Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

What Does the Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage?

Couple on everystockphoto by magnetasWhat Does the Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage? 

I’ve heard too many people talk as if the Bible is not clear on this question.  So let’s ask — where does the Bible clearly teach that premarital sex is wrong?

It’s true that the Bible does not use the phrase “premarital sex.”  But what what the Bible does talk about is sexual immorality —

Flee from sexual immorality.  I Cor 6:9

We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of [Israel] did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.  1 Cor 10:8

But sexual immorality … must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Eph 5:3

So when the Bible says sexual immorality is wrong — what exactly is it talking about?

What Is Sexual Immorality?

“Sexual immorality” is the English translation of the Greek word porneia.  So what did porneia mean during New Testament times?

I looked this word up in Greek dictionaries, and they all said porneia meant “fornication.”  And says fornication means “voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other.”  So porneia — sexual immorality — includes sex before marriage.

Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament agrees, saying that porneia meant “every kind of extramarital, unlawful, or unnatural sexual intercourse [including] fornication, sexual immorality, prostitution.”  Extramarital means outside of marriage, which includes sex before marriage.

So porneia — sexual immorality — means sex before or outside of marriage.

So here’s how Paul’s readers would have heard 1Corinthians 6:9 —

Flee from any sex before or outside of marriage.

And 1 Corinthians 10:8 —

We must not indulge in sex before or outside of marriage as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

And Ephesians 5:3 —

But sex before or outside of marriage … must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Eph 5:3

So God’s Word is clear.  The God who created us, and who created the joys of sex, commands that we not have sex before marriage.

But Why?

We don’t have to know the reasons.  When we see Jesus’ love for us displayed on the Cross, we can be certain that Jesus loves us perfectly, passionately, completely.  So, when we hear Him say — don’t have sex before marriage — we can trust that this command is part of His love for us.

But still, it can help to know why.  So does Jesus ever explain why?  I think He does — in Matthew 19:6 where Jesus is talking about marriage —

So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

“One flesh” includes sexual intercourse.  Sexual intercourse is a wonderful gift from God.  Its intimacy and pleasure and vulnerability deeply bond a man and woman.  This bonding brings great joy when nurtured and protected by love and commitment — but it brings great pain if it is broken.

So to bless and protect us, God commands that this profound closeness occur only between people who are committed to each other in marriage.

Someone once used the illustration of flypaper.  Once  two pieces of flypaper stick to each other, it’s impossible to separate the pieces without ripping them up.  In the same way, once two people are joined through sexual intercourse, it’s impossible to separate the relationship without ripping them up.

But again — the main reason is that the Jesus who died for us on the Cross looks at us with burning love in His eyes and says —

Trust me — do not have sex before marriage.

Comments?  Feedback?

I’d love to hear — leave a reply below.  Thanks.

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(Picture is from everystockphoto by magnetas.)

Category: Sexual Temptation


67 Responses

  1. learning every day says:

    Not to mention the physical complications of lots of sexual partners, STDs, HIV, increased risk of cervical cancer among women, unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

    Seems like a big ‘please trust me on this one’ from God to me.

  2. Marsha Hodges says:

    Great post , this is a subject that you don’t hear enough about. Thank you for sharing your insight into this subject.

  3. Sarah Wright says:

    This is a very helpful post!!! Thanks Steve :) In addition to the points you mentioned, I think abiding by these Biblical principles helps establish a profound trust between a (future) husband and wife. By abstaining until marriage, I was able to demonstrate to my (now) husband that if I can wait for him and resist temptation that was inevitably there before marriage, than I can certainly resist temptation (always with the Lord’s help) that may come to me post-marriage. Additionally, when I saw my future husband establishing boundaries between him and I, I gained more confidence knowing the types of boundaries he’d be setting for himself to resist temptations to lust before and during marriage. In summary, if we could learn (with God’s help) to say “no” to the one we love more than anyone, we most certainly could learn to say “no” to a fleeting thought or temptation.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for taking the time to share these wise words. Truly these are additional benefits that come from following God’s Word. I appreciate you sharing them, and hope many will read and be encouraged by them.



  4. Lorraine Kashdan says:

    Thank you. I left my church over this issue because there was terrible sexual immorality. The congregation would not take a clear stand on it at all, but when I had become born-again I know for certain that the holy spirit blasted in and cleaned up that area of my life very quickly and so I was sure mostly from the work of the holy spirit that God viewed this as filth. I did not know for sure the scriptures on it at the time but I could sense God was getting me holy quickly because he wanted to commune with me.

    I did not agree with people who were living together having work in the congregation i.e. a recognised role and I became stabbed through the heart when I realised after not even two years being born-again and God having to clean my mind out from this filth and change me that there were people being appointed to service who were openl fornicating. I can remember one day not even being able to walk properly – I can not tell you the pain it caused me to realise this was happening.

    I was pretty much told to stop being religious and judgemental when I tried to explain to my brothers how much this was hurting me. I was ignored and pretty much snubbed by some people for being seen as having been unfair to one fornicating person who I had written to trying to help her to repentance. I was told to let the holy spirit do it’s own thing. But this is discraceful.

    In recent months I’ve tried to examine myself, wonder if I have missed something out, become too legalistic (within less than two years of being born-again though?). I’ve prayed for God to forgive me if I can’t see this issue clearly, but I look at my own life and I feel disgust for my former thinking and behaviour and I look at the lives of those fornicating and I know they do not know God, and I do not think I am judging but rather sad that they can not see how far away this action takes them from God.

    from my experience alone, I would say God doesn’t want us to do this because even when we say it doesn’t hurt – it does! I know that one fornicator from my former church used to describe how it made her feel dirty, how she wanted to be married…but why get married when the church itself was endorsing this?

    Oh Lord, holiness is a requirement of yours because filth keeps us from entering near to your throne. May the church or some of those within it keep strong-minded on this issue, may we withstand the waves of popularity as they come and may you forgive us where we fail. Nothing unclean can come before you, and because you love us Lord, you have shown us the way to come before you with respect and reverance.

    I pray that people reading this article will seriously consider this matter and think about what this issue means for them and their relationship with Jehovah. He really is not depriving us but offering us something far better than this…himself.

    Thank you for the article.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      You are so welcome, Lorraine. I’m glad you found this helpful.


    • Geri says:

      Amen and Amen Lorraine. absolutely true.

      I think this is a increasingly deceptive area in the church because alot of the time people look at their lives and think its going well even though I am staying with my partner, im serving in the church I am happy therefore God is blessing me and understands my situation. Countless times behind closed doors you hear people say what can you do thats the only way to keep my partner. Which is wrong, we gotta live up to Gods standards of holiness lets we be like Cain and do what we think is right in our eyes. And believe you me I have been in a mega church like that where you are looked down upon because you do not have a boyfriend/girlfriend or you dont look cool or your life looks stagnant while everyone else’s is progressing. But we never stop to think if even tho it is progressing to who’s Glory and honor? mine or Gods?

  5. Moise Volcy says:

    thanks Steve for taking time to share this post,it’s really helpful…May God god protect you and your family !!!

  6. Diana says:

    Thank you for the article Steve i liked it and i’m not a christian

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you so much for letting me know, Diana. And I appreciate you letting me know where you are at spiritually. If you wanted to hear more about why I love and follow Jesus Christ, I’d love to keep the conversation going.


      Steve Fuller

  7. James says:

    You also need to put this in perspective as well. If we look at bible, there was no mentioning of marriage as a signing of a certificate. In fact, there was no such state institution of marriage in the old biblical time. The true definition of marriage is the act of performing sex “when he lay down with her”. In the biblical time, marriage ceremony was signified with the couple being paraded into the bedroom, locked them inside, to perform sex. And then when they finished and came out of the room they would be considered legally married by the witness of relatives and friends.

    Thus, In God’s eyes, sex is a physical manifestation of the communion of spirit, soul, and body of 2 become one. Sex is a marriage in God’s eyes. Thus, if both party intentionally consent to have sex, two become one in spirit, soul, and body, then congratulation, you are already married in the eyes of God. The public exchange of legal vow, the signing of certificate paper and party are merely secondary, those are man-made laws, according to cultures & customs which differ from country to country.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi James,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

      It sounds like you are saying that when a man and woman have sex, then they have automatically become married in God’s eyes.

      But I do not believe that’s the case. In the Old Testament, if an unmarried man and woman had sex, and this was discovered, the woman’s father would decide if he wanted his daughter to marry the man (Exo 22:16-17). Which shows that sexual intercourse did not automatically create a marriage.

      What creates a marriage is not sex. It’s the commitment a couple makes before God to be husband and wife together until death parts them.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  8. Daisy says:

    I began to research this topic as a recently divorced woman. I have mixed emotions regarding this issue. One part of me thinks that when two people truly fall in love and are committed to each other that demonstrating this intimacy is just another way for those two people to connect. On the other hand I do recognize what God clearly demonstrate through His Word about premarital intimacy. The questions for me would be what about if you are divorced and find that someone you have established a connection with and have fallen in love? Would being intimate with that person, as a divorced woman, still be considered inappropriate? I am assuming that premarital sex would cover ANYONE who is not married whether you are divorced or not. Either way I still have mixed feeling because I have already been intimate with this person and do not feel guilty about it, but know in my mind what the Word says, however, my heart tells me another.
    Thank you Steve for clearing this up and establishing the Biblical reference to support this way of life, if you may.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Daisy,

      Thanks for sharing your story and question. It sounds like you have already answered it, so I’ll just agree with you. I don’t see how being divorced changes God’s plan that sexual relations occur between a man and woman who are committed to life-long marriage.

      But what about the fact that you don’t feel guilty? You are right that what matters is what the Word says, because our hearts are easily deceived.

      Keep fighting the fight to see and feel Jesus Christ as your all-satisfying joy — and to trust everything He says in His Word.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

      • Daisy says:

        Thank you Steve! Jesus didn’t say this was going to be easy, but I will continue to seek His Holy Spirit for direction.

        Have a great day :)

  9. Judy says:

    Thank you. I wish I knew as a single lady what to say when a man claiming christianity makes up his own rules regarding sex.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Judy,

      You are so welcome. And regarding your questions, I would urge you to share with this man what God’s Word says about sex, and then move on from him. He’s not loving you if he’s seeking to lead you away from your Savior.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  10. Judy says:

    God didn’t create me to be alone. Judy, I’m in the same shoes as you. Every man I meet that claims christianity makes up his own rules regarding sex. I do explain what the Bible says. I’m lonely. I pray God will lead me to a godly man.

  11. Giovanni says:

    I do not believe these references clear up the topic.

  12. Giovanni says:

    For example, referring back to the Old Testament, Abraham, David- and a whole host of other leaders of Israel- were married and yet still took handmaidens and bed warmers to bed. Abraham himself had a son with Haggard and yet he did not make her a wife. This raises another question: Is having multiple wives a sin now, since the New Testament was written. We know that Jesus Himself referred to individuals in marriage in the singular ( ex: “a” man and “a” woman).
    But he never came out and said that polygamy is a sin. Neither did He ever state that slavery was a sin. Indeed, God had well over a thousand years in speaking with His prophets, and NEVER did he say that sleeping with servants outside of marriage was a sin (although He did state that if a man sleeps with a servant who is betrothed to someone else, then he would have to pay the future husband and then also make a sacrifice at the Temple for adultery).

    I am turning 30 yrs and am still saving myself for marriage. My problem has been that ALL the girls I have been with- with the exception of ONE- has had an issue with me not having sex with them. Three left me because of this.

    Yet, I must say that I do not find it anywhere in the Bible where it states that sex outside of marriage is a sin. The only thing that comes close is Deuteronomy 22:28, but again this states that a man (who may or may not be a virgin) is only doing something wrong when he sleeps with a girl WHO IS A VIRGIN. The majority of the moral laws of Moses are based on sin being present if the girl is a virgin or not. There would be no evidence of a sin being committed if the girl having sex outside of marriage was not a virgin, or if the father was willing to accept the money from the man and yet not give up his daughter to him for marriage. This, of course, creates a situation where the daughter is no longer a virgin and, thus, can have sex outside of marriage.

    The only reference you can give me is that of the word PORNEIA from a Greek dictionary. However, Greek- as we know it today- is vastly different than the Greek spoken during Jesus’ time. You have to consort a Classical Greek dictionary and not just any Greek dictionary to obtain the true meaning of things (I know this from my college Religious Studies professor).
    Thus, if PORNEIA is the only reference you have to support sex outside of marriage, then it is a very weak one. We should then also remember that Paul also told us that women were not to talk in church unless they were prophesizing. They Definitely should not be preachers, according to Paul. There are many more things Paul told us not to do that VERY few people actually follow.

    The big problem here is that most of us are going against the laws of Moses every day of our lives. It is a sin to wear clothing made from more than 1 type of fabric(Deuteronomy, 22:11). We are not to eat pork, or rabbits as well (but no one remembers this part). “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing… whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5). This includes shoes, boxers, large shirts (dare I say sports jerseys).
    If we have a garden, God demands that we not harvest the tree or bush more than once. If we had missed collecting some fruits the first time, we are suppose to leave them on the bush for the poor. How many of us with gardens forget (or not know) this rule? And now that you know that these things are an abomination to God, will you still do it?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Giovanni,

      Thank you for taking the time to raise these questions. Here are my thoughts —

      1. The Bible often describes what men do without explicitly approving or disapproving. For example, Genesis tells us that Abraham lied about his wife Sarah to Pharaoh, but the passage does not say this was wrong. And yet we know from other passages that lying is wrong.

      2. Gen 2:24-25 clearly teaches that monogamy is God’s plan for marriage, since a man can’t be “one flesh” with more than one woman. As you mention, that’s why Jesus refers to marriage as between “a” man and “a” woman.

      3. The definition of PORNEIA I give in the post above was taken from a dictionary dealing with the Greek language at the time of the New Testament. It was not from a dictionary dealing with modern Greek today. So I believe the argument from the meaning of PORNEIA is valid.

      4. I do not believe Paul said women should not speak in church unless they were praying of prophesying. I take 1Cor 11:34 to mean that women should not take the role of giving official judgments on the validity of spoken prophecies (because that’s the topic in the immediate context, v.29). I believe women are free to do everything listed in 1Cor 14:26. I agree with you that they should not be elders and preach, and this is followed in many churches.

      5. Jesus clearly taught that some Old Testament laws are no longer to be followed (Mark 7:19), and the Holy Spirit repeated this lesson to Peter in Acts 10:10ff. We also know from Paul that circumcision and the animal sacrifices are no longer God’s commands. So it seems that many Old Testament commands had a function for what God was doing in and through Israel, but are not important today.

      I hope that helps some. Let me know. And again, thank you for taking the time to raise these questions.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  13. Peter g says:

    You said “sexual immorality” is the English translation of “porneia”. How can this be, when you also said that the English translation of “porneia” is “fornication”?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Good question, Peter.

      To be more clear, the English Standard Version translates the Greek word “porneia” with the English words “sexual immorality.”

      But the English words “sexual immorality” don’t make it clear exactly what is considered as sexually immoral. So we have to look back at the Greek word to see what it meant.

      Dictionaries of the New Testament Greek language say the Greek word “porneia” meant “fornication.” “Fornication” is an old word that not many people use today. But it is more precise than “sexual immorality,” since “fornication” means sex before or outside of marriage.

      So the Greek word “porneia” can be translated by either “fornication” or “sexual immorality.” The problem with using “fornication” is that it’s not used much today. Which is probably why the translators of the English Standard Version translated “porneia” as “sexual immorality.”

      What’s crucial is that when the readers of the New Testament heard that they should not be involved in “porneia,” what they heard is that they should not be involved in “sex before or outside of marriage.”

      I hope that helps.

      Steve Fuller

  14. Evan says:

    Under these statements, is masturbation a sin?
    I’ve been struggling with this argument for a while.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Good question, Evan. I do believe masturbation is sin.

      My main reason is because the sexual images accompanying masturbation involve lust, which Jesus clearly teaches is wrong (Matt 5:28-29). To see more on this you might want to check out this article by John Piper —

      Click on — “Missions And Masturbation

      I would battle the temptation to masturbate the same way I would battle any other sexual temptation, as I describe here —

      Click on — “How To Overcome Sexual Temptation

      Let me know if that helps, or if it raises follow-up questions.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  15. Steve, I can’t agree with you there for two reasons: firstly the need to use stimulating images is mainly a male tendency as men are generally turned on by what that see, secondly, if people don’t masturbate they will usually have wet dreams, often the images that come during wet dreams are exceptionally immoral or may even be intercepted by demons. I would like to send an article on the subject of masturbation that some hard-core celibate Christian ministers once sent me. The principle is that lust is wrong, so how about people remove lust from the equation, exercise the maximum restraint over their bodies but at the same time show a level of balance where adhering to the main principles (not fornicating or commuting adultery) are respected over and above smaller issues. I mean, if masturbating actually stopped someone from commiting a worse sin then why put a legality over it? Isn’t it important to focus on the two greatest commandments? Do we want a legalistic programme like the Pharisees had? I think we can create the act of the law being in people’s minds rather than their hearts by trying to define and redefine laws and mini laws etc. actually, Jesus left us only two laws and he did so with good reason

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Lorraine,

      Thanks for your push-back on my comment above. It’s always good to have to re-think one’s views.

      But after reading your comment over, and thinking some more, I still believe masturbation is sinful.

      One reason is because masturbation (at least for men) involves lustful thoughts, and Jesus condemned lustful thoughts as being as sinful as adultery (Matthew 5:28). So it follows that masturbation is sinful.

      And there is no need for anyone to masturbate, since there’s the possibility of wet dreams. Wet dreams can take place without sexual images (at least that are remembered). And the sexual images that are remembered are usually not consciously chosen. So wet dreams can be experienced without sin.

      I’ve never heard that wet dreams can be intercepted by demons. But I can’t think of any reason that would be the case.

      So I would encourage single people to seek their emotional satisfaction in worshiping Jesus Christ, and to endure the physical desire for sex much as a fasting person would endure hunger pangs.

      I’m not saying it’s easy. It will be war. And when there’s stumbling, there’s God’s grace.
      But Christ calls some to be single, which means he will give them grace to endure what Paul calls “burning” (1 Corinthians 7:9).

      And regarding the two main commandments. I believe masturbation involves not loving God supremely (as I’m pursuing sexual satisfaction in a way not intended by God), and not loving my neighbor as myself (since I’m entertaining wrong sexual thoughts about them).

      I hope this helps explain my conclusion. And thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

      In Christ,


      • Gladys says:


        I’am not totally convinced that masterbating is a sin, the sexual drive is very strong and their has got to be an outlet for people that are not married, diverced, widowed etc..

        I don’t believe God is so cruel to make us resist this urge when it can be released in a way that does NOT harm another person or defraudes your brother or sister or commit adultery.

        Yes the drive was meant for marriage, but it cannot be just turned off, just like hunger, you can’t just turn it off. I believe Masterbation if it is a sin, is a lesser sin than adultery, fornication.

        • Steve Fuller says:

          Hi Gladys,

          Thank you for joining in the conversation. I know this is a sensitive topic, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

          I agree that the sexual drive is strong. But, as I mentioned in my response to Lorraine, God has made our bodies in such a way that they take care of the build-up of physical sexual desire.

          I agree that sexual desire can’t just be turned off. The hormonal side of it will have to be endured until the body takes care of it, or until there’s an opportunity for it to be fulfilled with one’s spouse.

          But the emotional side of it can be completely satisfied by beholding and worshiping God, as the psalmist implies in Psa 73:25 — “there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.”

          You say that it would be cruel for God to give us desires that can’t immediately be fulfilled. But doesn’t God’s Word teaches that God allows trials to come to us so that we have to endure unfulfilled desires? And doesn’t he say that through this endurance our faith can be strengthened?

          Also, I’m not saying that masturbation hurts another person. But I do believe it hurts you, since it involves you choosing to use the gift of sex outside its God-given setting of marriage.

          In Christ,

          Steve Fuller

      • Gladys says:

        I also want to add, of course Masturbation uses lustful thoughts, but in masturbation, one is not lusting over a specific person, it can all just be a fantasy in our heads.

        Now if one is lusting over an actual person, I can see that is a sin.

        I admit I read erotica, which is lustful, but the people in the books are imaginary, they are not real, so who is being hurt?

        It helps me to manage my sex drive, You can’t just turn it off, anymore than you can turn off a hunger pain. I don’t believe God would create a drive so strong and expect us to just resist it, knowing most people will fail. Not everyone gets married or stays married.

        I would think masturbation a legitemite outlet, for releasing such urges without being a stumbling block or hurting another person.

        • Steve Fuller says:

          Hi Gladys,

          I would like to gently push back and ask why you think lust over an actual person is sin, but lust over a fantasy person is not?

          It sounds like you believe something is sinful only if it hurts someone else. But the clearest way we can know something is sinful is because God tells us in his Word that it is sin.

          So even if your reading of erotica doesn’t hurt another person, it still involves lustful thoughts, which Jesus in Matthew 5:28 said we should not have.

          I don’t want to imply that the battle against sexual lust is easy. It is not. It’s probably the most difficult battle most of us will face.

          But there’s good news. No matter what we’ve done, if we will sincerely repent and confess our sin he will fully and freely forgive us for our sin — again and again and again.

          And there’s more good news. As Paul teaches in 1 Cor 10:13 — God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure by his grace. And along with every temptation God will provide a way of escape. So every sexual temptation we face can be overcome.

          It won’t be easy. It might mean (figuratively) gouging out an eye or cutting off a hand (Mark 9:47-48). But Jesus Christ is worth it all.

          Steve Fuller

          • Gladys says:

            I want to clarify something. I have been married for 16 years and yes I do read erotica occasionally probably once to twice a year when my husband and I are unable to come together.

            My husband does not have a problem with it, if anything it helps our relationship. In no way has this affected my relationship with God or with my husband. I’am not addicted to it, nor does it make me not want to be with my husband, if anything it helps us.

            Sexual thoughts are not sinful, they are part of who we are, we are sexual creatures. God put the drive in us, don’t tell me that he expects us to endure (for people that are not married) years and years of no release.

            I don’t equate our sexual desire as part of trials that we are to endure in the Christian life. Sexual desire is something God put it in us, just like hunger pangs, they both serve a purpose and cannot be ignored or turned off, they must be fulfilled or if not release in some manner.

            I don’t think you would tell someone that is starving for food, to just endure it as a trial, you would give them food, or show him where to find food.

            I really don’t see how one can have a sex drive and not have lustful thoughts, they go together, I think Jesus is referring to the object of that lust that matters (another man’s wife, prostitute, etc..), not the thoughts themselves.

            Every person on this earth even every single christian (man or woman)has lustful thoughts at times, because we are sexual creatures.

          • Gladys says:

            I also want to reply to your reference of Matthew 5:28. Jesus is talking about adultery here. it says” Do not commit adultery, but I tell you that anyone looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery”.

            I do not believe this addresses masturbation or reading erotic material. jESUS is talking about adultery (the object of your thoughts, and who it is directed too).

            I don’t believe you can use this scripture to condemn sexual, lustful thoughts in general caused by hormones. God created those hormones to be activated and to cause one to have sexual desire, it really is a chemical reaction in our bodies. It is not a sin to have sexual or lustful thoughts caused by hormones.

            So yes I do read erotica during those times, until the fertile hormone stage passes and then the thoughts go away on their own.

            So that is why I don’t believe lustful thoughts are sinful in themselves, for they are caused by hormones most of the time.

          • Leanne says:

            I understand the struggle of sexual sin. My husband and I struggled to control our physical desire for years before we got married. But just because it was hard to resist, it didn’t make it ok. Even though we didn’t actually have intercourse, it had a huge spiritual, physical and emotional impact on our marriage relationship and we are still ironing out the affects of that ten years on.

            Sexual immorality, sex before marriage, masturbation….whatever it is, it is SIN! Steve has made a very good case for all of them as does the bible!! Just because it is hard to resist or feels good, it doesn’t make it ok. A lot of these posts I am reading seem to be people struggling with a sin, choosing to engage in that sexual sin and trying to find ways to justify it.

            I appreciate that Steve is being very gentle with all of you and his discussions are very biblically sound but the fact of the matter is we delude ourselves into thinking sinful things are ok. I admit that I do the same.

            So my challenge to you all, is to really seek God. Allow him to search your heart. Search your own intentions and motivations and ask God what will honour and glorify Him. I guarantee you that you will find the hard but truthful answer…fornication is not what God wants or you, whether it is in the form of masturbation, physical acts with your boyfriend or girlfriend, sex with your fiancée etc.

            Seek God FIRST!

  16. Phee says:

    What if you are with someone you know you are going to marry (but can’t for another couple of years due to practical factors) and you are already sexually active (so already ‘one’) then what would be the motivation to put a hiatus on the sex for 2 years until marriage…?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Phee,

      Thank you for asking such an important question.

      The main motivation for not having sex anymore would be that you are not committed to each other before God in marriage. So since God has given the gift of sex to those who are married, He would call you to wait.

      And I don’t see any reason why your past sexual activity would change that, since in the Bible sexual relations don’t automatically mean a couple are married.

      This change won’t be easy. It all comes down to whether you have faith in Christ. If you do, you will fight to trust what He says about sex. And as you fight the fight of faith, praying over God’s Word, He will strengthen and satisfy you so you will be able to press on with sexual purity.

      It will be a battle. But He is worth it all.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  17. Amanda says:

    Hi! I would first like to say thank you so much for posting this -loved it- and also to the James person, they did have marital contracts long before the Old Testament (Torah) was written. Now, I think I have to agree with Steve when it comes to masturbation. I think if you struggle with something (sexual frustration, forgiveness, addiction, etc) you should always pray to God, for strength, understanding, and for his guidance. -Because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what me or Steve or even spouse thinks about it. -That’s how I came about it.

  18. Gary says:

    I am 56yrs old , been married before and obviously had sexual relations for many years. I have been going out for 2 years with a woman who was also married and we both struggle with the “no sex before marriage” rule. We both know what marriage brings ,but we don’t want to get married as we are both a little scared and we don’t want to live together. We both talk about the no sex before marriage part , but having both had experience of marriage the sexual feelings are extremely difficult to overcome. We love each other dearly and perhaps we justify our sexual relationship because it’s part of a loving,respectful,trusting,understanding friendship and faith in our relationship.
    As most of the comments above are perhaps from younger people , we “oldies” also struggle.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Gary,

      Since you both have had sexual relations before, I am sure it is very difficult to avoid sexual relations now.

      But I would strongly urge you to consider that it’s God himself who created marriage, who created sex as a gift for marriage, and who lovingly commands you to trust him and only experience sex within marriage.

      Jesus Christ would look at you with great love and burning holiness and say that if you are not ready to commit to each other in lifelong marriage, then you are not ready to experience the precious gift of sex.

      So it all comes down to whether you are going to trust Jesus Christ. He will help you, forgive you, strengthen you, and enable you. But you must trust him and surrender to him.

      Keep in mind also that you are responsible before God to lead your woman-friend toward, and not away from Christ. That is sobering.

      So please, Gary, trust Jesus Christ. Humble yourself before him and his Word. He can forgive you, help you, satisfy you, empower you — if you will trust him. So — trust him.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  19. James says:

    Actually Old Testament it was okay for the guy to have sex with a virgin as long as he was going to marry her after or if her father didn’t approve then he had to give her father money because she is no longer virgin.

    Now you can be married to someone and have sex with someone else who is married and now you are committing adultery. Maybe the command was for married people not to have sex outside of the marriage. Not necessarily singles.

    Remember if it were wrong then the men would have been stoned for sleeping with the virgins

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi James,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      But I don’t think you are understanding the point of the Old Testament command. You say it was okay for the guy to have sex with a virgin as long as he was going to marry her after or if her father didn’t approve…

      But that’s not what the verse says. There’s nothing in the verse about how it’s okay if the guy was going to marry her.

      If a guy had sex with a girl to whom he was not married, he either had to marry her immediately, or if her father did not approve of him, he had to pay the father for what he has done (Exo 22:16-17).

      The point isn’t that sex before marriage is OK. It’s that if you have sex with a girl you are doing what should only be done within marriage, so you need to marry her, or pay what you’ve taken from her and her family.

      And the fact that he would not be stoned does not mean what he did was okay. It just means it was not to be punished by stoning.

      I hope that helps explain what I wrote in the above post.

      And thanks again for raising this question.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  20. Tina says:

    I’ve been really struggling recently. I backslid and was talking with a guy my age online (I’m 17). Yes, it got inappropriate, and I’m ashamed of that. I have just decided to rededicate my life to Christ and rid of this “relationship” as I know that even talking about and imagining such things is wrong. It’s already extremely hard for me to do this, but this guy keeps coming back saying, “Why? Why is it wrong? We’re just talking!” I know in my heart that this is wrong, but I don’t know how to explain it to him. He’s not a Christian.
    Do you have any suggestions/verses or anything that would help me explain to him WHY it is wrong for me to even talk about/imagine these things? How could I witness to him?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Tina,

      Thanks for raising this important question.

      I preached a sermon on the importance of honoring marriage. You can find it on website. It was preached on 9/22/2013.

      The main point is that sexual relations is a precious gift created by God to bless two people who are bound in the loving covenant of marriage.

      So nothing sexual should take place between you and this guy, because you are not in this kind of relationship.

      You could also look at the post I wrote on “How Far Is Too Far Before Marriage?” (Jan 7, 2013).

      I hope that helps some.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  21. Billa says:

    Hi, I’m trying to copy and paste this into my e-mail to make a copy of it to give my friend, but I am not able to. Do you allow copies?

  22. JR says:

    There is also a very strong warning in the New Testament about those who “practice” immorality. Paul warns that those living in a practice of sin, will not inherit the kingdom of God. Confession, Repentance, and turning away from the sin brings restoration to our relationship with Christ (even though we are fully responsible of the consequences and will have to face them).

    Stephen, have you heard of topic regarding soul ties due to sexual immorality? What is your opinion on it?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi JR,

      Well said about the warnings concerning practicing sexual immorality.

      And I have not heard about soul ties due to sexual immorality. I don’t think that’s mentioned anywhere in Scripture, is it?

  23. JR says:

    Hello Steve
    I have heard that the verses that talk about a sexual relationship where 2 become 1 means there is a union of the souls. For example Paul warns us on 1 Corinthians 6:16 Or don’t you know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body? For, “The two”, he says, “will become one flesh.”[a]
    If this is a true case, can soul ties be broken?


  24. Anonymous says:

    I think this is the best explanation about sex before marriage thus far. Whether people accept it or not, sex outside marriage is wrong. I think the reason they are looking for a bible scripture that clearly states this is wrong, is because there is a small voice within them telling them that what they are doing is wrong

  25. Anaceah says:

    I am not sexually active with my boyfriend but we do just about everything except sex. What does the Bible say about this? Recently I’ve been reconnecting with God and I’m really confused and unsure about this issue and my boyfriend doesn’t seem to understand why I’m questioning it.

  26. Abeh says:

    I think the first issue to be addressed here is whether Jesus Christ is Lord over one’s life and if one is a diligent student of the Bible. Then, one need to ask again: are you dead to the flesh- Colossian 3:5-6? This issue of sexual sins has been clearly addressed in the scriptures, why do we tend to wrest God’s word to suit our desires? The sexual immorals shall not inherit the kingdom of God! Whether we want to accept it or not God’s word is forever settled and it is the same word that will either judge or condemn on the day of judgement.

  27. Rachel says:

    Reading this, I am reminded of how damaging the purity doctrine can be, especially for young women. Sex outside of a committed, monogamous relationship is a bad idea, but I don’t need any book to tell me that. One needs only to observe the potential dangers, both physical and emotional, of casual sex.

    Conservative Christians have always been preoccupied with sexual immortality. Instead, how about focusing on what Jesus called us to do, which is love your enemies? That’s way, WAY harder than keeping it in your pants before you get that certificate signed.

    Steve, we don’t see eye to eye; nonetheless, I suspect I’d like you in person. This is a thoughtful post. I just don’t agree with it.

  28. fashy k says:

    God word is clear to his son only not for every body,what i know and belief is that sex before marriage is wrong

  29. Jennifer says:

    My boyfriend an I have been living together.He wants to have sex but I feel convicted not to.He thinks it’s not wrong because we llive like a married couple.I am 37 and want to have a child but at the same time I don’t want to sin that is how I find this article.God forbid I have sex out of marriage and die will I go to hell?

  30. Casey says:

    I am 37 years old..I met a divorcee 16yrs ago. The two of us are still together..however she is determined not to marry again due to the horrible marriage and I have to accept that. We both grew up in different environments and beliefs..neither of our families were active in a church. We decided to we needed to start attending a we have visited a few. We found ourselves very welcome and comfortable with our current church. We attend Bible Studies, our daughter (13) loves her youth group…NOW..AFTER ATTENDING FOR QUITE A WHILE..IT WAS BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION THAT WE WERE NOT WELCOME DUE TO THE FACT WE ARE NOT MARRIED.

  31. Conflicted says:

    This has been very interesting reading. Thank you.

    I have always struggled with this “sex outside of marriage” thing. I have married three times basically so that I was not sinning…having sex outside of marriage. I have spent a lot of time gone from my family because of the military reserve and because of my job as a firefighter. Consequently, I have been divorced three times. I held on until I was not given a choice in each case. I followed the directions given in the Bible and struggled with divorce and then again with remarriage. I am dating a Christian woman. In a past relationship with each other we had been intimate. We broke up and one of the reasons was that I didn’t really know if it was a good idea. We are back together and are refraining from “sex” but it gets really close sometimes. My dilemma is this: I have been studying remarriage. I have been counseled professionally about not getting remarried. I have struggled all of my adult life with sex. I have always been committed to one woman (at the time) but then find out that the woman was not committed to me. My point is that, even though I know that God tells us to expect favor, the human man inside has been screaming that it will just happen again, don’t get married. So if I don’t get married, I cannot have sex. Do I get remarried to keep from burning??? I am 51, tried it three times already… My girlfriend is a divorcee as well. There is no doubt about love,but ….

  32. Mario says:

    Steve Fuller, Please help!

    Hi! I am a seminary student and I am also starting my ministry helping in church planting. I am getting married in a few months. But I had sex with my fiance and I have already confessed my sin to the Lord and I have already received His forgiveness, and I am planning to go to a counselor to confess and heal both hearts. But I don’t know if that’s enough. Neither she nor I have had sex with anyone before. But I don’t know what else to do about it. Can I still get married? Can I still have a God-glorifying marriage? Should I renounce to the ministry?

  33. Roselove says:

    Mario, once you believe God has forgiven you, there is no need to renounce your ministry.He is faithful and just to forgive your sins. Asking for forgiveness from God alone is enough. Have a fruitful marriage, go ahead with it.

  34. Arold says:

    Sexual immorality is really a serious issue in our today’s culture. It’s something that will get worse and worse as the end approaches. But, we as believer in Christ who has the truth on our side should not allow a fallen world to influence why we ought to believe when it comes down to that issue. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what many Christians have chosen to do with respect to how they live.

  35. Milo says:

    From mario’s comment with same case but my gf is now pregnant but ill mary her this coming April …
    Pls advice same question thanks….

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