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Is premarital sex wrong?

The following question was submitted:

“I’m trying to explain to my friend, who is a Christian, why premarital sex is wrong.  Can you please give me some points to make with some Scriptures?”

If you watch any television, catch any movies or chat with any teenagers or young adults, it will not take long at all to realize that sex before and outside of marriage today is about as “normal” as having a third date and going to dinner and a movie.  The old adage seems true, “Everybody’s doing it!” So, what could possibly be wrong with it?

The most important question that we can ask is – what does God say about it and what does God expect from us?  A careful examination of Scripture reveals that having sex before one is married is sinful and unacceptable to God.  Consider carefully the following eternal principles and recognize their eternal impact on your soul.

The Bible says that your body belongs to the Lord. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price.”  The rest of that verse gives the only responsible use of the body which belongs to the Lord:  “…therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

The Bible says that you must control your fleshly lusts. Sexual desires are natural and not necessarily wrong, but they must be controlled.  God commands, “Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11); “Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:14).  Christians must learn to control their urges and actions (cf. 1 Cor. 9:27).

The Bible says that sex was created by the Lord. “Male and female He created them…and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…’” (Gen. 1:27-28), “and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24; cf. Matt. 19:4-6).  Sex was not something invented or discovered by mankind, but it was created and given to the first man and woman to enjoy.

The Bible says that sex was placed within and confined to marriage by the Lord. God not only created sexual activity, but He also regulates its proper enjoyment.  The first part of Hebrews 13:4 affirms, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled.”  God placed (and therefore confined) “the bed” for sexual enjoyment inside the marriage relationship.  The vivid portrayal of bodily pleasures in Proverbs 5:15-20 is specifically “with the wife” (v. 18).

The Bible says that for the purpose of sexual enjoyment, your body belongs only to your spouse. Notice how God specifies such in 1 Corinthians 7:2-4, “…Let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.  Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.  The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does.  And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”  Your body must be given only to your spouse.

The Bible says that sex before or outside of marriage violates the will of God. Naturally, if God specified the place for something, man would violate His will by moving or removing it.  The Bible has a word for sex outside of marriage—“fornication” or “sexual immorality,” which is defined as all forms of illicit sexual relations.  “Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord …Flee sexual immorality…We must not commit sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:13, 18; 10:8).  “Let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints” (Eph. 5:3).

The Bible says that violators of the will of God (including those who commit fornication) will be judged by the Lord. Simply stated, “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4b).  “No fornicator…has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Eph. 5:5; cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21).  “Knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things [sexual immorality, v. 29] are deserving of death” (Rom. 1:32).  “The…sexually immoral…shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8).

By God’s grace, those who have fallen in this particular area can be forgiven (see 1 Corinthians 6:11, Revelation 1:5 and 1 John 1:9).  Paul wrote to Titus, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (2:11-12).  May God help us to “not be conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2), although premarital sex and extramarital sex is so common and accepted today.  Rather, as children of God, may we live by His will and walk in His paths, in order that we might receive His promise.