2002-07-17 - Fornication
Jeremiah 3:9 And it came about because of the lightness of her harlotry, that she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.
Today's question: "I am 17 years old, and my boyfriend and I have been going out for over two years. Lately there has been a longing in me to have sex with him, but I made a purity promise to God when I was 13 to not have sex until I was married. But we still really want to have sex. I'm scared about disappointing my parents, God, myself, and getting pregnant or STDs. Why is it so wrong to have sex before you are married? I really need this advice, or I might do something I'll regret for the rest of my life.... Please, if you can, help me. Thank you."
Every year that we have done the summer questions, several questions similar to your question are asked. I know it is an important question, and it has deep implications for you and for everyone who struggles as you are. It is so common that you need not feel alone here. However, I also know that the fact that you are not alone in your struggle probably does little to make your struggle easier. To a great extent, I think you have already answered this question for yourself. You are right to say that you don't want to give into this temptation because you don't want to sin against God, disobey your parents, and wound your own conscience. You may have not said it exactly like that, but, in effect, that is what you were saying.
Your question boils down nicely to, "Why is it wrong to have sex before marriage?" The answer is not really complicated, and I think you know it. It is wrong because God says it is sin. 1 Corinthians 6:18 warns us to flee immorality. Earlier in the same chapter, in verse 9 and 10, we are told that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 tells us that the will of God for us is that we abstain from sexual immorality. We could multiply examples, but I think that you get the idea.
This is not one of those gray areas where some people say the Bible teaches this and others say that it teaches that. The Bible is very clear in this area. In addition, I think from the clear and honest manner that you asked your question, that you also understand what the Bible teaches here. I know it does not make it easier for you, but you must remember that God's will is what is in your best interest and He has given us all standards to live our lives in accordance with. This is not because He is our cosmic killjoy, but rather because He loves us and wants what is best for us.
I would like to take a short diversion on this topic today. God's Word often compares fornication or adultery to idolatry. We see this in Ezekiel 16, especially in verses 23-29. Also in Ezekiel 23:36-39, the idolatry of Israel is called by God, adultery. The turning to other Gods is also compared directly to adultery in Hosea 1:2 and 3:1. There are many implications we could draw from this, and we have not even begun to exhaust the passages that use this comparison. The woman on the beast in Revelation 17 is called a harlot, and she is again in Revelation 19:2, when God judges her for corrupting the Earth with immorality.
Lastly, in John 8:41, 42 we have an interesting passage where the Jews are asserting their rights of religious inheritance. They say that they were not born of fornication, but Christ replies to them that because they do not love Him, their claim to purity is void. So we have some interesting comparisons between sexual perversion and idolatry, or the denial of God's rightful authority in Scripture.
This should make us think carefully before we would step out of line in the area of sexual misconduct. God's judgment on idolatry is rather severe in Scripture, as seen in Deuteronomy 13:12-18. Here the Israelites are told that if they find a town that has fallen into idolatry, they are to kill all the people in it. They were to kill all the cattle, and then bring all the possessions into the center of town and burn them all.
Now if we find God linking sexual misconduct and idolatry and His displeasure regarding them both, and we see how severely He treats idolatry, then we would be wise to be very careful to follow His will in this area of our lives. I know this is not an easy task. The world sells us quite a different line and sells it well, but as Christians, we live counter to the world -- and part of that is living according to God's will even when we have real and honest desires and struggles to go contrary to what we know is right. It is here that faith is tested, and by God's grace, may we be found to have a faith that is able to withstand the fiery assaults of the evil one and seek to live faithfully unto our Lord Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,