Scripturally, is there a greater significance or consequence to sexual sin than there is to other sinful activities?
Yes, I believe there is. For one thing, it is an undeniable fact that Scripture emphasizes the need for moral purity through its teachings, commandments and stories. For instance, when Paul listed out the deeds of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21, the first three had to do with sexual sin. When he did the same in I Corinthians 6:9-10, four out of the first five had to do with immorality.
A few verses later in that chapter Paul went on to say, “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’…Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (I Corinthians 6:16, 18) These last statements show us the reason why sexual sin has a greater significance or consequence than many other transgressions. When two people join themselves in the sexual act, in some inexplicable way a spiritual union takes place between them.
I could give other evidence to support this idea as well. But this whole line of thought brings to mind another important spiritual truth. Man looks on the outward but God looks upon the heart. The natural tendency for religious people is to focus upon obvious, outward sins and overlook the deeper attitudes and motivations that go on inside a person. For instance, those who don’t struggle with sexual sin find it very easy to become self-righteous as they look down on those who do.
I will offer an example of what I am referring to. In Proverbs 6:16, Solomon names seven things that are abominable to the Lord. The very first one mentioned is a haughty look. Pride is one of the most despicable attitudes that the fallen heart can hold. It was pride that caused Lucifer to be cast out of heaven. It was pride that caused David to number the people and brought upon them devastating judgment. It was pride that Jesus denounced in the Pharisees. Yet, how often do we ever hear it talked about from modern pulpits?
Yes, sexual immorality does carry with it grave consequences, but we should also be careful that we don’t fall into the trap of focusing on outward sins and neglecting the heart issues that bring them about.