The word “abstain” appears 6 times in the Bible and means “hold oneself off, refrain.” The word “moderation” on the other hand means limit, not in excess, restrained rather than refrained, temperate, reasonable bounds, not to the extreme, reduced but not refused, etc.
We hear a lot about being temperate or doing things in moderation. The fact is, there are people who have ruined lives because of the difference between abstinence and moderation. For example, if I practice abstinence, there is no chance I will ever become a drunkard. However, if I practice moderation, there is a chance, even a good chance that I may become a slave to alcohol. If a young man or young woman practices sexual abstinence, there is no chance of pregnancy or disease. However, if a young man or young woman practices moderation or temperance in sexual activity, there is a good chance of pregnancy or disease.
When a person takes a position of total abstinence, there is a 100% success rate if their position is held. Only God knows what the rate of success or failure is when a person takes an “all things in moderation” position, whether it be premarital sex, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Acts 15:20,29 both teach total abstinence and even include “fornication.”
1 Thess. 4:3 as well speaks of abstaining from fornication. Chapter 5:22 teaches, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” In that verse, it does not have to necessarily be wrong…just looking wrong is cause for abstinence. Then 1 Peter 2:11 teaches total abstinence as well. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” There is no such thing as “safe sex” outside of marriage. Heb. 13:4.
When a person takes the position of “Moderation” in social drinking, he or she has taken a position of flirtation with fermentation. Even if they are able to control their “social drink”, they chance influencing someone who does not. Statistics are against the argument for “drinking in moderation.” The same is true of the statistics for those who have a “total abstinence” position on premarital sex. A young person that takes a position of total abstinence and absolutely no touching concerning the body in a sexual way will absolutely be successful in the position. Petting is putting oneself at high risk for failure. Look at 1 Cor. 7:1-2. Some people scoff at these verses, however there are multitudes of young people whose ruined lives attest to the truth of them. You cannot pet in moderation! Proverbs 6:27-28 proves it. “Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes be not burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” In my South Georgia way of thinking, this is talking about getting the motors running and not being able to stop.
Maybe I am talking to someone who has not yet gone too far. Take heed now and you will be spared from a life of wreck and ruin.
To be continued…