(This post was generated from my sermon Lusty Old Men found here)
The Puritan Ralph Venning illustrates this very sharply from his book The Sinfulness of Sin. When a man gives himself over to sensuality(Ephesians 4:19) it...1) It makes him like a animal, 2) It makes him like the worst of animals, 3) It makes him worse than the animals.
1) Sensuality makes man like an animal
This is primarily seen in the mind. In 2 Peter 2, Peter is warning the church about false teachers. v. 3 says that “...many will follow their sensuality..” False teachers have given themselves over to sensuality, and they attempt to deceive other to follow them it it. Because of this, Peter says they are like animals. 2 Peter 2:12 says that “...these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant...” The person who has given them self up to sensuality is like an animal.
[FYI: Sensuality deals with the senses—sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. God did in fact make our senses very good(Genesis 1:31). He made them for us to enjoy and to think about Him. Sensuality, however, turns the 5 senses into a religion. Sensuality is only concerned with how to make our senses feel pleasure. It is a complete focus on our natural instincts, and our physical appetites. It is a devotion to indulge in them in order to secure happiness. When a person gives himself up to sensuality, he’s giving himself up to everything and anything this planet has to offer. Except for God.]
2) Sensuality makes man like the worst of animals.
Whenever sensual men are compared to animals in the Scripture, it is never to gentle and innocuous animals, unless it is to point to their stupidity(cf. Prov. 7:22) They are always compared to ferocious or dangerous animals. Sensuality makes man like the worst of animals. Proverbs 28:15 “Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.” The wicked sensuous man is like a roaring lion because he has no pity. Likewise, Jesus spoke to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” These leaders weren’t compared to serpents because of their wisdom but rather because of their venomous hatred toward God. That is what sensuality does, it makes those who have given themselves up to it like the worst of animals.
3) Sensuality makes man worse than the animals.
Venning says here that the sensual man is worse than animals because “...the beasts do not transgress the law of their nature, but man has done and does so over and over again.” You see animals only do that which God designed them to do. They do not break his moral boundaries. Man, on the other hand constantly trespasses the moral boundaries that God has established. Venning goes on to say that “It is no sin in an animal to be sensual, but it is so in man, who although created for higher ends and purposes, is so degenerated as to be in many [ways] more sensual and carnal than the animals are. Sin has made man so unsociable and cruel that bears are more kind to one another than men are. Proverbs 17:12 “Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly.” If you are thinking that maybe a fool would be better to meet than a bear about to rip you apart, you’re not letting that word air out it’s full meaning. It’s not speaking of the class clown here, it is speaking about those fools who actually have the power to press their folly upon you. The Mao Tse Tung’s of the world. “[Sensual] man is more hurtful to man than the animals are to man.”
The human being is who has given himself up to sensuality is not only like an animal, and like the worst of animals, but he is worse than all the animals.
The solution to this problem that all people share is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please listen to the above linked sermon to here this good news.