If You Loved Me ... Yeah ... Right!
"It is God's will that you should be sanctified [set apart unto God]: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother [or sister] or take advantage of him [her]. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you."1
A Daily Encounter reader writes, "I have a male friend who doesn't accept the restrictions in the Bible regarding celibacy before marriage. He says that if he loves, cherishes, and respects the woman, it should be okay to have sexual intimacy. I told him that there are Bible verses regarding this, but have only found some and have trouble explaining further. Can you please help me and will you please consider writing on this topic."
Sounds like a familiar line. Men—Christian or otherwise—who claim that sex outside of marriage is perfectly acceptable on the basis of their love for a woman, is pure manipulation. The Scriptures make it very clear that fornication (sex outside of marriage) is sinful. It's not sinful because God says it is sin. God says it is sinful because it, like all sin, is harmful to those whom He loves—us!
Apart from health reasons (which of itself is sufficient to remain celibate outside of marriage) and the risk of an unwanted child, and then for some, abortion, sex outside of marriage can blind a couple to what kind of person their partner really is. Furthermore, becoming physically bonded too soon can and does stop couples from becoming emotionally and spiritually bonded, which is an essential foundation for building a healthy marriage and home. Furthermore, sex outside of marriage for those who rationalize that you've "got to try before you buy," doesn't prove a thing. Many couples who have been active sexually prior to marriage sadly discovered that once they were married, the sacredness of sex was over. Unfortunately some men give "love" to get sex while some women give sex to get "love"—a blind fallacy this turns out to be.
We may not always like God's ways and they may not always be easy to follow, but God's ways are always for our benefit. We defy them to our peril. We simply cannot improve on God's plans. It's much smarter, wiser, and healthier to get in on them. And in the end, investing in God's ways and following His rules always produces great dividends.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the desire to know and study Your Word so I will always know Your directives. Give me the good sense to know that Your directives are always for my good, and please give me the strength to abide by them and never compromise them because of my own fleshly lusts and desires. Help me to always live in harmony with Your Word and Your will. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NIV).
NOTE: For additional Scriptures on this topic see Romans 1:28-30; 1 Corinthians 5:1-2; 6:12-14, 17-19; 7:1-3; 10:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:20-22; Galatians 5:18-20; Ephesians 5:2-4; Colossians 3:4-6.