Question: "Is a wet dream / nocturnal emission a sin?"

Answer: Wet dreams / nocturnal emissions are fairly common in the lives of men. The Bible mentions "emissions" in a few places (Leviticus 15:16,18,32; 22:4; Deuteronomy 23:10). Deuteronomy 23:10 specifically refers to nocturnal emissions: "If one of your men is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he is to go outside the camp and stay there." Many young men (and older men) struggle with this concept. Is a wet dream / nocturnal emission sinful? How can it be a sin if we have no control over it?

Ultimately, we cannot control what we dream about or what happens with our bodies while we are asleep. However, if we are filling our minds with lustful / sinful things during the day, it will likely show up in our dreams. A nocturnal emission is a natural bodily function that is made more frequent by sexual over-stimulation. A nocturnal emission is not sinful in and of itself, but it can be the result of sinful thoughts, desires, and input. If you have a wet dream / nocturnal emission, examine your thought life. Examine what sort of images you are exposing yourself to. If you find that you have allowed yourself to be "inflamed" by lust, confess that to the Lord and ask for His help in overcoming it. In such a case, the wet dream / nocturnal emission is the result of sin, not a sin in and of itself. Follow the words of Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.”

If you find that the nocturnal emission / wet dream was simply the result of the body naturally "relieving itself," you do not need to confess anything to the Lord. The Old Testament law was very ceremonial in its treatment of bodily discharges, for men and women. Thankfully, we are not bound by these regulations. A man who has had a wet dream / nocturnal emission is not "unclean." Again, the issue is what is going on with your mind. The reactions of our bodies are the result of what takes place in our minds (Matthew 12:34-35).