Of course this could be a significantly long book to properly cover this subject, but I will try to distil it down to some practical and biblical viewpoints.
We have some dear friends whose daughter just informed them that she has decided to move in with her boyfriend. She still claims to be a Christian and in conversation with her parents she indicated she didn’t really understand why it is wrong and that some of her other “good Christian girlfriends” are having sex as well. The parents were of course distraught and basically did the only thing that seemed reasonable and that was to provide birth control for her.
Some other close family work in the extreme north-west helping to rescue women from the sex trafficking trade. They provide a residential setting where these women have a safe environment away from the sex trade to start building a different life. A different element of some of the outreach in that part of the country is to provide clean needles for drug addicts to help prevent disease. This practice is called “harm reduction”.
Although giving birth control and clean needles makes very practical sense in at minimum a secular way, how do these practices impact the large picture of the cause and effect of sin if viewed from a purely spiritual (Christian) viewpoint.
I am not trying to put down or challenge as wrong either of the above two examples but rather trying to put a different emphasis on these and other subjects relating to sin and consequences.
Of course there are eternal consequences for sin with a quick example from Romans 1 including everything from homosexuality to envy to gossip and more all of which are given the punishment “worthy of death” even including those who approve of those who do things in that list. But there are also very practical consequences for sin that will be reaped here on earth. If you steal, you will likely be put in jail and if you murder, you will meet a similar punishment and the possibility of death.
The reason these consequences are given is simply as an incentive not to participate in those activities. For example, it is clear from Malachi 2 that God hates divorce and is punishing Israel by not regarding their prayers because of all the divorce. This theme is continued in the New Testament from Christ’ on lips in Matthew 19 where He gives a very strong prohibition to divorce indicating that it was only allowed in the first place because of evil and hard hearts. So if the church actually practiced scripture which would require anyone getting a divorce to remain single for the rest of their life (keeping in mind that sex outside of marriage is also forbidden) what do you think that would do to the divorce rate in the church. And how many divorced couples might eventually get remarried to each other after having to stay single for a few months or years.
The Heritage Foundation (a secular foundation) did a study which indicated that with just one sex partner prior to marriage the probability drops to only 54% to have a stable successful marriage and to only 43% when a 2nd sexual partner is added to the mix. Another study indicated that if both partners are virgins prior to marriage, the success rate tops 98%.
So if there are benefits for obeying God’s laws as it relates to marriage, I’m asking if in the same way, does mitigating the consequences of doing drugs or having sex outside of marriage in some way short-circuit Gods plan for incentivizing people to not participate in sin. Maybe, maybe not but I believe it bears at least some consideration as to why there are prescribe and naturally occurring consequences for sin. Talk amongst yourselves.