Question: "Is sexting a sin?"
Answer: “Sexting” is obscene texting. It is the act of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs, usually between mobile phones. Sexting has become so prevalent that, in August 2012, the word sexting was listed for the first time in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
Some people view sexting as harmless. After all, there are only a few words and maybe some pictures involved. It’s not as if people are actually committing adultery or fornication, right?
Matthew 5:28 says, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This moral concept also applies to how women look at men, and Jesus clearly equates lust with adultery here. So the fact that “only words or pictures are involved” is obviously immaterial to God. What matters is what is in our hearts. Colossians 3:5 warns us to “put to death” whatever belongs to our earthly nature, including sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires.
Galatians 5:19–21 reveals the severe consequences of disobedience in this matter: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity . . . and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
But what about sexting between a married couple? Technically, sexting between a husband and his wife would not be a sin, since a satisfying sex life is a gift God gives to married couples. However, it is still ill-advised. We never know who might read our messages or view our pictures. It’s possible that someone may happen to see nude photos of your spouse over your shoulder, and this may cause lust in that person as a result. Sound unlikely? James 1:14–15 says, “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Given recent revelations concerning government surveillance of cellular telephone and internet traffic, as well as the ability of hackers to intercept personal communications, we should be careful in our use of phones and web-enabled devices. Even if we’re not sexting, we still face the problems of identity theft and data privacy.
It’s best to follow the advice of 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”