The apostle Peter teaches that Christians are part of a holy, royal priesthood. Our lives should be marked by holiness, compassion, and dignity in the pattern of Christ our Lord. Hypocrisy, indignity, impurity, and gallivanting are all unbecoming of those who profess to be citizens of the Kingdom.

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ….  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ~ 1 Peter 2:5, 9

Visual Covenants and Taking Thoughts Captive

God takes sexual purity and fidelity very seriously, and these are issues men have struggled with throughout the centuries—including Christians. Even so, when a man of God falls into sexual sin, it is not a “mistake” and it does not “just sort of happen.”

I am not pointing a finger or criticizing those who have fallen. The struggle is real for many of us, and we stand only by grace. Yet, I want to offer some Scriptural help for those who are fighting for purity.

Much of the battle really takes place in the visual sense and in the mind, does it not. As men, we are visual. It is the way we are designed. To say we do not notice attractive ladies is to lie. Furthermore, such initial noticing is not the problem. The problems come when we take legitimate vision and store them into memory banks, then submerge these into the sewage of our lusts. Thus, the problem is not seeing a lady and finding her attractive. This is natural. However, it is the going beyond this into the realm of fantasy that leads men into peril. Before any man falls into sexual sin, he must first go through his thoughts. The entertaining of thoughts does not just happen. Persons make a choice. Godly Job says,

I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? ~ Job 31:1

Job states that he made a covenant with his eyes that he would not stare and lust upon a beautiful virgin. Yes, he notices her, but that is as far as he will go with it.

Jesus says plainly,

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Matthew 5:28

Here, the visual has gone beyond mere sight and acknowledgement of attraction. It has morphed into something, now, altogether different. We are warned of the danger of the process of the seed of desire becoming the plant of action.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. ~ James 1:14-15

We see this very thing played out in the life of King David. It is doubtful that many of us love the Lord the way David did. Still, we read of him:

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. ~ 2 Samuel 11:2-4

David did not simply notice a beautiful woman bathing. He gawked until he began to desire, and soon his desire became a burning lust. Before he ever laid with her it was brought to his attention that she was married. No, David’s fall into sexual sin did not come from mere happenstance.

We are told,

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

As men, we are to take control of our thoughts and bring them under the authority of Christ. Just as we are not to violate a woman physically, neither are we to violate her in the dark chambers of our minds. In fact, elsewhere we are told,

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. ~ 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Did you catch that? We are to treat older women as we would our moms, and younger as our sisters, in all purity. Whenever a Christian man falls into sexual sin, never does it just “sort of happen.” It begins by him not treating a woman with the purity and respect he would have for his mom or sister. Thoughts and desires were entertained before any course of action was taken. And, no doubt, God sent numerous warnings  beforehand.

Men, the struggle and temptations are real; however, the flames of passion are not kindled without first dousing desires with fuel then igniting it with a spark. If we are going to walk in moral purity, then it will require effort and responsibility. We must guard our hearts, keep our visual limited, and take our thoughts captive to the obedience to Christ. Furthermore, we must honor the women around us. In Christ, they are most certainly family, moms and sisters. We must treat them as such with all purity.

Non-specifics Does Not Mean Silence

One of the fundamental rules when studying the Bible is context. When interpreting Scripture, context is king; unfortunately, this rule is often neglected.

Recently, someone wrote to me concerning one of my former posts. Without going into all the details, this person told me that Jesus never talked about homosexuality or condemned sensuality. This is not the first time I have had someone tell me this. Now, let’s be clear, although Jesus does not identify each form of immorality specifically, this does not mean that He is silent on them. Without touching on every aspect, Jesus does clearly teach what God designed for human sexuality, and anything that strays from this is sin.

Let us go back to context. When Jesus was teaching on earth, His primary audiences were Jews who were familiar with the Old Testament. They would have been familiar with Leviticus 20, which condemns men sleeping with other men’s wives, or their father’s wives, their daughter-in-laws, or with other men, or a mother and daughter, or an animal (v. 10-16). We do not read of Jesus touching on each of these individually, but He did not need to. He says enough.

Jesus makes it clear of His complete support of both the teachings and trustworthiness of the Scriptures.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 5:17-19

Just several verses later He gets to the root of adultery,

You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Matthew 5:27-28

Later, Jesus gets straight to God’s design for human sexuality:

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” ~ Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus does not condone homosexuality anymore than He does adultery. He does not treat lightly lust within our hearts anymore than He does unmarried couples shacking up. This might be offensive to many, but Jesus’ never seeks to cater to our feelings. He came to bring us truth (which often is offensive) and redemption. 

No, Jesus is not silent where other parts of Scripture declare plainly. To say He never spoke against homosexuality or sensuality as a means to justify these, consider this: He does not openly talk about rape or molestation. But reading through the Gospels it is clear He condemns these, as well.

Understand, God’s love for sinners is real. Good thing, since each one of us is a sinner. But His hatred toward our sins is just as intense as His love for us. In any case, we must realize Jesus’ silence does not mean He condones behaviors. Furthermore, even when He is quite explicit, is one willing to yield to Him? In truth, He is not silent. The real question is this: Are we willing to hear and obey?