We live in a society which believes that fornication is the perquisite to marriage. Many today cohabitate with someone for years, having children in the process before they decide to marry. In my days, that is having the cart before the horse. Perhaps this generation has forgotten the true meaning of fornication.
Fornication is defined as “illicit sexual intercourse in general.” This definition includes, “prostitution, unchastity, and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” Fornication is a broader word than adultery. It sometimes includes adultery (as in 1 Cor. 5: 1), and it is sometimes distinguished from it (as in 1 Cor. 6:9).
Since fornication includes any and all sexual cohabitation outside the bonds of lawful marriage, it includes the sin of premarital sex. By definition fornication includes the sexual intercourse involved in prostitution. In its broadest sense, fornication includes any and all adultery. And as a synonym for adultery, it includes the sin of all who are unscripturally divorced and remarried, or are married to someone who is unscripturally divorced.
No modern-day condition or circumstance alters, negates, or changes in any way God’s condemnation of fornication. If everybody in the world-committed fornication, it would still be sin. In fact, the ancient world was “filled with . . . fornication” (Rom. 1: 29), but the frequent commission of sin does not make it lawful.
Youthful passions are no excuse for fornication. The Bible says, “Flee also youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22). Those who wink at sexual promiscuity in young people are winking at a sin that will damn souls, young or old! The sickness or death of one’s marriage companion does not justify or excuse fornication. Paul said, “It is better to marry than to burn” (1 Cor. 7:9), but Paul did not say, “it is better to commit fornication than to burn.” The temporary or permanent deprivation of sexual liberties of lawful marriage does not justify fornication. The laxity of a church in disciplining fornicators does not excuse the sin. The church at Corinth was remiss in their disciplinary duty, but that laxity did not justify the fornicating brother (1 Cor. 5:1f).
The reply Jesus gave the Jews who brought before Him a woman taken in the very act of adultery (John 8) does not excuse fornication. After saying, “Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus told the guilty woman, “Go and sin no more. ” Be assured that that same woman will be condemned in the judgment if she continued to persist in sin. Likewise, the fact that no one is perfect does not excuse fornication. It is true that we all sin against God, but that fact no more excuses fornication than it excuses homosexuality, rape, or adultery! Fornication is not justified by successfully hiding the sin, or by avoiding pregnancy, or by getting married after the sin has been committed! Nothing can make fornication right.
Fornication is a sin that originates in the heart. Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications … These are the things which defile a man” (Mt. 15:1.8-19). Fornication is a sin against one’s own body. The Holy Spirit said, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body” (1Cor. 6:18). It is a sin against our Creator. Joseph in the O.T. knew this, and answered the seductress, “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). It is a sin that can be resisted and avoided. God says, “Flee fornication,” and Joseph in the O.T. shows us how to do it. God does not require more than we can do, but “this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication” (1 Thess. 4:3). It is the only sin permitting divorce and remarriage by an innocent husband. (Mt. 19:9). It is a sin that will keep those guilty of it out of the joys of heaven. “Let marriage be had in honor among all. and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Fornication is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), and those guilty of it must face the wrath of God (Eph. 5:3-6). It is a sin specifically mentioned in teaching on church discipline 1 Cor. 5:9-11). The sin of fornication may have its appeal to the lust of the flesh, yet when viewed in the light of God’s word it is seen as an act of sin that will drag those stained by it into the depths of hell.
Conclusion: We live in a promiscuous society which has glorified fornication. Don’t fall prey to this great sin! Not only can fornication lead to all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases, but it will lead to the loss of your eternal soul. The good news is that fornication can be forgiven. However, sinners can’t be forgiven of any sin. Only Christians who have obeyed the gospel of Christ can be forgiven this, and every other sin. Wayward Christians must repent of their sin and pray for God’s pardon.