Why Is Sex Outside Marriage Wrong?

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“I’ve been told sex outside of marriage is wrong. Why?” That is a question I got asked recently. “God said so” is one answer, but not as meaningful as others. Why did God say so? Is there a “why” behind the “what”? Surprisingly, two answers are different for believers than for unbelievers. Here though are four reasons why sex outside of marriage is wrong for everyone besides, “God said so.”

1. For everyone, it makes common that which is sacred. God designed the marriage of a man and woman to be a type of Jesus and His Bride the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32). What God declares holy becomes special. Sex outside of marriage is committed without the commitment of Christ to His Church. This commitment defines marriage.

2. For everyone, it makes the flesh superior to the spirit and therefore the Spirit. After listing the works of the flesh, Paul says “the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit” (Galatians 6:8). As examples of what is sown, Paul includes sexual sins in the “works of the flesh”. These are contrasted to the character traits of the Holy Spirit which are the “fruit of the Spirit.” Sex outside of marriage is contrary to all the fruit of the Spirit which should fill our marriages.

3. For believers, it makes God’s holy temple into an unclean temple. Remember the Israelites who brought in false gods to the God’s temple? Afterward, it had to be cleansed. Paul explained, “Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, who you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Sex outside of marriage is using our bodies contrary to how God designed them because we are glorifying our desires, making ourselves the false idols.

4. For believers, it makes Christ’s body polluted with “prostitution”. That’s strong language, but this is probably because of Corinthian temple prostitutes. Listen again to Paul: “Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? So should I take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Absolutely not!” (1 Corinthians 6:15). Is there an application here? I suggest, whether it is prostitution or lust, such is an unholy alignment of our physical bodies with Christ’s spiritual body. Sex outside of marriage is wrong because I am a member of the body of Christ and should I do that to Jesus’ body?

Sex outside of marriage is wrong, but not because the flesh is evil or dirty. Sex outside of marriage, whether before marriage or outside of marriage, dirties that which is holy. Holiness is the theme of why. That’s why God said so.

Perry Hall

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