What is the biblical meaning of debauchery?
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
• “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18 (excess is debauchery)
• “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:” 1 Peter 4:3 (lust is debauchery)
• “And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” Luke 15:13 (riotous living is debauchery)
• “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” Romans 13:13
Romans 13:14 goes on to contrast a debauched lifestyle with one that honors God:
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14
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.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.“ 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.
“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” 1 John 5:18
Galatians 5 says that those saved from debauchery exhibit self-control. “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:23–24
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).