As we continue in the series “The Church Needs to know”, I want to address an issue over which there is much confusion within the Church, and where the world system has once again crept in and influenced the way Christian think and behave. Although the topic, ‘relationship before marriage’ might seem only to apply to young people about to get married, it is actually something that is relevant to all believers.
In the world today, intimate physical relationships before and outside of marriage, are acceptable and even encouraged. Dating and engagement are considered a time for both parties to see if they really ‘fit’ together. This usually leads to intimate physical relationships.
Sadly, in many churches young people in particular are adopting the same approach, and those in authority church leadership, parents, etc. are not addressing the issue seriously enough. Young people today are left to judge for themselves where to draw the line in this sensitive area, instead of being given clear, Biblical directives.
Let’s be clear from the start, there can be no confusion with God; His Word is not ambiguous. In it, we see a clearly defined vision and plan for His people and His Church. He definitely does not want us to compromise with the world and its ways. Neither does God want law and legalism in His Church, which have no power to change lives. What He wants is for all Christians to be convinced of sin by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which draws a clear line and shows us on what foundation we should stand. That’s why I believe we need to go back to the foundation – God’s Word – to see what He has to say on this matter.
OUR BODIES ARE MEMBERS OF CHRIST
Let’s look at how God views marriage, and relationship outside marriage, and we will see that any physical relationship outside marriage, of whatever degree is considered sin in the eyes of God. It is not a question of, ‘where do we draw the line?’ because if we do try to draw a line somewhere, it will almost certainly be crossed. Just as an old advert for car brakes once declared, “Never star something you can’t stop!”
1 Corinthians 6:15 states: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!” Therefore, it’s not only our spirit that is one with Christ; our whole being is one with Him. Verse 16-17, “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two’, He says, ‘shall become one flash.’ But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
Paul is saying here clearly that it is the sexual act that makes two people become one flesh, and this should be taken seriously. We cannot ever forget that our spirit, soul and body are one with Jesus Christ. Many Christians today are doing as they please with their bodies, without realizing the spiritual implication of their action. In this passage, Paul makes a clear distinction between the sin of the body and other sins; with immorality, you sin against your own body because you become one with the person you are physically intimate with. Immorality means any physical relationship outside of marriage. Lying, stealing, anger, etc. are different; these are the fruits of our fleshy desires.
If God chose to make a distinction between sin in our bodies and any other sin, we should pay careful attention, and understand His heart for us on this issue. Verse 18 says, “Every sin that a man does in outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” We must not forget that our body is one with Christ as well as our spirit, and committing sexual immorality, therefore, is serious in the eyes of God. Verse 19-20 reminds us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are exhorted to, “…glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
THE FLESH SHOULD BE CRUCIFIED
In Galatians 5:24-25, Paul declare, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Every Christian has at least a basic understanding of what this Scripture signifies. But for those who desire to walk in the spirit, and are about to get married, how much more applicable it is to their lives.
We are called to crucify our flesh and its desires. That’s why we need to hear the message of the Cross all the time because it reminds us to deny ourselves and lose our lives. There’s no room to deceive one another, no place to try things out… We are a chosen people whose bodies belong to our Lord Jesus Christ.
How can we think therefore, that it could now be right for a husband and wife, just because they have settled on a choice of spouse? A commitment to marriage at some point in the future should continue to mean total respect for each other before the Lord. Until the day a couple are married, the Lord wants them to live a chaste and holy life.
Young people, listen up… Unless you have a conviction in your heart that it is of God, don’t even enter a relationship. If your desire is to know His plan, and the person He has set aside for you as spouse, you can be certain that He will reveal it to you.
Once you know it’s God’s plan for you to get marries, and you are convinced of the chaste lifestyle you should lead before the wedding, there is no danger. You can become engaged and encourage each other to respect the other, because there is a conviction in your hearts that you should live a chaste life before the Lord until you get married. You will carry a holy reverence for the presence of God in your future spouse’s life and become an example to others.
That’s why you need to be convicted by what God says, so that nothing is left to chance. Is any form of physical relationship, acceptable before marriage? Most certainly not! God’s Word is very clear on this subject.
THE FRAGRANCE OF A PURE AND HOLY RELATIONSHIP
Maybe you are already in a physical relationship outside or before marriage, and the Lord is convicting you that it isn’t right. My advice is to repent and make a firm decision to stop all physical intimacy immediately; and don’t look back. It is not something that you can be done by degrees, neither is it something that you can take lightly. God’s Grace is there to help you. And if you both know in your hearts that you are meant to marry each other, then until that day, preserve yourselves, respect each other as a brother respects any sister in church, and in so doing lead a pure and chaste life. The preaching of the Cross of Jesus Christ provides an answer to, and draws a clearly defined line on every issue that we face in our lives. It enables us to walk by conviction, and we will walk in victory as a result. Christians of every age married or not, need to listen carefully to what God is saying in His Word in order to live a righteous life and become examples to others. Isn’t it glorious when your heart testifies to the fact that there is absolute purity in the relationship of a couple who are to marry. This gives off a good and pleasing fragrance. What a great testimony to the power of the Gospel when two people get married on this foundation!
I believe that this is the plan of God for His Church and for His children. There is no need to be discouraged. God is alive; He can bring two people together. He knows the future. He knows everything about our lives, and His desire is for us to live a pure and holy life. That’s why it’s better to be patient, than to try things out. Open your heart; let God speak to you and convict you. It’s never too late with Jesus Christ. Today can be your day to declare to the Lord that you are going to live your Christian life before marriage in accordance with His Word