Is it a sin to masturbate?
The Bible does not specifically mention masturbation. But masturbation is the result of lustful thoughts, sexual stimulation, or pornographic images. These are the sinful problems that need to be dealt with. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus teaches that when a man lusts in his heart, he has already committed the act of adultery. If the sins of lust, immoral thoughts, and pornography are forsaken and overcome, masturbation will become a non-issue. I have met people who feel guilty about masturbating, when in reality, the things that led to the act are more worthy of repentance.
There are some biblical principles that can be applied to the issue of masturbation. Ephesians 5:3 declares, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.” It is hard to see how masturbating can pass that particular test.
The Bible also teaches us, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If you cannot give God glory for something, you should not do it.
Some people believe that they can do with their bodies as they please, because it belongs to them. This is simply not true. The Bible teaches us, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This great truth should be kept in mind when we choose what to do with our bodies.
In light of these three principles, the conclusion that masturbation is a sin is biblical. Masturbation is fornication in the biblical sense. The word “fornication” in scripture means “immorality.” The “works of the flesh,” listed in Galatians 5:19-21, include fornication. Clearly, masturbation is not glorifying to God; it does not avoid the appearance of immorality, nor does it honor God as the owner of our bodies.
If you struggle with this sin and desire for Christ to set you free, please listen to my lesson entitled “Free from Sin” and the lesson following that one. Amen.