Corinth was a very wicked city. This is both specifically
stated and implied in the Corinthian letters:
"I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral
men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world...since then you would need to
go out of the world" (1Co 5:10).
This letter which Paul wrote to these converts needs rereading
today. It sets out seven reasons why believers should shun, or flee from,
immorality (1Co 6:18):
(1) The immoral will be excluded from the Kingdom of God: "Do
you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived; neither the immoral... nor adulterers will inherit the kingdom of God"
(1Co 6:9,10; cp Gal 5:19-21).
(2) You were separated from immorality at baptism: "You have
been washed... separated... and justified" (1Co 6:11).
(3) Your body belongs to the Lord: Therefore you are not free
to do as you wish with your body: "The body is not for fornication, but for the
Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1Co 6:13).
(4) The body will be the subject of a future resurrection:
"God who raised Christ by His power will raise your body by the same power" (1Co
(5) Your body is a member of Christ: "Do you not know that
your bodies are members of Christ?" (1Co 6:15).
Immoral unions violate the oneness with Christ. The believer
is one spirit with his Savior. The "one spirit" is a oneness in thinking and
attitude (Joh 17). You cannot be of "one spirit" with the Savior and of "one
flesh" by union with an immoral person (1Co 6:16).
(6) Fornication is a sin against one's own body (1Co
(7) You are not your own: "You have been purchased with a
price; therefore glorify God in your body" (1Co 6:20).
Of course, the world around us thinks nothing of premarital
relations. Indeed, how can it when it tolerates or encourages intercourse
between those who have no intention to marry? But it should not be so among us.
Intercourse is intended only for marriage and is an expression of heart and mind
by one person for one person. Premarital relations destroy the proper joy of
marriage. Indiscriminate intimacy, apart from being wholly unChristian and
loose, makes nonsense of the sanctity of the marriage bond and encourages
unfaithfulness after marriage. Right behavior begins in the mind. Christian
behavior follows the precepts of Christ.
The Call of God
There is little harm in making friendships outside the Faith,
if two things are thoroughly clear and firm in one's mind. First, that God has
"called you out of darkness into his marvellous light". The spectrum of this
light includes the knowledge of God and of Jesus, the awareness of His kindness
and severity, and the revelation of His truth. God called us to this light and
we obeyed His call. This is the important factor. Paul wrote that upon those who
"do not obey the truth" would come "indignation and wrath".
This call of God must be kept firmly in mind, for upon
faithfulness to it depends one's eternal future. Thus everything must yield to
one's loyalty to God and to Jesus, even an affair of the heart -- that is if the
Faith is a reality. Jesus was clear and uncompromising about this:
"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of
me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of
Obviously each will love his own close relatives -- and each
will love his (or her) sweetheart -- but make sure that neither is elevated
above Jesus. Otherwise why wait for his coming and for all the great things that
are promised us?
The second fact that needs to be clear is that whoever has not
obeyed the truth is still in darkness in God's sight. This is His judgment, not
ours. So however charming, tender, kind and gentle a person may be, he (or she)
is in darkness until the truth has been obeyed. God wants all these attributes
in a person, but they must be the qualities of a person obedient to
If one meets and is attracted to someone who is not of the
Faith, what is one to do? First remember that mutual attraction is not only
physical, it is also intellectual. There will be similar interests in books,
art, music, games and hobbies. And in a world of hate and violence, racial
discrimination and political struggles, when so many young people dread the
future with its threat of nuclear warfare, one has a fine opportunity reasonably
and tactfully to reveal one's supreme interest in and loyalty to a Father who,
through Jesus, is to sweep these things away. Here is the place to start a
This introduction of one's spiritual interest in the Faith
should be made at the start of a friendship, and its overwhelming importance for
you should be emphasized. If your friend can be persuaded to join you at your
meetings and to meet the brothers and sisters, so much the better.
The danger of friendships outside the Faith is that one's hope
of the coming Kingdom may not be revealed until one is emotionally and deeply
involved -- when, frightened by the thought of the possible consequences of
marriage out of the Faith, one makes every effort to persuade the friend of the
merits of the Truth. How can he (or she) be expected to understand at such a
late date? The response is likely to be: "What is all the fuss about?" Or "Why
wasn't I told before?" Thus one's last minute efforts may have an adverse effect
on the friend, rather than otherwise, and one has done a disservice to God and