CAN CHRISTIANS HAVE SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE????
I was asked to write on a topic for Patheos. There was a list of topics and I penned another a few weeks ago which, apparently, they liked-at least to the point where they trusted I was not writing with crayons in my dead mother’s basement. I’m sixty-four so that would have made her, well, dead. There was a list of topics and I picked this one. Sex is always a good seller. I picked Night Panther roll on deodorant by Old Spice because it sounded kinda, well, sexy. It replaced my prior scent, Swagger. That just has a pole dancing feel all wrapped up in its name.
So, I picked this topic. Ride along with me. It might be fun. Wait, let me change that. It will be fun. And I hope a little thoughtful. Because this question is beyond the question asked. It is so much bigger than that simple question. It’s about Sin. I gave it a capital letter because it is a big deal.
It could also be one of the shortest articles you read and not what you expect. Let me give you the answer to that pretty direct question.
Can Christians have sex before marriage. Yes*.
I said yes.
Let me explain
Let me explain. Notice the little * next to the yes? That means you have to let me explain.
God, in the Old Testament, and with our link to the ancient Hebrews, gave us The Law. He inspired the writers to give a way of life to these people-our people. The same people who will eventually give us the Son of Man, Jesus. He will eventually, centuries later, give us freedom from the ravages of sin and pay for ours once and for all. It is through the Son of God we find our freedom. But before he was here, we were told we had to make sacrifices. The best of our crop, the unblemished goat. It all had to be burned or slaughtered on the altar of God. Not sure what you did if you were a knife maker or an auto repair guy.
The Law gave a people, the line of people chosen by God to bring us Jesus, a way to live. It also gave us a perfect template of how to live and with that, it showed us we could not do it on our own. The Law was designed to actually inflame sin. You did the law, you were sinless and worthy of being in God’s presence. Problem was and still is, the Law, was unobtainable.
The Law was a miracle.
That was the miracle of the The Law. Dad showed us we cannot live, not even a day, without sinning. If it is not in action, our mind will give us up every time. The simple thought of comparing your ‘sinless day’ with your neighbor’s visible sin, gets you convicted.
It called for a savior
Sex before marriage is one of those laws. It was so important, Mary, finding herself pregnant at the very old age of thirteen or so, faced the actual fear of people finding out and stoning her to death for such an act. Only an angel coming to Joseph and telling him it would be okay; Mary was selected out of everyone to answer the prophets calling for the savior. The idea of her being pregnant by God himself, was just this side of science fiction. But Joseph believed what he was told, or at least decided to believe it because the alternative was terrible. Joseph stepped out in faith when the law and the world told him differently. Today, they call it Optics.
‘What’s the big deal? Everyone’s doing it.’ Words I heard when I was a teen. Words Shakespeare used, sort of. They go back to when a pretty girl saw a handsome boy. All those switches and circuit breakers in the hormone department get lit up. Why would God not want us to have something so pleasing?
Dad invented it.
He does. He invented it after all. But he wants us to do it right. Right means, first and foremost, we honor and glorify Him. Second, He wants us to do it right so we get the maximum amount of pleasure from it. I know I know I know, I heard it too. It sounded like a condom commercial. But the fact is, sex under the marriage vow, especially the first marriage, is a gift you give to each other.
It is a gift never shared with anyone else. Gentlemen, if you ‘love your wife like Christ loved the church’ and she sees that, knows that, feels that, stand by for the best sex you ever will have—for the rest of your life. Ladies, if you respect your husband and he feels it, knows it, and knows you are in his corner, you will see his back straighten, his shoulders square away and he will become that funny, brave, man you only read about in the checkout line.
But you could have sex outside of marriage.
We all sin
I’m not proposing it. It comes back to that big sin statement up front. Look, we all sin—daily. In Mary’s day, it was hard to hide the outcome. But the response was always a bad ending. Stoning. Sin equals death—always. The Jewish people still have Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Washing those sins away once a year. I always wondered what would happen the day after you went to the temple with your sacrifice and all was good but the next day you stole something, then the next day you died from getting run over by a wagon. Some parts of today’s society would say ‘Well, that’s just Karma.’ A term I am not sure how it works.
Here is what I know—God loves me. Actually, He adores me. The wages of my sin is death. Every sin, every time. If I think about it, I’ve sinned. If I daydream about it but don’t act on it, I’ve sinned. And my only response to that, is to die. A death forever separated from God and Heaven—forever. Seems a little harsh, eh?
God is perfect
God is perfect. He made us perfectly. But we got infected with sin and it is in every cell of our bodies. The only thing which can remove it, heal it, cure it, not only that, but make us so pure we are ‘white as snow’ as the song says, is the sacrifice of God’s son on the cross for me—and you.
Dad wants us to do things well. He also knows we won’t much of the time. Our example is Adam and Eve. What a wonderful example of parenting I say sarcastically. The one thing they were told not to touch, they devoured. Adam and Eve could have anything else in the garden. They slept with tigers for holy sake! The two of them ate food God Himself made for them. But noooooo, they had to have the apple. I bet it wasn’t even a Honeycrisp. These two are walking with God and they couldn’t follow his commands. What makes anyone think we could?
God lives in me as the Holy Spirit
But the Holy Spirit, God himself, is living in us. I have God, in me. Even with that, I will stumble. But my sins are completely washed. The ones from the past, the ones now, and the thousands I have yet to do. Which means I don’t have to have sex before I am married. I can wait for the prize. But if I do, I won’t get stoned for it either. My Lord paid that ticket-forever. He is not disappointed in me. Dad is not angry at me. He is sad sin claimed that from me, but he is never-ever angry at me.
So, my answer is the same. Yes, you can have sex before marriage. God knew you would and he paid it. We don’t even really think about the sin, like the sign on the lawn at the hotel which says ‘DON’T WALK ON THE GRASS.’ Well, I didn’t even think of walking on the grass until you told me not to. Now, all I can think about is maybe just putting my toe, or part of one foot on the grass. Just to be, well, a rebel. Don’t focus on the sin, the sex. It will cause you to want to walk on the grass. God took care of that on the cross. When you let it go, I have found, it makes the craving easier to manage. Age dramatically assists in that as well.
God knows about sex.
God knows what great sex is. It is not one-night stands, or the second date, or red heads. It is none of those things. He asks us to trust Him. He asks us to believe He knows what that looks like. If we stumble, maybe a bunch of times, maybe just once, He is the first one there to pick us up, dust us off, and whisper, try it again. All sin is death. But through our faith in Jesus writing a check for all of us, it is done.
It is finished.
Now, get up and try it again.