Last updated on October 28, 2020
I have a question regarding fornication. I was asking my dad a few questions about this topic, and he told me that it is very hard to get forgiveness for this sin. I’m not sure what he meant by that (I know God especially hates this sin, so is He reluctant to forgive of this, or does he understand we are weak and fall to temptation?) and was wondering if you could explain? I thought a person who had committed this sin, confessed it to God, completely changed their ways, and moved on from it was forgiven? I was wondering if you could explain this and offer words of advice for those who have committed this sin. It is clear in the Bible that it is important to obey and not be sexually immoral, but if you commit this are you lost forever or is it possible to come back?
God basically treats all sins alike. Some sins are worse because of the effect or involve more people than others, or worse because they harm the innocent. But fornication is no better or worse than most other sins. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelations 21:8). Notice that this list is a blend of sins. Some we consider far worse than others, but they all have the same result.
All sins have the same way out. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). The real problem is that people find it harder to stop some sins. For example, drug users really struggle with their sin because the drugs create a driving desire for the drug. They can stop and they can overcome it, but it is hard because they have to fight a craving that can hit them at any point in their lives.
Sexual sins are hard for people to deal with because they don’t appreciate the strength of sexual desire in the human body. “For a harlot is a deep pit, and a seductress is a narrow well” (Proverbs 23:27). By this, Solomon means that it is easy to fall into sexual sins — easier than you realize — but it is really hard to get back out of it. The reasons can be complex. There is your own body’s desire for more sex. There are your feelings for your boyfriend. There could be fears that if you say “no” that he will leave you. There is the thought that it is good to make someone else “happy.” The list could go on for a long while.
The problem of gaining forgiveness has never been with God, it has always been men who have struggled. “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2). Fornication, like any other sin, can be forgiven (I Corinthians 6:9-11). But getting people caught up in sin to leave that sin behind is often very difficult.
Thank you for responding so quickly! If a person is able to stop committing fornication or drug use, etc, but still has a deep regret, are they still forgiven? This would all be referring to a person who has already been baptized. I also read on a post from another preacher that fornication and adultery condemn you and there is no way out stating that their comment was from plain Bible knowledge. I have never heard or seen anyone else say that before so I just wasn’t sure if I was missing something.
I would have to see this for myself. I suspect that something isn’t what it appears because God is clear that His desire is to save everyone. What usually happens is someone gets involved in an adulterous relationship, gets baptized, and then wants to claim that this relationship is now fine, though nothing has changed. Such actually shows a lack of repentance, which is required for salvation (Acts 2:38).
Regret isn’t repentance; it is what motivates a person to change (II Corinthians 7:9-11). The guilt remains afterward because it is what helps keep a person from repeating their sin. See: Living with Guilt. It is a person who doesn’t feel guilty about doing wrong who is a scary person. However, guilt should not consume a person who has changed. They can regret what they did in the past and yet at the same time be happy that they are not like that anymore. This is how Paul was in looking at his own past. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (I Timothy 1:12-13).