Sex is More AND Less Important Than You Think – Trevin Wax points out the cultural problems with sex and rightly describes what God expects from His church. He writes, “The Church must not only say that sex is serious, but also show this to be the case. To ‘put sex in its place’ means that Christians will need to take sexual sin more seriously than our culture does.”
Target to Move Away From Gender-Based Signs – Denny Burk points to a recent news story that reveals the cultural agenda to move away from gender distinctions. He writes, “We’ve gone from traditional gender distinctions being outmoded to being “harmful”? Is it really “harmful” for the Barbies to be in a different section from the G.I. Joes?”
We live in a sex saturated culture. We must admit that we’ve become a pornographic society. Pornography appears in magazines and commercials each day, and we’ve become completely desensitized to the images. Marketing companies use sex to sell their products, and it works. Sex was created by God and should be considered good – along with the rest of His creation. However, God has a specific design and purpose for sex that must be understood. Premarital sex is a perversion of God’s design for sex and in this article I want to trace three specific reasons why God is displeased with sex outside of marriage.
Premarital Sex Violates God’s Plan Established at Creation
Although God’s plan spans back before creation, it was established at creation when He brought it to pass. When God created the world, He created humans and designed our bodies – including our sexual organs. This was all in step with God’s original plan, and it was good. What wasn’t good was for man to be alone, so He created a woman and presented her to her husband Adam (Gen. 2:18-25).
Genesis 2:24-25 – Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
In this passage, we see that marriage and sex are both rooted in God’s original creation. God’s plan for one man and one woman is grounded in the creation order, and it’s precisely in God’s original plan where we find sex. To abuse God’s original plan by reversing the order of sex and then marriage is to tamper with God’s design for sex. History is replete with examples of what can happen when people abuse the good gift of sex. The abuse of sex leads to broken relationships, disease, single parent homes, and the list goes on. Sex should always be respected and kept within the confines of marriage.
Premarital Sex is Immoral
There is no specific word in the Bible for premarital sex. However, if you read the words of Paul to the church at Corinth, you can see that it was always a known fact – sex outside of marriage is not permissible.
1 Corinthians 7:2 – But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
Paul’s counsel to the church at Corinth was for every man to have his own wife and each woman to have her own husband. The point is clear, they were struggling with sexual temptations and sexual sin. In order to avoid the disaster, Paul encouraged them to marry! Once again, this points back to God’s original plan for marriage and sex. It was to be a package deal – not separated from one another. Sex goes with marriage and only inside of the confines of marriage.
God’s Word addresses sexual immorality approximately 25 times. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, we see these words:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;  that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,  not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;”
The words in English, “sexual immorality” consist of one Greek word – (πορνεία) porneia in the original text. The idea here is sex outside of God’s original plan and intent. We see this same word used in several places in the Scriptures, and it’s always condemned by God (Gal. 5:19; Rom. 1:29; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; Rev. 2:21). Paul made it abundantly clear in his letter to the church at Thessalonica that such sexual practices were not God’s will for His people. In fact, Paul said to abstain from such practices. In other words, to practice porneia (sexual immorality) is to dishonor your own body.
Premarital Sex Turns God’s Gift Into an Idol
God has made it clear from the beginning that He is a jealous God and that He disapproves of all types of idols (Ex. 20:3). To worship the creation rather than the Creator is a direct violation of God (Rom. 1:25). To be engaged in sexual immorality is to elevate sex to a form of idolatry. Rather than viewing it as a gift for the marriage bed, the sexually immoral man not only violates the marriage bed but he violates God.
In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul’s warning about sexual immorality also contained a warning about violating God. In 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, we read, “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.  Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” Premarital sex dishonors your own body (1 Cor. 6:18), dishonors the person you’re having sex with, and tragically it dishonors God.
God will judge the sexually immoral. That’s clear from Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” To play around with the sacred gift of sex is a dangerous thing. Before you enter the bed with someone you aren’t married to, remember the promise of God’s judgment. God always keeps His promises. Remember that sex is designed to be used within the marriage that He designed – not a cheap repleca. No matter who seeks to rewrite God’s definition of marriage, it will not be marriage in the end, and all sex outside of God’s original design for marriage is immoral and it dishonors God.
Sex is a beautiful gift given to the husband and his wife. It should not be a shameful thing. Shame is only connected to sex when it’s abused and used in a way that dishonors God. Be on guard in our sexual culture. Be wise and avoid the traps of sexual immorality. God’s gift of sex is cheapened and abused in our pornographic culture. Be on guard.
John MacArthur writes, “The first characteristic of sexual sin is deceit. It never delivers what it promises. It offers great satisfaction but gives great disappointment. It claims to be real living but is really the way to death.”1
The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 1 Corinthians, Moody, 1984, p. 147.