By Jack H. Kirby
In Gal. 5:16-21, the apostle Paul contrasts the works of the flesh (fornication, lasciviousness, drunkenness and such like) with the fruit of the Spirit. He says that those who practice these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Thus it would behoove us to know more about these things and just what they encompass, in order that we might not be guilty of that which would condemn our souls and cause us to miss heaven. Certainly no rational soul desires to spend eternity in Hell, so it should prompt us to do that which would save our souls and refrain from that which would condemn.
Our subject concerns uncleanness and lasciviousness. These two are related and we will discuss them together. By uncleanness the Lord had reference to our spirits, not our fleshly bodies.
Let us define lasciviousness. This is a rather large word and is not understood by many people. Lasciviousness means, “Wanton, lewd, lustful, tending to excite lewd or wanton thoughts or emotions, as objects or pictures; filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females. ” These definitions are from Webster’s and Winston’s English Dictionary and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon. Can you not begin to see involved in this definition such things as lewd and lustful literature, books and such like? And yet many Christians buy and read these things.
Can you not see so-called sexy picture shows condemned here! And yet our newspapers are full of the ads for these movies showing nude women and men, passionate love scenes and, more often than not, intimate bed-room scenes. The movie industry continues to produce these pictures because people will buy tickets to see them.
Can you not see that all dirty, filthy jokes are condemned here? Yet many times people who take active parts in churches are heard telling filthy, dirty tales, so-called jokes. They say, “Let’s be broad minded.” The Bible says they will not inherit the kingdom of God; their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8).
Can you not see the modern dance condemned in the definition of lasciviousness? The definition includes “indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females.” What could be more descriptive of the dance? Yet, in spite of the warning that those who practice such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, many who profess to follow Christ dance, and think nothing of it.
Can you not see that indecent and immoral apparel is condemned here; The wearing of low cut dresses, plunging neck lines, tight fitting dresses or pants, mini-skirts, hot pants, bikini bathing suits, etc. Surely these things excite and produce lewd and lustful thoughts in men and boys. In spite of the repeated Bible warnings, mothers who claim to be Christians will dress their daughters in these types of clothing or allow them to do so, even in so many cases wearing this type themselves. Then, they wonder why the daughter sometimes does things she should not and gets into trouble. What can they expect if they openly advertise their wares by exposing those parts of the body that make the boys lust after them? And, in most cases, the Mothers who allow their daughters to wear short shorts and halters have not even prepared the daughter’s minds for what will ultimately result by frankly discussing these facts of life with their daughters. Yes, this is plain talk, but in view of Bible teaching we need this kind of teaching multiplied many times over.
The Apostle Paul commanded in 1 Tim. 2:9, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel. You ask, “What is modest apparel? Grandma wore her dress to her ankles and wrists. Must I?” No, we would not attempt to teach that the Bible requires this, but we can perhaps better understand modesty by looking at immodesty. Now if short shorts and halters are modest, how much shorter could the shorts be cut or how much lower could the halter be worn and be still modest? I have asked that question many times without an attempted answer. Some of these low cut dresses are so low and skirts so short, you don’t know whether the woman is in them too far or not far enough. No, I am persuaded these people know what modest apparel is; the trouble is they either do not realize that they are causing others to sin as well as themselves, or they simply do not care.
The Bible teaches that one individual can cause another to sin. The apostle wrote in 1 Cor. 8:11, “For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died.” Again in Matt. 18:7, “Woe to that man through whom occasions of stumbling comes.” In Matt. 5:32, “Everyone that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, making her an adulterous.” So it is evident that one person can be the cause of someone else sinning.
In Matt. 5:28, Jesus said, “Everyone that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. The woman who parades her almost nude body on our streets, on her lawn, or in the stores around town, may think she has done no wrong. But if her indecent dress excites lewd thoughts in men and boys, she has done wrong and will stand condemned by this sin unless she repents and stops such indecency. How can she know when she has caused someone to have impure thoughts? She cannot know. This is the reason she must dress properly at all times in public.
Yes, modest apparel is required by the Lord. But usually when someone teaches a lesson along these lines, someone objects by saying that only those object whose mind is in the gutter. Would you accuse the Lord of having His mind in the gutter? He is the one who has legislated against such immodest dress.
The sin of lasciviousness led to King David’s demise and has led to many, many others since. Bathsheba was bathing in a place so public that David saw her and committed several grievous sins. James tells us that “every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed- Then when lust hath conceived- it bringeth forth death” (3a3. 1:14, 15). Only the judgment will reveal how much sin is a result of near-naked women parading the streets. Just as Bathsheba was not innocent in the sin of David, neither is the woman innocent today who deliberately exposes her body to the gaze of the world already wild with passion. The woman who appears in public half-dressed is walking in rebellion and in open opposition to God and His Word. Christian women will not so act.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 35, pp. 573-574
September 6, 1979