One of the greatest examples of God’s love for humanity can be found in human
sexuality. It is truly a wonderful gift from God. Yet, as with all the gifts that we have been given, it doesn’t come unconditionally. That is, it’s not something we can just do with as we please. God has set some rules. Indeed, He is very clear: sexual activity is to be between a husband and wife, male and female, and only in the context of marriage. Anything outside of that is sin.
Read Matthew 5:27-30. Look at how seriously Jesus takes the issues with which He is dealing here. What is, ultimately, at stake?
However much we like to focus (and rightly so) on all the grace and forgiveness that Jesus bestows upon sinners, we can’t forget the high standards of morality that He lived and preached. It’s hard to imagine how Jesus could have expressed more strongly the warning against sexual immorality as revealed in these few verses. Plucking out your eye? Cutting off your hand? If this is what it takes to be pure, then it’s worth it; otherwise you are in danger of losing your eternal life.
“If all who profess to obey the law of God were free from iniquity, my soul would be delivered; but they are not. Even some who profess to keep all the commandments of God are guilty of the sin of adultery. What can I say to arouse their benumbed sensibilities? Moral principle, strictly carried out, becomes the only safeguard of the soul.”-Ellen G. White,Counsels on Health, pp. 621, 622.
However strong Jesus’ warning is here, we must not forget the story about the woman caught in the act of adultery(John 8:1-11). How do we strike the right balance between the upholding of the standards that Jesus talked about in the above verses, while at the same time showing grace and compassion to those who fall, as revealed in this story?