by John Piper of Desiring God blog and from his broadcast “Ask Pastor John” – Walking the Wedding Aisle Without Your Virginity
Editor’s note: Is it really such a big deal if you come to your wedding with previous sexual experience? Wonder if the writer of the email had been female would Pastor Piper’s answer have been vastly different?
A young man recently emailed this question in to the Ask Pastor John podcast:
Pastor John, I want to propose to my girlfriend, and as I prepare for marriage thoughts of my past mistakes come to mind. I think back to women I slept with before I was saved, and mistakes I made with my current girlfriend who I will, Lord willing, marry. People often speak of the purity to be saved for marriage, and how terrible it is to squander that. What truths do you have to share with a man or woman such as myself, struggling with regret related to past sexual mistakes and their current consequences in the context of marriage and engagement?
Here’s a transcribed excerpt from Pastor John’s answer in Wednesday’s episode: “When Past Sexual Sin Haunts Your Wedding” (Episode 336).
I think the main thing I want to say is this: Virginity is a precious gift that you cannot give to your fiancé, nor she you. That is a great sadness and a great loss.
But there are gifts you can give her and God will multiply those gifts so wonderfully that the loss will not be destructive.
You said that you have heard people say, Save yourself sexually for marriage and it is a terrible thing to squander that. Well, I say: Yes, yes, yes — that is exactly right. That is exactly what I think Paul and Jesus would counsel any virgin: “Flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Your body belongs to God as a single person, and it will belong to your future spouse. It would be good to think about 1 Corinthians 7:3–4: “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights” — that means sex — “and likewise the wife to her husband. 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.”
In other words, you belong to each other — to no one else. You belong to God in your singleness, united to him in your body by the Spirit. And you belong to God in marriage, through union with your spouse. That is a precious, biblical gift that should be presented in marriage.
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