Douglas R. Young
The world that we live in would have us to believe that the “libido” is untamable. In the faint and distant past lies a time when it seemed to be universally understood that fornication was wrong. But today, the “libido” is untamable. Instead of promoting abstinence to those who are unwed, society pushes “protection.” Remember that the “libido” is untamable. To many today, the concept of “One Man, One Woman, For Life” is not possible. One woman cannot fulfill the needs of man. Remember that the “libido” is untamable. What is written above has become universal truth to much of society. In a variety of ways and by means of different mediums, this author has been told all of the above at some point in time of his life. Why has this become such a prominent societal view? Are the views above all that prominent? If you have ever seen an episode of Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake, or Sally Jesse Raphael, you would think so. I have no reason to doubt that former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes is correct when he states that we are in a moral crisis. This moral crisis has made it socially unacceptable and politically incorrect to preach abstinence, to tell someone that homosexuality is an abomination, to promote the sacred nature of the husband and wife relationship. One cannot deal with the moral crisis of today without dealing with the concept of “fornication.” It is the author’s purpose to deal with this particular subject by asking a series of questions and responding thereto.
What is Fornication?
The majority of our Greek authorities are generally in line with one another as to the meaning of the word fornication. Fornication is derived from the Greek word, (pornea) and refers to some form of illicit sexual intercourse in general. Fornication can be committed between a man and woman, a man and man, a woman and a woman, or a man/woman and an animal. Our English term “pornography” is also derived from this Greek word. Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary (Encyclopedia Edition) defines fornication as “Illicit sexual intercourse of unmarried persons.” Though this term is most commonly used to describe sexual relations outside of marriage, it is not limited to unmarried people because Jesus allows “fornication” as an exception to scripturally divorce a spouse (Matt. 5:32, 19:9). Therefore, a married person can commit fornication just as an unmarried person can.
Why is Fornication Wrong?
The Bible unequivocally condemns the committing of fornication by anyone, saint or sinner alike. The apostle Paul deals with this subject on several occasions in the epistles that he penned. The Christians at Thessalonica were commanded by him to abstain from fornication (I Thessalonians 4:3). In his epistle to the churches of Galatia, he classified fornication as one of the works of the flesh that can prevent one from entering into the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). In the book of Romans he reflects upon the status of many Gentiles of the long ago when he stated,
“Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves…For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness…” (Romans 1:24, 26-29a).This passage alone should be enough to convince the world that fornication and homosexuality are anything but pleasing to the eyes of the Almighty God. Nowhere does the apostle Paul deal with this problem in greater detail than in the book of I Corinthians. He deals with this problem throughout this book. In chapter 5, he deals with a particular situation of one that was committing fornication with his father’s wife. The church at Corinth had failed to properly teach, admonish, and discipline this individual. In chapter 6, Paul condemns fornication in vv. 9-20. Likewise, he deals with this problem from a different perspective in chapter 7 saying, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let everyman have his own wife…” (v. 2). In chapter 10:8 he warns them to avoid fornication unlike those in Numbers 25 who committed fornication with the daughters of Moab.
These passages explain to us that fornication is wrong, but what makes it wrong? There are two passages that should be discussed in order to set in order the reason that fornication is wrong. First let us notice I Timothy 5:14. Paul writes to the young preacher, “I will that younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” This is God’s plan for the woman. Notice that bearing children comes after the command to marry. Why, because the sexual relationship is confined ONLY to the marriage relationship. Sexual intercourse between two unwed persons is wrong. Second, let us go to the book of Hebrews. The penman of the book makes it clear in chapter 13:4 that “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” When a married person commits fornication with another, that individual has defiled his/her marriage bed. Once again, the sexual relationship is confined to married couples and married couples only!
How Has It Affected Us?
The fact that schools desire to pass out prophylactics to students as an alternative preventive plan against widespread teen pregnancies speaks volumes. What happened to utilizing an “abstinence” based plan? Any plan that is not an “abstinence” based plan is a plan that promotes sexual intercourse among teens. The afternoon talk shows laugh at the fact that teens are sexually active. They condone such activity. Think about how many kids watch these shows. Interestingly enough, someone like Oprah Winfrey is no better. She glorifies and condones homosexuality. Anyone who is in opposition to such a lifestyle is depicted as “narrow-minded.” She has lived for several years with a man that she is not married to and seemingly thinks nothing about it. These “TV Heroes” promote an agenda that permeates faster than the smell of a skunk that has been hit by a car. Millions of ignorant people tune in daily never realizing that they have become desensitized to the sexual stench of a sin-sick society. Indeed, the problem of fornication has affected us.
Can the Temptation to Commit Fornication Be Overcome?
Because fornication is a “work of the flesh,” it is naturally a temptation used by Satan to hinder the Christian. There is a natural attraction given us by God between the sexes. The test comes in being able to channel ones focus. It is insane for a person to think that the “libido” is untamable. Such a statement is a “ slap in the face” to all that have gone before who have been able to overcome this serious temptation. It is a “slap in the face” to Joseph, who was in his late teens when he refused to succumb to the temptation of Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39). Of course this temptation can be overcome! One must resolve to not live the lifestyle of a fornicator. A person must be willing and ready to refuse to “sin against God” (v. 9) as Joseph was desirous of doing. Overcoming the temptation to commit fornication is no different than overcoming the temptation to commit any other sin. It takes two primary things to overcome the temptations that come our way. First and foremost, we need to hide the word of God in our heart as stated by the Psalmist (119:11). Second, we must transform our mind not to fall to the particular temptation (Romans 12:2). A person will never do right unless their mind is right! It is going to take an individual willingness to rise above the temptation for a change to occur in society. Society must be willing to recognize that the “path of least resistance” is not the road to take. Let us all endeavor to overcome all temptations. Let us rise to the occasion. If we don’t then who will?
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