By Daniel H. King
Fornication has always been a sin not only against God and holiness, but also against one’s own body. Throughout this period of sexual madness that our nation and the world have been experiencing, that is one fact which has been largely ignored. Paul noted this in making his argument against the licentious ways of the Corinthians: “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).
According to Paul’s observation, no sin quite so intimately requires the total involvement of the physical anatomy as does fornication. Additionally, it puts the body completely at risk. The Bible attests that from very early times God has associated this sin with danger and even death. Numbers 25 tells of how the Israelites “began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab” (v. 1), and “Israel joined himself unto the Baal of Peor.” Canaanite religion was a fertility cult and was inherently sexual in nature. People worshiped Baal and Asherah by means of union with cultic prostitutes (both male and female). There is ample attestation of this in the Scripture itself and also in outside sources such as the cuneiform texts from Ugarit. Israel was tempted to join in with the worship and did so to his hurt. Fornication is dangerous! The Bible tells how Moses and the priests struck down some who engaged in this evil. But, almost in a footnote, it ends the story of the incident with these words: “And those that died by the plague were twenty and four thousand.” Imagine that! Twenty-four thousand persons perished by a plague because of their fornication! Undoubtedly this plague was some sort of sexually transmitted disease.
The brothel at Peor was not a safe place to visit!
Our young people need to be constantly warned that there is danger in fornication. While God has blessed the marital union (Heb. 13:4 – “the marriage bed is undefiled”), he has cursed pre- and extra-marital involvements: “fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4b). Too many of our foolish intellectual leaders are attempting to salvage their so-called “sexual revolution” by encouraging “safe sex,” i.e. sex with a protective condom. In reality, the only “safe sex” is that between two persons who are married and faithful to one another. We who believe Scripture must not hesitate to remind ourselves and others that the curse of God is upon those who commit fornication. Even if one takes the risk and gets lucky (does not contract a disease or experience some other of the rewards of this sin), still the wages of sin is ultimately death (Rom. 6:23).
At this stage in our history venereal diseases are running rampant. Gonorrhea, syphilis, chancroid, lymphogranulorna venereum, granuloma inguinale, nongonococcal urethritis (chlamydial infection), venereal herpes (herpes genitalis), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), etc., are all threats to public health. Herpes and AIDS are incurable; AIDS is always fatal. Contrary to public opinion, curing these diseases is not easy for the scientific community, nor is the solution to merely throw unlimited funds into research (as many in the homosexual community seem to think, especially with reference to AIDS). Not only are the causative organisms in these various diseases different structurally but they also represent distinct classes of micro-organisms: spirochetes, cocci, bacilli, and viruses. Herpes and AIDS are both viral organisms, and so are the most difficult to prevent or interdict with medication. It is impossible to eradicate them because they are constantly being transmitted to new hosts by sexual activity of infected persons, knowingly or unknowingly.
The AIDS virus in particular strikes fear in the hearts of even the most casual in their views toward sexual “freedom.” The slow and excruciating death, punctuated by debilitating infections and unrelenting cancerous tumors, and the knowledge that there are no survivors, should be sufficient to give anyone pause before considering a “casual sexual encounter.” It seems that in this mysterious virus God has created a scourge worthy of the plague at Peor calculated to punish those who have no respect for his Law!
Yet, there is no reason for the child of God to fear these deadly venereal plagues. The Lord has made a way to protect his people from such. In their faithfulness to God and their marital partner, or through denial of lust and its fulfillment, Christians guard themselves from these plagues. As Jehovah said in the Old Testament, “the Lord will . . . put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee. . . ” (Deut. 7:15). On the other hand, if we succumb to the lusts of the flesh reap corruption” (Gal. 6:8). As Moses warned Israel: “Then the lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou was afraid of; and they shall cleave to thee” (Deut. 28:59-60).
We must know that, even today, “he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). If we are guilty of this sin, we are not only transgressing an ordinance of God, but we are hurting ourselves, potentially destroying our own bodies! “A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; but he simple pass on, and suffer for it” (Prov. 22:3; 27:12).
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 14, pp. 417, 439
July 19, 1990