Question: "What is the meaning of debauchery?"
Answer: Debauchery is the habitual and unrestrained indulgence of lust and sensuality. There are several places in Scripture where the word debauchery is used to indicate what we would today call "partying." It encompasses several aspects of unholy living, including but not limited to sexual immorality, drunkenness, crude talk, and generally out-of-control behavior.
Examples of the use of debauchery in the Bible include
• Ephesians 5:18, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."
• 1 Peter 4:3, "For you have given time enough in the past to the doing of the things which the Gentiles delight in—pursuing, as you did, a course of habitual license, debauchery, hard drinking, noisy revelry, drunkenness and unholy image-worship."
• Luke 15:13, in reference to the lifestyle of the prodigal son, "No long time afterwards the younger son got all together and traveled to a distant country, where he wasted his money in debauchery and excess."
• Romans 13:13, "Living as we do in broad daylight, let us conduct ourselves becomingly, not indulging in revelry and drunkenness, nor in lust and debauchery, nor in quarreling and jealousy."
Romans 13:14 goes on to contrast a debauched lifestyle with one that honors God: "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." The idea of debauchery is always used in reference to the ungodly (Galatians 5:19). There is no support in Scripture for a Christian to engage in debauchery. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). Those who are filled with the Spirit will not live in licentiousness.
Debauchery encompasses all that God hates (Romans 1:18), and it brings destruction in the end (Galatians 6:8). A Christian is one who has chosen to deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). The lifestyle of carnality and the lifestyle of spirituality are incompatible and therefore cannot coexist. First John 5:18 says, "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin." Galatians 5:23 says that those saved from debauchery exhibit self-control. “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (verse 24).
Debauchery is the polar opposite of godliness. It characterizes those who do not know Christ, those who are on the “broad way” that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). No one who chooses a lifestyle of debauchery can also be a follower of Christ (Romans 6:1-2; 1 John 2:3; 3:10).
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