condemned sexual relations with a "close relative." Relatives listed
(Leviticus 18:7), Father's wife-stepmother (Lev. 18:8-under penalty of death, Lev.
20:11), Sister, half-sister, or stepsister (Lev. 18:9, 11-penalized by being cut
off from the people, Lev. 20:17), Grandchild (Lev. 18:10), Aunt (Lev. 18:12, 13,
14-penalized by dying childless, Lev. 20:19), Daughter-in-law (Lev. 18:15), Sister-in-law
(Lev. 18:16), Daughter or granddaughter of woman one had sex with (Lev. 18:17-penalized
by death, Lev. 20:14).
God strongly condemns sexual relations with a person of
the same gender in the Old Testament (Lev. 18:22-penalized by death, Lev. 20:13).
He condemns it just as strongly in the New Testament (Romans 1:24-28-penalized
by spiritual death, Romans 1:27, 6:23)
The Old Testament law definitely favored the male. If a man raped
a married or engaged woman, he was to be executed while the woman was held to
be innocent and worthy of no punishment. If the woman could have summoned help
but didn't, she was also to be executed (Deuteronomy. 22:23-27).
a man raped a single, unengaged woman, he was not put to death. The penalty was
to marry her with no possibility of divorce, ever. (Deut. 22:28-29)
Consensual sex with one other than your mate
If a man slept with a woman
who consenually engaged in sex with him, his penalty was to marry her (if her
father wished) with no possibility of divorce (Exodus 22:16-17).
New Testament made it clear that God expected sex to take place only in the boundaries
of marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:2-5) Anyone guilty of sexual sin-called fornication
in some versions and sexual immorality in others-would suffer spiritual death
unless he or she finds God's forgiveness. (Galatians 5:19-21)
In the Old Testament adultery only occurred if a married woman
was involved. A man who slept with a single woman (see above) didn't commit adultery
since men could, by law, have more than one wife. Since women couldn't, by law,
have more than one husband, any sexual encounter with another man-married or single-was
adultery. God vehemently condemns it (Lev. 20:10) and listed the punishment as
death (Deut. 22:22).
the New Testament anyone married to one person but sleeping with another committed
adultery. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept
pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral" (Hebrews 13:4).
In the Old Testament God phrased it this way, "You shall
not covet your neighbor's wife." (Exodus 20:17) In the New Testament
Jesus said it like this, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit
adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already
committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).
God stated He detests prostitution. (Deut. 23:17-18) In the
New Testament He said through Paul, "Do you not know that your bodies
are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite
them with a prostitute? Never!" (1 Corinthians 6:15)
Any person, male or female, who participated in sexual activity
with any animal was to be put to death under the Old Testament law (Lev. 20:15,
during menstrual period
A basic principle of Scripture is "the
life of a creature is in the blood." (Lev. 17:11) Therefore, blood is
always treated as holy--even in the New Testament (Acts 15:29).
that principle helps us understand God's law listed in the Old Testament about
sexual relations during the wife's menstrual period. He said that it shouldn't
happen (Lev. 15:24, 18:19) and listed the penalty as being "cut off" from the people. (Lev. 20:18) Many today believe that particular part of the "blood" law was given primarily for health reasons-the people of the Old Testament not
having access to our modern hygiene or medicines-and that particular law has no
application to Christians. Others feel that it lists God view of the sanctity
of blood and should still be observed by Christians who respect God's feelings.
Harm the body
While this isn't specifically mentioned as I will describe
it, the principle applies to anything that affects a person's body.
the context in which this passage is found is one that discusses sexual activity.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 Paul wrote for us, "Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your
body." While our spirits belong to God, so does our body. We are not to do
anything that desecrates that temple of God that our body is. Sexual activity
that harms the body should not occur.
are the basic principles?
on all we've studied in this section, it seems to me that we may infer these basic
principles about God's view of sex.