Let me be upfront and clear by saying that the Bible clearly condemns sexual immorality. But what does sexual immorality really mean? If, by chance, you’re looking for an organized, bulleted, and highlighted list of what God says about the limits or boundaries of physical intimacy before marriage (meaning everything up to premarital sex), you won’t find it. That means that we will need to use best judgments to make those specific determinations – like is hand holding acceptable, but kissing isn’t, and so forth.
It’s really something that you and your future spouse need to discuss BEFOREHAND, so that things don’t get too out of hand, too quickly in the heat of the moment.
However, in the Bible we CAN find several passages that talk about sexual immorality. So first, let’s look at all of this from that standpoint.
Sexual immorality for the unmarried Christian means a selling off of sexual purity – it comes from the Greek word porneia (from which we get pornography). And when we lose purity (of any sort, not just sexual), we forfeit the ability to experience intimate fellowship with Christ. And not only this, but when we participate in impure and tempting physical forms of intimacy, we’re also throwing the doors wide open and basically telling God, come on in and discipline me because I’d rather have this fleeting pleasure than obey you – and since I call the shots around here, I think it’s worth the risk of willfully disobeying you.
You’re also saying to God – I’m knowingly destroying the temple where you reside, and I don’t care what you think. And my friend, that’s going to bring about some form of divine punishment that’s going to hurt.
The problem though is that we live in a hyper-sexualized culture.
I’m constantly floored at what the media, in general, thinks is acceptable. Even innocently scrolling on Facebook or other fairly “tame” website can cause a boatload of problems. The standards are out of control and NOTHING seems WRONG nowadays!!!
So it’s vital to guard yourself against getting sucked into this black hole. We must remember that it doesn’t matter if someone else thinks it’s fine to engage in pre-sexual activity before marriage. What matters is what God says.
Our sweet Savior died an excruciating and humiliating death to pay for sins like these. And He chose you to be one of His own – do you get that – He chose YOU! And He’s with you every moment of every day. So the thing to remember is that if you’re going to choose to do something that will tempt or prepare you for deeper levels of physical intimacy (sex), you will be engaging in sinful, unbiblical, ungodly, and improper activity. Ephesians 5:3, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”
Galatians 5:19, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,…”
Let me ask you this – how much sensuality are you exposing yourself to? Whether TV shows, social media, magazines, scrolling Facebook, etc.
Do you place a high importance on sensuality in the way you look or dress? Were you told as a young girl that you needed to look sensual in order to attract a mate?
The fact the Bible tells us this is a work of the flesh should give you your answer. So make sure to guard yourself against this kind of unbiblical thinking. But don’t worry, particularly if this is something that fits your personality – there can be a place for sensuality, and that comes when you are married, and it’s only between you and your husband.
1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;” 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” The Holy Spirit lives inside you – He helps you fulfill the will of God…sinning against your own body is also sinning against Him.
If, by chance, you have crossed the line, there is forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confess your sins and stop sinning. Put whatever boundaries in place that you need to and move forward with your life. No need to walk around miserable, covered in guilt and shame, but DO stop!!!
And if you are particularly struggling in this area but aren’t married yet, pray for God to show you who might be a good spouse for you. Your future husband should love the Lord and already be saved. He should respect your desires to be a chaste and holy woman and if HE is godly, HE will want those things too!!!
Marrying an unbeliever would be acting in disobedience to 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”
And you know you may be engaged to someone and also struggling with the desire for physical intimacy that seems too out of control for you to handle. So if you want to freely enjoy sex with your soon-to-be husband sooner rather than later, there’s nothing in the Bible that prohibits you from moving up your wedding date. 😊
The caution would be that, hopefully, this is something you will pray over because God places such high regard on marriage. And so, by the time you are ready to make a decision like this, you and your future husband clearly understand what God has a lot to say about marriage and each of your biblical roles and responsibilities.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m in no way saying just rush into marriage just because you can’t control or restrain yourselves. You ideally should have the basic understanding securely in place, or you could be setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartache. Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
There’s a lot here to chew on and slowly digest, and I felt the need to briefly discuss some of the surrounding issues simply because each of the scenarios you’re facing may be slightly different. So if this section applies to you (or someone you know), please take the necessary time to read and study the verses provided along with other passages of Scripture that you find on your own.
My prayer is that you’ll see what God says about physical intimacy before marriage and know exactly how to apply it to your situation (regardless if you’re a new Christian believer or not). If you have more questions, this post here will also help you: How to Keep It Pure When Dating.