Because we were created as sexual human beings with an innate desire and ability to make sexually intimate connections with another, we must not initiate any connection that is outside of what God has designed sexually for us, as a male or female, which is His will.
If a connection is made within His design, it is a marital connection and is clean before Him. If it is made outside of His design, it is a fornicated connection and is unclean before Him. Therefore, as I have very clearly described in my previous CP articles and book, one's sexual intimacies will determine whether one is legitimately married (in the will of God) or committing fornication (violating the will of God).
Why do I infer sexual intimacy when mentioning fornication? I infer this because, whenever fornication is mentioned in the Bible there will be two contexts to which it will reference: It will either be in a strictly spiritual context, as a consequence of the worshipping of false gods (idolatry), incurring a fornication of one's spirit. Otherwise, it will be in the physical context of an inordinate sexually intimate engagement forbidden by God, which is fornication of one's flesh and spirit. My emphasis is on the physical aspect of fornication.
For a better understanding of what constitutes physical fornication, you can reference my article "The Honor of Biblical Marriage" found in this Blog or at my website www.mbgod.com where all my articles are posted. Also, a more thorough description can be found in my book "It's Good For A Man Not To Touch A Woman."
Nonetheless, any act of fornication both spiritually and physically is idolatry, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5, KJV). Every act described in this verse does or can reference immoral sexually intimate behavior. No man or woman committing idolatry will ever be in God's will or acceptable to Him.
Now, note what Paul adds in the next verses, "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked sometime, when ye lived in them" (Colossians 3:6&7). He warns all believers of God's anger toward those who commit such ungodly actions, which we were inclined to exercise in our previous unredeemed state, but should not now be so inclined to exercise or entertain as the redeemed children of God. We are not to live "in them," but, rather, live above them, "...setting your affections on things above, not on things of the earth" (Colossians 3:1&2).
In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, the Apostle Paul wrote this, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor: Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God."
In this passage, Paul makes it very clear that a Christian man or woman's sexually intimate connection(s) is very important and is a determinate factor regarding whether they are in the will of God and sanctified or not.
I think everyone understands what it means to be in God's will – His approval and acceptance. Let me, therefore, define sanctification. Sanctification, Bblically, is to be pure, cleansed, holy, unblemished in God's sight, and set-apart for His glory. It is what we become as a new creation in Christ, connected to Him as a member of His body.
Fornication (sexual intimacy not Biblically sanctioned) pollutes and negates our sanctification, because the body, purified by the blood of Christ and the Spirit of God, becomes corrupted as it had been before it was cleansed. What was washed clean is now dirtied (defiled) with a connection that cannot be undone or made to be pure and clean. One's status is now an unsanctified one and completely removed from the will of God.
Because of the severity of consequence indicated by Paul (a consequence that is not seen, by the way), which committing fornication produces, it behooves all of us to fully understand what constitutes fornication in the flesh and "abstain" from any knowledgeable guiltiness therewith.
The church today only knows secular marriage and not Biblical marriage. Because of this, many are living in fornication and have no clue. By adhering to secular marriage concepts, as well as various wrong Biblical perceptions, the church also becomes an instigator of fornication. They tout that marriage is between a male and female, but that is the depth of their knowledge, which is wanton.
The core and substance of a true Biblical marriage originates from the purity found in the born again body(s). Any Christian's sexually intimate connection that does not retain this underlying purity is not a Biblical marriage, but is fornication, unclean, and is not sanctioned by God, making them unsanctified. The pure connection is sacred; the impure connection is unsacred – married vs. fornicating. Governments, religions, churches, pastors, vows, documents, covenants, grace, love, forgiveness, etc., etc., etc., have no bearing upon it.
Biblical marriage conforms to God's will. It keeps the redeemed of God pure and holy like Himself and fulfills His sacred purpose of joining two as one flesh. Hence, as I wrote before in "MARRIAGE: A Christian Exclusive," it is an exclusive Christian relationship firmly associated with and connected to God. Therefore, true marriage, by virtue of that connection is absolutely sacred, holy, and clean. It is this kind of marriage that glorifies Him.
Paul declares unequivocally God's purpose in His regeneration (new birth) of us by proclaiming, "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (1 Thessalonians 4:7). Being unclean has no calling, nor anything to do with God. For all who claim to have been called by God to ministry and have committed fornication, how is this calling validated being unclean and out of the will of God? Just how true is your calling?
What specifically comes to mind, regarding infidelity, are these so-called "marriage restoration ministries," un-biblically fabricated, by many religious counselors, especially those couples where one spouse fornicates against the other, and is then taken back by the innocent spouse. They, then, together afterward persuade other spouses who have experienced infidelity to do the same. By encouraging the innocent spouse to accept back the defiled spouse, these un-biblical ministries promote more fornication (uncleanness).
Let me ask this question... Would they still encourage restoration if the fornication committed wasn't adultery or homosexuality, but bestiality? Do the same rules of repentance, forgiveness, and grace apply with that sin? If not, why not? God's rule will be the same no matter what type of fornication has been engaged.
This is what ignorance of Biblical marriage and a wrong perception of grace propagates. It is grace turned into lasciviousness. As a washed born again Christian, if you commit fornication, you are unsanctified and not in the will of God, period. Keeping yourself pure physically and spiritually, once born again, is the name of the game. Being filthy like the unredeemed of the world, as is the status of so much of the church today, is what makes the world despise all that the church proclaims, especially when it comes to marriage.
It must be clear that Paul was not saying Biblical marriage itself has the power to sanctify. Rather, Biblical marriage exists, is sacred, and is sanctified, because the two persons joined are within the "will of God." They and their marriage are clean and holy. It is the original washing of the blood of Christ and the regeneration of His Spirit that sanctifies. Howbeit, being Biblically married maintains and enhances one's sanctification.
I will address verses 4-8 at a later time. However, do not ignore or excuse away, as the church has done with so much other Scripture, this powerful and valuable marital insight by the Apostle Paul, which reveals the will of God for every born again believer's sexual intimacy. If you do, you do it at your own peril.
Attention: Recommended initial article reading order for a Biblical marriage foundation:
The Honor of Biblical Marriage
Fornication: Sinning Against Your Body – Part 1&2
BIBLICAL MARRIAGE? Dear Lord I Messed Up!
Premarital Cohabitation: A Christian Mythology
Biblical Marriage and the Erroneous Marriage Covenant
Putting Biblical Marriage Asunder
BIBLICAL MARRIAGE: A Sacred Law
Divorce: It’s All About Being Married