"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."
- Ephesians 5:3 NIV
I recently heard from a young woman who wanted to know what the Bible had to say about sex before marriage. She said that she wasn't talking about having sex with several people before marriage, but about two Christians who truly loved each other and intended to marry. The fact is that I receive questions like these on a regular basis, even though in most cases, the people asking the questions don't really want to hear my answers. They would much rather hear me say something like, "God says it's okay, as long as two people really love each other," than to hear me say, "God has established very clear boundaries for sexual relations in His Word." The Scriptures are filled with warnings against God's people having sex outside the bonds of marriage. And why is this so? Because God loves us and wants to protect us from the awful consequences that this kind of immorality can have. Some of these consequences are unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental illness. A former president of the American Psychiatric Association has said, "Premarital [physical] relationships resulting from the so-called new morality have greatly increased the number of young people in mental hospitals." Much of the mail I receive on a daily basis is from people who are suffering mentally and emotionally, because of their involvement in relationships that were not God's will for them.
"Fornication" is sex between two people who are not married to each other. It's a word that is rarely used these days, except in some translations of the Bible, such as the King James Version. Most translations use the term, "sexual immorality," but the meaning is the same. Scripture says, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 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; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NIV) When we accepted Christ's sacrifice on the Cross as payment for our sins, we gave up the right to mistreat, abuse, or neglect our bodies, or to use them in unholy ways. One of the reasons why God has given us His Holy Spirit is so that we can live the holy and pure lives that He's called us to. The Bible says: "But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God--who chose you to be His children--is holy. For He Himself has said, 'You must be holy because I am holy.'" (1 Peter 1:15-16 NLT) Anytime we begin to doubt how seriously our holy God takes sexual immorality, we need only look at verses like Hebrews 12:14 (NLT), which says: "Seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord." The apostle Paul issues a stern warning when he tells us: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers...will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB) The Bible makes it clear that sexual sins will keep multitudes of people out of the kingdom of God, unless they turn to the Lord in sincere repentance.
Don't let people tell you that the Bible is outdated, and that its principles don't apply to us any longer. God clearly tells us in His Word, "I am the Lord, and I do not change." (Malachi 3:6 NLT) And elsewhere, the Scriptures say, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. " (Hebrews 13:8 NIV) God is not going to change His mind about His righteous laws, and it's up to us to decide if we are going to break them, or obey them. Those of us who love God, ourselves, and the people we are in relationship with will choose the path of obedience. Years ago, I heard a godly man say that whatever we compromise God's Word to gain, we will eventually lose. Sexual immorality never saves relationships--it destroys them. And consider this--if you involve yourself in relationships that are not of God, you will delay, or even forfeit, the perfect mate He has ordained for you. If you are a parent, or hope to be one someday, be aware that the Bible says that how you live your life will affect future generations. (Numbers 14:18) Sexual immorality, like other sins, can open a door for the devil to come into our lives and families to "steal, kill, and destroy." (John 10:10) Don't let Satan and his cohorts rob you of the awesome future that God has in store for you. Today, choose to flee from sexual immorality, knowing that when you do, you'll have all the help of heaven on your side!
Prayer: Lord, when I'm tempted to yield to sexual sin, help me to instantly turn to You in prayer. Give me the strength and the wisdom to stay away from people and situations that would lead me into sin. Thank You for giving me the grace to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live a self-controlled, upright and godly life in this present age! (Titus 2:11-12 NIV)
- J. M. Farro