Christians are taught that sex outside of marriage is sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:13,18, 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). However, many of us do not understand why it is sin especially when we are indoctrinated with the idea that sex is the ultimate manifestation of love for another person. We erroneously believe that fornication, “consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other” (Webster.com), is acceptable because the couple love each other enough to eventually get married; therefore, the marriage or intent of marriage nullifies the sin in our minds.
This garbage thinking on our part has led many, Christians and non-Christians alike, to develop a selfish, pleasure seeking, destructive view of sex and marriage. “People seek satisfaction in sex but fail to find it because they search outside of marriage and apart from God’s principles” (“Biblical Principles of Sex” by Robert D. Smith, M.D.). As a result, we become ensnared by the temporary pleasure of the sensations of sex ignoring the spiritual ramifications that affect every area of our lives.
This is evidenced by the young girl who is emotionally attached to a one night stand; the seemingly uncontrollable appetite of the young boy who attempts to prove his manhood by “hitting everything” with two legs; or, the spouse who lives a double life for fear of disrupting his/her “happy” home. We have bought into the idea that sex is recreation without responsibility – a sport that cannot and should not be denied because to do so would deny our natural, God-given “needs”. For the Christian, these are “needs” we refuse to surrender to God. Sinful needs/desires/activities are never satisfied (“Biblical Principles of Sex” by Robert D. Smith, M.D.) and leave the person constantly seeking fulfillment/purpose outside of Christ.
The pleasure and oneness of the sexual union is a beautiful creation ordained by God but only in the context of a marriage between a man and a woman. Sex was designed for marriage to be good, pure, and holy. Sex outside of marriage is sin because God calls it sin: “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
When are we going to stop “testing the waters” and build biblical habits/thinking before marriage, rely on God to choose our mate, and to honor God through our marriages? We need to stop wimping out to culture and teach our children to abstain from sexual intercourse before (and outside of) marriage. Too many young people are bringing wounded emotions, diseased bodies, and sinful expectations into their marriages because of prior promiscuous pasts. The stakes are too high to allow our children to become comfortable with sinful habits and allow natural desires to guide their sexual relationships (Dr. Robert D. Smith).
We must conform to God’s standard which was created for our good (Genesis 1:31). Abstinence is not punishment but a way in which we express our obedience to God. Sex/fornication/adultery is not a necessary sin to validate our relationships. The goal, for the Christian, in any relationship is to cause the people in our lives to love and know Christ better (I Timothy 2:3-4). Because “the mouth never forgets what it has tasted once” (anonymous), let us taste and see that LORD is good (Psalm 34:8) and truly trust Him to determine our needs and reveal to us what the “epitome of human experience” really is (Dr. Robert D. Smith).