The Sin of Sexual Immorality

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18.

Many misunderstands are represented from this passage. Most of them can be clarified by focusing on the nature and substance of the word “sin”. It also helps to understand the spiritual nature of sexual expression and satisfaction.

Paul is telling the Corinthians that there is something different from other sins in the improper use of sexual expression (sexual immorality). The difference is that it effects the body in a different way.

The Greek word used for sin in this passage is the common word for sin, hamartēma. Literally, missing the mark, it applies to that which fails to reach the mark of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23).

The popular view of sin is that it harms mankind. Our rating of sins places those sins which hurt people the most as the worse (genocide, murder, rape, etc…). The very nature of hamartēma is that it speaks of that which offends God the most.

All sin (falsehood, theft, malice, dishonesty, pride, immorality, ambition, etc.) offends God, and that is the most serious aspect of sin. Sin is measured in Heaven (the throne room) by how far it separates men from and/or dishonors God.

Sexual immorality also is a sin against the body. That is not to say that other sins do not harm or offend the body (smoking, drinking, drugs, etc…). Immorality does, however, have a spiritual consequence towards the body that is unseen. This passage reveals this.

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’” 1 Corinthians 6:15-16.

There is a spiritual connection that sex makes with two bodies that is not fully understood on earth. It is what spiritually enjoins a man and wife, but also enjoins one with a prostitute. It constitutes one third of the depth of marriage. Marriage is to unite the spirits (lives), minds (souls) and bodies (flesh) of two people of opposite gender for their remaining lives on earth. This unity, designed and held by God in Heaven, is sacred. Violations of this unity are far reaching. The full ramifications of this are not communicated to man, but the warning is very clear. “Flee from sexual immorality”.

Sex not only emotionally  enjoins participants, it changes the individuals involved. God warns us that this change and surrender is good only in marriage. Outside of marriage it is destructive and affects our ability to fellowship with God. Since the enjoinment of marriage and its acts are to be life-long, so are the violations in some way. So deep is the damage that Paul says it is a sin against the body to have sexual expression outside of marriage.

He was not talking about damage in the natural, physical way we understand, but a deep violation that warps the life and greatly hurts the relationship with God. It goes beyond merely the permanent physical damage of drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse. He is speaking of bringing into our private relationship with God and our spouse others who detract from our intimacy with God and ability to draw near Him.

He is not addressing the injury to mankind. He is speaking of the offense this unity with others brings in the relationship one is to have with God. It is a physical barrier to the complete surrendered to which God calls us. It is the only sin that does that for a lifetime.

(To hear sermons from Pastor Tim, please go to


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