I thank God and The Sampson Independent for giving me this platform to express God’s Word. Every article I have written has come directly from the Lord. That is why I sometimes have nothing to present because the Lord has not given me anything to present. Oftentimes, the Lord places something in my heart and mind that I am not all too happy to write about. This is one of those occasions.
One of the things I have noticed in almost every church, but failed to address, is the seemingly, overall, acceptance of church members shacking up. By shacking up, I mean a man and a woman living together who are not married. They live together as husband and wife by having sex like a husband and wife. God doesn’t call it shacking up. He calls it fornication.
Fornication is a sexual sin as outlined by God and His Son Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 19:8-9, that the only reason a married couple could divorce is because of fornication. The Apostle Paul stated in Acts 15 that all believers are to abstain from fornication.
The word fornication includes all sexual sins such as sex outside of marriage, bestiality, masturbation and homosexuality. That is why the Bible says in I Corinthians 7:2, that in order for a person to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband. The Bible goes on to say, “It is better to marry than to burn.” The inference here is that one could go to hell if fornication is continued to be practiced. This is exactly what those who are “shacking up” are facing.
Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul made it perfectly clear that this type of activity should not be allowed in the church. This problem was addressed in the Corinthians church when one member was found to be guilty of fornication. Paul said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, the church should deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, (I Cor. 5:4-5)” He did not mean for the guilty party to be killed but the guilty party should be chastises and excommunicated from the church. The purpose for both was to restore the guilty party back into the right standing with God and the church.
Shacking up and thus fornication have come so widely accepted by believers and the church in general. One of the reasons for this is that many who do so are well-respected paying members of the church and their respected communities. Many believers just don’t want to rock the boat and maintain their friendships. Many churches do not address this issue because they are so afraid of losing members. But this is not what God says we are to do. God wants this issue addressed whenever it raises it’s sinful head because according to I Corinthians 5:6 God says, ” your glorying [about membership] because a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” In order words, the entire church is damaged when it allows this activity to go on without addressing it.
One of the side effects of shacking up in the church is that it leads to other immoralities and sins being permitted in the church. That is why many churches today are allowing homosexuals to have leadership positions, including the role of pastor or preacher and also the allowing of same sex marriages within the hallowed walls of the church.
We all have perhaps committed the sin of fornication. But God is totally against the practice of such. When two agree to live together, in most cases, they are agreeing to practice fornication in complete deviance of God. When two of the same sex marry, they are agreeing, in complete defiance of God, to practice fornication.
For believers and the church, this issue is summed up in I Corinthians 6:18-20. The children of God are to flee fornication, [shacking up]. Every sin that a man does is done outside the body, but he that commits fornication, sins against his own body. The body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost, which is inside the body, and our bodies are no longer our own. As a believer, you were bought with a price, therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, because both belong to God. God cannot and will not use a believer or a church as much as He wants to if this issue is not addressed and done away with.
By Gilbert Owens
Gilbert Owens is a native of Roseboro and a columnist for The Sampson Independent.