Christian Standard for Sexual Behavior

A. Adultery and fornication are condemned in Scripture

1. Adultery is expressly prohibited in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14) and is condemned in many other passages in the Old Testament (e.g., Gen 20:3; Prov 6:32-33, Jer 5:7-8).

2. Jesus repeated the commandment prohibiting adultery (Mark 10:19) and even added that looking on a woman to lust after her amounts to committing adultery with her in one's heart (Matt 5:27-28). He condemned both adultery and fornication (Mark 7:20-23; also see Mark 10:11-12).

3. One of the few "essentials" that the apostles at the Jerusalem Council felt necessary to mention in their letter to the Antioch Christians was that they abstain from fornication (Acts 15:28-29).

4. Paul speaks out strongly against sex outside of marriage in many of his letters. For example:

             a. 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 . Paul warns that those who continue to practice fornication or adultery "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (v. 9). He adds that our bodies are "not for immorality, but for the Lord" (v. 13). In fact, believers' bodies are "members of Christ" (v. 15), and "temples of the Holy Spirit" who indwells them (v. 19). Accordingly, they are to glorify God in their bodies (v. 20) by fleeing immorality (v. 18).

             b. Galatians 5:19-21 . Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality and carousing are all included in Paul's list of the "deeds of the flesh," the doers of which will not inherit the kingdom of God. Christians are to display the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which includes love, patience, goodness, and self-control (vv. 22-23). 

             c. Ephesians 5:3-12 (NASB). Paul urges the Ephesians Christians not to let sexual sins of immorality or impurity "even be named" among them (v. 3). Moreover, they were told not to participate in the "deeds of darkness," for the light will expose and reprove them (v. 13). See also Romans 13:9; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Colossians 3: 5-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:22.

5. Other New Testament authors were equally emphatic in their condemnation of sex outside marriage. See Hebrews 13:4; James 2:11; 2 Peter 2:9-16; Jude 7; and Revelation 2:20-22; 9-21.

 B. An example of a biblical figure who fled from sexual immorality is Joseph (Gen 39:7-12,). His master's wife asked him repeatedly, day after day, to lie with her, but Joseph refused each time: "How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?" (v. 9). One day when he was doing his work around the house, she caught him by his garment and asked him again. Understanding the seriousness of the temptation, Joseph "left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside" (v. 12).


II. Benefits of Waiting until Marriage

  •  No guilt. God's design for sex is that it be a part of marriage (Heb 13:4). Not waiting for marriage creates guilt that hampers one's relationships with Him, with one's partner, and with many others.
  •  No fear. Waiting insures that one will never need to be afraid — not even to the extent of one fleeting thought — of having to build a marriage on an unexpected pregnancy.
  •  No comparison. Waiting insures that a spouse will never fall into the devastating trap of comparing his spouse's sexual performance with that of a previous partner.
  •  Spiritual growth. Positively, waiting will help one subject physical drives to the lordship of Christ, and thereby develop self-control, an important aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Also, if those marriage partners are later separated temporarily (e.g., for a business trip), then this discipline early in their relationship will give them confidence and trust in each other during that time of separation.
  •  Great joy. Waiting insures that there will be something saved for the marriage relationship, for that first night and for the many nights thereafter. The anticipation of the fulfillment of their relationship in sexual union is exciting, and should not be spoiled by a premarital relationship.

- Courtesy: H. Norman Wright