own body in holiness and honor” (1 Thess. 4:4.) Those committed to sexual sin disregard God (1 Thess. 4:8), but Christians are no longer “Gentiles, who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:5). Chastity pleases God because it shows evidence of his saving grace.
Be chaste for your neighbor’s sake. Do not “wrong [your] brother in this matter” (1 Thess. 4:6). Sexual sin always has a victim. Pornography users, for example, promote sexual slavery, providing incentive for the trafficking of women and children. Nor does consent make sexual sin victimless. The willingness of a partner doesn’t cancel the consequences of disobeying God.
Be chaste for your own sake. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thess. 4:3). Those enslaved to sexual sin radically hinder their sanctification and poison their entire walk with God. Most sexual sins create a voracious appetite for sexual gratification and numb the conscience to God’s voice.