What does the Bible say about sex outside of marriage? Is it a sin to have sexual relationships even if a couple is engaged to be married? Is there any harm to have casual sex between two responsible adults?
What Does The Bible Say About Sex Outside Of The Marriage?
God created man and woman just as He ordained marriage. He also made men and women sexual creatures, therefore He created sex. In Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Procreation is one of the reasons that God created sex. This is the way that humans replenish those who die with old age. But God also created sex for a husband and a wife to enjoy. He is not against pleasure and the proof positive is that those who are married are to give to each other their own bodies for the fulfillment of the other’s pleasures (Prov. 5:19).
Is It a Sin To Have Sexual Relationships Even If A Couple is Engaged To Be Married?
Paul is crystal clear about having sexual relations before and outside of marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 he writes under inspiration from the Holy Spirit, “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” So the point is that even if a couple is betrothed to each other; that is they are engaged to be married, they should abstain from any sexual relationships until after they are married. The seventh commandment clearly states that adultery is a sin.
God actually condones sexual relationships inside of the martial boundaries in Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Take note of the last portion of that sentence: “God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Here God not only states that sex outside of the marital relationship will be condemned by God (e.g. “the adulterer”) but so too will sexual relationships before marriage (e.g. “sexual immorality”). So even if a couple is engaged they are forbidden by God to engage in any kind of sexual behavior, and this even includes sexual contact with one another (I Cor. 6:18).
Is There Any Harm to Have Casual Sex Between Two Responsible Adults?
Sexual immorality, even between consenting adults, is harmful to one’s own body (1 Corinthians 6:18). A good example is the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. If someone is promiscuous they can become infected and then bring a disease into the marriage, even infecting their partner and risking the health of any subsequent children. The HIV virus, Herpes Simplex, and, AIDS are permanent and those infected may pay an enormous cost for the rest of their lives. Some diseases can be fatal.
Paul’s advice nearly two thousand years ago is still as relevant today as it was the day it was written in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5: “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
If you are married, it is your God-given responsibility to fulfill your mate’s sexual desires. In I Corinthians 7, Paul says:
V 3: “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”
V 4: “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.”
Why? “…so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Every marriage has difficulties. There will be arguments, but sex should never, ever be used as a weapon to get back at the other party or be used in an argument to withhold sex from the other partner because Satan may tempt the other mate. Withholding sex from marriage sets up the vulnerability of losing self-control. And this can lead to infidelity…and sin. It can ruin a marriage.
In conclusion, sex outside of marriage or before marriage is sin. There are no exceptions at all. There will be a heavy price to pay. God will “judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral“(Heb 13:4). But sex among married couples is a good gift from God for He knew it was not good for men and women to be alone (Gen. 2:18), and He wants husbands and wives to enjoy this gift (Prov. 5:15-19). Sex is an honorable thing as far as God is concerned…but only among those who have been joined together by God in holy matrimony (Heb 13:4a).
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