THE SIN OF FORNICATION

It has been said that our world is in the middle of a sexual revolution. Many today question the old concepts of morality. Others have decided that we need to update our code of ethics. As a result, sexual promiscuity is becoming more prevalent. Numbers have accepted the hedonistic "Playboy Philosophy" without questioning it. The old "Puritanical" concepts of sex are scoffed at, and it is considered sophisticated in many circles for young unmarried people to engage in sexual activity. Even some religious people, in an attempt to be relevant, have spoken out in favor of relaxing sexual codes. This is exemplified by the 1971 pronouncement by the Committee on Family Life of the Methodist Church which condoned sex for single persons, homosexuals and "other styles of interpersonal relationships."

In light of this relaxing of sexual standards, it is well for the Christian to ask if fornication is wrong. By fornication we are referring in a general way to all sexual intercourse between people who are not married to each other. Should Christians today relax the standards of past generations? We should not be prudish, for the Bible is not, but we must abide by God's teaching.

God's word does not condemn sex in general. When it is used in the way God intended, it is blessed and promotes the welfare and happiness of mankind. (I Corinthians 7.2-5; Proverbs 5.18-19.)The proper use however is within the marriage relationship. (Hebrews 13-4.) Sexual intercourse outside of marriage is wrong and has been condemned by God in every generation. There are several reasons why fornication is wrong in all circumstances.

        1. It is a sin against God. When men break any commandment of God they are defying His authority and committing sin. The Bible makes it plain that God opposes fornication. (Galatians 5.19; I Corinthians 6.9.) When urged by his master's wife to commit fornication with her, Joseph said, "How then could I ....sin against God." (Genesis 39.9.)

        2. It is a sin against one's fellow man. By such an act you not only sin, but you also cause another to sin with you. Furthermore, you sin against any others who may be affected by the act. Joseph regarded it as a sin against his master to commit fornication with his master's wife.

        3. It is a sin against self. By fornication one dishonors his body. (I Corinthians 6.15-I8.) It can bring a loss of one's honor, reputation, and self-respect. (Proverbs 6.32-33) It may also bring disease to the body, thus dishonoring the temple of God.

        4. It is a sin against the soul. "He that committeth adultery with a woman is void of understanding: he doeth it who would destroy his soul." (Proverbs 6.32.) Fornication destroys spiritual sensitivity. (Hosea 4:11.) Those who do not repent of fornication will suffer the punishment of eternal hell. (Revelations 21:8.)

        5. It is a sin against one's family. It is so serious it is the only reason God allows an innocent person to divorce and remarry another. (Matthew 5.32; 19.9.)

        6. It is a sin against society. Such sins destroy nations. (cf. Genesis 19.) It spreads epidemics of venereal diseases and breaks down moral fiber.

        Surely every Christian can see that we must strive for Biblical purity. Sex as God intended is very good. Fornication is wrong, and we must abstain from it. We must respect God's laws of morality or we will suffer the consequences. "Having therefore these promises beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from the defilement of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear God." (2 Corinthians 7:4.)