The Importance of Sexual Morality
By Anthony Casperson

“Who are they hurting?” “What should the things grown adults do behind closed doors matter to you?” “There are so many other important things to care about than that, why don’t you do better and actually bring justice to the least of these?”

The list could go on.

People—both those who purport to follow Jesus and those who don’t—have voiced their complaints and questions as to why Christians should care about sex/sexuality so much. A few even go so far as to crassly coin derogatory terms to describe the followers of Jesus who speak against the rampant sexuality of our culture.

And there have been many who undertake the defense of godly sexual morality. Unfortunately, quite a number do so in an aggressive and less-than-loving manner. And that only complicates the matter further.

So, why even take the time to discuss such things?

Well, I believe that it’s important to spend time talking about subjects that God shows to be important in his word. And this is especially true of topics that relate to an aspect of the worship of God or are connected to questions of what is the most loving thing for a follower of Jesus to do.

There are many places in the bible that I could point to which indicate the importance of steering clear of sexual immorality. A number of them have been worn from use in these discussions. But I’m more interested in showing why talking about godly sexuality is important than what is outside of that boundary. Why I should even bother to talk about sexual immorality in this blog when issues of “justice” loom in the minds of many around us.

I want to take a look at two passages to showcase the value of pressing this issue when it comes to godly living. One from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

The first of these is found in Deuteronomy 27:15-26. Here we see Moses standing before the Israelites. They were about to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. The elderly prophet wasn’t able to proceed into the land because of his disobedience, but spends time going over the Law of God one more time. A last reminder of life in relationship with God for the Israelites. This is pretty much what the book of Deuteronomy is about.

When we get to chapter 27, Moses tells the people that one of the first things that they should do as they enter into the Promised Land is to have half of the nation go onto one mountain while the other half ascends another mountain across the valley. This is where they will speak forth the blessings/curses placed upon those who do/don’t keep the commandment of God in the Law.

Verses 15-26 list out twelve curses to be proclaimed at that time. Remember, this is a priority issue for these people concerning their relationship with God in the Promised Land. Of those twelve curses, four of them deal with cursing specific sexually immoral acts. One third of the curses that they’re to prioritize as reminders for the members of the holy nation of Israel. Even the denouncement of idolaters only gets one curse. So, we can see how important sexual morality was to God in the Old Testament. Otherwise he wouldn’t have had his prophet emphasize this issue so much.

And this significance in discussion carries on to the New Testament as well. In the early church, there was debate about how the inclusion of the Gentiles into the faith of Jesus interacts with the Law. Did Gentiles have to follow the Law to have relationship with God? A whole big council had to be called to spend time praying and searching Scripture for the answer.

We witness the final conclusion in Acts 15:19-20. There, James—the half-brother of Jesus—speaks the resolution agreed by all present. He says that none should trouble the Gentiles with enforcement of the Law of Moses. However, they do mention a few practical measures that should flow out of relationship with Jesus—it’s important to note that they don’t say doing these things is what saves a person, but rather should be the result of the salvation within those who bow before the cross of Jesus.

These outflows of faith are: abstaining from idolatry, abstaining from sexual immorality, and abstaining from the consumption of blood—especially from animals butchered to keep the blood in. Keep God sacred, keep the images of God (including ourselves) sacred, and keep life (because life is in the blood) sacred.

Of anything and everything that the first century church could give a priority to for all followers of Jesus, one of a very short list is godly sexuality.

Human sexuality is an important topic for we who follow Jesus. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be given such a place of priority in these pivotal moments in the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation. Thus, it is valuable for us to discuss the topic. We care about it because God cares about it.

Thus the question arises, “Why is human sexual morality so important to God?” I think that it’s because there is an aspect of worship to God in the sexual act.

Hear me out.

God is three Persons—Father, Son, and Spirit—united into one by love. And when a man and woman join together in godly and loving sexual union, the two become one flesh. As well, when the couple join with God in the midst of their love, it is again three persons/Persons—God, husband, and wife—united into one by love.

And that’s not even to speak of how we humans join our Creator in the making of a life when the union creates a child. The one who made us, bestows upon us the right to birth new beings made in his image. The only allowable way to make new images of God.

We humans portray the unity of our loving God when we properly enact his gift to us. Therefore, when we partake of any sexual act that is outside of the boundaries that God has set for us, we are maligning the holy unity of God. We call into question the God we claim to serve. It is idolatry because we’ve made a new god in our sexual image and worship at its altar.

Why is sex so important to God? Because we images of God create a lust-fueled idol when we have sex in any manner beyond what God has gifted us.

And one last reason why followers of Jesus should discuss sexual immorality is tied to the question of what harm is done when two consenting adults engage in sex outside of God’s set boundary. Who are they hurting?


First Corinthians 6:12-20 (especially verse 18) tells us that one of the primary differences between sexual immorality and all other sins is the fact that it is a sin against one’s own body. Not only do we injure the God we claim to serve by making an idol out of his gift, but we also commit an act of self-sabotage in the process.

So, why do I feel like it’s important for we followers of Jesus to talk about sexual morality? Why should we care? Because it’s loving to care. Love never harms, nor does it allow others to harm themselves. Sexual immorality maligns God and spiritually harms those involved in it. Thus, one of the most loving things we can do—beyond leading the lost to faith in Jesus—is help others out of their sexual immorality. Letting them stay where they are inflicts harm upon them.

It is love of God and others that should lead us to care so much about sexual immorality. Anything less is ungodly.