And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. (Genesis 39:7-12).
Notice Joseph’s reasons for refusing such enticing pleasure. He was firstly concerned about a betrayal of trust, and secondly (and more importantly) he was concerned about God’s disapproval of his actions. He asked, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” He saw that betrayal of Potiphar was a “great wickedness.” We sin when we lie to or steal from another human being. This is because the essence of God’s Law is to love every other human being as much as we love ourselves:
For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”(Romans 13:9).
When Joseph talked about sinning against God, there was the duel sin of betrayal of trust and the sin of adultery. If he had no fear of God, neither would have been considered a sin, and no doubt Joseph would have yielded to the temptation, as do millions who have no understanding of God or of His power to cast body and soul into Hell.