To make this point, Solomon lists ten consequences of sexual immorality in Proverbs 6:24-35. Before reading my list, I urge you to read the passage yourself and see how many consequences you can observe. Perhaps making your own list will help you to remember these things when you face temptation.
1. You’ll participate in evil
To preserve you from the evil woman,
from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. (Prov 6:24, ESV)
Immorality is evil, and temptation is an invitation to do evil. But wisdom preserves the wise from evil. When you believe the smooth and deceitful promises of immorality, you choose guilt by association: You are now evil as well.
2. Your desire will take you captive
Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes. (Prov 6:25)
It was for freedom that Christ has set you free, but immorality seeks to enslave you. Capitulation will become easier and easier. Resistance will become more and more difficult. Far better for you to rid your heart of these fantasies while you can.
3. You’ll lose everything
For the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,
but a married woman hunts down a precious life. (Prov 6:26)
The cost begins low: only a loaf of bread. But with diminishing returns, you’ll need to give more and more until your very life is forfeit. Immorality hooks you while it’s cheap. A glance here, a touch there. But before you know it, you can’t sleep without sexual release. You simply can’t keep your hands off, and you’ll lose everything in the process.
4. Your punishment is inevitable
Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
none who touches her will go unpunished. (Prov 6:27-29)
You can’t tinker with immorality and hope to escape. You may be able to cover it up for a time, but you will eventually be found out. God sees everything, and he is a consuming fire.
5. You can’t repay what you’ve stolen
People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
he will give all the goods of his house…
[A jealous husband] will accept no compensation;
he will refuse though you multiply gifts. (Prov 6:30-31, 35)
The point is not to justify theft, but to condemn sexual immorality. People can understand a thief’s motives, though they still make him repay what he stole. How much less will they understand you when they find you out?
Perhaps you rob your present or future spouse of your best love and attention. Maybe you steal someone’s innocence. Or perhaps you continue supporting the horrific porn industry, which destroys young women and holds them captive. Pictures are never harmless; we must not lie to ourselves.
6. You’ll lack sense
He who commits adultery lacks sense. (Prov 6:32a)
There goes wisdom and, along with it, life and peace and satisfaction and joy.
7. You’ll destroy yourself
He who does it destroys himself. (Prov 6:32b)
We do it because it feels good. But, like an alcoholic who destroys his liver, or a smoker who disregards his lungs, we kill ourselves with good feelings. Easy sex is all about self-gratification, but Jesus said that he who loves himself loses himself. Wisdom pierces these feelings to find the truth.
8. You’ll create your own wounds
He will get wounds… (Prov 6:33)
It’s like touching a hot stove. Or using credit cards to spend money you don’t have. Or picking a scab. Or playing hopscotch on the interstate. You’ll hurt for it later, and you’ll have brought the hurt on yourself.
9. You’ll find dishonor and disgrace
He will get wounds and dishonor,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away. (Prov 6:33)
You set yourself up for constant reproach and a bad name. You’ll always be that guy who ran off with the girl and ruined a good thing (family, ministry, career, etc.).
10. You’ll lose every time
For jealousy makes a man furious,
and he will not spare when he takes revenge. (Prov 6:34)
Sexual immorality rightly infuriates. Jealous husbands will not spare on the day of revenge.
But what if your immorality doesn’t involve seducing a married person? Then there’s no jealousy to fear, right? “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:19). Remember that God, the Great Husband, has a special place in his heart for those with no human protectors. Can you watch your back when it comes to him?
If, like me, you have already failed in the sexual realm, take heart and remember there’s always hope in Christ. He provides a way out. This list is not to consign you forever to guilt and punishment, but to warn you from future folly.