November 14, 2012

Premarital Sex or Purity?

Our society has fostered, to full bloom, a misconstrued view of how love relationships should be in our world.

Popular movie “love scenes,” television shows laden with naughty behavior and raunchy jokes, friends who are giving in to their desires when dating, and contemporary culture in general are promoting the desire for—and acceptance of—premarital sex. Contemporary culture, even within Christian circles, says that if you’re truly, madly, deeply in love with someone to whom you’re not married, then it is OK to have sex.

The world has embraced risqué behavior and approved it as normal. So normal, in fact, that if you’re not in agreement, you’re labeled as old-fashioned, weird, or worse. Labels not worthy of publishing become part of your social identity.

Everybody’s Doing It?
In the 1990s teens used the popular statement “But everybody’s doing it!” with their parents when they wanted to do something they knew was wrong. Fast-forward to the new millennium, in which reality TV gives us glimpses into celebrity (and everyday) lifestyle in which it appears, through the association of the characters, that the “everybody’s doing it” argument is growing truer by the minute.

In an article for USA Today Sharon Jayson writes: “Almost all Americans ?have premarital sex, says a report published Tuesday that analyzes federal data over time and suggests programs focusing on sexual abstinence until marriage may be unrealistic.” * So how do you live when everybody (apart from the rare finds) appears to be “doing it” outside the boundaries of marriage?

Under Pressure
Christian artist Rebecca St. James, who has devoted her life and music ministry to teaching about purity and abstaining from sex before marriage, has something to say on the topic. In her book Wait for Me: Rediscovering the Joy of Purity in Romance (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), she writes: “I believe that God has placed ‘The Dream’ inside of each one of us, unless He has specifically called you to singleness. We each have a desire for intimacy, for someone to know us fully and love us completely. . . . A guy longs to protect; a girl longs to be protected. And that’s exactly the way God created us. When we follow His plan, there are great blessings in store. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jer. 29:11-13)” (pp. 5, 6).

2012 1532 page14But what happens when the dream isn’t fulfilled when the person wants it? St. James continues: “Unfortunately, in this culture today, so many people have given up on ‘The Dream,’ and have chosen to accept something less than God intended for them. As one girl said to me, ‘I was about ready to give up any kind of hope that there are any guys out there who are willing to wait (sexually and emotionally) for the one that God will bring to them in His perfect time’ ” (p. 6).

Peer pressure plays a role in meeting society’s norms. Maybe you’re in a close-knit group of friends who share your passion for purity, and you’re happily single as you discover who God wants you to be. Consider yourself blessed, because this isn’t often the case. Many young people are yielding to peer pressure when they see their peers giving in to their passions when dating and having sex before marriage—and then living a seemingly prosperous, if not enchanting, life of sin.

The Bible gives solace in this situation—and a piece of advice—when God says: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Prov. 1:10, KJV). God also advises: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb” (Ps. 37:1, 2, KJV). Just because everybody (that you know) is doing it does not mean that you should too. The Word of God is clear on what happens when we live outside of His will and embrace sin instead of rebuking it. Yes, everything may seem to be going great, we may feel happier than we were before we started going astray, but guess what? It’s only for a season!

We can learn a lesson from Eve, who wandered away from Adam in the Garden of Eden. She became captivated by the tree bearing the fruit that God forbade Adam and Eve to eat. The serpent was ready, and it lured Eve into a conversation that helped change the course of humanity. God had told Adam and Eve that if they ate from that specific tree, they would die. The devil used his charming guise as a serpent and, well versed in knowing God and His law, tricked Eve by twisting the truth. “You shall not surely die,” the serpent said (Gen. 3:4) in what I imagine was a smooth voice. Those cleverly crafted words took Eve and the rest of creation on a downward spiral, and we’ve been struggling to survive ever since. Adam and Eve didn’t die at the scene of their sin, but they did eventually return to the dust from which they were created.

Don’t Believe the Lie
Don’t let Satan rob you of God’s best for your life! The Bible says that Satan has the ability to transform himself into an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), so don’t expect a cartoonish character with horns, a pointy tail, and a pitchfork to lure you into sin. That’s not likely to happen. Why? Because Satan knows that if he appears in his true form (cartoonish or not), we will know we’re in trouble and flee to Jesus. The great deceiver is going to come to us as we’d least likely expect. The Bible warns us to be vigilant, because our adversary, the devil, “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

One way the devil can devour us is by convincing us to believe the lie that sex outside of marriage is OK. It’s not, and it leads to all sorts of heartache, sorrow, and disaster as it wreaks havoc on our souls, our spiritual lives, and that special person whom God meant for you.

Living with a passion for purity and commitment to abstaining from premarital sex is not easy for anyone, but it is possible. On April 23, 2011, after years of faithfully waiting on God to orchestrate her true love story, St. James, at the age of 33, married the man of her dreams, who shares her passion for purity.

Pure Romance
St. James imparts her wisdom on the subject of purity in her aforementioned book: “I hope that in these pages I have helped to defy a modern misconception: that romance can be fun and exciting only when it involves breaking the rules. Immorality is glamorized everywhere: on TV, in movies, and in most music today. What the entertainers don’t show or sing about is the very unglamorous, often agonizing consequences of an immoral lifestyle. Truth is, the most joyful, beautiful, exciting romance is the one that is pure. It is also the most free! Pure romance is not bound by sexual addiction or selfish motives and desires. It is free to love within God’s perfect boundaries” (pp. 6, 7).

God desires us to be free to love. That’s why He gave us the power of choice. We can choose to follow God and His perfect will for our lives and inherit salvation, or we can choose to follow Satan and his evil wants for our souls, which leads to eternal death.

Perhaps the case for purity is best summed up in these words from Joshua, a servant of God who gives advice for daily living: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, KJV).

If you choose to follow God’s plan for relationships, it will not be easy, but it will be worth it!

* Sharon Jayson, “Most Americans Have Had Premarital Sex, Study Finds,” USA Today, Dec. 19, 2006; available online at (

Alexis A. Goring writes from Columbus, Montana. This article was published on November 15, 2012.