Every sin is serious.
It seems however certain sins have a particular tendency to lead people towards eternal destruction while blinding them regarding where they are headed.
Like, for example, the sins of sexual impurity and lust.
In Ephesians 5:5 and 6, Paul writes, “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure…has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
For me, two things stand out as I look at that. First the way Paul stresses that those who engage in unrepentant sexual sin will not go to heaven and will instead face the wrath of God. And then second, the fact he is concerned we will be deceived about that.
Other Scriptures make this same kind kind of connection as well.
For example, Solomon speaks of the danger of sexual immorality in Proverbs 7:22. “All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast, till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know it will cost him his life.”
There’s a kind of stupid “animalish” blindness associated with these kinds of sins. And perhaps it’s because of this that God often puts the fact he is going to judge these kinds of sins in bold print.
Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
2 Peter 2:9,10, “The Lord knows how to…keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.”
In fact, to help us understand how seriously God takes these kinds of sins he even has given us examples of his judgment all throughout history.
Like Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jude 4, “…just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”
And Israel, as well.
1 Corinthians 10:8, “We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty three thousand fell in a single day…These things happened to them as an example…”
Unfortunately, they didn’t learn from this judgment and years later, we discover this is one of the reasons they went into exile.
Jeremiah 5:7,8, “How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are no gods. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores. They were well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife. Shall I not punish them for these things, declares the Lord; and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?”
These are exclamation points throughout biblical history. But the fact is, most of us have these kinds of exclamation points throughout our own personal histories. Who hasn’t firsthand seen the way sexual sins have devastated families, sometimes for generations?
And yet, even seeing all of that, for some of us, it’s like those things never happened! Imagine standing with someone on the edge of a cliff, watching them take a step and fall to their death, then moments later, forgetting what had happened and doing so yourself! Crazy? Impossible?
Not when it comes to sexual sin.
It happens all the time.
And in my mind, these are all good reasons for us to seriously fear sexual temptation and to develop friendships with people with whom we can share our real struggles and who will help us remember the truth. Our eternal life may depend on it!