I am sometimes asked by Christian dating couples who have had sex, what they should now do. It may seem a weird question to many. ‘If we are consenting adults’ people ask, ‘why should there be any restrictions placed on sexual expression? If we love each other, why should we have to go through the formality of marriage to express to the other person how we feel?’
For those outside of the faith, the Christian sexual ethic usually comes across as weird at best and repressive at worst. The idea that sex is for just one man and one woman within a one lifetime commitment of marriage does seem to go against every modern, Western ideal which exalts the individual and their rights to do as they see fit with their bodies.
There are many ways to deviate from the Biblical blueprint of sex. One of the most common is through ‘formication’. That may be a new ‘F’ word for some of you.
Fornication is an old school term for an unmarried man and woman having sex together. It’s different than ‘adultery’ in that neither person is married so there is no breaking of marriage vows.
‘What is wrong with that?’
Fornication seems natural when the post-Enlighten idea that our bodies are our own meets the Freudian idea that the highest form of self-expression is sexual. The result is the deification of orgasm.
If you’re a Christian, then your body is not yours to do with as you please. It belongs to God. He has not only created it, but he has bought it back again at the cross. You belong to him. Therefore, when we want to know how to express ourselves sexually, we are to ask what God has designed our bodies for. The Bible does not take the position that sex is the highest way of expressing love to someone. The thrill of intimacy and orgasmic release that comes with sex can have a lot more to do about fulfilling our own longings than actually doing what is best for the other person. Love and intimacy are not synonymous with sexual activity for the Christian as they are for the Freudian.
The Christian view of fornication is that it is dramatic hypocrisy. We are acting out something with our bodies which is untrue of our lives. In sexual intercourse, our bodies are saying to one another ‘I belong to you and you belong to me’. If that is untrue socially, economically and legally then our bodies are telling a lie. Our bodies are ‘one’, but our lives are not. That is why it is written, “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people.”
If you and the person you are dating have fornicated, there is good news. You can repent and be forgiven. Your past failure in obedience does not need to be a part of your future. Christ died to forgive all sins, including sexual ones.
Repentance needs to be sincere. You need to wisely determine how to avoid sinful behaviour again. Also, it is written ‘Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.’ Find a trusted, mature Christian friend who knows how to keep things confidential and ask for prayer. Why? Because, the sense of guilt that many Christians feel after committing sexual sin is usually crippling. God wants his children to celebrate his forgiveness, not walk around with continual shame for past sins.
Lastly, consider getting married soon! If you are both Christians (and you are obviously attracted to one another), why not? Don’t let small obstacles get in your way. Get married, get naked and knock boots all you want, guilt-free.
Don't be afraid. Your Father’s house is always open to you. The bread and wine of forgiveness are on the table. The welcome is free. Only a humble and repentant heart is required.
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