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The Sexual Revolution and its Influence on the Church

by Ian McPherson

A huge amount of people today are involved in sexual unions outside of marriage. This is because such unions are being freely accepted in society. Evil forces are doing their best to force society into believing that sex outside of marriage, and extra marital sex is simply an "alternate life-style".

The extent to which this has influenced society really came home to my wife and I recently when we received a renewal notice for our house insurance, The notice informed us that the company had changed the word "spouse" to "partner". This caused me phone the company and insist that this be altered. I explained how my wife and I had been happily married for well over thirty years and that we objected to being called "partners". To my surprise, even after I had rung head office in Melbourne, the company was unable to change the wording, even on our documents. Mabel and I then changed to an insurance company that was willing to conform to our wishes.

The fact is, the term "partner" today is being applied to every type of immoral relationship that can be imagined. (It is applied to couples living together in fornication (outside of marriage) as well as to those living together in adultery. It is even applied to homosexual relationships. All this is a result of the so called "sexual revolution". The evil forces at work are trying to destroy the institution of marriage all together. The sex discrimination laws are seeking to force society to go along with this whether they like it or not.

Parents are suffering heartache because their teenage children are leaving home and living with a "partner', and even getting Government assistance for doing so. Married people are leaving their spouse to live with someone else. Children are being expected to accept adulterers and adulteresses as "step parents", while obtaining at best a few visiting rights to their real parents.

This sexual permissiveness has had a great affect upon the church. Even Christians are being influenced. There is not the same abhorrence to immorality among Christians as there used to be.

The Corinthian church is an example of one that was greatly influenced in this area. 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 -- "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you." Notice how the church at Corinth was not only failing to practice church discipline, but was also proudly accepting a moral standard that was more depraved than what was even accepted by the heathen.

How did the Corinthian church come to accept this. The answer is given a few verses below; 1 Corinthians 5:6 says: "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" This referred to their acceptance of this man into the fellowship of the church, but the reason they accepted him in the first place was no doubt because of the leavening influence of the community. Corinth was an extremely immoral city.

Corinth was involved in all sorts of sexual perversion and the standards of those surrounding them was dulling their sense of right and wrong. The example of the Corinthian church was not isolated. The church at Thyatira for example accepted gross immorality and even idolatry (Rev 2: 18-20).

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH? Marriage is the only God approved situation in which a man and woman my join themselves together sexually without sin. Marriage was ordained in the Garden of Eden Genesis 2:24 -- "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.". The "one flesh' refers to the intimate sexual union of the married couple. It was for marital cohabitation that God created man as a sexual being. He designed marriage to be a stable, pure and intimate, life long relationship between one man and one woman. From this sexual relationship he expected the married couple to have exhilaration and satisfaction (Song of Solomon 5:19), and produce holy children (1 Corinthians 7:14).

WHEN DOES A COUPLE BECOME MARRIED? God has left us with a law of marriage 1 Corinthians 7:39 says "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth. . ." Romans 7:3 says the same thing. "The law" in both context clearly means God's law. God's law tells us the following things about marriage:

IT MUST BE BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE Matthew 19:5 -- "And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?" Homosexual unions are condemned both in Old Testament and New Testament. The Law of Moses said -- "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." -- Leviticus 20:13. The New Testament. also specifically condemns the practice stating that those who practice it without repentance will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (c/f 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

MARRIAGE MUST BE BETWEEN ELIGIBLE COUPLES. Couples who are eligible to marry are those who have never been married before (Gen 2:42) those whose marriage partner is dead (Romans 7:2-3; 1 Cor 7:39), and those who have divorced their spouse for fornication (Matthew 19:9; 5:32). All other people who are cohabiting together sexually are either "fornicators' or "adulterers" (Hebrews 13:4). Notice also that "adultery" is the expression the The Holy Spirit used to describe marriages involving those have not obtained that divorce for fornication. (Matt 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 18:18; Romans 7:3). This is illustrated in the marriage of Herod and Herodias. Herod had "married" Herodias but it was not 'lawful" for him to have her. (Mark 6:17-8). In other words, They were married according to the law of the land, but God's law had not joined them.

MARRIAGE MUST INVOLVE A COVENANT. Notice Malachi 2:14 speaking on the subject of divorce and remarriage said. "Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant." A covenant is a binding and authoritative agreement between parties. We can see clearly that it is not a two way covenant, but rather a three way covenant. It is an agreement between the man, the woman and God. No one is married until God has joined them in marriage, (Matthew 19:6) . This is made even clearer in Proverbs 2:17. Speaking of the adulteress "Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God." Those mentioned in Malachi had divorced their original wives and formed a marriage covenant but God had not accepted that new covenant. He was a witness between the man and the wife of his youth, not the wife he remarried.

MARRIAGE MUST BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH MAN'S LAWS. A couple cannot just take it upon themselves to make an agreement between themselves and declare themselves married. Marriage is to be an honorable institution, with no defilement attached to it (Hebrews 13:4). Marriage is so pure and holy that God likened it to the relationship between Christ and his church (Eph 5:24). Marriage in every culture has always included a covenant witnessed by men and accepted by society in general.

It is important to notice that sex neither forms or breaks a marriage. In Gen 1:23 we see that the husband and wife would "become one flesh". If a virgin couple were not married until they had a sexual union, then the first night of honeymoon would be sinful. If the sex formed the marriage, then the first sexual union would be a marriage. Also if a person had a sexual encounter with someone who had been involved with another person, then that union would be adultery. Likewise an adulterous sexual act does not break the marriage bond. In this instance where it is committed against an innocent party, it creates grounds for divorce, but does not constitute the divorce.

Christ's law of marriage and sexual cohabitation has never altered, but the prevalence of sexual sin has had a tremendous affect on the church. Many sincere Christians, being influenced by the world, are inclined to begin questioning God's law, and begin trying to make the Bible fit the situation, instead of seeing what the Bible says. How should Christians deal with illicit sexual unions. Here are some Scriptural guide lines.

  1. Love them as God loved the world (John 3:16). God loved the world enough to send his son to die for it. He did not however accept the world into fellowship until they had obeyed his gospel.

  2. Preach the Gospel to them as we are commanded in the great commission. (Matthew 28:18-20) It is Christians responsibility to preach, and the sinners responsibility to repent.

  3. Continue to study the Bible so that our senses will be trained to discern good from evil (Hebrews 5:14). We must study it to find truth, not to justify sin. Unfortunately it is easy to fall into the trap of doing the latter. The pressures of the world are very strong. (Especially when society accepts sin so openly). We must allow the Bible to direct our thoughts not our thoughts to direct the Bible.

  4. Remove unrepentant fornicators and adulterers who have become Christians out of the church (1 Corinthians 5:1-3). It is because we have failed to exercise Biblical discipline that the church is facing so many problems it is. 1 Corinthians 5:7 says "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump,. . ." Church discipline creates Godly fear in the church and helps us all to see the sinfulness of sin.

For the future of the church, and society, Christians must take a Godly stand on this issue. The wide spread practice of the sin does not make it right, or even less sinful. May God help us.

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