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Is premarital sex wrong?

As Christians we believe in the sanctity of marriage. In fact, the Bible presents marriage as a divine institution. God himself united Adam and Eve in holy matrimony, saying, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). “Cleaving” suggests the idea of being permanently glued or joined together. In the sight of God it means wholehearted commitment, exclusivity, and unswerving loyalty to one’s marital partner. On a deeper, spiritual level, a Christian marriage is an earthly picture symbolizing the heavenly union of Christ and his Church. “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.” (Ephesians 5:29)

The Scriptures are specific that any sexual relationship other than between a man and a woman within the bonds of marriage is not acceptable in the eyes of God. “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” (Leviticus 18:22) “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4) Therefore, marriage is a sacred institution and any sexual activity that takes place outside of it can be scripturally classified as fornication.

The Apostle Paul further clarifies, “I have written to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. . . . Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders . . . will inherit the kingdom of God. . . . Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. . . . Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 5:9; 6:9-10, 18, 20)

Additionally, it is important to remember that sexual intimacy per se does not automatically assure that a man and a woman become one in a physical, emotional, and spiritual unity. To achieve the biblical “one flesh” union, sexual intercourse in marriage must be the natural fruit of love, respect and commitment. Sexual desire must become the desire for total union and oneness between marital partners. The husband learns to accept his wife as she is because he needs to be accepted as he is. Oneness is achieved because differences are accepted as being complementary, not contradictory. Both the husband and wife need to focus on what is truly good about each other. By doing so, they celebrate their “oneness” by reserving their sexual expressions exclusively for each other.

Abstinence from sexual activity before marriage was once the norm; now it is the exception in social relationships. Yet it is a key principle and a type of the virgin bride of Christ. We can be examples of purity to those in the world by clearly making known our decisions on this subject.

To learn more about the sanctity of marriage listen to, “How Vital Are My Vows of Marriage?”