Covetous

COVETOUS

By Wayne S. Walker

     “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  The word translated “covetous” literally means eager to have more.  It is often understood to identify being desirous of what belongs to others but is usually explained generally as greedy of gain.  The noun form is defined as avarice.  About the best Biblical description of covetousness is found in Luke 12:15, where we read of Jesus, “And He said to them, “‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’”  When one comes to view the quality of his life solely in terms of the abundance of his possessions, whether he has much or little, that person is covetous.

There are actually two main words in the original language of the New Testament which are translated “covet.”  The one used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is always found in a bad sense.  It describes an attitude with its resultant actions which were judged to be extremely sinful by first century Christians.  “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person” (1 Corinthians 5:11).  If a brother were found to be guilty of covetousness and refused to repent, he was to be withdrawn from just like what should be done with a fornicator, an idolater, or a drunkard.  That is how serious the sin is in the sight of God.

Covetousness was condemned in the Old Testament.  The last, but certainly not the least, of the Ten Commandments said, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17).  We see how covetousness leads to other sin in the example of Achan, who confessed, “When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it” (Joshua 7:21).

Covetousness is also condemned in the New Testament.  “And He said, ‘What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man’” (Mark 7:20-23).  Jesus said that covetousness comes from the heart and defiles.  God’s antidote to covetousness and the other sins it produces is to learn contentment.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness [KJV–which while some coveted after], and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).  Very simply, the covetous will not inherit the kingdom of God.

—in Search for Truth, 6/21/2015 (Vol. VI, No. 46)

Thieves

THIEVES

By Wayne S. Walker

     “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  The word translated “thieves” here is the source of our English term “kleptomaniac.”  It means a robber, also an embezzler or pilferer; in other words, one who steals.  We have a notable example in the Bible of a person who was a thief.

“Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.  There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.  Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.  But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’  This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:1-6).

God has always condemned thievery or stealing.  In the Old Testament, one of the Ten Commandments given by God to Israel at Mt. Sinai through Moses was, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15).  There are many different ways to steal, including burglary, committing fraud, shoplifting, purloining from an employer, pilfering, and embezzling.  Falsifying income tax forms is stealing from the civil government.  When I was a young boy still in school, I distinctly remember a sermon during a gospel meeting in which the visiting preacher made the point that cheating on a test by looking on another person’s paper was stealing answers.

God’s attitude towards stealing may be determined from the punishment for it that He gave to Israel.   “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.  If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.  If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double” (Exodus 22:1-4).  Today, thieves are put in prison and must pay fines to the government.  However, one wonders if all guilty thieves were made to make full restitution plus double, quadruple, or even fivefold, and keep working at it until they do, how much less stealing might go on.

What does the New Testament say?  “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28).  To be a Christian and please God, one must not only refrain from stealing but also replace the wrong activity with a righteous one, honest labor and a spirit of giving rather than taking.  “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters” (1 Peter 4:15).  Why is it important not to suffer as a thief?  It is because thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God.

—in Search for Truth, 6/14/2015 (Vol. VI, No. 45)

Sodomites

SODOMITES

By Wayne S. Walker

     “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9).  For “sodomites,” the King James and American Standard Versions have “abusers of themselves with mankind (men),” whereas the New American Standard Bible reads “homosexuals,” and the New International Version says “homosexual offenders.”  Obviously, this category of the unrighteous who will not inherit the kingdom of God is very closely related to the preceding one, since the same words are used of each in different translations, but they must have different shades of meaning.

Joseph H. Thayer defines the word as “one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite.”  According to Arndt and Gingrich, it was the common Greek word for a homosexual or pederast, which is one guilty of sodomy between men, especially between a man and a boy.  Thus, it basically identifies the active partner of a homosexual relationship.  The word is also found in 1Timothy 1:8-10 in another listing of those who are contrary to sound doctrine.  “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”  Instead of “sodomites,” the familiar King James Version reads “them that defile themselves with mankind.”

The sin of sodomy is plainly condemned in the Old Testament.  When God appeared to Abraham to warn him of Lot’s danger in the city of Sodom, we read, “And the Lord said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave’” (Genesis 18:20).  So the people of Sodom were guilty of a sin that was very grave.  What was it?  God did not specify here, but we learn what it was in the next chapter.  When the angels, appearing as men, came to Sodom to warn Lot, we are told, “Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally’” (Genesis 19:4-5).

Indeed, this is the source of our English word “sodomite” as a synonym for homosexual.  We read of Asa in 1 Kings 15:12, “And he banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.”  The King James Version reads, “And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.”  Some try to claim, based on the reading of the King James Version, “bring them out unto us, that we may know them,” that all the men of Sodom wanted was to get to know the “men” (angels) and show them hospitality.  However, it is clear from Lot’s response in verse 7, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!”, that something more than that was involved.  The New King James Version adds the word “carnally” to show that the term “know” is being used in the same sense that Mary used it in Luke 1:34, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

Also, Jude verse 7 clearly shows what the sin of Sodom entailed.  “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”  The inspired prophet puts it in the general category of “sexual immorality” (or fornication in the King James Version) and labels it specifically as going after “strange flesh.”  It is not strange for a man to desire a woman or vice versa because God created us that way.  However, it is strange for a man to desire a man or a woman to desire a woman because that is not God’s plan.  So Jude is quite explicit in identifying the sin of Sodom as homosexuality.

This sin is condemned in the New Testament as well.  “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.  For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Romans 1:24-27).  Here, Paul refers to women with women and men with men as uncleanness, lusts of their hearts, dishonoring their bodies, vile passions, against nature, what is shameful, and an error due a penalty.  What could be plainer?

Yet, even with these clear condemnations of sodomy or homosexuality, even back in 1985, on June 30 a quarter of a million people celebrated “gay pride” in San Francisco, CA, with then Senator Allan Cranston as guest speaker, and tens of thousands of homosexual men and women marched in a “gay-lesbian” pride day parade along with then Mayor Ed Koch in New York City, NY.  And it has only gotten worse since then.  Today, we have boneheaded, leftist judges declaring that the right to so-called “same sex marriage,” an oxymoron if there ever was one, is guaranteed by the United States Constitution.  “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).  What does the word of God say about sodomites?   They “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

—in Search for Truth, 6/7/2015 (Vol. VI, No. 44)

Homosexuals

HOMOSEXUALS

By Wayne S. Walker

     “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9).  When I was a boy growing up some fifty plus years ago, and even a young preacher just starting out forty odd years ago, there were some subjects that were considered just too sensitive and delicate to be mentioned in public.  Homosexuality was one of them.  However, today you cannot watch television, listen to the radio, read a newspaper, or pick up a magazine but what your senses are assaulted by the radical pro-homosexual rights agenda.  When I was young I heard lessons on fornication and adultery but never homosexuality.  Perhaps our failure to deal Biblically with this subject back then helped to open the door for what we are seeing today.

The King James Version reads “effeminate.”  A quick look at the dictionary shows that in modern English, this word is used of men with high voices or womanly features or girlish actions.  This is not what the term in the original language means.  W. E. Vine defines it generally as “soft, soft to the touch; metaphorically in a bad sense.”  It is a form of the word translated “soft” in Matthew 11:8, “But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.”  Vine goes on to say, “Not simply of a male who practices forms of lewdness, but persons in general who are guilty of sins of the flesh, voluptuous.”

However, according to Joseph H. Thayer, it was used in the first century specifically of a “catamite” (cf. New King James Version note), i.e., a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness.  The New American Standard Bible reads “effeminate by perversion.”  Arndt and Gingrich say, “Men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually.”  Thus, the term was often used with reference to male homosexual prostitutes (as in the New International Version) and basically means the passive partner in a homosexual relationship.

In our culture, the rise of homosexuality seems like a fairly recent phenomenon, but this was a very common problem in ancient times.  Most of the famous Greek philosophers and nearly all the early Roman emperors, though usually married to wives, also kept “catamites,” boys or young men as additional paramours to help satisfy their fleshly lusts.  This sin was plainly condemned in the Old Testament.  “There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel.  You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the Lord your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18).  The “ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel” (qedeshah) was obviously a female prostitute, so the “perverted one of the sons of Israel” was a homosexual male prostitute (qadesh).

But notice the parallel in verse 18.  There are the wages of the harlot corresponding to the ritual harlot or female, and then the price of a dog corresponding to the perverted ones or male.  Dogs were unclean animals, and the metaphorical use of it here with regards to male homosexuals indicates God’s condemnation of the practice.  It is also condemned in the New Testament.  “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.  But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (Revelation 22:14-15).

In contrast to those who do God’s commandments and enter into the city with the tree of life, those who are destined to be without the city include “dogs.”  John is not saying that your pet poodle or favorite Labrador retriever will not be in heaven.  Rather, he is using the term in the same way that it is found in Deuteronomy 23:17-18.  Homer Hailey notes that it is used with reference to “homosexuals.”  So what will be the fate of practicing homosexuals?  They will be left outside the eternal city of heaven; they “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

—in Search for Truth, May 31, 2015 (Vol. VI, No. 43)

Adulterers

ADULTERERS

By Wayne S. Walker

     “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9).  Adulterers are those who have unlawful sexual intercourse with the spouse of another.  As we noted in our previous discussion of fornicators, when the two sins are distinguished, fornication refers to sexually immoral people who are unmarried, while adultery refers to sexually immoral people who are married, just “not to each other.”  We read, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).  Both sins pervert God’s plan for marriage.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2).  However, adultery is in a special way a violation of one’s marriage vows.

God has always condemned adultery.  It was serious enough in His sight that one of the Ten Commandments given to the nation of Israel was, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).  As an aside, one early printing of the English Bible (1631) was called the “Wicked Bible” because it accidentally left out the word “not” in this commandment—“Thou shalt commit adultery.”  God’s general attitude towards adultery can be seen in the punishment that He attached to it.  “The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10).  One notable example of adultery in the Scriptures was that of David and Bathsheba.  Because of his repentance, David was forgiven and not put to death, but he suffered consequences from his sin for the rest of his life.

God’s attitude regarding adultery has not changed.  “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).  As Paul lists some of the sinful works of the flesh, for which he again says “that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God,” the very first one that he mentions is adultery.

Yet, in spite of the fact that the Bible clearly teaches that adultery is a sinful work of the flesh and is condemned by God, in a 1984 report of a survey of college religion teachers and “pastoral counselors,” sixteen percent did not think that adultery was wrong.  Closer to our time, according to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek, the most recent data from the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey show that women have had more affairs in the past two decades than in previous years. The percentage of men who admitted to infidelity “held constant at 21 percent,” while “the percentage of wives having affairs rose to 14.7 percent in 2010.”  These numbers may not seem overly large, but given the fact that God’s word is so plain on the subject, they are still somewhat surprising.

Adultery may take different forms.  We usually think of adultery as breaking one’s marriage vows by cheating on one’s spouse, such as the “woman caught in adultery…in the very act” (John 8:1-5).  Of course, since a person cannot commit adultery by oneself and she was found in the very act, we are made to wonder where the man was and why he was not taken too.  Then, Jesus said that for a man to look at a woman to lust for her is equivalent to committing adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).  And the Bible tells us that unscriptural divorce and remarriage causes one to be guilty of adultery (Matthew 19:9, Romans 7:2-3).  What does God say about all this?  “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).  In spite of the world’s loose and carefree attitude towards this sin, it is enmity with God and anyone who does it “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

—in Search for Truth, May 24, 2015 (Vol. VI, No. 42)

Idolaters

IDOLATERS

By Wayne S. Walker

     “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9).  Idolaters are those who worship false gods, who give themselves over to idols, who take part in idol worship.  This was obviously a big problem in Corinth with all of its temples to pagan deities.  “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).  Paul here recognized that there were idolatrous people of this world and even that a brother could become an idolater, thus needing to be disciplined.

Idolatry was always a special problem among the people of Israel.  When God gave them the Ten Commandments, we read, “And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth’” (Exodus 20:1-4).  A prohibition against idolatry was the very first of the Ten Commandments given, and it was the very first one broken as the Israelites built the golden calf.  God sent prophets like Isaiah to warn His people against idolatry and explained that their serving idols was the main reason why He sent them into captivity.

Idolatry was also a problem in the early church, especially for those Christians who had come out of a heathen environment.  We have already seen how it affected the Corinthians.  “Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.  However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.  But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?” (1 Corinthians 8:4-10).  The apostle John ended his first epistle with the warning, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (1 John 5:21).

While there are places on earth even now where literal idolatry is still common, we do not have much of a problem with idols of stone, wood, or metal in our culture today.  However, we do have problems with idols of the heart.  “Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?  Therefore speak to them, and say to them, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols’”’” (Ezekiel 14:1-4). One common idol of the heart in our materialistic society is money, material gain, physical wealth, temporal good.

“For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5.  “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).  Why is it so important not to make money or riches an idol?  “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).  We must put to death all forms of idolatry, including covetousness, because those who are guilty of it “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

—in Search for Truth, 5/17/2015 (Vol. VI, No. 41)

Fornicators

FORNICATORS

By Wayne S. Walker

     “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9).  There are certain Biblical subjects which are not necessarily pleasant to discuss, but they need to be considered, and gospel preachers have generally tried to deal with them as sensitively as possible.  One such topic is fornication.  The word translated “fornicators” refers to individuals who commit fornication or unlawful sexual intercourse, sexually immoral people.  “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright” (Hebrews 12:15-16).

The term “fornication” can be used of illicit sexual activity in general.  “But that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood” (Acts 15:10).  In such contexts, most newer translations render it simply “sexual immorality.”  However, sometimes it is distinguished from other forms of immorality, such as adultery.  “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19).  In such cases, it refers to sexual relations between unmarried people.

There is a notable example in the Bible of fornication which took place right here among the church in Corinth.  “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!” (1 Corinthians 5:1).  The King James Version uses the word “fornication” instead of “sexual immorality.”  This was probably a young man with his step-mother.  Using our usual definitions, we would likely say that for the woman it was an act of adultery, but for the son one of fornication.

Fornication is still a serious problem in our nation today.  When I first prepared material for this study nearly thirty years ago, the latest statistics I had were from the Cleveland [OH] Plain Dealer, May 13, 1986, which reported, “By age fifteen, one girl in five is no longer a virgin; by age seventeen, half of all girls have had sexual intercourse.”  No figures were given for boys, but they would probably have been similar or worse.  Has it gotten any better?  My friend Wilson Adams, a gospel preacher in Murfreesboro, TN, recently cited these statistics.  “Our culture is in a sexual free fall. The average age for first time sexual intercourse for boys is 15.9 (girls 16.2). The vast majority of students are sexual by the time they are high school seniors. By the way, the percentage of ‘Christian’ kids is no different.”

I do not know where Wilson obtained these numbers, but I suspect that they are fairly accurate.  My first response when I read them was, “That’s disgusting.”  However, that reaction of disgust very quickly gave way to the feeling, “That’s sad!” because so many young people will never know the sublime beauty and joy that God planned for sex in marriage.   Furthermore, every ten years, the census reports ever higher numbers of households made up of unmarried couples cohabiting together.  Let me tell you what our young people need to be hearing—from their parents at home, from Bible classes in church, from sermons in the pulpit—over and over and over again, because they will not be hearing it from their friends, from school, from television, from movies, from their music.

From those sources, they will hear only, “Sex is just a part of growing up and being a teenager.  Everybody does it.  And if you’re still a virgin at eighteen, there’s something wrong with you.  You’re weird!”  So this is what they need to hear.  The following is from a scene in a fictional story where a father is explaining to his twelve year old son about “the facts of life.”  Though the story is actually fiction, the advice is very much the truth.

The boy, who is telling the story, reports, “He said that sex, as God intended it, isn’t something that’s dirty and shameful unless it’s abused.  Rather, it’s designed as the unique, loving expression of the wonderful and beautiful relationship of a husband and wife and therefore is a blessed gift from God in a committed marriage that’s definitely worth saving yourself for.  But as such, it’s very private, to be experienced only in marriage, and not intended for casual recreation, or something to be joked about, laughed at, or made fun of.”  Parents, it may be uncomfortable and even a little embarrassing, but please do not be afraid to talk to your children about God’s plan for sex.

What does the Bible have to say about this?  “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).  While the application of this passage may not always be easy, the instruction is simple.  “Flee sexual immorality” or fornication.  Why?  Because those who engage in it “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

—in Search for Truth, 5/10/2015 (Vol. VI, No. 40)