I think our understanding of lust is really way below the standards set by the
Bible. Lust is actually an uncontrollable desire for something out of God's Will (you cannot lust for your wife because a marriage covenant is within God's Will).

Now, take a look at the verse below....

1 Cor 2:16
16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
(NIV) Emphasis Mine

If we have the mind of Christ then we cannot lust (otherwise we will be making a mockery of Christ's mind).

Matt 5:28
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

In the verse above, our Lord says that looking lustfully is equivalent to adultery of the heart (this is adultery not translated into action yet or physical adultery in its incubation phase. Please see article on "sins of the mind and sins of the body" in the appendix below). You see, to look at a woman lustfully one has to have a mind clouded with lust. For example, a mind that feeds on pornography and obscene things will eventually allow a stronghold of lust to be built up (lust originates in the mind, not in the eyes, for a blind man can also lust). Strongholds in the mind are areas in our thought life controlled by evil spiritual forces (see 2 Cor 10:4,5 below). We can appreciate the beauty of a woman but lusting after her is sin of the mind or heart which will eventually be translated into acts of fornication or adultery. Remember that the Bible commands us to “take our thoughts captive to Christ”; not “allow your thoughts or mind to be a slave to (sexual) lust”....

2 Cor 10:4, 5
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(NIV) emphasis mine

As regards the question “Can a woman lust after a man?”, the answer is inherent in the verses below....

1 Cor 7:4-5
4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
(NAS) Emphasis Mine

Paul’s command is that a wife must not deprive her husband of the legitimate physical relationships inherent in a marriage covenant and likewise A HUSBAND MUST NOT DEPRIVE HIS WIFE of this same relationship. In other words, a woman HAS SEXUAL DESIRES (though passive when compared to the man) which must be fulfilled by her husband. If a woman has legitimate sexual desires, it follows that these desires can be translated to lust when the mind is subjected to illicit and wrongful sexual influences.

To sum it up, a Christian can certainly lust after a woman (so can a Christian woman at a man) but a Christian with the mind of Christ cannot do so. I trust that you can see the essential difference.





The Greek Word for sin is harmatia which means a falling away from or missing the right path. A more precise biblical definition would be ‘missing the mark or path that God has set for us.’ If you look closely at Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 1 (below), you will notice in the latter part of the verse that the Christian Walk is like a race with a "track marked out for each one of us", each track of course being slightly different and tailored to the individual according to God's Will. We are not to be burdened down by weights, tasks or burdens not of the Lord which will only deflect us from our rightful objective...

Heb 12:1
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

There is no attempt in the Old Testament to differentiate between sins of the heart and sins of the body, but in the New Testament higher ‘spiritual planes’ are instituted for the Born-Again Believer. We must bear in mind that the New Testament Christian has a regenerated spirit and the Holy Spirit indwells such a believer. It therefore follows that there is a higher level of spiritual accountability and responsibility for the New Testament Christian as opposed to the Old Testament Saint. Let me give a vivid example, viz,

In the Old Testament, adultery is a ‘physical’ sin punishable by death….

  Lev 20:10

10 "'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.


 In the New Testament, Jesus made the following comment…

 Matt 5:27-29

27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


The Old Testament speaks of a literal, physical adultery where both offenders must be caught in the act. Jesus speaks of one committing adultery in his heart. Lust is basically wrongful desire and allowing these wrongful desires to take root in our hearts will eventually result in a physical sin of adultery. “Lust” is therefore sin in one’s heart WHERE ONE'S WILL LIES  and SIN IN THE HEART IS a precursor to physical sin (God has set a higher mark for the New Testament Believer to reach). One's mind acts as a filter to one's heart. A Believer who is empowered by the Holy Spirit is able not only to refrain from committing physical adultery but also able to prevent “lust” from incubating in his heart (and mind).

The only other Biblical reference of “sin” and “the body” is in 1 Cor 6:18….

  1 Cor 6:16-20

16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."  17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

  18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.


  Here, the Apostle Paul is not speaking of sins of the body but “sins against the body”.The reasoning that Paul gives is that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (verse 19) and uniting your body with a prostitute is tantamount to uniting a temple of an unholy spirit with the temple of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, you sin against God and against your own body.

  In the Old Testament, physical adultery results in physical death; in the New Testament, lust is the beginning of a long journey of spiritual death.



Rom 1:26-27

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even 

women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 


What is against nature is also contrary to God's revealed will.
Masturbation and oral sex are examples of forms of sexual 
gratification against the order of nature. Sex is God's gift within 
the covenant of marriage and any abuse of it could be categorized 
as lust (sin of the heart) leading to sexual sin (sin of the body).



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