Why do Christians live in sexual immorality?

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“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman at creation when He made them male and female, forming man from the dust of the ground and forming woman from the rib of Adam and bringing her to the man (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7; 2:18-25). Thus, marriage and the sexual union within marriage are honorable and God-pleasing, but God will judge those who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage and who do not live in accord with God’s purpose and design in marriage (the union of one man and one woman for life).

Knowing that God will judge those who commit adultery or are sexually immoral, how is it that so many just ignore God’s Word when it comes to marriage and sexuality? And how is it that even Christians seem to think nothing of living together outside the bonds of marriage or engaging in sexual relationships without being married?

Because God deals with people either according to His justice or according to His mercy, do people fail to understand and distinguish between the two and view God’s judgment as some sort of watered-down mixture of justice and grace – as though God really doesn’t demand perfect obedience, and as though God just winks at our sins? What Christ suffered to atone for sin says otherwise!

And, I wonder, too, do Christian pastors not warn those under their care who have fallen into sin of their need to repent? Many times, it seems, pastors are afraid to say anything; and, perhaps, it’s because they are more concerned about keeping members in their local congregations than keeping them in Christ’s everlasting kingdom. Could it be so?

The Word of God is not jesting when it says: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Cf. Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 10:26ff.; Revelation 21:8). One cannot be a Christian and continue in fornication or adultery – indeed, in any wilful sin against the Lord God and His Word. Those who do will find themselves cast into the eternal fires of hell on Judgment Day!

Rather than having us be cast out on the Last Day, God desires us to repent of our sinful and evil ways and look to Him for mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus and for the sake of His innocent sufferings and death in our stead. He would have us acknowledge our sins and look to Christ Jesus and His cross for pardon and forgiveness (cf. 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 1:9).

The Bible tells us why God can and does forgive those who repent and look to Him for mercy. It’s not because He is soft on sin. Rather, it is because “Jesus Christ the righteous … is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2). It is because Jesus atoned for our sins and the sins of all when He was condemned and suffered and died upon the cross!

The Bible tells us that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures … he was buried … he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4); and that in Him “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

And, as a fruit of repentance, God would have us amend our sinful ways, looking to Him and His Word for guidance in what is good and pleasing to Him and for the willingness and strength to walk in His ways (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9).

O holy and righteous God, I have sinned and gone astray by my every departure from Your Word. Wash away my guilt in Jesus’ shed blood and grant me Your Holy Spirit that I might walk in Your ways and seek to be pleasing to You in all things. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible

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