When St. Paul says, “Do not be deceived: no fornicators … will inherit God’s kingdom” (1 Cor 6:9-10), he certainly doesn’t appear to be treating this subject lightly. His statement seems pretty straightforward and includes a rather significant consequence. Yet our society professes that what was once considered immoral behavior really isn’t. Many TV shows and featured media articles endorse it in one way or another, and it is practically expected of today’s entertainment celebrities.
The word “fornication” basically refers to single persons engaging in sexual behavior. This applies to a broad spectrum of people: those who say it’s merely a natural expression of their love, or those who treat it as a recreational activity and claim that it’s no one else’s business, or even engaged couples who reason that because they’ve made a preliminary commitment to each other they’re as good as married. Attempting to rationalize the Word of God, however, is never wise, and the Bible is very clear regarding the source and results of an immoral lifestyle (James 1:14-15, Mark 7:21, Gal 5:19-21, Eph 5:5-6).
Condoning the immoral conduct of single persons while dressing it with pleasant sounding expressions such as “sleeping together”, “making love”, or “living together” doesn’t change either its nature, which is sin, or its deadly consequence, which is the resultant loss of eternal life with God. The Book of Revelation indicates the judgment that awaits those who allow the flesh to dominate their lives: “As for the . . . fornicators, . . .their lot is the fiery pool of burning sulfur, the second death!” (Rev 21:8). This is most definitely not something to be taken lightly.
To counter the deceptions that lead to immoral behavior the Catholic Church provides many avenues, among them the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Frequent reception of both helps to strengthen our resolve to lead the holy, moral Christian lives to which we have been called (1 Thess 4:3,7).