I knew of a preacher (72 years old) who had lost his wife, and fell prey to the appearance of fornication. By his own admission, he lived with a woman in a nonsexual relationship. When confronted with his situation he said that he was doing nothing wrong. He said that he couldn’t afford to live on his social security check and if he were married he would suffer financially. Thus, he lived with a woman for financial reasons. Was this preacher sinning by living in a platonic relationship?
One of the problems with sin is that it is deceptive. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:13-16). Sin doesn’t come all at once, but rather creeps up a little at a time. That is why Paul warned “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).
What would you think if you learned that a man and a woman (non-related) were living together in the same house or apartment? What would you honestly assume? The primary reason people of the opposite live together is to have opportunities to have sex, so it would be a natural conclusion. Thus, let’s assume that two people actually do live together, but don’t share a bed. What kind of example will they be giving to others?
Even if two people could live together and avoid having sex together, their example would encourage others to try it. Most could not avoid such temptation and yield to it. Though they may manage to avoid sin, their example would be an encouragement to others who then end up sinning. “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12). Would you want to stand before God and have Him point out that because of your poor example others fell into sin?
The real problem is that people aren’t shunning sin. They are embracing it. They find it fascinating and intriguing. They try to see how close they can get to the line of sin without actually stepping across it. We should be serious about the horror of sin knowing the terror of God (2 Cor 5:11). We ought to be trying to get as far from sin as we can get. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Yes, two people of the opposite sex could possibly live together and not fall into sin, but no two could do such and not cause others to think evil about them. This particular preacher by his own effort preached the truth of God, but he wasn’t living the truth. He preached to others that living together was a sin no matter if no sex was involved. Preachers and teachers of the truth are held to a greater standard than those who are not teachers and preachers (Jam 3:1). Therefore, preachers must practice what they preach (Rom 2:21,22)! This man is dead and gone now, and his good works for God has been negated by those who are privy to his former living condition. Let us not end our life in such a precarious condition. Let us not be like David who caused others to blaspheme God’s Word. Therefore as Paul asked, so do I, “Why stand we in jeopardy every hour” (1 Cor 15:30)?