This week, we take a look at recent poll regarding the frequency of how many American women are living with their significant others before marriage. According to the study, nearly half of American women between the ages of 15-44 experienced their first experience union, or living with their loved one, was via co-habitation, not marriage.
Now, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as “living together” before marriage is becoming more and more commonplace. And it makes sense, as our culture is becoming more and more sexually charged – sexually free, even – and social stigmas and barriers that once were in place against cohabitating or even pre-marital sex are eroding away.
Which makes me wonder, what does the Bible actually say about sex before marriage?
I believe the key to this question lies in an understanding of the words “sexual immorality”.
So, ask yourself, does “sex” fall into the category of “sex before marriage”?
Clearly, according to the Bible, “sex” is not related to “sexual immorality”, if it’s kept within the confines of marriage.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Now, the reason that he says that it’s best if you’re not married, it’s because if you’re married, you’re unable to devote yourself wholly to serving the Lord. If you’re married, you’ve got another person to take into consideration and other responsibilities and obligations (your spouse, children, mortgage, etc.)
But, Paul says that if you are single… well, here’s his words exactly:
8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:8-9)
Now, just think about this. For many of us, before we’re married, we’re burning with lust for the person that we want to marry. So, the simple solution is: get married! This is why you often see Christ following, Christian couples with very short engagements.
Now, according to the poll I quoted earlier, fewer and fewer people are holding themselves to this standard.
But the words “sexual immorality” are the ones often used whenever the Bible discusses this topic. And here’s what I usually ask myself, when it comes to sexual immorality: If Jesus were here as I’m wondering if something is immoral or not, how would He answer?
That’s a barometer.
The real test is to check it through God’s Word. And here’s what we find out:
2 Corinthians 12:21
21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
These are just a few verses that discuss sexual immorality.
Your question is this: Is sex before marriage sexually immoral? Or ask it this way: Do you think that sex before marriage is sexually moral?
You see, even before I decided to follow Jesus, I was having sex before marriage and somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn’t the right thing – the moral thing – to do. But I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it.
Our culture screams at us that to get what you want when you can – so long as you have consent – is the absolute right thing to do.
But I often turn to this analogy:
Consider a CEO of a cell phone company. He rolls out the blueprints for the designs of a brand new phone. It will surpass anything that’s currently available and meet all of everyone’s needs and desires. Then he sends the blueprint off to manufacturing and it then hits the marketplace.
Once the consumer gets it in their hands, the first thing they do is download a bunch of third party ringtones, games, media and other features – maybe even hack it and jailbreak it – and then they go to use the phone and it doesn’t work.
Luckily, the phone came with a manual. When they finally decide to reboot and follow the manual’s instructions on putting the phone back into working order, it works great.
In this analogy, God is the CEO. He designed us to do amazing things. But we were sent off into the world where we download culture. And then we wonder why we don’t work.
Luckily, the instruction manual is the Bible, God’s Word. And we can troubleshoot any aspect of our lives if we want our lives to run properly, according to the original design.
We just actually have to do the work to reboot and follow the Bible’s instructions.
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