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You are right in saying that the scriptures condemn any sexual activity outside of the marriage bond.  The seventh commandment, in Exodus 20:14says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  We read in Ephesians 5:3, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.”  ‘Adultery’ is having sex outside of marriage.  ‘Fornication’ is more general and includes adultery, prostitution, incest, and other sexual sins.  All of these are condemned by the scriptures.

With that said, we should understand that there is forgiveness for these sins.  1 John 1:9tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  What a comforting promise from the Lord.  If we humbly confess our sins in true repentance, the Lord will forgive us and then He will cleanse us from our acts of unrighteousness.  Of course, the Lord does not want us to continue in our sins, even as He told the woman caught in adultery in John 8:11, “…Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” 

What about the product of two people who commit adultery?  Will the Lord condemn those who are born outside of wedlock?  We read in Numbers 14:18, “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”  No less than four times does the Old Testament repeat this warning from the Lord.  How are we to understand this?  Does this mean the Lord will actually punish the child for the sins of his parents?

Let’s consider this scenario:  Two people commit adultery and have no conscience towards the Lord that they have committed sins to be repented of.  They have a child together and they raise that child with the same attitude towards sin that they have.  It stands to reason that the child will fall into the same sin of his parents because of his upbringing.  This might be considered as an ‘inherited consequence’ of sin.  These unrepentant parents would not heed the words of Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  So this child would not have the advantage of being raised in a Christian home with Christian principles.  Of course, the Lord always stands ready to forgive and cleanse when someone will come to Him, seeking salvation and forgiveness of sins. 

If one of the parents come to know the Lord Jesus as savior, the Lord is faithful to work through them to reach the other parent and the children.  1 Corinthians 7:14says, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”  To ‘sanctify’ literally means to ‘set apart’.  When one parent accepts the Lord as their savior, the household is ‘set apart’ as they witness a testimony for the Lord in the saved one of the family.  They were previously ‘unclean’ or away from the Lord’s influence, but now they are ‘holy’ or set apart for special work of the Spirit through their saved parent.

So, while the Lord will not condemn a child that is born out of wedlock, the influence at home could have a very condemning effect.  How important it is that we, as parents, set the proper example for our children that they live moral lives and realize there is salvation through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.  (147.3)