1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons— 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? 13 God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”
Here Paul mentions the need to address all kinds of sinful behaviors, but tends to bring particular focus to sexual immorality. I wonder what that’s about. It could be that Paul has some personal issues connected to sexual sin that drives his energy for the topic. Or, as I believe is more likely the case, pagan practices often included dimensions of sexually deviant behavior (temple prostitution for example). Since many new Gentile Christians came from pagan religious traditions they would have brought these practices with them.
In our modern secular culture the boundaries for sexual behavior are constantly moving. In one sense culture has become far more permissive over the last generation or two. Today the idea of saving oneself for marriage seems quaint. Casual sex or “hookup” culture has become almost normative. However, we’re also learning that permissive sexual culture has some negative consequences, particularly sexual predation. Sexual predation isn’t new of course, but it’s getting more focused attention – as well it should. The #metoo movement is an example.
Heavenly Father, you gave sexuality to humans as a precious gift. Yet in too many cases we abuse this gift. Give us grace to renew sexual boundaries in ways that honor your original design for humanity. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.