If it were really true that living together is a trial of marriage, then divorces would be more common among couples who hadn’t first lived together than among couples who had. Actually, just the opposite is true: Divorces are more common among couples who have lived together first than among couples who haven’t. The reason isn’t hard to find. The very essence of marriage is having a binding commitment. The very essence of living together is having no binding commitment. That’s why living together can’t be a trial for marriage, because in everything that matters, the two conditions are opposites. And that’s why not having a binding commitment is less like training for marriage than like training for divorce.
According to research, the more hours a man and woman spend alone together, even if they begin with a firm intention of chastity, the further they tend to go and the more likely they are to lose control completely. Hearing this, most Christian young people have the good sense to see that couples who really want to remain chaste need to limit their time alone. That’s realism. Unfortunately, the more time they’ve been spending alone, the less obvious such realism will be to them. The solution is that they need to set their limits firmly at the beginning of their relationship, while their heads are still clear and realism is easier to achieve.
Listen, God invented sexual arousal. But for what purpose? To prepare your bodies for sex. Leading to sex is what sexual arousal is for. Don’t say, “We’ll do things that sexually arouse us, but we won’t let them lead to sex.” That’s like turning on powerful rocket motors but saying, “Don’t life off.” The solution? Avoid the things that arouse you! If sex is only for marriage, sexual arousal must be too.
Remorse for sin does have a place in the Christian life, but we should be very sure what function it serves. Guilt should drive us to the cross, but grace must lead us from it. Guilt makes us seek Christ, but gratitude should make us serve Him. Guilt should lead to confession, but without a response of love as the motive of renewed obedience, true repentance never matures.
The Power of Mercy by Bryan Chapell taken from Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chapell, copyright 2001, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 192.
Through no fault or choice of my own, I am unable to express my sexuality in the beauty and intimacy of Christian marriage, as God intended when He created me a sexual being in His own image. To seek to do this outside of marriage is, by the clear teaching of Scripture, to sin against God and against my own nature. As a committed Christian, then, I have no alternative but to live a life of voluntary celibacy. I must be chaste not only in body, but in mind and spirit as well. Since I am now in my 60’s I think that my experience of what this means is valid. I want to go on record as having proved that for those who are committed to do God’s will, His commands are his enablings… My whole being cries out continually for something I may not have. My whole life must be lived in the context of this never-ceasing tension. My professional life, my social life, my personal life, my Christian life – all are subject to its constant and powerful pull. As a Christian I have no choice but to obey God, cost what it may. I must trust Him to make it possible for me to honor Him in my singleness. That this is possible, a mighty cloud of witnesses will join me to attest. Multitudes of single Christians in every age and circumstance have proved God’s sufficiency in this matter. He has promised to meet our needs and He honors His word. If we seek fulfillment in Him, we shall find it. It may not be easy, but whoever said that Christian life was easy? The badge of Christ’s discipleship was a cross. Why must I live my life alone? I do not know. But Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. I believe in the sovereignty of God, and I accept my singleness from his hand. He could have ordered my life otherwise, but He has not chosen to do so. As his child, I must trust His love and wisdom.
Pursuing holiness in today’s cheap-date, hookup world requires tremendous courage and other-worldliness. Long make-out sessions (and more) is not the way for young men to treat “younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1 Tim. 5:2). If you might not marry the one you are dating, why do all sorts of stuff with someone else’s future spouse, stuff you will have a hard time forgetting once you are married yourself? And if you are on your way to marriage, instead of acting more married than single, consider getting married sooner so you don’t have to act single any longer.
Saints And Sexual Immorality by Kevin DeYoung taken from The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung, copyright 2012, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, p. 116.
A typical mistake made by Christian singles is to ask, “How far can we go?” The very question reveals a troubling attitude, and the one who asks it has already gone too far. But since it is the question that many really want to ask, this is an honest response to the Bible’s teaching: “Not very far at all.” Physical, sexual interaction between a man and a woman is reserved for marriage. Too many Christians believe that so long as full-blown sexual intercourse is resisted, other forms of sexual interaction are acceptable. But such an attitude is far out of line with the Bible (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Far from inviting us to play around as much as possible and as close to the fire as we can without getting burned, [the Bible] makes it clear that a sincere Christian will cultivate the highest moral and sexual purity, as essential to his or her worship of God [1 Thes. 4:3-5; Eph. 5:3-5] (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Should we “go as far as we can” without getting into trouble? That is how unbelieving people think (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Many men think of the call to give themselves for a woman solely in terms of her protection. They say, “I would defend her if there was trouble. If someone attacked her I would step up for her protection.” But they fail to realize that when a woman enters a dating relationship, she mainly needs to be protected from the sins of the very man to whom she is offering her heart. The enemy that men need to stand up to is the one who lives within themselves: the one who is selfish, insensitive, and uncommitted. It is when that man is put to death that the woman will be safe and will be blessed in the relationship (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
A Christian man who takes the lead in sexual purity, and who tells the woman that her heart means more to him than her body, and her purity is more valuable to him than his own pleasure, liberates her from a cruel bondage and gives her a blessing that words can hardly describe (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
One of the reasons why so many fall into sexual sin – bringing guilt into the relationship and short-circuiting its emotional and spiritual growth – is that they place themselves in tempting situations. This is simply foolish, and Christian men and women who are realistic about sexual temptation will not put themselves in a position to fall (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Sexual sin will damage and often ruin a promising relationship. It stops the development of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
How are you to avoid falling into sexual sin? The answer is this: while you struggle with unfulfilled sexual desires, the last thing you should do is to toy with them. Human sexuality operates on a positive-feedback system. Each stimulus is designed not to leave you satisfied but to increase your desire until you finally join in sexual intercourse (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Paul would not surrender his singleness, nor even allow it to be despised. It had its unique advantages of freedom for Christ, and he wants others to join him in it. Singleness was not curse; it was an opportunity. The biblical implication is that sexual intimacy is not an ultimate need for a full and well-spent life. Jesus Christ never experienced it. And when our culture says you can have it all, married or single, it not only contradicts the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 15:19) but makes Him out to be a fool for choosing chastity and claiming to give fullness – mark the word, FULLNESS of joy – to all who trust Him: “That My joy might be in you and your joy might be FULL” (John 15:11).
The Bible is clear that sexual intimacy is to be reserved exclusively between husband and wife. Within marriage it’s beautiful. Outside of marriage it’s destructive. The wrong question asked by dating couples is, “How close can we go to that line without sinning?” A better question is, “How far can I flee from potential sin in fear of getting burned?”
Pre-marital sex defrauds the future marriage partner of the person with whom you are involved. You are robbing that person of the virginity and single-minded intimacy which ought to be brought to a marriage.
Most of us hear the word “will” and instinctively envision a celestial frown. The phrase “will of God” often conjures up the mental impression of an inflexible and colorless lawgiver whose sole concern is for his own reputation. But when I hear Paul speak of God’s “will” for human sexuality I think of his heart’s desire, his yearning, his fatherly passion for our maximum enjoyment of one of his most precious gifts. I hear God saying, “This is what I long for you to experience as a sexual being. I made you. I put those sexual impulses in your spirit and in your body. I created hormones. Trust me when I say that I know far better than you what will bring the greatest joy and optimum pleasure.” The point is simply that God’s “will” for you and me is always an expression of his love. So what exactly is it that God “wants” of us when it comes to our sexual behavior?
Consider the popular “I need sex.” When this is elbowed out of the category of desire and lust into the biological, the assumption is that sex is a biological need, nearly identical to food and water. The reasoning is that since it is a biological need, sexual self-control is unnatural, and the only option is to practice “safe” sex. Abstinence, therefore, is both old-fashioned and biologically untenable.