I recently heard a young lady who teaches Christians on her Youtube channel make the following statement: “If you are not married and sexually active or LGBTQ you are still welcome into relationship with Jesus. There is room for you in the Christian conversation.”
If this comment had been made within the context of repentance and turning away from sexual sin, I could have agreed, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Instead it was in the context of justifying those in sexual relationships in the name of love.
The Bible has much to say about love, and that which violates God’s law, God’s justice, God’s righteousness, and God’s truth is not love. Those who love God desire to please God and obey his ways, and seek to follow after godliness. Justifying fornication is not consistent with the teaching of scripture regarding God’s love.
In the book of the Revelation, Jesus rebuked the church at Pergamos for following the doctrine of Balaam “who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication” ~ See Revelation 2:12-16. Jesus also rebuked the church in Thyatira for allowing a woman whom Jesus referred to as Jezebel for teaching his servants to commit fornication. Jesus says, “I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” ~ See Revelation 2:18-21
Notice that Jesus specifically says, “I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not.”
Someone might argue that fornication in this text is an allegory and not actual physical sexual relations. For those who would make such an argument, please know that spiritual allegories which reveal wickedness are drawn from their physical counterpart, which is also wickedness. Spiritual adultery is referenced in scripture with regards to idolatry because idolatry is a violation of our relationship with God. Idolatry is spiritual adultery, and as a man who cheats on his wife violates his marriage vows, even so idolatry violates our commitment to God and can be referred to as spiritual adultery.
In both of the texts above, Jesus condemns fornication, and Jesus is the express image of God who is love. In the gospel of Mark (Mark 7:21), Jesus mentions fornications along with other sins which proceed from the heart. Justifying fornication is a symptom of a heart problem before God.
Furthermore, the book of Revelation speaks of those who were condemned in their sins because they repented not of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. ~ See Revelation 9:21
Throughout the New Testament fornication is often mentioned in the same breath with sins such as adultery, murder, and theft, and is specifically referred to as a work of the flesh opposing the Spirit (Galatians 5:19). In Ephesians and Colossians, the apostle Paul speaks of fornication in view of the wrath of God.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. ~ Ephesians 5:3-7
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience… ~ Colossians 3:5-6
According to the New Testament we are to flee fornication, which is a sin against our body (1 Corinthians 6:18), and in 1 Corinthians 7:2, Paul encourages marriagebetween couples so as to avoid fornication.
It should also be noted that fornication is associated with idolatry in multiple texts in the New Testament. We can see this in the two references (cited above) in which Jesus’s rebukes to the churches in the book of Revelation. In both cases, fornication was closely associated with idolatry. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul warns believers not to be fornicators like the children of Israel in the wilderness who were also idolatrous, and in the closing of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul grieves over those among them who had not repented of their fornications.
For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:20-21
The Bible classifies fornication with those things which provoke the wrath and judgment of God, and is often associated with whoredom and idolatry. In fact the New Testament has nothing positive to say about fornication or those who practice it. The good news is that forgiveness and cleansing of this can be found in Jesus through repentance and faith.
Finally, consider Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8