Written by Evi Idoghor
I once listened to a conversation between a pastor and a celebrity. The celebrity couldn't wait to get some unanswered questions off her chest. One of them was the issue of premarital sex. "I'd be happy to share my thoughts with you about the whole sex before marriage thing," she said. "I don't believe God is concerned with such things."
Her reasoning was based on two scenarios that she was privileged of witnessing. Scenario 1: A Christian woman who chose not to have sex before marriage married a man who appeared to be a Christian. However, he was extremely cruel to her during their marriage, and the union ended in divorce.
Scenario 2: Another Christian woman who was sexually promiscuous married a good man who loves her, and they have a wonderful marriage. Both scenarios aided in her conclusion that Christians must be the ones putting such pressures about premarital sex on themselves, because God does not seem to be concerned about it.
Much ado about holiness?
Many Christians place so much emphasis on saving oneself for marriage that they forget our allegiance as Christians is first and foremost to God. This is as a result of misunderstanding why God forbids Christians from engaging in sexual sin or fornication.
Some believe his reasoning is that we should "save it" for marriage, much like a perfectly wrapped gift presented to a spouse on their wedding night. As such one can easily conclude: if my commitment is for a future spouse that I don't know when or if I'll ever meet, why should I forego the pleasure of consensual sex as an adult? Surely God has more important things to worry about than what I do with my body - after all, he isn't the one for whom I am meant to preserve it.
But if we are to go with what is written in scripture, our holiness, or desire to abstain from sexual sin, must be greater than marriage. 1 Corinthians 6:13, 19-20 tells us: “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” “...Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.””
What determines a successful relationship?
The absence of sex in a dating relationship does not guarantee the relationship's success. If you are blind to a person's major character flaws, you will end up in a mess. Throughout your relationship, you should evaluate the person's relationship with Christ. You should be able to tell whether they love God, revere him, and obey his commands. You should be able to tell whether they genuinely regard people or think so highly of themselves based on their interactions with others.
How do they manage their responsibilities and finances? Do they have a short fuse? Are they trustworthy, and are they willing to improve in areas where they are lacking? You should be able to answer such questions, and the conclusion you reach will help you determine whether the person is right for you. While the absence of sex in a dating relationship is commendable, it is not the only determinant of a successful relationship.
To respond to the second point raised about the woman who slept around but ended up with a great spouse, I would say, "Praise God!" God's kindness to her should demonstrate to her how merciful and good God is. He chose to have mercy on her despite her disobedience to his commands. Thus, rather than gloating, undermining what is written in the bible, or mistaking God's mercy for passivity, this kind gesture from God should drive the defaulter to recognize their sin and repent.
When Peter encountered Jesus' goodness, he asked him to leave him because he was a sinner. Not because he wanted to flee from God, but perhaps because he couldn't comprehend God's goodness at the time. Similarly, after encountering God's holiness, the prophet Isaiah declared himself to be a man with unclean lips.
Their realization of God's goodness/holiness made them understand how sinful they were: it wasn’t an opportunity for them to say - hmmm, God must not care about my sinful lifestyle, because he is still good to me. However, it compelled them to seek fellowship with him, abandoning their sinful ways.
Romans 2:4, says, “Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Let us reiterate: just because God is merciful does not imply that he disregards his word. Everything written is vital, even if our minds tend to deceive us by suggesting that some things are no longer as important.
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