Is It Meaningful?
The moral question which seems to be facing more and more men and women today is, "Should sexual communion be limited to the boundaries of marriage?" The self-styled "new morality" is sweeping into the homes of our nation and in far too many instances affecting the lives of God's people as well. Extra-marital and premarital sexual communion are being accepted more and more by our neighbors, and no one seems to be able to turn the tide. Even a large portion of the Protestant church leaders have altered their attitudes toward it. They no longer preach that adultery and fornication are sin. They now ask, "IS IT MEANINGFUL? If you think it is the best thing for you, then go ahead!"
As is always true when men desire to accept sin and live in it, they attempt to justify it by what finally appears to their hardened consciences to be logical reasoning. Four major arguments (and an array of lesser, more unreasonable suggestions) are used by the so-called "new moralist" in defense of what he terms "free love."
"It Is A Game"
Argument No. 1 is that sexual communion is simply a game, like golf or badminton."It is fun. We do not take it seriously. If no one gets hurt, there is no harm in it."
Even if we were to lay aside the attitude of God relative to this matter, (which incidentally, cannot be ignored for very long regardless of the effort we make), we would not have to study very long or very hard to see the fallacy. Illicit sexual intercourse is not a game any way you look at it. Reputable psychologists inform us that men and women are so created both psychologically and physiologically that their whole beings are bound up in these acts. Even if we grant their claim that it is apparent inevitably in women and to some lesser degree in men, we must admit that seriousness, responsibility, and commitment are tied up in the sexual relationship, no matter how cool and casual the attempt to keep it.
But let us, for a moment, suppose that it is a game. What kind of man plays a game with such serious consequences. Surely he must be unthinking and unreasoning. When we read in the paper of men losing at Russian roulette, our emotions are mixed. We cannot sympathize with a man who so carelessly discards his life for a game. And yet we must sympathize with a man so evidently mentally disturbed. The gamble is as great in the subject before us. The danger of venereal disease, the chances of an illegitimate conception, the fear of social excommunication, the loss' of friends and their respect, the hurt to ourselves and others, and the always present adulteration of relationships and homes are the consequences of the "game" we play. Surely the man is either unthinking or unbalanced who argues that fornication is a game.
"It Is An Appetite"
Argument No. 2 is that sexual communion is merely an appetite, like hunger, and should be satisfied as matter-of-factly as any other normal human need.
There is truth in the argument that sex is an appetite. Perhaps it is man's strongest appetite next to hunger. But the supposed implication smuggled into this argument is that human happiness consists in prompt satisfaction of all appetites. Certainly there is great happiness found in the satisfaction of this appetite in a lawful marriage. But it is not true that man cannot be happy unless he can, without discipline and without restraint, gratify all his desires immediately. Only a small spoiled child expects to have all that he wants of everything that he wants immediately regardless of the rules and laws governing it, or the consequences of his acquiring it. We would place ourselves at the mercy of one another's appetites, if we did. We would be nothing more than animals to seriously argue that sexual communion is nothing more than the fulfillment and satisfaction of our hunger.
"It Helps To Know Each Other"
Argument No. 3 holds that sexual communion is simply a matter of "getting-to-know-you." "It is a bond of intimacy which helps two people develop deeper mutual understanding."
We are sure again, that there is a certain truth in this statement. The Bible sometimes uses the term "to know" as a synonym for sexual union. But underlying this argument is another basic fallacy. Knowledge means power. It means an advantage. Especially is this true in interpersonal relationships. We must be careful that the level of knowledge we share is commensurate with the actual bonds which exist. To know someone as intimately as sexual communion demands puts that individual in a position of vulnerability unless that union is had in lawful marriage. In union such as this we place our lives, our reputations, our future happiness in the hands of the one who so knows us and God never intended that man or woman should so quickly and so unwarrantably give himself away. There is so much wrong when a man will "go all the way" sexually, but only part of the way emotionally, intellectually, socially, and financially.
"It Is An Expression Of Love"
This fourth argument is that "sexual communion is simply an expression of love, a symbol of affection." Some who argue thus even go so far as to say: "Since Christians uphold love as the ideal basis of all relationships, they should be in favor of maximum sexual activity for everyone."
This reasoning is nothing more than a semantic game made possible by the fact that so many meanings are attached in our language to the word "love." Our desire to love and be loved (in whatever relationship of life) must comply with rightful expressions of that love as they relate to the relationship under consideration. The wise apostle said, "Charity (love) doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth" (I Cor. 13:5,6). If sexual communion is an expression of love (and it is under proper circumstances) then it will be properly exercised. Outside its proper bounds it is unseemly and selfish. Outside its bounds it rejoices in iniquity. Within the indissoluble commitment of marriage, it is a pledge of mutual faithfulness. It stands for giving as well as receiving. It is beautiful, and not hideously ugly. It is consummated in joy rather than fear.
"Is It Meaningful?"
The question of present day preachers, "Is it meaningful?" must be answered in the affirmative. Extramarital and premarital sexual communion (adultery and fornication) is meaningful! It is meaningful to our society. The first mark of a decaying society, and it has always been so, is its sexual sins. It is meaningful to our homes. It has destroyed more homes than any other single factor. It is meaningful to our children, both living and yet unborn. It is meaningful to us...when the phone rings to imagine that someone has found out, when the mail runs, and when the friends we love look us in the eye. It is meaningful to our souls...for God still says, "Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4); and again, "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers...shall inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 6:9,10).
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