Could you explain more about fornication, lust, and desire?


To start off, I just want to say I am not trying to be antagonistic to your response in "My boyfriend and I keep falling into sexual sin. What should we do?" but rather trying to fully reconcile what people say the Bible says to the lives we actually live -- body, soul and spirit. I am not opposed to abstinence from sex before marriage.

Could you throw light on some areas yet unclear to my knowledge of the acclaimed view of God's will and plan for our lives?

  1. What does it mean to be sexually immoral? Does it mean to have sexual desires for the opposite sex at all or does it mean having uncontrollable and perverted sexual desires for the opposite sex [and non-opposite sex]?
  2. The Lord said in Matthew 5:27-28, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Who then does Jesus refer to when he says "woman"? Does it refer to a married female (someone’s wife, hence, the sin of adultery) or any female single or married, wherefore fornication should be the case? Does this mean one can look or admire a damsel? What then is fornication?
  3. Can someone be attracted or truly fall in love with someone without first being attracted to their natural beauty which stems from their physical make-up (face, eyes, skin tone, hair, body movement, physique, and so on)? Are the attractions we feel for our partners not carnal?

    If someone could be attracted to these attributes, knowing that a man and woman was created with a natural craving for mutual companionship both physically, which starts to cry out after puberty -- a clear indication for reaching sexual maturity, would someone not naturally desire sexually the opposite sex that your flesh craves, as sex is a thing that bonds the flesh?

    Is there a button somewhere on our bodies that we hit when we get married to start desiring a woman sexually? Is it not when these sexual desires extend beyond the boundary of our prospecting life partner and the practice of it becomes perverted in lust that it can be termed immoral?

    When we say "Hey! She's beautiful", what do we really mean? Is it not the result of what our masculinity processes the totality of the natural craving?
  1. Referring to your response:

    Now, another fault that I find is that you claim God was using you while you continued to sin. "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble"" (James 4:4-6). This causes me to conclude that you are not looking at the situation accurately because God doesn't support sinners.

    Is there a time in our lives when we can confidently say by our works, in this case abstinence from sex, we are without sin? Is it not the blood of Jesus that cleanses us and present us spotless before the Father? See I John 1:5-9.

    Even if you don’t commit sexual sins at that point in time, could there not be other hidden, unrecognized or casual sins that could be against us at that same point in time. Is it then right to say those other sins don’t count before God as long as it’s not sexually related; hence, we can then hear from God? Who are we to dictate who God can and cannot speak to?
  1. Please can you explain further:

    "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honour, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). The two of you have bad habits of arousing sexual passion in each other and then in the throes of that passion, you given in to sex. If you focus on just not having sex, you'll continue to lose. You need to stop the lust.

    Please can you explain lust and any justification scripturally that draws the line where someone’s sexual desire or craving should not cross to be acceptable when sex itself was handcrafted by our Creator to be a full body pleasure-consuming act for the moment?

I hope you don’t find my enquiries annoying or spiritually infantile. I just want to really relate these ideologies today to God’s expectation for us because I continue to find the answers to these questions lacking in our everyday sermons and crusades.


I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to refer you to previously written material that addresses your questions.

"Sexually immoral" or "sexual immorality" is a modern way of translating the Greek word porneia. I don't particularly like this translation because it leaves readers like you with the wrong impression of what is being discussed. For a detailed definition of porneia, see: What is included in porneia?

Porneia is an act of sex, it is not the desire for sex or a lust for sex. Jesus' statement in Matthew 5:28 is that lust for a sin, such as adultery, is equally as bad as actually committing the sin. Adultery and lust are not the same sin, but it is wrong to say that adultery is less of a sin than lust. See: Does Matthew 5:28 only apply to lusting after a married woman?

You seem to have some confusion over the differences between desire, temptation, lust, and sin. See: What is the difference between temptation and lust?

Sexual attraction is not the only way that two people can be attracted to each other, though it is probably the most common way. Sexual desire is a part of living in a human body, but desire doesn't mean you should act on those desire merely because they are present. You don't eat simply because you think you are hungry. You don't steal something simply because you would like to have an item. Desire can motivate you to do something so that you can legally fulfill your desire. However, Satan also uses our desire to tempt us to does something immoral to fulfill our desire.

There is a difference between someone who sins occasionally and someone who remains in sin. "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). I John 1:8-2:1 is talking about occasional sin. I John 3:6-10 discusses practicing sin or remaining in sin.

"No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother" (I John 3:6-10).

The person I was talking to had made a practice of committing fornication.

Man never dictates to God, but you need to listen to what God said: "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2). You cannot remain in your sins and expect God to answer your prayers -- not because I said so, but because God said so.

God designed sexual desire to be fulfilled in marriage. "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). There is a legitimate way to enjoy sex, but not every way of having sex is legitimate.

For further reading see: