Why Save Sex for Marriage?
When God creates something, He creates it with purpose and design. The Genesis account of creation makes it clear that God's creation is "good" Genesis 1:31 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. But mankind has a history of distorting what God has made, whether out of ignorance or just plain stubbornness. The golden calf of the Israelites, for example. Gold is beautiful to look at, but God clearly did not want His people worshipping it.
Sex (and yes, sex was God's idea) is no different. God created it, and therefore it is reasonable to expect that it is good. But when man distorts it by ignoring God's specific standards, it becomes harmful and destructive. So the question we've asked 'why save sex for marriage' is really a question of understanding God's purpose and design for sex. We can choose to do things God's way, and experience the beauty of His plan, or we can choose to do things our way, and experience harm and destruction Proverbs 16:25. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
So, let's talk first about why God created sex. One reason is obvious: procreation. When God told Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply" Genesis 1:28, God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." they probably thought that He wanted them to have sex. But God also wanted them to develop intimacy with one another, and He knew that sex would help them do that, in a way that nothing else could.
God also knew that because sex is so powerful in creating intimacy that there must be some constraints on how it was to be used, so He specifically relegated sex to the area of marriage. The kind of intimacy that God desires between a married couple cannot occur between one person and several others; it can only be experienced between one man and one woman. Hence God has specifically said, "Do not commit adultery" Exodus 20:14 You shall not commit adultery. and "Flee sexual immorality" 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.That is, do not have sex with someone who is not your spouse. Obedience requires that sex be reserved for your spouse.
So far we have two basic reasons to save sex for marriage:
(1) God tells us to, and
(2) God's purpose and design for sex cannot be fully achieved any other way.
Many, though, have argued that non-marriage sex is not all that harmful. Let's look carefully at the potential consequences for this particular area of disobedience.
Sex outside of marriage causes damage
The physical consequences are becoming increasingly obvious and increasingly dangerous in today's society. AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases are frightening realities. "Safe sex" would be more accurately described as "reduced risk sex." The only truly safe sex is abstinence. There is also a very real risk that children could be born -- and possibly grow up without two parents. Your actions affect your life, your partner's life, and the lives of your family.
Sex outside of marriage damages the relationship between the persons involved. Trust is the main issue here. If two people do not cherish sex enough to wait for a marriage commitment, how can they trust one another for fidelity? Conversely, a man and woman build trust and respect for one another when they both survive the struggles of self-control - each will have the confidence that the other respects them, and cherishes their intimacy.
Also, if a person has not carried sexual purity into marriage, his or her marriage relationship is affected by the past. If a man or woman has previously had sex with someone else, their marital intimacy has already been affected. One or both spouses will have to deal with real or perceived comparisons with "former lovers" and feeling that intimacy was not important enough for the other person to wait for it. But if both have waited for their wedding night, the intimacy has already begun with a solid foundation.
Why save sex for marriage?
(1) God commands us to,
(2) God's purpose and design for sex can only be achieved within marriage, and
(3) the physical and relational consequences of sex outside of marriage are painfully real.
"But we're in love!" some might say. Maybe so, but if you believe in God's definition of love, he must realise that love is patient and kind; it does not seek to please itself, nor does it delight in evil, but is always hopeful 1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
True love would be patient in waiting for the proper time for sex.
It would be kind to future spouses by not pre-harming marital intimacy. True love would be unselfish in placing God's desires and the needs of others above itself. It would not delight in the evil of disobedience, nor would it force another to disobey God. Love could never be a reason for premarital sex; rather, it should be one of the greatest reasons to avoid premarital sex.
"But we're going to be married anyway"
But we're going to be married anyway is another common excuse. Along with being presumptuous, this stance will almost certainly leave one question unanswered: If you give in to moral temptation before marriage, what's to stop you from giving in to moral temptation once married?
"What if it's too late? What if I've already lost my sexual purity?"
Good question! Certainly a person cannot reverse the past, but there are a number of steps you should take to keep from further damaging your intimacy with God and others.
First, acknowledge your actions as sin. For those who have accepted Christ's payment of the penalty for their sins, He asks only that they confess - agree with God that they are sinful.
Second, maintain purity from this moment forward. Jesus told the woman caught in sexual sin to "go and sin no more" John 8:11 "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." You cannot change what's been done, but you can keep yourself and others from any further damage by avoiding situations which might cause you to compromise your commitment to sexual purity. Paul advised Timothy to run away from temptation 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. and Joseph is famous for running from moral danger Genesis 39:7-12 and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" 8 But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. 11One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside.12 She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
Third, be honest with anyone who is a "potential spouse" - don't wait till your wedding night to discuss your sexual past. Some intimacy problems may be averted if you address them early on.
Sex is a good thing. It must be, if God created it! The only way to keep it a "good thing" is to follow God's guidelines. God will reward you if you choose to honour Him, and save sex for its proper time and place - your marriage.