As Bible-believing Christians, we are known for our convictions against sexual immorality. But are we known equally as well for our contempt for religious arrogance?
Scripture clearly states that sexual immorality is sin (Matthew 15:19; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 5:19, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, etc.). We must also remember, however, that this is only one bad fruit of our rebellion against God, one among a list of many others, including idolatry, theft, greed, drunkenness, reviling and swindling (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). And all of these, God says, are just spin-offs of a more deep-seated trouble.
Speaking to a disobedient Israel, the prophet Ezekiel declares,
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)
In the context surrounding this passage, Ezekiel is charging Israel for having done worse than Sodom. And what does he say was Sodom’s sin? The prophet doesn’t focus on any single outward behavior. Sexual immorality was an issue, as we know from Genesis, and so was her lack of concern for the poor and needy, as we see mentioned here. But Ezekiel doesn’t target either of those primarily. Rather, he says that the real issue with Sodom was her haughty heart—she was proud.
There’s a warning in this for us: We must beware in our opposition to sexual immorality that we do not merely take on a different expression of the same sin. We must beware lest we think that the issue is simply an external one and that we are “good with God” just because we maintain a high moral code.
Any outcry among Christians against sexual immorality should be outdone by our protests against pride. We should be most aggressively opposed to arrogance—especially as we find it in ourselves and in our churches. Only then will we be in a right position to speak humbly, wisely and brokenheartedly about the evils of sexual immorality and the greater love of Jesus Christ.