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” (1 Cor.
This letter which Paul wrote to these converts
needs rereading today. It sets out seven reasons why believers should shun, or
flee from, immorality (1 Cor. 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” (1 Cor. 6:9,10; cp. Gal.
(2) You were separated from immorality at
baptism: “You have been washed...separated...and justified” (1
(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” (1
(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” (1 Cor. 6:14).
(5) Your body is a member of Christ:
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” (1 Cor.
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 (John 17). You cannot be of “one spirit” with the
Savior and of “one flesh” by union with an immoral person (1 Cor.
(6) Fornication is a sin against one’s
own body (1 Cor. 6:18).
(7) You are not your own: “You have
been purchased with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor.
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
un-Christian 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
“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 me.”
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 Him.
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 relationship.
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 His