In this day and age, love seems to have taken several different forms, but are all these forms truly love, or are they simply just man's weak representation of that grand allusion?
Since the dawn of time, love has taken many different forms, some more clearly love than others, but all made clear in action. Beyond what Scripture has to say on the subject, it is clear that love must be shown or proven through action, or it is only words, or mere feelings. Not to be too repetitive, but 'love is an action, not a feeling'; you can tell someone 'I love you' till you're blue in the face, but unless you show them that you do, in action, how can they believe you?
Traditionally, Scripture tells us that fornication, or sex before marriage, and adultery, or cheating on your spouse, are both wrong, and condemnable offenses!
Common sense tells us that the latter of these two, especially, is not a good idea, and can bring condemnation, and possibly death. Fornication, which can include all sorts of sexual immorality, common sense tells us, is also dangerously condemnable, especially with the rash of STDs, not to mention angry fathers, brothers, uncles or aunts!
Although the act of love most definitely should include sexual intercourse, it is widely accepted, among Christians anyway, that this sort of intercourse should only occur when the two involved are married to each other. Among most unbelievers, and even some who call themselves Christians, a general consensus and individual commitment is enough to cement the relationship!
With the advent of birth control pills and devices, and especially the condom, the risks involved with casual sex, whether with your spouse or with some random ( yet chosen ) partner, are greatly lessened. Physically speaking, it could almost be likened to masturbation, though, in most cases, anyway, there is an intimacy involved in even 'safe sex' which is simply not there in masturbation.
There are some today who might question the validity of these ancient laws, those which seem to say 'no sex outside marriage', and even 'no sex with anyone but your spouse'. Admittedly, I have even thought, once or twice, of the impact of fulfilled eschatology concerning these issues! As might be guessed, I have come to the conclusion that though these laws were fulfilled through Jesus' ministry, they are being fulfilled in us; we carry on His ministry!
How then do we share His Love, or spread His Love to a world that seems to think that we can have sexual relations without the ties that bind? How are we to answer those Christians who seem to think that, since the Law has been fulfilled, and 'we are no longer under Law, but under Grace', those laws concerning fornication, adultery, and even sin itself are no longer binding, or in force?
For the unbelieving world, all that we can tell them is the Truth, that Love is the fulfilling ( keeping ) of the Law ( the Law of Love, not the Mosaic Law, or Code )! It is by fulfilling the Law toward our neighbor, be he/she friend or foe, that we show Love. To the modern Christian who has a mistaken view of fulfillment, we simply remind them that a contract, when it is fulfilled, necessarily ends, but not so a covenant! A covenant, when it is fulfilled, is simply 'filled up' or kept. A contract is a temporal agreement, but, especially in the case of Our Heavenly Father's, a Covenant is eternal!
The marriage vow traditionally ends with 'till death do us part'!
It is possible to share and spread the Love without committing either fornication or adultery, even to share a form of intimacy without succumbing to sexual desires, though experience and common sense would tell you that the two are not far separated, so be warned: do not seek the one, if you cannot afford the other!
In the Father's Love,
Charles Haddon Shank