17 Apr 4/17/2013 – Sex Before Marriage—Yes, No, or Maybe So? – Pastor Shane Idleman
References to sexual experiences in the Bible are sometimes defined as “he knew his wife.” To know, in this context, is to know intimately through sexual experience. Regrettably, for those who experience sex before marriage, it is impossible to un-know what is known. Sexual experiences cannot be undone. Each time we engage in premarital sex, we add additional emotional weight to our lives, and it’s difficult to run a marital marathon while carrying the extra weight of regret from past relationships.
Weakness means the absence of strength, whereas meekness means strength under control. Those who refrain from sex before marriage exhibit far more strength than those who don’t. In essence, it takes more strength to say “no” than to say “yes”. Isn’t that the case in so many areas of life?
As men, we are called to be the leaders in the relationship. Don’t place the burden of leadership on the one you are dating—demonstrate self-control in the area of abstinence. When we display this type of discipline, we compliment her as someone of great value and respect. A word of caution to women who may be reading this, if the man you are dating is not concerned with purity (despite your past), reconsider the relationship. If he’s not concerned with doing what’s right now, he may not be concerned about protecting you in other areas once married. Although a man may find you attractive, his motivation to protect your purity, and his, should outweigh his desire for sex. If it doesn’t…you fill in the blank.
If you’ve stumbled in this area, don’t keep stumbling from this point forward—God will reward your obedience. There is hope and healing for those who desire it. Unmistakably, the quality of your choice today will affect the quality of your life tomorrow. If you desire a good marriage or a fulfilled single life in the future, it begins with the right choice today. For those who have chosen to postpone sexual intimacy, it will be worth the wait. Ask yourself, “Do I want to experience the temporary pain of discipline or the lasting pain of regret?”
Let me restate my point. If you’re currently involved in this type of relationship, understand that it’s not where God wants you to be. He cannot bless a decision to continue in a sexual relationship, which the Bible refers to as fornication, but He can bless a decision to repent and abstain until marriage. Pre-marital sex robs the couple of a level of intimacy and closeness reserved for life-long commitment. Sex was designed by God to enhance an intimate, lasting, committed marriage between a man and a woman.
A recent poll stated that 45 percent of self-proclaimed, born-again Christians approve of living together before marriage, and 49 percent said that sex before marriage is morally acceptable. An even larger number, despite their beliefs, have experienced sex outside of marriage. Why do so many Christians fall in this area? I believe that, often, the motivation to abstain from sex does not outweigh the desire to heed God’s direction. To regain lost ground, we need to continually do those things that strengthen our relationship with Him.
The enemy desires to take what God has designed for good and distort it. It’s been said that we cannot defeat an enemy that we cannot see; we also cannot defeat an enemy that we are not prepared for. For that reason, we’re often caught off guard; therefore, it’s critical to establish a commitment before a serious relationship begins, such as: “Because we have committed our relationship to God and ourselves, and because I care for you, we are not going to do this.” Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife and cried, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). He didn’t say that he wasn’t attracted to her; he said how can I sin against my Lord. His motivation to serve God was the key to his success.
Once we are convicted within our spirit, we can rest assured that our behavior borderlines on sinful. At that point, we have the opportunity to move toward or away. Take Paul’s advice and “flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18)—flee is the key!
Again, if we respect and honor others the way God intended, we’ll either gain a godly spouse or learn from the experience. However, if we misuse His gift, a potential spouse may instead become a past regret. The current trend of divorce and marital problems may be a reflection of the violation of this principle. Becoming sexually involved before marriage does not only cloud the judgment of the couple before marriage, but can also feed thoughts of mistrust and doubt later.
As a word of encouragement, it’s never too late to start a new beginning. You may feel depressed and hopeless, feeling that you can never get back on track. Throughout the Bible, God continually calls His people back to Him, “Repent and return to Me.”
The only command Jesus gave the woman caught in the act of adultery was to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He didn’t condemn her, criticize her, or bring up the past; He gave her clear direction on what to do from that point forward. My past is definitely not stellar, and there are consequences to past mistakes, but it’s best to live in God’s arms redeemed then broken outside of His will. Which way will you run?