πορνεία, porneia

The definition of πορνεία, porneia, in Strongs will be known by some but is worth repeating “harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry: — fornication. Fornication being illicit sexual intercourse, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc. sexual intercourse with close relatives [Leviticus 18] sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman [Mark 10:11-12]

According to the world model it is natural/right for pre-marital sex, co-habitation – for some a “try before you buy attitude”, others because it is “love” or just because it is what others do! We only need to look at some of the advertising around us to see how “sex- saturated” the world is. It is no wonder that without correct equipping, many people, particularly teenagers, feel the need to be sexually active. This is probably not helped by the current tendency of marriage not occurring until the median age of 29.9 for women and 31.9 for men (2016 figures per ABS). In some 80.8% of marriages in 2016, couples had cohabited before marriage (ABS).

The temptations are great, and the reasons may be many, but there is the consistency in scripture in teaching self-control rather than indulgence [see Galatians 5:19-24, 1 Corinthians 10:13]. Scripture also shows us that God designed sex to be undertaken within marriage, between husband and wife. [Matthew 15:19-20, 1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 6:9-11, 6:16-20, 7:36-38, Ephesians 5:3-5, Colossians 3:5-6] All too often there is a price paid where sex occurs outside of marriage, such as the unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and even emotional pain which can even surface at a later time e.g. on marriage.

Some might even say that there is no specific prohibition in scripture against sex between an unmarried man and unmarried woman, and they would be right. But, in the New Testament “sexual immorality” or as translated in the King James “fornication” is denounced some 25 times.

“Then He [Jesus] said, “What comes out of a person — that defiles him.   For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”[Mark 7: 20;23 HCSB]

We also see in the writings of the apostle Paul the following:

“Run from sexual immorality! “Every sin a person can commit is outside the body.” On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.”  [1 Corinthians 6:18-20 HCSB]

“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance — as I told you before — that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” [Galatians 5:19-21 HCSB] “For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, so that each of you knows how to control his own body in sanctification and honor, not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God.” [1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 HCSB]

God cares about His church – a few years ago, the writer was teaching in this area and honouring marriage, including the wrongs of pre-marital sex and cohabitation. For the message, I spoke with the aid of a churched, single young lady interpreter who was unknown to me, and she did not have prior knowledge of my message.  I was later told by the pastor of the church the interpreter was herself in the situation I had been speaking about and he, up to that time, had not spoken with her or her partner, also single, about their relationship – he was waiting for an opportune time!

πορνεία – porneia is a blemish within our nation, our society and also regrettably within some parts of the body of the church. A blemish that we need to urgently treat through teaching/equipping for the ministry of life and preparing the church for her Bride.