The Bible has many passages that condemn the sin of lasciviousness. It is mentioned as an evil to which men surrender who are darkened in their understanding and alienated from God. They are pictured as being past feeling and having given themselves up to this sin (Eph. 4:18,19). This is certainly an ugly picture of a depraved class of people.
Bible writers further tell us that the wicked men in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were leading lascivious lives (2 Pet. 2:7). In Gal. 5:19-21, we find a number of sins cataloged as the "works of the flesh," among which is the sin of lasciviousness. Then we are further told that "they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." One does not have to be guilty of all the sins mentioned in order to lose his inheritance, but just persist in any one of them.
What is lasciviousness? The word is translated from the Greek ‘aselgeia’ which Thayer, the noted Greek lexicographer, says is "wanton (acts or) manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females." Webster defines it as "wanton; lewd; lustful; tending to produce voluptuous or lewd emotions."
The sin of lasciviousness can be committed in thought, word, and deed. Anything that is thought, spoken, or done that produces, or tends to produce lewd thoughts, lustful emotions, or wanton ideas is lascivious. It can be produced by objects, pictures, or persons. It can be induced in one person by another, the one guilty of producing it bearing responsibility with the one in whom the sin is incited.
At this point, we usually call attention to the indecent dress of the women as that which produces lasciviousness. And so it does, but this sin is not confined to the women. Men can be as guilty in these matters as the women. Men ought to be as careful in their dress as the women should be, and equally as careful of the way they talk and act. If one causes another to have an impure, unholy thought by the way that he is dressed, by the way that he talks or acts, he is guilty of lasciviousness. No only has his conduct been improper, but he has led another to sin. Jesus said, " it is impossible but that offences will come; but woe unto him through whom they come" (Luke 17:1).
The sin of lasciviousness is the sin that is involved in dancing, mixed swimming, wearing shorts, telling suggestive jokes, speech that has a "double meaning," and the list goes on. It is no wonder that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
- by H. Osby Weaver