There are many reasons not to have sex before marriage—or at least, we have been given many reasons not to have sex before marriage. Many Christians in their teens and young adulthood today have grown up in a church culture that frowns on premarital sex but are unfortunately given all the wrong reasons not to have sex.
These reasons range from the extreme “God will send you to hell,” to perhaps the most common concern that parents and young people share: “what if you got pregnant, or contracted an STD?” The sad reality is that many Christians who grew up in church have been given a myriad of floppy reasons why they shouldn’t have sex before marriage, and have been groomed to fear the consequences of premarital sex rather than to see sex and marriage the way God intended it to be.
Perhaps, on the surface, this method seems to have “worked” over the past few decades, and good churchgoing boys and girls actually seemed to have restrained themselves from “falling into this heinous and unspeakable sin.” By glorifying virginity and emphasizing the negative implications, young people should think twice before they have sex. However, in recent years, with the Internet becoming a channel for free speech and the expression of opinions as well as emotions, it has become evident that such teachings have not been helpful, but in fact, detrimental.
Through the Internet and social media, we see young women writing articles and posts about how they saved themselves for marriage only to find themselves completely disillusioned when they finally get married and “give themselves to their husbands,” and these posts go viral. That “wedding night” experience that was supposedly everything they had lived for up until that point in their life turned out to be the most disappointing and devastating nightmare they could have imagined.
Why? Because they kept the rules. They lived according to what tradition and culture taught them. They were raised in an environment that enforced strict and stringent morality, which caused them to fear the horrible things that could happen to them if they gave in to the ways of the world.
As a result, they completely turn away from God, their marriages suffer, and they tell the whole world that saving oneself for marriage is a bad idea. From there, stems the whole concept that women need to take control of their own bodies and sexuality. Nobody should be able to tell us what to do with our virginity—not our parents, not society, not men, and especially not the church.
While we might like to argue that only a handful of people have “suffered” such experiences, it’s effects are far reaching. From the comments in these posts, we see people cheering them on, telling them, “You go, girl!” Other young girls who have been similarly raised will begin to question their convictions to keep themselves pure for marriage. Those who feel trapped in their world of rules and fear will feel liberated that finally! Someone out there knows exactly how they feel!
Yes, it is sad—in fact, it’s heartbreaking. We are seeing more and more young people turn away from their Christian upbringing because it just does not seem viable in this present culture with all of its pressures. Premarital sex is running rampant among young people in our churches today. But can we blame them? Not really. If all they have been taught are the negative repercussions for giving in to temptation, then no. We cannot blame them.
Because we—the church, parents, Christian educators—have been going at it all wrong. Because in reality, there is only one reason not to have sex before marriage, and that is the same reason to avoid any and all other sins that our human nature is vulnerable to committing. Because we have placed so much emphasis on scaring our young people into sexual abstinence that we have forgotten the only and most important reason for sexual purity:
1. My love for God.
That’s it. My decision not to have sex before marriage has nothing to do with what culture, tradition, society, my parents, or the church expect of me, and everything to do with me loving God and wanting to honor Him with my body and my future marriage.
Ladies, there is no such thing as “We are not having sex because my boyfriend respects me.” If that is his only reason for not having sex with you, then you should not marry him because he will not be fit to be the spiritual leader of your home.
Men, there is no such thing as “We are not having sex because I respect my girlfriend.” Your reason for not wanting to have sex should be the same as hers: Because you want to honor God with your body.
Christian couples, if you love each other, your reason for not having sex until you are married should be because you want to obey and honor God with your body, and because you want your significant other to obey and honor God with his or her body. There is no need to “say no,” because such a question should never be posed in the first place.
That should be every Christian’s stand. If your relationship with God does not mean enough to you to remain sexually pure, then by all means, go have sex. In fact, you can do more than just have sex; you can do whatever you want with your body, because sexual purity is not just about abstinence before marriage. Sexual purity encompasses every area of sexuality including extramarital sex, pornography, homosexuality, and even how far we allow our thoughts to wander.
So, if what everybody else thinks takes precedence over what God thinks, or if my fear of consequences is the only thing stopping me from indulging in sexual sin, then why bother to try to keep the rules? If obedience to God is so far down the list after all the other reasons, it only means that my relationship with Christ is not priority in my life, right? And if Christ is not priority in my life, then why should I even bother to call myself a Christian? And if I’m not a Christian, then why should I live the way Christ has called me to live?
Perhaps this is a rather radical stance, but if you think about it, isn’t that the only thing that separates the Christian life from the rest of the world? The only thing that keeps us from letting our sinful nature get the better of us is Christ’s forgiveness through His blood. Yes, His gift of salvation is free, and He will not retract it if we fail to obey Him.
However, the moment we give ourselves to Jesus, we are saying to God, “Yes, Lord. I want to receive your forgiveness, and I want to honor you with my life so that all glory and praise can be given back to you.” Our obedience to Him is a response of love to Him because He first loved us.
Christian morality without Jesus in the picture is as good as no morality. If Christ is not the center of my life, then it makes sense for me to say that my attempts to keep myself pure for marriage is futile. The results would be unfulfilling and possibly even painful. But with the right motivation, every Christian couple who is on that journey to honor Christ together in their relationship, can look forward with anticipation for their sexual union to be every bit as beautiful as God meant for it to be.
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