The consequences of fornication are so serious that the wise man warned repeatedly of its dangers:
. . . To deliver thee from the strange woman . . . which forsakes the guide of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God. For her house inclines unto death, and her paths unto the dead (Prov. 2:16-18).
But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword (Prov. 5:4).
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? . . . But whoso commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding: he that does it destroys his own soul (Prov. 6:27-28,32).
The effects of this sin include the following:
1. The sin of fornication separates a person from God (Gal. 5:19-21). The physical consequences of fornication formerly deterred some from committing the sin; the fear of an unwanted pregnancy and the public shame and embarrassment of an illegitimate baby prevented some from committing fornication. That deterrent to fornication has been removed by the various contraceptives and abortion clinics. Consequently, many more people are involved in the sin of fornication.
We need to be reminded that an unwanted pregnancy might be prevented or terminated. No one on earth may know about the sin except the two participants. However, “the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). He knows when the sin is committed. The sin separates the sinner from God, bringing him into a state of spiritual death and in danger of eternal damnation in hell.
2. The sin of fornication endangers the physical body. Trying to deter the young in his day from the sin of fornication, the wise man warned, “And you mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed” (Prov. 5:11). Fornication leads to several venereal diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and AIDS. Because of the dangers to the physical body, some immoral people have changed their lifestyle; casual sex is not as popular as it once was. Even so, fornication prevails under the veil of safe sex. Yet, there is no such thing as safe sex. Abstinence is the only safe sex. Condoms can prevent child birth, but all the diseases that go with fornication.
3. The sin of fornication damages the emotions of man. When a person engages in premarital or extramarital sexual relationships, he violates his own conscience; a burden of guilt weighs heavily upon his mind. Until the sinner repents or becomes calloused in his sin, he will undergo the same inner turmoil as did David when he committed the sin with Bathsheba. He described this turmoil saying,
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer (Ps. 32:3-4).
The psychological troubles from fornication will be brought into the marriage. One’s husband or wife will have trouble accepting that another has committed fornication with his/her mate. The participant will have trouble blotting out the remembrance of his involvement in that sin.
4. Fornication damages and destroys the marriage. When fornication is committed by someone who is married, his sin frequently causes the destruction of the marriage; if the marriage is not totally destroyed by the sin of fornication, pain and anguish which leave deep scars result. Some become so inflamed by passion that they throw away 20 years of commitment to their spouse and children. Their children suffer through the agonies of a divorce and then are raised in a single-parent home which, however conscientiously managed, is not the ideal home which God ordained as an environment in which to rear children.
Yes, fornication has its consequences. Even its temporal consequences should lead a person to abstain from fornication. Its eternal consequences make the commission of fornication a form of spiritual suicide.
Conclusion: We live in an ungodly age. So has every generation of Christians since the ungodly world crucified Jesus. Like the Christians before us who lived in ungodly eras of time, we must not be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1-2). We must be willing to be different, strong enough to walk according to the revelation of God instead of according to the course of the world.
As Christians, let us “flee fornication” (1 Cor. 6:18) and “abstain from fornication” (1 Thess. 4:3). Should the temptation to commit fornication present itself, let us flee from it like Joseph. To keep the temptation as far removed as possible, let us avoid those things which create and stimulate one’s inordinate desires and passions. “But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil” (2 Thess. 3:3).