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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Marriage is to be held in honor among all [that is regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”—Hebrews 13:4 (AMP)
I remember the Wednesday night my youth pastor held up a quarter and said something along the lines of, “If you’re questioning what you’re about to do with your girlfriend/boyfriend is acceptable, call me and ask.” He lifted the coin higher in the air for effect.
Inwardly, I cringed.
I knew from that day forward I’d always have this image of my favorite pastor challenging me to reconsider my actions. Keep in mind, this was back in the day when we didn’t have cell phones to pull out of our back pocket, so I’d likely need that quarter to call from a pay phone.
But could I? Could you?
Now that I’m a parent of teens, I see things much like my pastor once did. I look at my kids and desire to protect them from the dumb, heat-of-the-moment mistakes I made. In the same way, Christ wants to protect His kids. He knows when two become one without any vow involved that pain, discouragement, and one day regret over committing the act will trickle down to their future spouse. That intimate memory never goes away, and because of sin, the hidden side effects nobody talks about will one day resurface.
God’s design for sex is sacred, private, and beautiful, but our world has distorted this most precious event and made it as meaningless as a kiss on the lips. The Message Bible translates our key verse as saying, “Guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex” (italics added).
Sin is easy. But the results of sin last a lifetime.
Maybe that’s why our Father warns us to honor our marriage and keep the bed pure even before we commit. The wisdom shared about the most virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:12 says that she does her husband good all the days of her life, meaning that even before she met him, she honored him and kept him in mind before they married.
These days you don’t need a quarter to call your pastor, but you still might find yourself in a situation where you’d like contact him while on a date and ask how far is too far. If you can’t, that intuition you have to call a pastor just might be you feeling God’s firm line against casual behavior the Bible cautions us about.
DIG: Does purity really matter? Ask your Heavenly Father and see what He’d like for you to do in your specific situation.
DISCOVER: You may think this idea is old-school, but if you’re truly interested in a little modern-day reality, ask your church’s counselor what side effects premarital sex has had on married couples. You could also do an online search for premarital sex statistics, reading balanced reports between both secular and evangelical mindsets. Sadly, STDs, unwanted pregnancy, abortions, and later emotional distress/regret are the most mentioned topics.
DO: Praise God for His grace and forgiveness. In Romans 3:10, the Bible says no one is righteous (perfect/blameless), not even one. We’re all sinners, that’s why we need a Savior. Decide today what steps you can take to look different than the world in this arena. Amazingly, you might find that keeping pure is the one thing that attracts your future mate.