Question #306

I have questions about fornication and taking a life in war.

This is an issue that bugs me. I have read through all of your posts on marriage and divorce, and haven’t been able to resolve my confusion. In this day and age, as you full well know (sad I have to say this), It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find someone who has saved themselves for their future husband or wife. My question, what is your stance on a virgin (Christian) marrying someone who has never been married, but has had sex? Based on my understanding, the one who was not a virgin would be committing adultery in consummating the marriage, as would the virgin..... I know this is a very deep issue, and I don't know whether I am mature enough yet to go to The Word to find my answer. I would greatly appreciate any information you can provide me with. Also, since I’m here: What are your interpretations of doctrine on taking the life of someone if you are in the following predicaments. Police office protecting public safety, or yourself. Solider following responsible and reasonable order, acting with clear conscience. Home owner protecting his family from an intruder.... Just thought I would through a few questions your way. Thanks for all your hard work.

The Answer:

This inquiry contains two questions – the first concerning marriage, the second taking of life in law enforcement, war, and self defense.

Taking the second question first, you are directed to “Class:Questions, Lesson 13, Part 2, page 8.” This answer deals with the Christian’s participation in war. Most if not all of the objections raised to the Christian’s participation in war also apply to other situations, such as law enforcement and self defense. The government is a servant of God for good and bears not the sword in vain (Rom. 13:4). If the sword cannot be used it is surely wielded in vain. A Christian defending his home and family violates no scripture. Certainly Jesus teaches us that we should not retaliate against those who would do us evil; to the contrary, he teaches us to do that which is right by going beyond that which is asked of us. We are to love our enemies and do good to those who despitefully use us. We are to avoid bitterness and malice toward them. Jesus is working on our attitude and not restricting our latitude in the face of those who would rob or kill us. Those who would see pacifism imposed on a nation, a community, or a Christian by the words “turn the other cheek” only push the problem down the road. Once we have been smitten on the second cheek are we then free to take action? It would seem so if the language is to be taken literally since it literally mentions only two cheeks! Moreover, if such language is to be taken literally, it would seem that there should be many more people running around with eyes plucked out and hands cut off (Matt. 5:29-30).

For an answer to the marriage question your attention is directed to “Class:Questions, Lesson 2” which deals with marriage, divorce, and remarriage. See page 18. The comment given there is further discussed at “Questions and Answers, No. 148.” The answer to Question 268 is also instructive. To provide a more complete answer more information is needed. For instance, no basis is stated for your understanding that the one who committed fornication would be committing adultery as would the virgin who married him. Question 268 explains the difference between fornication and divorce. Clearly, only fornication was involved on the part of the male. Since the female was a virgin she had not committed fornication. Since neither had been married before there was no divorce; therefore, there was no adultery. The only basis for the understanding seems to be that sexual intercourse is always adultery. In fact, sexual intercourse alone is fornication outside of marriage; adultery occurs with the remarriage of the guilty party. Since neither party involved here had been married, neither party would be guilty of adultery if they married. This is not said to sanction the marriage from the standpoint of wisdom. It is said simply and for the sole purpose of saying that Biblically no adultery would be involved.


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)