Is premarital sex a sin? First, ask yourself, what exactly is sin?
One way to understand sin is the idea of missing the mark, or falling short. Maybe you’ve heard this before. Don’t take my word for it; Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
God is glorious. And everything He’s planned and designed from the beginning is glorious. If you remember the story of creation in Genesis, God made a lot of things and said they were good.
One “very good” thing that God made is you and me, the human race. That includes our sexuality, with all its beauty and pleasure. It’s glorious. But we often misuse it, and fall short of the full glory God made it to be.
A friend of mine with a promiscuous past, now married, explained sex as a swimming pool. Sex with a married partner is diving into a pool full of water – fun and safe. Sex before marriage is diving into a pool without water. It’s exactly the same act, but far more dangerous. Why?
The water is the commitment you and your spouse have made to love each other forever. The premarital “dive” offers you no guarantee of a soft landing – continued love and commitment. There’s no covenant between you and the other person, no pledge to maintain the relationship for life, and that leaves you more exposed to heartbreak.
But maybe you’re not concerned about the emotional fallout surrounding sex before marriage. Maybe you can handle it just fine. Maybe then, the issue for you is whether it’s “okay” to be sexually active before marrying. Does God approve?
To find that out, you’ll want to get familiar with the commands of the Bible. Take, for example, the 7th Commandment we’ve heard about, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Well, if you’re not married, you’re not in danger of committing adultery, right? You can’t cheat on a spouse you don’t have. Guess you can’t break that rule.
Slow down. Maybe you should hear what Jesus has to say about adultery: “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus is getting at the root of the problem: lust and the state of your heart. He’s so serious about it, he says you should gouge out your own eye if it continues to be a problem.
Do you want to honor God? Start by realizing it’s not as simple as following clear-cut “rules.” People who “followed the rules” murdered Jesus.
Life as a Christian is more than following rules. It’s living with wisdom, led by the Holy Spirit. And God is not a cosmic killjoy trying to ruin your fun. Just the opposite, He came so you could “live life to the fullest” (John 10:10).
The question is, do you trust God’s wisdom in the Bible? Do you believe He wants the best for you, even though it means personal sacrifice and self-control? When the Bible clearly describes marriage as the proper context for sex (in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 for example), will you trust Him?
If you’re honestly seeking to know the Creator of the universe, you’ll find that premarital sex – fornication – is indeed a sin.
* Published as submitted. This is an original copy not edited by The Echo staff. Updated 10/13/17 at 9:29 a.m.
Jeff Baker ’17