A Severe Penalty
By Dianne Matthews
- A teenage girl walked out of the clinic, hoping that she wouldn't meet anyone she knew.
This is so unfair, she told herself. This shouldn't be happening to me.
He had been her first boyfriend, and she had believed him when he claimed that she was his first girlfriend. When she learned that he was telling that to another girl, too, she broke it off, but he had left her with a reminder of their relationship: She had joined the twenty million other Americans with human papillomavirus.
She had never even heard of HPV before, and now she had the high-risk kind. She also hadn't known that a 16-year-old could get cervical cancer.
Because sexual immorality is so damaging, God imposed severe penalties for disobedience when He set the naion of Israel apart as His own people. Women found guilty of breaking the law of purity were condemned to death, but daughers of priests were burned alive because their sin detracted from their fathers' holiness.
We might imagine that such brutal punishment would keep women from engaging in immoral sex, but as humans, we rationalize our behavior and convince ourselves that we won't get caught.
We are horrified at the strict penalties formorality laid down in the Old Testament. Unfortunately, we are not as shocked as we should be at the casual attitude toward sex today. God designed sexual intimacy as part of the marital relationship; any other sexual expression is sin.
We don't live under Mosaic law, but there are still consequences for disobeying spiritual laws. Sexual sin damages our character, destroys relationships, hurts other people, and exposes us to diseases that can have permanent effects or even kill us. Our society portrays extramarital sex as harmless, but the Bible reminds us that it is a behavior that can carry severe penalties.
"Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)
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