What is Fornication?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 3, 2014 2 comments

Some of you reading this may say that I must be very sheltered, since I actually had to look up the word “fornication” before starting this blog post; I honestly did not know specifically what it meant! What I learned is that fornication, simply put, is consensual sexual intercourse between two unmarried adults.

So why are we at Worldview Warriors writing on this topic? Well, the question for the week is not just discussing fornication, but why it is considered sinful. As always, I turn to the Bible to find the answer to this question.

First, let’s look at 1 Corinthians 6:18, which says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” Paul, who wrote this, isn’t just making this as a suggestion if you feel like it; no, he is commanding the people at Corinth to flee from sexual immorality! The root word used in Greek here for ‘sexual immorality’ is “porneia,” the root that we get our English word ‘pornography’ from. But specifically, what does this Greek word mean? I consulted four lexicons, and the meanings I found were: sexual immorality, sexual unfaithfulness, whoredom, fornication, adultery, incest, unsanctioned sexual intercourse, and prostitution. As you can see, often Greek words don’t have just one English word that fits with them, but rather a range of words to give the general idea of its meaning. So essentially, this word “porneia” generally relates to any kind of illegitimate sexual intercourse. Legitimate sexual intercourse is defined as one man and one woman who are married, as we talked about in last month’s blog posts.

Back to 1 Corinthians 6:18, it says that all other sins are outside a person’s body, but sexual sin is against that person’s own body. Had you ever thought about it that way? If I tell a lie, that is outside my body. If I commit murder or am mean to someone, that is outside my body. But a sexual sin is done to my own body.

Why is it important whether a sin is inside or outside your body? Keep reading in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” As a follower of Christ, you have received the Holy Spirit - who is God Himself - and the Spirit lives in you. Jesus Christ died for you, to pay the price for your sins. That is the price you were bought for, Jesus’ own life. Because God lives in you and God died for you, wouldn’t it logically follow that you would want to honor God? We often honor heroes who gave their lives to save others, but what about honoring God for that? Whether you know it or not, Jesus died for YOU and He deserves your honor, not just with your emotions but with your body as well!

How do we honor God with our bodies? By not sinning sexually, since that is sin committed within your body. Earlier in the 1 Corinthians 6:13b, Paul writes that “The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality [“porneia”] but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

Even though the Bible is pretty clear about how it is a sexual sin to have intercourse outside of marriage, a common line of thought is that it can’t be wrong if the two people love each other and it’s consensual. But did you see anything in the verses quoted above that indicate it’s ok if you love each other? Go read the whole section of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; I’m certain you won’t find it in there. If you follow Christ, you need to follow the directions He gives us for life, the Bible. If the Bible says it’s sin, then it’s sin.

Fortunately, we can always be forgiven of our sin, thanks to Jesus. I challenge you today to honor God not only with your life but with your body from this day forward.


Charlie said...

Use the earth as a metaphor for the body. Most sins would be akin to outward destruction like a wildfire or a volcano or a hurricane. In such disasters, the earth heals. The plants re-grow and nature returns to its course. But sexual sin is a sin against the body. It is like digging out a cave in the earth. And no matter what you do to try to help fix it, it will always leave a scar and will never appear the same again.

Katie said...

Great analogy, Charlie!