Beckett: Pastoral Thoughts – Forbidden Sexual Relations (Leviticus 18)

Even though we live in a highly sexualised society, the sexual activities prohibited in this section of the Law are uncomfortable to talk about. Yet we need to talk about them since the world permits and even celebrates them. The first sexual perversion God forbids is incest (vv. 1-18; 20:11, 17, 19-21). Today, this is still mostly a perversion. However, recently there have been consensual incest advocates who are endeavouring to decriminalise it.[1] (This is the slippery slope conservatives warned liberals about when they legalised same-sex marriage, which they decried as fallacious. As it turns out, the conservatives were right.) It is especially portrayed in a lot of online pornographic material for people to fulfil their perverted fantasies. Incest advocates utilise the rhetoric of the LGBT cult to argue their cause.

Next, God forbids having sex with a woman while she’s on her menstrual period (v. 19; 20:18). It is obviously disgusting even to think about this, but you’d be surprised with the number of people who don’t care about such a gross act. I’m only aware that some people don’t mind this because I have some non-Christian acquaintances who’ve talked and even bragged about it. After this forbiddance, God then forbids adultery (v. 20; 20:10). Not much needs to be said about how often this is committed.

God then forbids Israel to offer their children to Molech (v. 21), which was a false god of the Ammonites to whom they slaughtered and incinerated their children (this is why we say pro-choice advocates worship the god of Molech because abortion originates from this ancient pagan practice). Next, God forbids homosexuality and adds that it is an abomination (v. 22; 20:13). Lastly, God forbids bestiality (v. 23; 20:15). Like incest, you’d think this is also widely a perversion in society; but again, you’d be surprised how common it is to find bestiality videos in online pornography for people to fulfil their sick desires. (Side note: interestingly, God briefly forbids necrophilia in the section of the Law dealing with the holiness of priests; 21:11.)

Why would God forbid all these sexual perversions, even our favourite ones like adultery and homosexuality? If you read the chapter, it’s because these perversions make you unclean. Even more: because God is God, and you are not. It’s not up to us to define sin. When we do define sin, we quite conveniently leave out the ones we love most, whether that be one of these sexual perversions, including pornography, or lying, greed, stealing, slander, and so on. That is not Christianity; that’s paganism. As God’s people, He has called us to live as holy people. That is, He has set us apart not to live like the rest of the world. That means obeying His Ten Commandments, fleeing from these sexual immoralities (1 Corinthians 6:18), confessing His Word in its utmost truth and purity rather than taking out the parts we don’t like as if it’s a bag of Trail Mix, and so on.

Yet always remember this: none of these sins are unforgivable. Everybody has their thorn in their side. When we talk about any sexual immorality, we always seem to forget to preach the Gospel. Whenever we do fall into any of these sexual perversions, or any sin, we have the grace of God to approach Him in repentance, who will forgive us for the sake of Christ, whose Spirit helps us flee from these sexual immoralities. There is not a single sin that Jesus did not die for; and there is not a single sin that He does not offer release from.

[1] Kathianne Boniello, “‘Consensual incest’ should be decriminalized, advocates say,” New York Post, published April 17, 2021, accessed December 28, 2021,

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