Recently I was asked a question by a young woman who is coming to terms with Jesus and her sin. She asked if her and her husband committed adultery before marriage because they had had premarital sex. I answered truthfully to the best of my ability. By no means am I an expert in all things Bible, but I gave her the answer the way I understood it to be.
I told her she had not committed adultery because she had never been married. Her sin was the sin of fornication…which is sin between two unmarried persons. Her husband, on the other hand, had committed adultery because he had been married once before.
Then I explained, her sins were forgiven because she had asked Jesus into her heart and her sins were as if they never happened. That’s what Jesus promised and why He died on the cross for us…to forgive us of our sins.
The next day I began to wonder if I had given her the correct answers. So I went in search of answers to her questions. I started searching my Bible. I got out a few different versions, I’m fond of the New American Standard Bible, or NASB, for the translation is word-by-word. Yet I also love the New Living Translation for the ease of reading. The translation in the NLT is a phrase-by-phrase. I gathered a commentary, a dictionary, I used the internet, and I was ready with paper and pen. Here’s what I found:
FORNICATION IS THE WORD MAINLY USED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
- What is fornication? Basically I found the modern day definition to be: voluntary intercourse between persons not married. Yet when referenced in the Old Testament time, fornication meant “Spiritual whoredom” or “Idolatry” which happened when Israel became entangled with other nations not aligned with God. The nations serving gods created of wood and gold by men trying to become little gods themselves. This entanglement happened through wars, trading land, inter-marriage, etc.
- Where in the Bible is fornication mentioned? In the Old Testament, fornication is used to describe Israel and its involvement with hostile countries. See 2 Chronicles 21:10-14, Ezekial 16: 17, Numbers 5:12 or Deuteronomy 22:27.
- Other words used for fornication in the Old Testament include Harlot, Harlotry, Sodomite.
ADULTERY IS THE WORD MAINLY USED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
- What is adultery? The modern day definition is the voluntary intercourse between a married person and one other that is not the lawful spouse. The scripture reference for this is Mark 10:11. Jesus took it even further in Matthew 5:27,28 when He said “if a man looks at a woman in lust, he has committed adultery already with her in his heart.”
- Other references of adultery in the New Testament include: Galatians 5:19, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Luke 16:18, Matthew 19:19, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Hebrews 13:4.
- Other words for adultery in the New Testament include incest and homosexuality. When adultery is mentioned in the New Testament, it always concerns a sexual sin except for the reference in Revelation 2:20 when Jesus references the sin of idol worship or fornication of Israel.
THE ANSWER TO THE SIN OF FORNICATION AND ADULTERY IS JESUS.
God made one of the Ten Commandments to read: “Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery.” Exodus 20:4.
God knew adultery and fornication would be sin and He also can see the damage caused by each of these sins. But the forgiveness of these and every other sin is covered by the blood of Christ as He willingly died on the cross to save us from our sins. If we just would ask Him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, if we acknowledge we are sinners, believe only He is able to save us, He promises to forgive us of any sin we’ve committed.
But the sin of adultery and fornication carry consequences. No one escapes consequences for our sins. Broken marriages, hurt children, broken lives are still there. What changes is the attitude of the heart and a humble heart. God said He loves a broken and contrite heart.
If you have committed adultery or fornication, take it to Jesus. Talk to Him and ask His forgiveness. Allow His heart, grace, peace and love to permeate your life. Allow Him to start you and others hurt by your sin, to begin the process of healing.
If you have been hurt by someone else’s sin of adultery or fornication, take it to Jesus. Do not allow the root of bitterness to develop. Proverbs 14:10 “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy” and Hebrews 12:15 ” Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
To finish, here is 1 Corinthians 6:18,19, 20
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.