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What’s the problem with sexual sin?

In today’s “anything goes” society, the mere fact that I’m asking this question is highly offensive. After all, how can something that is so natural be sinful? The question, though, diverts our attention from the true crisis we are facing – our rejection of God as our loving, holy Creator.

We should really spend time examining what caused us to get to the point where we no longer recognize, appreciate and exalt the wonder of God’s creation the way He originally designed it. God’s creation is beautiful with diversity and uniqueness, yet we are corrupting God’s perfect presentation of diversity when we blur the lines on sexuality, gender, and race and insist that anyone can be anything and do anything.

The universal law of cause and effect is pretty simple to understand: every effect must have a cause. In other words, it is a relationship in which one event (the cause) makes another event happen (the effect). It is critically important that we look at the “cause” of all the aforementioned effects of sexual sin:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 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. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 THEREFORE God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. [Romans 1: 20-32]

Two things are important to understand from this scripture – sin and therefore.

Sin is a term that is frequently used in religion and the definition is often distorted to merely be a list of do’s and dont’s. However, this misses the mark because it focuses on the outward demonstrations of sin rather than on the cause. Simply stated, sin is about the heart and not your actions. Your actions (the effect) are only a reflection of your heart (the cause).

Sin in its basic form is clearly described in Romans 1:21 – rejecting God and placing yourself and the things around you as a higher priority than your Creator. Clearly this very basic standard makes us all sinners. However, our persistence and insistence to continue in sin results in the ‘therefore’ of Romans 1:24,

THEREFORE God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.”

So, what is the problem with sexual sin? It reflects our priorities – self versus God. We have “claimed to be wise” and rejected our perfect Creator. We have decided that we are self-sufficient and perfect with no need for God in our lives. The effects of rejecting God are demonstrated in our actions of sexual pleasures in whatever form we deem appropriate.

God demonstrated his love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Our ultimate sin is rejecting this eternal love for the chance to live for finite pleasures. The real question we should be asking ourselves is – what takes priority in my life, pursuing my own pleasures or pursuing God? The answer may sting, but at least it is a starting point for us as we seek God in prayer and repentance.

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