By Larry Ray Hafley
From Kentucky: “My girlfriend and I got to discussing the topic of pre-marital sex. We both believe that is is wrong and Heb. 13:4 says that the whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. But what about the couple that is in love and planning marriage? I am probably wrong, but I cannot see that it is all that wrong (she agrees ). I don’t advise it, and I think that the couple should wait until they are married. But is it wrong? What are your views?”
You have really answered the question yourself. You and your girlfriend “both agree that it (pre-marital sex) is wrong and Heb. 13:4 says that the whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” An unmarried couple, no matter how much in love or how close to marriage they are, is still an unmarried couple. Hebrews 13:4 shows that marriage’s physical relationship is to be held in honor. It does not say, “To those who are truly in love and who plan to be married, pre-marital sex is to be held in honor and their bed is undefiled.”
In 1 Cor. 7:2, Paul says, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” The way to avoid fornication is to be married. If a couple is unmarried, their sexual relationship is fornication or sexual immorality. Paul did not say, “to avoid fornication, make certain you are in love and planning to be married,” but he did say the way to avoid fornication is to be married.
In 1 Cor. 7:9, Paul says, “But if they cannot contain, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn.” In Corinth, there were some extenuating circumstances that made marriage unwise and inexpedient. In verse 26, Paul mentioned that it was best not to be married during “the present distress” that existed in Corinth. However, if a couple could not withstand the pressures of their love and longing, they were to marry, “for it is better to marry than to burn” with passion. He did not say, “if they cannot contain, let them engage in premarital sexual relations just so long as they plan to be married soon.”
Next, consider the laws of God in other areas. In nature, water freezes at 32 degrees. Does natural law, which God instituted, begin freezing water at 33 degrees just because it is so close to the point when water does actually freeze? In the spiritual realm, what if I should preach that a believing, penitent person is saved IF he plans to be baptized in a few days, weeks, or months? Suppose I said, “I cannot see that it is all that wrong to say that one is saved before he is baptized or that water freezes at 33 degrees?” Regardless of what is said, water freezes at 32 degrees and one’s sins are washed away when he is baptized and not before (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). In these natural and spiritual spheres you can see the definite laws of God. It is the same with respect to God’s laws for sex in marriage.
Fire is a wonderful creation of God. It cooks our food, keeps us warm, and is used to mold materials that form our cars and numerous household goods. However, fire can be an awful, terrible thing. Out of its proper place it is harmful and destructive. A bonfire or a campfire is fun, but a house or a forest fire is horrible. The difference is that one is controlled in lawful circumstances while the other is outside its intended purpose. The same can be said for the sexual nature of mankind. It is of God and in its rightful place is to be honored, but outside of marriage it is sinful and wars against the soul.
Truth Magazine XIX: 51, p. 802
November 6, 1975