Is Fornication a Sin?


This post is being written as a follow-up to an older one on Homosexuality because I thought it would be helpful.  My conclusion in that post was that the Bible does in fact teach that homosexual acts and desires are condemned as sin.  I think writing this post will be helpful because too often Christians are misrepresented as being bigoted or hateful with regards to Homosexuals.  The fact is that sin is sin, so in this post I am going to demonstrate another sin in much the same fashion that applies to a larger group of people.


Does the Bible teach that Fornication is a Sin?

This question is actually very easy to answer from scripture and shouldn’t take too long at all.

“41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” John 8:41-42 KJV

“19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:19-21 KJV

“18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Cor 6:18-20 KJV 

Not to point out the obvious, but the fact that I can quote:

“he that committeth fornication sinneth”

is kind of obvious for answering the question as to whether or not it is a sin.  Based on shear clarity of language I’m going to leave this question settled.  Anyone who interprets that passage any other way must not be taking the text very seriously to begin with.

What is the Biblical definition of fornication?

“4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Heb 13:4 KJV 

“1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.” 1 Cor 5:1 KJV 

“32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matt 5:32 KJV   

“2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” 1 Cor 7:2 KJV

It is clear from the passages above, especially the last one, that fornication is defined as sexual acts and desires outside of the covenant of marriage.  Even lusting after a woman in your heart is equated by Christ to be the same sin as adultery.

“28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matt 5:28 KJV

This would obviously convict every man and woman of the sin of fornication.  Nobody can claim in good faith that they have never lusted after another human being they were not married to.  Furthermore, the “born this way” argument for other sexual sins obviously doesn’t work either.  A Heterosexual is born attracted to the opposite sex, and it is still a sin for them to lust outside of marriage.

Jesus very narrowly defines marriage in Matt 19, thus anything outside of that context is going to be fornication.

“4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matt 19:4-6 KJV 

That’s really it right there, any sexual acts or desires outside of that covenant are a sin.  So just as homosexuality is a sin so is fornication.  Neither is worse or better than the other.  Notice that Paul even equates them to each other.

“9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor 6:9-10 KJV

For those unfamiliar, the phrase “abusers of themselves with mankind” is old english for homosexuals.  For more on that click HERE.  What’s far more important though is the verse that comes next:

“11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:11 KJV

Notice that the verbs above are in the past tense.  At the very least, in this verse sanctification is not being used as a process.  Instead, it is being couched in baptismal language that took place when one was “washed“.  This is part of why it is fair to say that the Gospel surpasses the Law.  Your sins have been put to death in Christ.  The gospel is the same fornicator as it is for the homosexual.  None of us are better than each other.  We have all committed sexual sins as well as every other kind of sin.  Everyone needs forgiveness.


Just as Homosexuality is a sin, so is fornication.  Both are sins and both are just as wrong.  The answer to both is the same, repent and be forgiven in Christ.  This doesn’t mean that the fornicator will never commit that sin again in one capacity or another.  This doesn’t mean that the homosexual will never commit the sins they are inclined to either.  It just means that both are forgiven in Christ as if those sins never were.  The Bible teaches us that believers of all stripes will fight their sinful inclinations their entire life, and when they fail, there is always forgiveness at the Cross of Jesus.

About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Armchair Lounge, Heresy & Heterodoxy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Is Fornication a Sin?

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Purity Culture and ‘Kissing Dating Goodbye’ | Armchair Theologian

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