You might be surprised at how Christians believe it is okay to have sex before you are married. But if you understand God’s heart for marriage and the reason why He created sex, then you will see the value in waiting to maintain your sexual purity until the day you are married.
Can Christians have sex before marriage? No, Christians cannot have sex before marriage. The Bible tells us that God created sex to be enjoyed within the boundaries of a covenant relationship between one man and one woman in marriage.
In this blog, we’ll look at some other questions about what does the Bible say about sex before marriage? Why did God create sex? Why did God design sex to be only within marriage?
What Does The Bible Say About Sex?
The Bible tells us that God created sex. It is a meaningful act of love between a husband and wife to give oneself completely to another within the covenant relationship of marriage.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
…Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.Genesis 1:27-28; 2:24-25 NKJV
Proverbs 5:18-19 is another verse that celebrates sex within marriage. The Song of Solomon is also an entire book in the Bible that talks about the sexual marriage relationship between a husband and wife.
Thus, from these passages of scripture, we can see that sex is good and can be enjoyed with God’s blessing between one man and one woman in covenant marriage.
God is very serious about sex being only within the confines of marriage. Any sex outside of marriage is considered to be sinful.
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.Hebrews 13:4 ESV
Sadly, the marriage bed has been defiled by pre-martial sex long before today. The world we live in today does not honor marriage as holy, nor does it honor sex in any way.
Because God created sex and it is a gift from God to be enjoyed within marriage, it dishonors Him and the other person when done outside of marriage.
There are several verses in the Bible that give strong warnings against premarital sex and sex outside of marriage.
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NKJV
Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.1 Corinthians 7:2 NKJV
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.Colossians 3:5 NKJV
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God…For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7 NKJV
God Desires His Best For You
Waiting can be really hard, but it is so worth it.
God is not withholding His best for you by telling you not to have sex before marriage. He is actually protecting you from getting hurt and experiencing deep pain, sorrow, and grief.
God desires people to get married and enjoy the gift of sex within marriage. He gave both Adam and Eve the command to multiply His image by having children.
God has your best interests at heart. While married life is not all about having sex, it is one of the fun parts that God has given His image-bearers to enjoy.
Waiting until you are married to your spouse is going to be more meaningful and special than if you decide to give in to instant gratification now.
God is in the business of wedding planning too, and He knows that if you honor Him and honor each other by waiting to have sex until you are married, it is going to be really great.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.Song of Solomon 2:7; 3:5; 8:4 ESV
God’s Design For Sex Within Marriage
God created sex to be enjoyed between a husband and wife in a covenant relationship of marriage.
It is to show us how close God desires to be with us and wants to be in an intimately know each person and be in a relationship with them so they can know Him.
Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. The love between one man and one woman is to point others to the love with which Christ loves the Church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.Ephesians 5:25-27 NKJV
The Bible also tells us that the Church, the Bride of Christ, is to keep herself unstained from the world and prepare herself for her Groom’s coming.
This is to be a glad day of celebration!
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV
As Christians, we of all people should know what marriage represents and why sex is forbidden outside of marriage.
Sex is not evil, but God clearly states that sex before marriage is sexual immorality.
In today’s churches, sex is often talked about in two ways. Either it is rarely mentioned or talk about, leaving Christians feeling that sex is a bad thing and shouldn’t be enjoyed within marriage, or everyone can have sex whenever and with whomever they want.
Sadly, the world and culture we live in says, “if it feels good, do it.” As Christians, we cannot rely on our feelings or emotions and act upon them. Instead, we must trust God and His Word. He knows what is best.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.Ephesians 5:3 ESV
God wants you to remain pure before marriage. This is not Him holding back something from you, but rather He wants you to receive this gift in the way He has created it.
When a husband and wife have sex, their souls are united and they become one. Sex is not only physical, it is also spiritual. When people have sex outside of marriage, they are being united without God’s blessing.
God has created boundaries for sex to be enjoyed for a reason. He did not intend for people to experience it outside of marriage.
The only way to have “safe sex” is to be married. This includes oral sex. All other sex outside of marriage has consequences and punishments, including pregnancy, disease, and emotional baggage to name a few.
Sex is not about you. It is a gift that you are giving your spouse and a gift that your spouse is giving you.
We are to honor the bodies God has given us, which are considered to be temple s of the Lord. We are also to honor the bodies of fellow image-bearers of God.
Romans 12 also talks about how we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice unto the Lord as our worship.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:1-2 ESV
What happens when people gratify their own desires with their bodies outside of marriage? They are no longer worshipping God but themselves. This does not honor God as holy, nor is it acceptable to God, who says,
You shall have no other gods before Me.Exodus 20:3 ESV
This applies to how we must also surrender our bodies to the Lord and put Him first in all areas of our lives.
We must be concerned with pleasing God rather than serving our own needs and wait on His perfect timing to enjoy the gift He has created within marriage.
Will God Forgive Me If I Have Already Had Sex Outside of Marriage?
If you have had sex outside of marriage, God does forgive you. But you need to stop, repent, and turn to Jesus.
God does not hold your sin above your head but has already forgiven you when Jesus died on the cross. However, that does not mean that you can keep sinning and having sex outside of marriage.
True repentance is godly sorrow over your sin. It is grief over having committed sin against God and the other person and choosing to walk away from that sin completely. With God’s help, this is possible.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.2 Corinthians 7:10
God is in the business of redemption. If this is part of your story, God can redeem it.
Part of finding healing may be seeking counseling and being kept accountable by a Christian mentor. You may need to seek healing from the deep emotional wounds that your sin has caused you.
If you have made this mistake, it also does not mean that you can never get married.
Marriage is a beautiful picture of how Christ loves the Church, and when you are in Christ, you are not defined by your past.
It is still important, however, to get counseling and seek out a wise mentor who can speak into your life and help you deal with the sin issue in your life before getting married. You do not want to carry that into your marriage.
God still loves you and this does not define who you are in His eyes. If you are a believer of Jesus Christ, then you are forgiven and set free from your past.
If you are not yet a Christian, and desire to be, see our post on how you can be saved.
How Can I Keep Myself Sexual Pure?
Always be on guard and stand against temptations. The enemy is always out to destroy relationships and will do anything to get you to walk away from purity.
Set Up Boundaries
If you are single, getting to know someone, dating purposefully, or engaged, set up personal boundaries for yourself.
Putting these boundaries into place will help guard your sexual purity and give you the self-control to wait until you are married.
Some questions people may ask concerning boundaries are:
- How far is too far?
- How much is too much?
- How do I know when to stop?
When people ask these questions, they are not as concerned with the limit, they just want to know how far they can cross the line before it is considered to be a sin.
However, that is a dangerous game to be playing especially when it is concerning sex before marriage.
When considering boundaries, go to 1 Corinthians 10.
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NKJV
Then ask yourself,
- Is it lawful? (Meaning, is it morally right or wrong and honoring to God?)
- Is it helpful? (Will this help me or the other person grow closer to Christ?)
- Is it edifying? (Does this build up the other person and encourage them in their walk with Christ?)
If you answer yes to the first question, but no to the other questions, then take a step back and figure out what boundaries you need to put in place so that you can honor and obey God, respect the other person, and not put yourself in a situation where you are going to be tempted to sin.
Boundaries are not harmful. They are God’s safeguards for you so that you can remain sexually pure before you become husband and wife.
Be Held Accountable
Find a mentor who can pray for you, encourage you, and keep you accountable in your purity life.
It is important to find someone who is older, wiser, and more mature than you. They also should be a follower of Jesus who is firm in their faith and will point you to Jesus.
Being held accountable is not always fun because you have to tell this person when you cross that line of purity. But this can help you resist temptation and help you save yourself for marriage.
Being held accountable will also encourage your friends to value purity as well. This can stir up great conversations between people.
Not many people hold the same standards of purity in the world, and this is a way that you can show people that you value Jesus’ standards over your own.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.1 Timothy 4:12 ESV
There are also some helpful Christian resources for guarding your purity.
This small book shows the rewards of pursuing purity. Randy Alcorn has been encouraging both young and old people to protect their sexual purity according to Biblical principles for over thirty years.
This is a great resource for individuals, marrieds, families, small groups, and churches.
Purity needs to be highly esteemed in our hearts, especially in the world we live in today. This book is written by Elisabeth Elliot who encourages people to go against the culture of the world and instead live under the authority of Christ.
She addresses topics on how to remain sexually pure, putting God’s desires for you above your own, and how to set up healthy boundaries in relationships.
This book is also written in story form as Elisabeth shares her love story with her husband Jim, and how they sought the Lord together in every aspect of their relationship while getting to know one another, dating—including long-distance– and engagement. Their story shows that it is worth it to wait on God’s perfect timing.
Remember, waiting on the Lord is so worth it. Don’t compromise now and settle for less than what God has for you.
Look forward to your wedding day, when you can celebrate together with your spouse the wonderful gift the Father has given you in marriage.