Why Sex Without Being Married is a Sin
Text: II Corinthians 12:19-21
I. I received the following note: “Hi! I’m a 21 year old girl from Iceland, and I found this site by accident as I was looking for answers on the Internet about ... contraception. I found the answer here and want to thank you for a good explanation. I have a boyfriend and we are having sex without being married. I want to ask: Why do you say that is a sin? We love each other and we only have sex with each other so we are not infecting each other with STD’s. Isn’t what we feel for each other what matters? Marriage is only a ritual performed by humans. God knows we love each other. Is that not enough?”
A. Even though her concepts are not biblically correct, still it is refreshing for someone to actually ask in a polite way.
1. It is our duty to give answers - I Peter 3:15
2. Those answers need to come from the Bible so God gets the proper credit - I Peter 4:11
B. A prevalent falsehood in society is to see truth as relative.
1. “Your truth may not necessarily be my truth.”
2. They then give themselves permission to determine right and wrong for themselves.
3. But imagine everyone telling the government that he will decide for himself what he wants to do.
a. We call that anarchy
b. Anarchy is pure chaos. It doesn’t work.
C. There is a fixed source for truth - John 17:17
1. God didn’t leave us to fend for ourselves.
2. He gave us instructions on how to live properly.
3. They are not arbitrary laws. They are carefully designed to keep us safe - Deuteronomy 6:24
II. Why is Fornication a Sin?
A. Ancient Israel had a problem following God’s teachings, those very teachings that was to keep them from harm - Isaiah 5:20-21
1. We don’t want to make the same mistake.
B. Fornication is a sin because God said so - Hebrews 13:4
C. Perhaps we need to make sure we understand terms
1. “Sin” means breaking a law or acting as if there was no law - I John 3:4
2. “Fornication” is an older English word for sex outside of marriage.
D. What God has said about fornication
1. It is unrighteous - I Corinthians 6:9-10
2. It is sin - II Corinthians 12:20-21
3. It is a work of the flesh - Galatians 5:19-21
4. It should not be associated with Christians - Ephesians 5:3
5. It is disobedience - Colossians 3:5-7
E. That clearly answers the question, but most people want to know why God said “No!” when it seems so much fun.
III. The Harm of Fornication
A. It can keep you out of heaven
1. People tend to forget that God decides who enters heaven - II Corinthians 5:10
2. We are not in the position to tell God what He will accept - Isaiah 29:16
a. Isn’t this the line teenagers try to give their parents?
b. “You don’t understand! Times have changed!”
c. Is that the line you are giving God?
3. After doing as they please, people think that God will welcome them into Heaven with open arms.
a. God is love, but God is also just - Romans 11:22
b. We will be judged by what we do - Romans 2:5-11
B. It is degrading
1. Sex without a marriage bond cheapens the relationship to something animalistic
a. When men cease to strive for better, they tend to become animals
b. In speaking of false teachers - II Peter 2:12
c. Notice the warning that they will speak evil of things they don’t understand.
2. The writer of the note said “Marriage is only a ritual performed by humans.”
a. I could turn it around and say that sex is only an act performed by two animals. Two hedgehogs can do the same.
b. But marriage isn’t only done by men - Matthew 19:3-5
c. She doesn’t understand what she hasn’t done.
3. How is God involved?
a. Marriage is a covenant - Malachi 2:14
b. Hidden in our traditions are the parts forming a covenant
(1) The vows of faithfulness
(2) The human witnesses to the vow - the groom’s men and bride’s maids, as well as the audience.
(3) The physical reminder or witness - the rings
(4) The feast of fellowship - the reception
c. All is done before God
C. It doesn’t last
1. When people decide to have sex without a marriage, the emphasis is on sex – the sensual feelings.
a. You can see it in this woman’s note: “Isn't it what we feel for each other what matters?”
2. What men say:
a. Gary Chapman, in his book The Five Love Languages, states that that the average sensual relationship lasts about two years.
b. According to Bumpass and Lu in their 1998 Cohabiting Couples Survey, the median duration of cohabitation is 1.3 years.
c. VanGothem in 2005 concluded that the average length of a cohabiting relationship that does not lead to marriage is 12 to 18 months.
3. The problem is feelings are unstable, they don’t last; thus a relationship built on sensual feelings will not last – unless the feelings are replaced by something stable.
a. How many unmarried couples can you name who have been together for fifty years? I know quite few married ones even in this age of “no-fault” divorce.
b. How about twenty-five years? I know a lot of marriages which have lasted that long, including my own.
c. Oh? You think these couples were just blessed with few problems?
(1) They would be the first in line to tell you that they had their share of problems.
(2) Besides why is it only the married who last and not the unmarried?
(a) According to Bumpas and Sweet in 1989, long-term cohabiting relationships in America are far rarer than successful marriages.
(3) It is because of the commitment married couples made to their relationship. It kept them together long enough to work through the problems.
d. Those who have not been married don’t realize what is missing in their relationship since they have never had it.
(1) It is easy to be together when nothing is going wrong at the moment and you are focused on your senses.
(2) Reality will eventually intrude
(3) Because feelings are so important in these relationships, when they fade or get distracted because of problems, the couple tries to recreate the titillating early feelings.
(4) But they fail because a part of the excitement was the newness of the relationship.
(5) One or both go looking for the sensual feelings elsewhere and find it with someone new.
(6) Thus they conclude they fell out of love, but now they are “really in love.”
e. What men say:
(1) Bumpass in 1994 stated that within the first two years approximately 29% of cohabiting couples separate compared to only 9% of married couples.
(2) Cohabiting couples have a rate of separation that is five times that of married couples, and, in the event of separation, cohabitors have a rate of reconciliation that is only 33% as high as married couples (Binstock, 2003).
(1) Married love - Song of Solomon 8:6-7
(2) Unmarried sex - Proverbs 5:6
D. It prevents love from developing
1. Paul warns about this in regards to prostitution - I Corinthians 6:15-18
a. Sex creates a bond between the man and woman
b. But when a bond is formed in an unstable relationship (outside of marriage), it damages a person’s ability to form and keep relationships
2. What men say:
a. According to Seltzer in 2000, within five years from the beginning of a cohabitation relationship more than half of these relationships will end even if the couple had married during that time.
b. The risk of divorce after living together is 40 to 85% higher than the risk of divorce after not living together. In other words, those who live together before marriage are almost twice as likely to divorce than those who did not live together before marriage (Bumpass and Sweet, 1995; Hall and Zhao, 1995; Bracher, Santow, Morgan and Russell, 1993; DeMaris and Rao, 1992; Glenn, 1990).
3. Sex without marriage damages a person’s ability to truly love
a. Oh, people call sexual feelings and sexual acts “love”
(1) In marriage, these are the by-products of real love
(2) But sex alone is too shallow
(3) Notice the lack of mention of sexual feelings in I Corinthians 13:4-8
b. When people focus on physical feelings and physical acts, they don’t spend the time needed to create a deeper lasting bond.
(1) You can get sex anywhere
(2) But it is hard to find someone willing to commit their lives to you.
4. Because of the shallow nature of sensual relationship, people break up frequently
a. They then form new relationships, which also don’t last.
b. After a while they become calloused to bonding because they “know” it isn’t going to last anyway.
E. It is selfish
1. Sex without marriage is a selfish act.
2. People want the benefits of marriage without the responsibility
a. The way most teenagers want to live lives
b. It demonstrates immaturity
c. This woman showed it in wanting to find a way to have sex without producing children.
(1) I suspect that she realizes she is not ready for the responsibility of children.
(2) Nor can she count on her boyfriend to be there for the next 20 years to help raise those children
3. Children are the natural consequence of sex
a. Married couples may attempt to control the spacing and number of children, but if a child comes unexpectedly, he is seen as a blessing - Psalm 127:3
b. If a child comes to an unmarried couple it is typically seen as a disaster.
4. Couples who have sex without being married are strongly motivated by self-gratification
a. It is a relationship of convenience
b. They have less tolerance for unhappiness. They won’t put up with difficulties – not when there is no consequence to just walking away
c. In contrast, there are penalties for leaving a marriage
F. It causes unhappiness
1. Strange that something motivated by pleasure results in unhappiness
2. The immoral woman in the end - Proverbs 5:4
a. It doesn’t start that way, but it is the typical way it ends.
3. What men say:
a. "Cohabiting couples report lower levels of happiness, lower levels of sexual exclusivity and sexual satisfaction, and poorer relationships with their parents."
b. "Annual rates of depression among cohabiting couples are more than three times what they are among married couples. And women in cohabiting relationships are more likely than married women to suffer physical and sexual abuse."
c. 6% of married couples with children are living in poverty in the United States, 31% of cohabiting couples with children are living in poverty, and 45% of single mothers are living in poverty.
4. The reason is simple: In a marriage you have someone to depend upon to help you through hard times - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
5. There is not reliable support when the other can walk away.
IV. Fornication is a sin because God said so.
A. As we look at it from various standpoints, we see that God does know His creation.
B. Secular men even are seeing the reasonableness of God’s plan
C. So what about you?