Imagine a world without standards or limits: no traffic laws, no standards for society, or no code of conduct. There would be chaos. There are limits, governing rules, morals of right and wrong, and standards of living for the purpose of our protection. Rules are to be abided by not broken or bent. The speed limit law is not a simple suggestion and codes of conduct are not recommendations—they are requirements. Just as there are standards and rules to adhere in our country, so there are standards God gives towards our relationships.
Thus far we have discussed two of God’s standards for relationships. First, both partners must be faithful follower committed to Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 6:14-16]. Second, marriage is a picture of a divine and permanent relationship [Ephesians 5:25-28]. Today we will discover a third standard God has set for marriage: sexual intimacy is for the marriage bed only.
Waiting to have sex until marriage is certainly not a popular message in our world today. Sex education classes promote safe sex and condom usage. TV shows and media, flaunt sexuality outside of marriage as normal. The idea of waiting until marriage to have sex is passé and seems to spoils the fun. Has chivalry gone out of style along with chastity belts? How do we reconcile God’s speed limit to wait on sex until marriage?
The Bible has three commands concerning sex [Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8]. First, do not give yourself to adultery—having sex with anyone other than your spouse. Second, do not give yourself to fornication—having premarital sex, even with someone you intend to marry. Third, do not give yourself to sexual immorality [Grk: porneia]—having sexually stimulating activities [i.e. pornography, oral sex, masturbation, sex-ting, flirting, etc.] outside of marriage or in marriage with someone who is not your spouse [cf. Matthew 5:27-28; Proverbs 6:27-28].
sinful reasons to have sex before marriage [1 Corinthians 6:12-14]
There are many reasons people justify breaking the limits God sets on sexuality before marriage. Paul says something very wise in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all thing are helpful.” In other words, sex might seem ok, but is it really going to help the situation? Here is some common reasons people sin in order to have sex outside of marriage:
“We love each other.” Many people have equated love with sex. Love does not equal sex; rather it is the gift of committed love. Real love does not tempt one another to sin. Real love is willing to wait and commit.
“We need to see if we are sexually compatible.” The plea for compatibility seems good, but compatibility is not tested—it is learned. You can be compatible with anyone. Test-driving is meant for cars not relationships. 70% of women who test drive are seeking a long-term relationship [i.e. manipulation]. 90% of men who test drive are seeking a short-term solution for their sex drive [i.e. self-gratification]. Sex is not a reliable test for compatibility.
“Everyone is doing it. How could it be wrong if it feels so good?” Let the truth be known: not everyone is. Even if everyone was that does not make it right. Many people do choose to wait. Peer pressure and cultural acceptance are not always right. People who have sex before marriage have a far higher divorce rates, feelings of insecurity within marriage, and greater chance of unplanned pregnancy or STD’s.
“We do not have the same values as you, so stop making us feel guilty.” This is especially true in an age of tolerance, which says “Don’t push your agenda’s on me. You can believe what you want but let me believe what I want.” However, the value of waiting for sex until marriage is not meant to pour on guilt or showcase a man-made value, rather it is God’s value for your good and His glory. He is the one who created you and created marriage. He even created sex. All with their purpose and place.
Sex within marriage might seem to be helpful for fitting into culture, finding compatibility or fulfilling love, but this is not the way God intended intimacy to happen. Two questions to ask: Is it helpful? Is it enslaving? [v.12] When we bend or break the rules this leads to chaos [vs.13-14]. Disobedience brings danger like jumping the guardrails hugging a cliff.
God’s reason to save sex for marriage [1 Corinthians 6:15-20]
God gives one reason to wait. He knows how sex is multi-dimensional—physical, emotional, and spiritual—but when two people have sex they become “one flesh.” [v.16] Even within causal sexual flings this occurs. Sex creates a miraculous bond between two people. Sex is superglue that keeps two together. God did not intend for “one flesh” to be shared, except with the one person you are faithfully committed to in marriage.
Paul bases his sexual purity on his identity in Christ. First, if you are in Christ you are a “servant of Christ” [v.12]. Christ has freed you from the bondage of sin and you are at liberty to choose what is right [cf. Romans 6:1-14]. Second, you are an “eternal being” [v.14]. This world is not all there is. The joy of sex does not compare with the joy of being with Christ. Third, you are “one with Christ” [vs.15, 17]. Followers are married to Christ. Remember, marriage pictures a divine union between Christ and His church [cf. Ephesians 5:25ff]. Finally, you are the “property of Christ” [vs.19-20]. God owns you. You are bought and paid for by the blood of Christ.
Sex is a gift from God. It is something that He created as “good.” [Genesis 1:31] Sex is great in so many ways–relationally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sex is a gift that is greatest when waited for within the marriage relationship. When we abuse or misuse what God created by using it our way rather than His way it complicates our relationship rather than compliment.
Sexual immorality not only affects your relationship with the other person [vs. 17-18; i.e. Psalm 51:4; 66:18], but it primarily affects your relationship with God. Sin creates a roadblock between you and God. You can try all sorts of things to get rid of the roadblock, but until you deal with the sin and commit to change it will be a barrier that you will not be able to budge. Give your sexuality to God and commit to His standard for relationships. It is for your good and God’s glory [v.19-20]. Purity is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your future spouse.
quick Q&A concerning sex:
What happens if you already had sex before marriage? Can I be forgiven? Yes. Repent and restore [1 John 1:8-10]. Recommit to purity and saving sex for marriage. I have a good friend had a sexual relationship in high school, the gal got pregnant. He lived with the guilt of his sin for years. He later tasted the forgiveness of God and recommitted to God and is being used of God in mighty ways. He is now married with beautiful children. God is faithful to forgive. Be faithful to seek His forgiveness through repentance and restoration.
Is sex in marriage really better than sex outside of marriage? You bet. Being pure is always better than settling for second best. Think of how much better it is to drink mountain spring water versus drinking from a sewer pipe. Purity satisfies completely, while sinfulness leaves you empty craving more [Jeremiah 2:13].
How can I fight the temptation of sexual immorality? Toying with your sexual desires is like a pyromaniac playing with fire. Feeding the fire of desire does not calm the temptation; it only intensifies it. You will get burned [James 1:14-15]. Pushing the limits is dangerous. Basing decisions based on feelings of right and wrong can be just as dangerous. Sex feels good, but it was never meant to fulfill what only God can. Sex was never meant to be worshiped [Romans 1:18-27; Ephesians 5:3-7].
Here are some helpful ways to fight the temptation to give into sexual immorality: First, commit to obey God. Second, learn from the Word the joy of waiting. Third, be accountable to God and a strong Christ-follower. Finally, create and implement a battle plan [purity contract]—do not touch [1 Corinthians 7:1], do not look [Matthew 5:28; Job 31:1], and do not be alone [cf. Genesis 39]. Purity never happens by accident. Make a plan to fight for it.
Great Resources to Check out:
Sex Before Marriage: How Far is Too Far? [Timothy Lane]
Guidelines for Sexual Purity [Randy Alcorn]
Sex and the Supremacy of Christ [John Piper]