The Ten Prohibitions
God strongly condemned sexual relations with a “close relative.” Relatives listed include:
Mother (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).
If 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)
4) 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).
The 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).
In 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, 16).
9) Sex 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).
Understanding 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.
10) 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.
Remember, 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.
What are the basic principles?
Based 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.