As believers, we must be willing to let the Spirit work through us. Not allowing His power to change us could be evidence of our having an appearance of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:5). In light of that, many things must be put to death within us immediately.
Paul tells us that because men exchanged the truth of God for a lie, God gave them over to their sinful desires. Men stopped loving women and were consumed with lust for one another. Such is the root of sexual (and possibly all other) sin: an exchanging of the truth of God for a lie. It manifests itself in many ways.
This describes what is listed as adultery, but upon listening closely to the words of Jesus, it becomes evident that adultery is much more than simply sleeping with another man’s wife– this gets into lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:27) and the repercussions for this are great indeed: tear out an eye that causes sin, cut off a hand that leads astray. In other words, remove from your life things that are causing you to stumble. You cannot expect God to remove things for you if you continuously put yourself in those situations.
It seems that each sin leads to the next. For instance, those living in sexual immorality (from the greek term porneia which gives us the word pornography) easily slip into impurity. As noted, however, it can go the other way as well. These thoughts lead to the actions. Behind every sin is a greater heart issue. Think about it: do you sin just because it is fun or you feel like sinning? Or are you immoral because your heart is deceiving you? Most of the time, we let our feelings take over our thoughts and impurity occurs. This should not be.
Peter Barnes, in his commentary on this book, describes this as “sexual activity beyond all bounds– the sort of caving in to sexual cravings that led to the depravity exhibited… in Sodom and Gomorrah.” If you read that story, you see that those living in these cities were very depraved in their thoughts which led to great and terrible outward sins. These men of the city observed that Lot was entertaining male guests (who turned out to be angels) and desired to rape them. That is the sort of thing that must be ceased.
Well, we still have lust, adultery occurs often, extra-marital affairs and the like also abound. But it gets worse! Even within our own evangelical circles there are pornography issues, those partaking in prostitution, strippers, and the like– even spreading to the countless amount of priests that have mournfully been involved in accounts of child molestation. Why do we let this go? From the seemingly small things of the sweet little Christian girl sleeping with her boyfriend, to the huge things of OKing (so-called) homosexual marriage even within some churches. We have drifted from where we should be. And what is the call of Scripture that has so easily been ignored?
STOP IT! Remove these things from you! Of course, we must have grace when dealing with other people, but the sin needs to be put to death- especially their sexual sin. Why do you think Paul lists four different types of sexual sin and then says and things like these (v. 21).
It must be a call from the Church as a whole, as the Bride of Christ, to the people of God to leave their sin. Inspect the heart, for that is where it begins. Help them figure out where the sin desire is coming from, and help them expunge it.