Summary: What are some ways that we must please God in the area of our sexual purity? (Material adapted from Walter Kaiser's book, What Does the Lord Require?: A Guide for Preaching and Teaching Biblical Ethics, chapter 6 Cohabitation and Fornication pg. 79-89)
A mother was concerned when she heard that her son had a live in girlfriend. She went to his house. Her son was the only one home. The son said, “It’s not what you think, Mom. She needed a place to stay. She has her bedroom and I have mine.” The son then showed his mother the guest bedroom where his girlfriend was supposedly sleeping. This bedroom was filled with feminine decorations and full of stuff from her old apartment. Somewhat satisfied and not comfortable asking sensitive questions, the mother left but before she left she did something as a test. In a few days her son called her, “Mother, we can’t find any of our remotes. We can’t operate the TV or stereo. We’ve looked everywhere and asked all of our friends. Just to be fair, when you were here the other day, did you accidentally take our remotes?” The mother answered, “Yes, son, I put them all in your girlfriends bed.”
Let’s be honest, at least 9 out of 10 times when a couple move in together the main motivation is to engage in carnal pleasures outside of the confines of a marriage covenant.
Many in these modern times tend to substitute for marriage the experience of living together as couples. What used to be called “living in sin,” or “shacking up together” is now called “living together,” “partnership” or “cohabitation.” There is little doubt that this type of lifestyle is on the increase. Last year 7.9 million couples were cohabiting. Three of four women in the U.S. have lived with a partner without being married by the age of 30. Two-thirds of those aged 15-19 believe cohabitation is a good idea.
All too frequently the wisdom of this age is, “try it before you buy it.” The analogy is one of taking a car for a test drive before we buy it, which makes good sense for cars, since they are not living beings made in the image of God. But people are not made out of steel and plastic the way cars are. This analogy breaks down because when the test driver rejects the car, the car is not left with any psychological aftereffects, but the same cannot be said of people who have suffered a serious rejection.
Studies done on cohabitation show that this is not good. Recent study from the American College of Pediatricians: "Research shows that, rather than serving as a stepping stone to a healthy marriage, living together before marriage (cohabitation) makes couples more likely to break up and more likely to divorce if they do marry." “Those who live together before marriage are 50% more likely to divorce than those who remained apart until the wedding."
Sexual relations, outside of marriage, is condemned in the Scriptures as sexual immorality. Sexual immorality is porneia, which is where we get our English root for the word pornography. This Greek word covered all forms of sexual deviancy. Those who practice “sexual immorality,” without any repentance or desire to change and stop it, will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9), for “The body is not meant for sexual immorality,” 1 Corinthians 6:13, NIV. So we must “flee from sexual immorality” (6:18). This same teaching is found in Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; and Colossians 3:5. The reason our Lord gives such stern warnings against sexual immorality is that it causes serious damage to God’s purposes for marriage.
Christians must disagree with the prevailing attitude that, “So long as no one is harmed, anything goes between two consenting adults, as long as both parties are agreeable!” Such thinking goes against the instructions of the Maker of the couple. This also assumes that “no harm will come” of such relationships. That is not true! Usually the woman is willing to accept this arrangement in hopes that the man will eventually marry her, while the man enters into this arrangement with the hopes that he can avoid the entanglements of a marriage commitment. Usually the genders come at this from opposite viewpoints. In fact, on average the woman leaves a cohabiting relationship after 15 months because the man refuses to commit.
The best teaching I know of on the topic of cohabitation is 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. Read.
In this letter the Apostle Paul is talking about the Lord’s second coming and our preparation for that event. William Lecky describes the picture of sexual license during the days of the Roman Empire. He wrote: “[The cities] had become centers of the wildest corruption.... There has probably never been a period when vice was more extravagant or uncontrolled [than when it was under the Caesars]”
It is taken for granted in most cultures that married couples must avoid adultery- but what about young boys who are unmarried? Well, boys will be boys. But not from God’s point of view. Paul guides Christians on what the will of the Lord is for those who are unmarried.