A pastor recently told this story:
“A good-looking young couple recently approached me at an altar asking for a word of blessing regarding their relationship. Expecting me to just quickly bless them, they bowed their heads immediately. Without even seeking the Lord, I said, ‘Are you two sleeping together?’ The look on their faces as their heads snapped up was priceless. They didn’t even have to answer me. I said, ‘You are asking me to bless something that the Word of God has clearly called sinful. You don’t need a word of blessing. What you need to do is repent of your sins, stop sleeping together, separate, and then I’ll pray God’s blessing upon you.’ They marched out of that church faster than I could blink and gave me the middle finger on the way out the door.”
In 2020, the Pew Research Center published the results of a research project that showed that 57% of professing Christians say that sex between unmarried couples in a committed relationship is sometimes or always acceptable. When churches don’t talk about sex or God’s unyielding standard of holiness, people create their own morality standards and are vulnerable to the lies of the culture. We have a lot of work to do.
Those who persist in sex outside of marriage are on dangerous ground:
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Marriage between one man and one woman is the only God-sanctioned context for sex found in the Bible. A “fornicator” is one who has sex outside of marriage. When the Bible attaches the threat of judgement to a particular sin it should cause fear and trembling.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Some professing Christians are living together, unmarried, and having sex. Others are dating unbelievers, blindly thinking they will influence the unbeliever toward becoming a Christian. The unbeliever often has the greater influence, and they end up in bed.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them
And be separate,” says the Lord.
“Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
I’ve been in this place. In my early twenties I was a severely backslidden believer, having walked away from God in my teens. I was deep into drinking, drugs, and sexual sin, and had an affair with a married mother of three children who wasn’t a believer. We ended up moving in together. Her husband was having an affair at the same time… eventually they got a divorce. Once the initial excitement of lust wore off the relationship came apart. We tried spicing up the relationship with porn. It didn’t work and inflamed my lust even more; I was secretly masturbating to porn when she wasn’t around. Two years in, God called me out of that relationship, but, once sex is introduced into a relationship a bond is formed and breaking up becomes extremely difficult. It would be a year before I completely severed the relationship.
That affair is one of the biggest regrets of my life.
Let’s go back to the wise words of the pastor in the beginning of this article. If you’re not married and having sex, repent (confess the sexual relationship as sin and turn away from it) and separate from the other person. Let God have the relationship. Either He will use your obedience to change the other side, or the other person will never turn to God and it was imperative that you broke up anyway. The same goes if you’re dating an unbeliever or if you’re living with someone out of wedlock.
If you’re in this place and hesitate to take action, please read the verses above again. God doesn’t play games with sin. Neither can we.
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
The good news is always that the blood of the cross covers our sin so there is always hope for those who are willing to take the action steps of repentance.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
If you’re in church leadership, please open these topics up, no holds barred. We’re not talking about small numbers of people in your flock who are compromising with sin here.