Biblical or not: Saving sex for marriage

(Image not mine)

Last month I had the privilege and enjoyment of sharing dessert and wine with a diverse group of women. The conversation was dynamic, vibrant and thought provoking. I loved it. As far as topics went, we covered a lot of ground…including of course, the topic of sex. At one point someone said,

“…and I hear tons of youth are having oral/anal sex instead of vaginal to keep their virginity…”

Someone cut in, “Hahaha, sounds like they’re Christian and being totally literal about it.”

And another, “Totally! Haven’t they heard you can be a born again virgin? Just abstain for one year.”

More laughter and the conversation flowed to other things…but this stuck in my mind. I’m a slower processor so I didn’t jump in with comments….but where are people getting the idea that you’ve “saved sex for marriage” as long as you don’t have vaginal sex?? Sadly, it is probably true that many are “Christians” believing the line to avoid crossing is vaginal intercourse. Everything but that “line” is permissible. Is that the standard we’re teaching our youth….in our families and in church?? If it is we’ve failed miserably.

For the record, “save sex for marriage” isn’t even in the Bible. That was a marketing catch phrase to counter the “Safe Sex” messages being pushed through schools in the 80’s and 90’s. You may have seen it…mottos like “The only SAFE sex is to SAVE Sex for marriage”. It’s all very well meaning, and the principle is biblical, but clearly, it’s lacking the depth of meaning God intended for sex if that’s all there is to the message. I’m not a scholar, but I KNOW God’s boundaries around sex relates to being pure before and after you marry. Even just looking lustfully at someone is equivalent to having committed adultery. (So if you’ve thought “It’s ok to look, just don’t touch” then think again.) We need to teach more about what purity means. It’s about HONORING the marriage bed…HONORING your future/current spouse….HONORING God….whether publically or privately…in our actions, words or thoughts. So many have dumbed it down to just “can’t have [vaginal] sex before marriage” and have completely missed God’s heart.

God’s standards do not have loopholes for us to sneak through. Yes, sometimes it seems like an impossibly high standard, but sometimes, something only seems impossible until you put your mind to actually try living by it. Then being empowered by God to obey, we actually CAN do it. There is no temptation under the sun where God hasn’t provided a way out. We just have to be willing to take it.

And I do believe it is possible to be a “born again virgin”…to start over. God’s gift is grace and giving second, third, many chances. But the point isn’t to abuse His grace so we can continue sinning (“Oops I did it again”) rather it’s for us to be able to move forward saying, “I’m new in Christ. I’m through with making up excuses and justifying my compromises. I desire purity…for myself, for my future spouse and in obedience to God. Help me to make my next decision a good one.” And then find yourself desiring what tempts you less and less, as the character and desires of God fills you more and more. So, to those who bear Christ’s name…consider honestly, whose standard are you living by?

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