|By Dale A. Robbins
pastor for many years, I have received many questions from Christians about marriage, as
well as matters that pertain to sexual behavior. The following are summarized answers to
six of the most commonly asked questions on these matters, based from scripture and my
1. Is Premarital Sex Acceptable to God?
Despite our permissive society that suggests that
everyone should be sexually active, God considers premarital sex to be sin. In the Bible,
the word fornication (Greek, PORNIEA) is used to describe premarital sex and
other acts of sexual impurity. According to the Bible, God created sex to be a blessing of
the union between a husband and wife, but He clearly and absolutely disapproves of all
other sexual activity, including premarital sex. Marriage is honorable among all,
and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Heb. 13:4). In
this age of worry about sexually transmitted diseases, there is something better than a
condom that can be worn to prevent AIDS: Its called a wedding ring! The Bible says,
...because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman
have her own husband (1 Cor. 7:2).
The Bible warns that those who continue a life-style
of fornication and adultery will not inherit Gods Kingdom. Now the works of
the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry,
sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions,
dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I
tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such
things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).
2. Is it Acceptable for Couples to Live
Together Without Marriage?
As we know, in our present society this is a common
practice by many couples. However, this is not considered acceptable to a Christian
life-style for the following reasons:
(1) Sexual Impurity -- Unmarried
couples who live together usually have a sexual relationship. As already mentioned,
premarital sex is sin condemned by Gods Word. If a believer wishes to be obedient to
God and His will, they will refrain from sexual impurity. For this is the will of
God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thess.
(2) The Appearance of Sin -- Not
only does the Bible teach that believers are not to live a life-style of sin, but they are
even to avoid the appearance of sin (1 Thess. 5:22). Even if a couple does not
have sexual relations while living together, sleeping in the same dwelling gives every
appearance that they do.
Regardless of whatever innocent intentions that some
couples might have, the appearance of living together tends to endorse sexual impurity and
sets a bad example to other Christians. We all have an obligation to our brethren, not to
provide a stumbling block to their faith. But beware lest somehow this liberty of
yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak... when you thus sin against the
brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ (1 Cor. 8:9, 12).
(3) Exposure to Temptation -- Even
if an unmarried couple plan to refrain from premarital sex, living together could allow
temptation to compromise those standards. The Bible teaches us to flee lusts and other
temptations which could cause us to sin (2 Tim. 2:22). When we give our desires over to
lust and temptation, it leads to sin, and the Bible says that sin leads to death.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then,
when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings
forth death (James 1:14-15).
We are taught to avoid temptation for our own sake,
but should also comply as a good example for others. Even if a couple living together were
strong enough to abstain from sexual relations, would those who follow their example also
be able to be strong enough to overcome temptation? Set a good example for other couples
in the body of Christ.
3. Is it Permissible to Entertain Sexual
God is the creator of sex, which was not just His plan to populate the earth, but to also bring it's enjoyment and benefits into the lives of married couples. However, problems emerge when persons become obsessed with constant sexual thought, or give themselves over to impure fantasies. Generally speaking, sexual fantasizing involves carrying out sexual acts in one's mind, which is essentially what the bible calls "lust." And such lustful fantasies stimulate and promote sexual anxiety, which can lead to impure behavior and fornication. "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15 KJV).
The Bible makes very clear that God is not only concerned with the way we behave, but also with the thoughts we entertain. Jesus said, But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt. 5:28). (Read also Mark 7:21-23, Eph. 4:8.) This is one of the great reasons why that pornography and x-rated entertainment is not something acceptable for any true follower of Christ. God is not only displeased with the practice of adultery and sexual promiscuity, but with lustful thoughts given over to such things.
Of course, temptation with sexual thoughts and desires is something that all believers will contend with, but instead of submitting to such things, the scriptures encourage us to resist them by submitting ourselves to God (James 4:7), and bringing discipline and control to our thought-life. Our thoughts should not control us, but through our relationship with Christ we should rule over our thought life. Cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
The best way to discipline our thoughts is to fill our mind with the right kind of things. In other words, fill your thinking with God's Word and those things that please God, and there will be less opportunity for the wrong kind of thoughts to gain a foothold. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer" (Psalms 19:14).
4. Should a Christian Marry an Unbeliever?
The Bible teaches that Christian believers should
not enter into any type of permanent partnership with unbelievers. Do not be
unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with
lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with
Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Cor. 6:14-15). The yoke
that is referred to means the wooden yoke that was used to place on the necks
of a team of oxen, to bind them together. Since marriage is a type of yoke which bonds two
people together as one team, a marriage between a believer and unbeliever would place them
in an unequal yoke.
The Bible teaches that a house divided cannot stand.
The success of any marriage depends on the unity and harmony of the two people. If one
spouse is committed to the Lord Jesus, but the other isnt, it will create division.
...Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or
house divided against itself will not stand (Matt. 12:25).
5. Is Same-Sex Marriage
Acceptable to God?
God created marriage for the purpose
of joining a man and woman. Jesus said "But from the beginning of the
creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave
his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become
one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God
has joined together, let not man separate" (Mark 10:6-9).
of whatever legal and secular attempts to redefine marriage, there is no
other Biblical defintion for marriage other than between male and female.
Homosexuality is clearly viewed as an abomination to God, as scripture says,
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination"
The Apostle Paul wrote that homosexuality is an
immoral expression of lust and perversion (Romans 1:26-27), and stated that
those who practice a lifestyle of sexual sin, such as adultry, fornication
or homosexuality, will not inherit the kingdom of God. "Do you not know
that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
homosexuals, nor sodomites" (1 Corinthians 6:9).
Of course, God loves and
forgives anyone who repents and turns away from a sinful lifestyle (Acts
3:19, 1 John 1:9), but He will not bless or embrace a lifestyle of continued
sin or definace against His moral code. It doesn't matter whether same-sex
marriages are legalized by the government, or even administered by some
select church groups or clergy, such unions have no basis in scripture and will not be recognized by God.
6. How Should a Marriage Companion be
Next to your salvation, your choice of a wife or
husband is the most important decision you will ever make in your life. Marriage can be
one of lifes most wonderful blessings, but it can be an endless nightmare to those
who have chosen carelessly.
(1) As in all other areas of our life, God will
guide us to the right mate as we trust Him and submit to His will (Prov. 3:5). A believer
should seek to marry another believer, not merely one who professes to be a Christian, but
whose life also demonstrates long-term stable, Christian behavior.
(2) Do not be led by your emotions. Infatuation is
often mistaken for love. Real love is not something you fall into. Its
something you commit yourself to, and sacrifice yourself for.
(3) Never marry anyone on the mere basis of their
appearance, sexual appeal, or material things. Only shallow, foolish people do that.
Choose a marriage companion on the basis of whats inside their heart, not
whats on the outside.
(4) The Bible teaches us to count the cost of all
our decisions before we make them. For which of you, intending to build a tower,
does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?
(Luke 14:28). Since marriage is supposed to last a lifetime (1 Cor. 7:39), we should
carefully weigh the cost. Marriage is a sacred covenant between you, your spouse and with
God. It will be a lifetime of give-and-take, sharing, and compromising. Are you willing to
make these sacrifices for your mate? Remember, marriage is intended to endure, whether
better or worse, til death do you part.
(5) A good marriage requires that Christ be the
center. If He is not the center of your relationship with your companion prior to
marriage, Hell not likely be the center of your marriage later.
(6) Short-term engagements are not a good idea. Get
to know a person over a period of time. A year of friendship should be a minimum before
anyone even considers marriage.
(7) Never marry anyone on the basis that
theyll change after marriage. Bad habits often become worse, not better. People are
usually already on their best behavior before marriage.
(8) Watch and observe how your prospective mate
treats their parents. Generally, the way a son treats his mother, is how hell treat
his wife -- the way a daughter treats her father, is how shell treat her husband.
(9) Do not enter into marriage without the
preparation of premarital counseling from a pastor or qualified marriage counselor.
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, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, all scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible
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