The Sin of Fornication

In the beginning, within the perfect boundaries that God has ordained, the first man and woman were joined together in a union that symbolized their special intimacy and oneness with God. Jesus said, “Have you not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and the two shall be one flesh?’ Wherefore they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder – Matthew 19: 4-6.

     Jesus and the entire counsel of the word of God teaches that sex is to be between a man and woman within the context of the marriage union. Any sex act outside of that Biblical definition is the sin of fornication. That would include sex with children, animals, people of the same sex and heterosexual couples engaging in sexual activity without being legally married.

     Sin is defined as anything that operates in opposition to the Word of God, or God’s perfect standard. All human beings have violated this standard at one time or another. “All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God” - (Romans 3:23). It is through repentance and faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus that forgiveness for every sin is obtained.
     While all sin is bad and detrimental to human welfare (one cannot sin without hurting someone, either yourself, others or God) the sin of fornication is singled out in the Scriptures to be particularly avoided.

     In the book of Acts, chapter 15, it is recorded that no legalistic bondage from the old covenant was to be placed upon the Gentile converts to the Lord Jesus. They are saved by grace as are the Jews. The Gentiles were told only to avoid four things - not for salvation, which had already been given to them through their repentance and faith, but for their overall welfare.
     In Acts 15:20, the Gentiles were counseled to abstain from -
     1 meats offered to idols; the Gentiles were asked not to eat things that had been offered to idols. Relating this to our present day and age, believers are to maintain a degree of separation from the pollutions of the world.
     2. They were to avoid fornication, which is all forms of sexual immorality.
     3. They were to refrain from things strangled; that is eating animals that had been killed by strangulation. This translates to eating animals that had been killed in a state of duress. It has since been discovered that when an animal dies in stress, a toxin is released into the meat. Through this restriction, as with all Biblical instruction, God is protecting His people and looking out for their best interests, physically as well as spiritually.
     4.…and from blood. The Gentiles were counseled to eat kosher, the reason being is that the life of any creature is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) and animal sacrifice was the previous means by which remission of sins was obtained. Jesus made the last and ultimate sacrifice of Himself for the remission of sin, and blood as a symbol of this sacrifice, as it has been from the beginning in the Hebrew law, is to be considered holy and not to be ingested and defiled by being purged through a human body.

     These four things were the immediate concerns for Gentile believers to maintain, and it was assumed that men who sought the Lord (Acts 15:17) would be exposed to the law of Moses because it was so prevalently read (Acts 15:32), that righteousness would develop in the believer as a result of hearing the Word of God and responding to it through the inner workings of the Holy Spirit.

     Sexual immorality was exceedingly prevalent in the pagan culture that witnessed the birth of Christianity in its midst; and that culture in its present form today, is also a persistent threat to believers. Paul exhorts us all to –
     Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. – I Corinthians 6:18
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication. – I Thessalonians 4:3
Don’t you know that your bodies are the members of Christ? – I Corinthians 6:15
Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. – I Corinthians 6:18
Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid. - I Corinthians 6:15
(Any woman who had sex outside of marriage was considered to be a harlot).

     Believers have been joined to Christ and have been made one with Him by faith. This spiritual union is likened to being joined to the Lord in a spiritual marriage. This typology of spiritual marriage between God and His people is carried over from the Old Testament. The entire book, Song of Songs, is traditionally viewed as a similitude of the love God has for His people, and it is read at the Jewish Passover services.
     God tells His people in Jeremiah 3:14 –
Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.

    In Hosea 2:16 God says, And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. The word ishi (eesh) in the Hebrew can mean a husband.

     God continues to convey His desire for spiritual intimacy with His people as He speaks to us today from the pages if His word -

I have loved you, saith the Lord. Thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy redeemer the Holy One of Israel. As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. When I passed by thee and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love, and I spread My skirt over thee, and I covered thy nakedness; yea, I swear unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest Mine. I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness and thou shalt know the Lord. I have loved you, saith the Lord. - Malachi 1:2, Isaiah 54:5, 62:5,Ezekiel 16:8, Hosea 2:19,20

     In the Apostle Paul’s discourse on marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33, he likens the union of a man and woman to the relationship between the Lord and His church –
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

     And at the end of the age, we are called as holy and chaste virgins to the marriage supper of the Lamb – Rev. 19:7,8.

     The sex act is what makes a man and woman one. It is to be considered holy, special and this act of marriage is to be revered as symbolic of the intimate union between God and His people, a union to be treasured and not defiled in any way. Sadly, this view is not held by most in the world today, and even among many professed Christians.
     A teenager was bragging to his youth pastor about how many times he’d had sex. I thought the only difference between that kid and the average dog is, the dog can’t count.
     My beloved, children, God has called us all to live our lives on a level much higher than the average dog. Flee fornication.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. – I Corinthians 6:9-11
For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s – I Corinthians 6:20.

copyright 2014 by H.D Shively

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