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Return to November/December 2015 articles.

This article title is A Light in the Darkness by Stephen D Eckstein, Jr.

Paul's admonition to the Christians in Philippi, “… be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, …” (Philippians 2:15, RSV), is extremely appropriate in our day for college-age youth. I suggest we look at this in one respect, specifically in dormitory life in a state school.

Increasingly, the old standard of separate dorms for college students is being replaced by co-ed dorms where men and women live together. Often, universities and colleges have lifted most restrictions on visitation hours, etc. As a result, the single men and women have often replaced the dating experience with what is called “living together,” or “trial experiences prior to marriage.” Many contend that the dating process is no longer valid and that the present generation is too sophisticated and mature to do this. They simply begin living together, even though not married, to see if they are compatible (whatever that means).


This is an outgrowth of the present, so-called situation ethics fad. Situation ethics is not new (read about David in 2 Samuel 11ff); it is simply an effort to use new terms to cover up sin, not a popular word in our day. However, sexual relationships outside of marriage are acts of fornication — SIN. No Christian can get around this if he accepts the Bible as a revelation from God. Fornicators are sinners just like liars and jealous people. Fornication is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19 – 21; Colossians 3:5 – 6). Unless one repents of this sin and begins a new way of life, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 21:8).


If you are a Christian young person who attends a state school and lives in a dorm where this is practiced, what can you do? Here are some suggestions that may be helpful:

EXAMPLE: Set an example in physical purity in the midst of your fellow students (1 Timothy 4:12). Although they may not agree with you, they will respect you for your exemplary conduct.

NOT SELF-RIGHTEOUS: Do not be self-righteous and condemn the sinners. Rather try to create opportunities where you can talk with them in love and kindness. Yet with firmness point out sin. Explain it is such because you accept the Bible as God’s word.

BE PREPARED: Try to set up times for Bible study with those who may be interested. Take a course at a Bible Chair or Student Center in your school if such is available. Be as faithful and active a Christian as possible in the local congregation. Try to equip yourself to meet the situations you will face on campus.

SHOW CONCERN: Tell these fellow students that you are really concerned about them. Tell them that Christ loves them and died on a cross for them, you also love them, and you are praying for them.

While visiting a campus, I told a student I would pray for him. Later he told someone that if anyone was interested enough to pray for him, he wanted to investigate. He enrolled in a Bible course at another university student center.

SHARE EXPERIENCES: Share with them your wholesome dating experiences. Tell about the kinds and varieties of activities. At the outset, you may be ridiculed and mocked, but do not despair. This is usually a reaction to cover up respect and admiration that they have for you.

BE PERSISTENT: Persist in your efforts. Do not give up because you cannot change everyone overnight. Do not be discouraged if only a few seem to respond. One soul is worth more than the whole world in the sight of God. Continue steadfastly in prayer, Bible study, and example. Be the agent through whom God may work to bring a precious soul out of sin and into Christ.

TRUST IN THE LORD: Sow the seed regardless of what the results may be. Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Serve faithfully and trust in the Lord to accomplish his purpose.

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE: At retreats or other gatherings of college students, exchange with each other your experiences. Encourage one another. Pray for one another. Continue to shine as lights in the midst of a corrupt and perverse generation. Let your light so shine that two wonderful things may happen: (1) others may see your good works, (2) as a result, may they glorify God who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Jesus was in the world but not of it. BE LIKE JESUS!

Picture credits:
©visual28. Image from BigStockPhoto.com
©Sandra Gligorijevic. Image from BigStockPhoto.com