by Tad Lindley
Just this morning (I’m writing this on a Sunday evening January 13, 2019), a middle aged couple from the Yukon was walking by our church in Bethel before 9:00 AM. They decided to come in. Pastor was the only one there that early and they told him that they realized they needed to get married. And so at 9:00 AM this morning, Pastor performed a wedding!
In our modern world it has become quite common for people to have sex outside of marriage. The older English word for this is “fornication”. Often people live together and have children, but never make the commitment to marry. Reader if you are living that way, you are gambling with your soul. You are in as precarious a position as the people that sank beneath the rising flood waters in the days of Noah.
Let me get politically incorrect on you
In this age of permissiveness, we are not supposed to say anything that might make people feel uncomfortable. I would rather make you uncomfortable now than know that you will be uncomfortable forever. If you are having a sexual relationship and are not married, you are a heartbeat away from hell. Whether you are a teenager sneaking in a window at night, or the middle aged couple that has a house full of kids, or a senior citizen shacking up with somebody, you cannot live that way and expect to be saved. If you die unexpectedly or if Jesus comes and you have not repented of your sin, it will be too late, you will burn forever.
God wouldn’t do that to me
The road to hell is paved with folks saying, “God knows my heart, he wouldn’t let me go to hell.” If you’re thinking like that, then you better read the book. Jesus makes this very clear in his word: 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. (I Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV) The Lord paints an even more horrible picture in the Revelation. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (21:8 NKJV) I have underlined the words “fornicators” and “sexually immoral”, because in the original Greek New Testament they are the same word, pornos.
The good news
You can repent of your sin. There are two ways to do this. One is to get married. Particularly if there are children involved this is often the best route. Head straight to the courthouse and get a marriage license, then see your pastor if you also want a church wedding. If you continue living together while you wait for a church wedding at some distant time, you have not repented. For single people who are moving from relationship to relationship, the way to repent is to stop having sex until you have found a godly partner and are married to them.
For preachers only
Preacher, if you are not confronting sexual immorality in your church, you are leading people straight to hell. If you let people who are having sex outside of marriage participate in leadership in your church, you are disobeying God (I Corinthians 5:11). This includes using them to play instruments in service, teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, perform special singing, or work as an usher. If they truly love God they will repent, if they won’t repent they shouldn’t be singing in the choir. To do so is to place hell bound people in positions of honor. It tells them that their sin is acceptable. People who are openly denying the word of God should not even be permitted to participate in communion (I Corinthians 11:27-29).
Jesus is calling
If you are guilty of fornication, you can still be saved. In fact, people in the New Testament church were delivered and saved from fornication (I Corinthians 6:11). Repent of your sins and be baptized in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38), and you too can know the same victory and overcoming power that the early Christians knew.
None of us knows when our last heart beat will pass, or when the day of the Lord will come. All we know is that it is now closer than it was when you began to read this column. Reader, I urge you, please honor the word of God, and live.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.