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Fornication – Take It Lightly at Your Peril

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication…and the
like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those
who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21 NKJV)
One of two things is true today – the world either believes it can treat God with utter
contempt or no longer believes in him and his word period. Man has always had to
battle sexual desire and temptation and has often lost the battle but what has
changed in the past few decades is that men and women are willing to openly flout
their sin and no longer see themselves as doing anything morally or spiritually
wrong.

I went to a tiny high school in the early 60’s. There were only 40 to 45 of us (the
entire school) and the school was closed the year I graduated. That number
probably represented 20 to 25 families and yet out of all those families there was
not a single family where the child was not living with both his/her birth parents who
were married to one another – not a step child among us, not a single case of a
child from a single parent home. Do not tell me the world has not changed. Now
days you get a child in school and his/her last name means nothing. Chances are
about as good as not that he does not have the last name his/her parents have on
the enrollment card. In the year 2007, the last year I could find stats for, nearly
40% of the children born in America were born out of wedlock and that was a 25%
jump from just 5 years earlier.

Men use to know fornication was a sin. Being prone to lusts and desires of the flesh
the sin was still often committed but people generally realized they had done wrong
when they became involved in it. Today there seems to be no conscience of such.
Be that as it may the Bible still teaches that if we will not repent, and obey the
gospel if we have not done so, “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that
he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.”
(Gal. 6:7-8 NKJV)

The Greek word behind the English word “fornication” in the older Bible versions is
often in the newer versions translated as “sexual immorality.” There is a reason for
that. The Greek includes more than what we generally think of by the word
“fornication.” We usually limit that word to illicit sexual intercourse between at
least one unmarried partner with the other partner being either single also or
married to another. We say the unmarried party is a fornicator. The reality is the
word is much broader in meaning than just that one narrow definition and thus Bible
scholars involved in the translation process have tried to make that clear with the
phrase “sexual immorality.” All of that being said it still remains true that
unmarried sex, as in sexual intercourse, is fornication and condemned in the Bible.

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality (fornication – KJV – DS)
among you, and such sexual immorality (fornication – KJV – DS) as is not even
named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!” (1 Cor. 5:1 NKJV)
Paul wants the man removed from the fellowship. He says, “you are puffed up, and
have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away
from among you…deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that
his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor. 5:2-5 NKJV) This was a
man who was a Christian but who stood condemned because of his fornication.

Today we celebrate, or are expected to, the birth of children born of fornication.
Now do not get me wrong, such babies are deserving of all love, care, kindness, and
attention as they are innocent and pure as the falling snow but Mom and Dad have
done the children no favors, none whatsoever, and to expect relatives and others to
just totally rejoice over Mom and Dad’s sin which is what is expected is a little tough
to bear. They put us in a position where we almost are forced to rejoice in sin. I do
not know about you but I kind of resent this type of treatment.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,
nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor
extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-10 NKJV)

One more passage and then I close. “Therefore put to death your members which
are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness,
which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons
of disobedience, in which you also once walked when you lived in them.” (Col. 3:5-7
NKJV)

Two points need to be made concerning this passage. (1) It is clear from this
passage, as well as others I have quoted, that unrepentant fornicators are in serious
trouble with God no matter how accepted the sin is in American society today. (2)
One can live in a state of fornication – “when you lived in them.”

What people often do not know is that the word “fornication,” in the meaning of the
Greek word, includes the sin of adultery, a state in which one can live according to
Col. 3:5-7. When the word “fornication” is used in a text alone without the word
adultery accompanying it then it should be given its broader meaning to include all
sexual immorality which includes adultery. Again the newer versions have
eliminated a lot of this problem by use of the term “sexual immorality.” The NIV, for
example, renders Col. 3:5 as “sexual immorality” rather than ‘fornication” meaning
the Greek term is to be considered in its broadest application.

John the Baptist had his head removed by Herod. Why? Because Herod was living
in a state of adultery and John told him about it, “It is not lawful for you to have
her.” (Matt. 14:4 NKJV) Married? Yes! An adulterous marriage. Herodias is never
in the Bible referred to as Herod’s wife even though he had married her. She is
always called “his brother Philip’s wife.” (Matt. 14:3, Mark 6:17, Luke 3:19 NKJV)
The bottom line is America is full of fornication and no one seems to feel the least
bit guilty nor seems to have the least bit of the fear of God within them. I would
wish them good luck as they are going to need it but if I want to be on God’s side
and I do then I cannot do even that much. All I can do is point out the sin and give a
warning. That I have done. Slap God in his face at your own risk.