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I'll start by putting my position right on the line: I believe the Bible to teach that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, and all romantically oriented physical activity is sexual activity. As the questions above indicate, however, many single Christians have questions about whether premarital physical activity at some level beyond kissing is OK.We need to address the whole spectrum ("just kissing" included). First, the fact that "romantically oriented" is in italics above is important.Maybe you just caressed one another above the waist as you kissed. Maybe it was just a long, lingering kiss goodnight.Would you describe whatever you did as "holy and honorable," or was it done to satisfy the "passionate lust" of you or your partner or both (1 Thess. Were you honest with the person about making a commitment to him or her before the Lord, or did you defraud or deceive that person in some way?Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his holy spirit." Look closely at verse 6.Some translations render the word "wrong" as "defraud." To defraud someone is to deceive that person — in this context, to imply a commitment that does not exist by committing acts with someone that are appropriate only in the context of a particular relationship (i.e., marriage) in order to satisfy my own "passionate lust." To commit sexual immorality with and against someone, far from showing the "love" to which Scripture calls all believers, is to act like those "who do not know God," and this passage calls such acts "sin." Now, one obvious counterargument to the point I intend to make is that the Scriptures I've cited above just beg the question of whether kissing and other sexual activity violate those passages.
We are to do this in light of what God has done for us in Christ and in light of Christ's impending return. For God did not call us to be impure, but to lead a holy life.
We all know what we're talking about here, and these are not the things I mean to address in this column.
The game changes when two people are romantically involved or "semi-involved" (a fascinating phrase I recently heard). Before you start throwing things at your computer — I can't feel it you know, you're just hurting your own computer — let's go to Scripture.
Michael Lawrence and other able Boundless authors have written before about the wonderful gift of sex, so I won't belabor the point except to repeat that the Scripture passages on sex, taken together, make very clear that God instituted sex within marriage for purposes of procreation, pleasure, intimacy, holiness, and — ultimately — for his glory. 7:3 and following, Paul says once we are married, our bodies literally belong to our spouse; he also instructs spouses to meet one another's sexual needs and to be together regularly so as to protect ourselves from falling into ungodly lust and extramarital sexual activity.
God instituted sex within marriage as part of his design of the family (Gen. If you have any doubts about God's intention to give us sex as a wonderful, pleasurable gift, Song of Songs should put them to rest.
It is certainly true that no passage of Scripture says — in so many words, at least — "thou shalt not kiss before marriage." Having said that, I submit that there is a strong argument to be made from Scripture that there is no room for any sexual relationship outside of marriage.