|There are many misconceptions about sex and marriage that even the
church has gotten wrong. Definitions of what is sex, marriage, and right
and wrong have confused people and created all kinds of bad teaching.
This article is about giving the plain truth about things as we need to
understand them today. People often get confused about Old Testament
ways and what is stated in the New Testament, but understanding what is
sin, is not simply a matter of Old versus New Testament. All of
Scripture is valid and what was stated in the New Testament did not
abolish laws and commands given in the Old Testament (2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 5:17).|
We must remember God's laws and commands stand eternal or unchanged unless He says otherwise (Psalm 119:152,160),
so we need to understand things in complete context with what God
commands for today. Many laws about sex and marriage were given far
before the Law of Moses was given to the Jews and were made since the
beginning of man's creation (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9). You can see that in Leviticus 18:24 where God says the nations before Israel had defiled themselves with sexual immorality1. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were also judged for those sins before the Law of Moses was given (Genesis 19:1-29)
and the inhabitants of the earth before the Great Flood were also
judged for their breaking of God's laws, which is what sin is. Sin is
not the breaking of man's laws or whatever man may think are God's laws (1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7).
The laws and commands given in the Old Testament also were not meant
only for Jews. Many of them are laws for all of mankind and were only
restated or given to the Jews so that they could be recorded and shared.
Israel acted as God's stewards and representatives of His universal
laws, which He did not give to any other nation (Psalm 147:19-20).
Likewise, Christians hold the same responsibility for representing God
and His commands to the rest of the world because New Testament laws
are also meant for all of mankind, and we inherited the birthrights of
the Jews as a People of God with Christ (Romans 10:12-13; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-22, 3:6; Colossians 3:11; 1 Peter 2:9-10; also Romans 12:4-5).
What everyone needs to know:
Engagement and marriage:
- What is clean? - Bodily fluids, like semen and menstrual blood, are unclean (Leviticus 12:2,5, 15:16-33, 22:4-8).
However, once we are truly saved into God's Kingdom, our fluids become
clean because we are reborn with God's Spirit and cleansed from the
inside out (Hebrews 9:13-14, 10:19-22). This is why
being unclean because of body fluids, such as during menstruation, is
no longer a concern for believers to approach God through Christ.
- Masturbation is not sin in itself as long as there is
no lust associated with it. However, it should not be encouraged or
become a habit. It is easy to slip into lusting for others, for sex, for
fetishes, and self-lust if masturbation becomes a habit. We need to
leave lusts behind (Colossians 3:5; 1 Peter 4:1-2; Romans 13:13-14), and this lusting is a sin that gives the enemy hooks in us.
However, we should not forbid masturbation either because being so
strict with our bodies is not God's way and does nothing to prevent true
sexual immorality (Colossians 2:20-23). People
can have hormonal, biological conditions where their libido becomes very
high. This is common for teenagers and during pregnancy, so if a
biological release is needed then masturbation is ok as long as no
lusting or fantasizing goes with it. But again it should not become a
habit. It is possible to hold a burning libido at bay and let the sexual
Sexual spirits can promote lust and the urge to masturbate as well.
Demons live through people they are attached to, so they affect people
physically and mentally to do things that please them. If sex, lust, and
masturbation get out of hand they can be methods for demons to get
pleasure and control you, so we should be in complete control of our
minds and bodies. Reject sexual fantasies so you can live by the Spirit
and not by the flesh (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Galatians 5:13-26; Romans 13:12-14; 1 Peter 4:1-6).
Married people absolutely
should not fantasize about anyone other than their spouse, though
everyone should not make it a habit to fantasize about sex in general
(leave lusts behind). We should always to be in control of ourselves and
not live by the flesh (1 Thessalonians 4:4-8; Galatians 5:13-26; Romans 13:12-14; 1 Peter 4:1-6). God made us in His own image, to be more than animals, so we are not to live simply by biological urges (Genesis 1:27).
Masturbation is like drinking alcohol, which is also not a sin (1 Timothy 5:23; Psalm 104:14-15; Proverbs 31:6-7; Deuteronomy 14:26).
Apostle Paul told Timothy to drink wine for his ailments in 1 Timothy
5:23 and the other references given note that alcohol may be consumed
freely. However, drunkenness or excessive drinking or use of chemicals
(not just alcohol) is sin (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians
6:9-11; Titus 2:3; 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Peter 4:3-4; Proverbs 20:1, 31:4-5; Isaiah
5:11,22). So like that, letting masturbation get out of hand or become an addiction is allowing darkness to control you.
- Intimate touching is ok for unwed couples as long as it
does not involve each other's genitals or is overtly sexual, like
fondling. Things like kissing, even heavy kissing, hugging, and holding
hands are not sin. Preventing lawful touching comes from man,
not God, and trying to forbid it does nothing to prevent true sexual
immorality (Colossians 2:20-23). Sex acts of any
kind should not be done until marriage.
- What is sex and why is it harmful before marriage? - Sexual acts before marriage is sin (Romans
13:13; Acts 15:28-29, 21:25; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3-5; 1
Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 6:15-20; 2 Corinthians 12:21;
Colossians 3:5-6; Hebrews 12:14-17; Deuteronomy 22:20-21, 22:23-24, 22:28-29). Apostle Paul told people to marry if they had no self-control as far as sexual contact goes (1 Corinthians 7:2, 7:9).
Because sex before marriage is a sin, it gives the enemy hooks in you
and brings curses. Sexual immorality and adultery are among sins that
are considered worse than others and bring greater judgment, even death
and eternal death (1 Corinthians 6:9-11;
Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5-7; Genesis 12:17-19, 20:2-18; Leviticus
20:10; Proverbs 2:16-19, 5:3-6, 6:29, 7:21-27; Revelation 21:8, 22:15).
- Having sex can dishonor God - A saved believer in
Christ having unwed sexual relations with someone who is not
saved is a worse sin than if both people were saved, because your body,
which is a temple of the Lord's, is being made unclean (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Once you are saved or reborn into God's Kingdom, His Spirit is literally a part of you (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18),
so you should act accordingly and treat and present your body with the
same kind of respect as a temple of God's. Marriage, though, sanctifies
the non-believing spouse so sex is fine for an unevenly yoked wed couple (1 Corinthians 7:14).
- Unwed couples living together and chambering - The sin of chambering (Romans 13:13 KJV) is specifically a couple living together AND having sexual relations (see What is sex and why is it harmful before marriage?).
There is nothing wrong with an unwed couple living together, staying
together somewhere, or even sleeping in the same bed together. It is the
unwed sex that is the sin.
- The vagina should be off limits - A woman
or girl's vagina should not need to be touched, examined, or penetrated outside of
emergency medical necessity.
There is no good reason to allow invasive vaginal exams, including during gynecological exams for pregnancy.
Wicked people have
used the excuse of exams to violate women. If you think it is unsafe to
not be examined in that way, then that is a lack of faith in God. How
many thousands of years have women given birth safely without any
gynecologists or invasive examination? If you fear cancer or other
ailments that require detection or treatment by invasive procedures,
then you must be aware that cancer and other serious life threatening
problems, such as death while giving birth, are curses or judgment for
sin. Have faith in God to provide and protect, not man (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:6-7), so do not allow yourself, girls or women to be violated even if it seems like a good idea.
If invasive vaginal procedures are needed, it is best for a woman to
perform them. There is too much risk of inappropriate lusting and
behavior occurring with male doctors and female patients.
Also testing a woman for virginity or chastity is of no concern anymore,
so exams for that should never be done. A woman's sexual past has no
relevance for a valid marriage. It was only in the Law of Moses that
required the wives of Levites (priests) to have stricter requirements
than other Jews. Those requirements are of no concern for those who live
by Christ. However, God does still want believers to marry other
believers (see Valid Divorce below).
- No adultery - Sexual relations
with a married person who is not your spouse is a greater sin that can
bring death or even cost eternal salvation (Hebrews
13:4; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:20, 20:10; Matthew 5:27-30; 1
Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians
5:5; Genesis 12:17-19, 20:2-18; Deuteronomy 22:22; Ezekiel 18:6; Proverbs 2:16-19, 5:3-6, 6:29, 7:21-27; Revelation 21:8, 22:15).
If you are married, it is adultery to simply lust after people who are
not your spouse. Just the thought of infidelity is also adultery (see What Is Adultery? below).
- Unlawful relationships -
Sexual relations and marriage with the following people is sin whether
their spouse is alive or not or they were divorced or not: Your mother,
father, step-mother, step-father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son,
daughter, step-son, step-daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law,
uncle-by-blood, aunt-by-blood, uncle-in-law, aunt-in-law, brother, sister, half-brother,
half-sister, step-brother, step-sister, sister-in-law, grandson, granddaughter,
step-grandson, step-granddaughter, grandson-in-law, granddaughter-in-law (Leviticus
18:7-17, 20:11-12, 20:14, 20:17, 20:19-21; Deuteronomy 22:30; Matthew 14:4; Mark
6:18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; Ezekiel 22:10-11; 2 Samuel 13:10-14).
Brother-in-laws and other male-in-laws from a husband's side are not in the list because of the Kinsman Redeemer role.
You may wonder why Abraham's wife, Sarah, was also his half-sister (Genesis 20:12)
and there was no mention of it being wrong by God. It was lawful in
their time for half-siblings to marry, but that changed, like it was
lawful to have multiple wives and divorce for any reason. Now we can
only have one spouse, can divorce only in certain circumstances (see Valid Divorce), and just the willful thought of lust for a person other than your spouse is adultery (see What Is Adultery?).
- Lawful relationships - The following relationships are not
considered sinful or incest by God. First cousins and further removed
cousins may wed. God gave no laws forbidding these unions if you look
closely at Scripture (see Scripture in Unlawful relationships
above). Unions with cousins are not mentioned as unlawful at all, and Isaac
told his son, Jacob, to wed a first cousin, which he did (Genesis 28:2). Joshua 15:17 and Judges 1:13 also refer to first cousins being married.
Marriage with your ex-spouse's sibling or family member is also ok as
long as your divorce is valid and your spouse has died, and the family
member is not related by blood and not mentioned above in Unlawful relationships, such as parents cannot wed children nor siblings each other whether they are related by blood or not (Leviticus 18:18; see Kinsman Redeemer and Valid Divorce).
- Kinsman Redeemer - Also known as "Levirate Marriage" is
a law predating the Law of Moses and is still in effect today. It is
not a command only for "Levites" or priests/ministers, so "Levirate
Marriage" is a misnomer. The ancient age of the law is apparent when God
is angered that Tamar's kinsman redeemer refused to sire offspring for
his dead brother, which happened before the Law of Moses was given (Genesis 38:9-10). Jews were specifically commanded to marry their family's widows, but it could not be forced on them (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).
Likewise today, this command for a brother-in-law or male-in-law should not
be forced, but is suggested so the widow is cared for and the name of
her dead husband is carried on with children from the new marriage.
- Homosexuality and LGBT Lives
- I've heard some Christians teach that LGBT lifestyles are not sin.
However, homosexual acts belong to universal laws for all mankind, since
they pre-date the Law of Moses for Jews (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). The world was judged by these laws long before Moses (Genesis 6:5-13, 18:20-19:29), and the New Testament still does not condone homosexuality or LGBT lifestyles (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Jude 1:7), though simply having homosexual desires is not sin since we cannot control all our thoughts (see What is adultery?). However, giving enthusiastic support for LGBT lifestyles, like condoning
same-sex marriage and enacting laws to support it, is also sin (Romans 1:32).
Same-sex marriage is not true marriage in God's eyes (see God defines marriage, not man),
so even if the state makes it legal, it doesn't count in reality. This
is like how divorce also isn't valid even if you get a divorce from the
state (see Valid Divorce).
If you don't have a valid divorce in God's eyes, then you and your
spouse will live in adultery if you have intimate relations with others
or remarry. That will bring serious problems (curses or judgment for
sin) into your relationships, lives, and families' lives.
So likewise, living in LGBT lives or supporting it will bring serious
problems or curses to you and your family. People living in more serious
sin will not have blessed, long lives, and any relationships with
serious sin in them will likely break up the family or relationship
because of the curses.
Keep that in mind if you think simply having a decent, loving
relationship will be enough to keep it or your family from harm. Curses
from sin will break up an LGBT family just as it will a normal one with
sin in it. It is in the best interest of you and your loved ones that
you leave behind serious sin, like LGBT lives, adultery, or fornication,
so that your family does not break up or create dysfunctional and
traumatized people because the family cannot function or stay together.
Christians are supposed to not associate with other believers living in
certain types of sin, like "fornication" or "sexual immorality" in 1 Corinthians 5:11-13. This includes homosexual acts.
We should warn others their LGBT lifestyles hurt them and they should
leave them behind. We should cut them out of our lives if they refuse to
change, though, sometimes it is not possible to completely remove
people from our lives, such as family members or ex-family members,
because we still have obligation to care for our shared children and
other family. If God guides you to leave family or children, though, He
will bless you for it (Mark 10:29-31; Matthew 10:37-39; Matthew 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-24).
We should also have sympathy for LGBT people because many are born like
that. Their biological differences and urges are real and hard to
control. However, they can still choose to not live LGBT lives and get
deliverance from spirits of homosexuality.
- Bestiality or sexual acts with animals is sin (Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:23-25, 20:15-16).
- Drugging and Date Rape Pills -
Using chemicals, drugs, or alcohol to induce someone's drunkenness or
incapacitate them so you can see them naked or take advantage of them is
sin (Habakkuk 2:15) that breaks the Second Greatest Commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 19:19, 22:39, 5:43-44; Mark 12:31-33; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13-14; James 2:8; Leviticus 19:18) as well as other laws about sexual immorality.
- Voyeurism or secretly watching people to see their nakedness out of lust is sin (Habakkuk 2:15).
It's not that violating someone's privacy is sin, but it is the lust
associated with voyeurism that makes it a sin. Sometimes people bring up
Ham's exposure of Noah's nakedness as an example of voyeurism (Genesis 9:22), but that sin was in breaking the Second Greatest Commandment to love one another as yourself (Matthew 19:19, 22:39, 5:43-44; Mark 12:31-33; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13-14; James 2:8; Leviticus 19:18) and the commandment to honor your parents (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 15:4, 19:19; Mark 7:10, 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ephesians 6:2). Ham's behavior brought ridicule and shame on Noah because he told others to look and Ham was cursed for it (Genesis 9:25).
- Pornography - Pornography is not to be used. Using it for arousal or entertainment is the same as participating with the prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). We should not encourage its use or manufacture since giving enthusiastic support for sin is also sin (Romans 1:32).
Simply seeing porn is not a sin, since you may accidentally view it. It
is willing acceptance and use of it that is sin. If you are married,
then using it is also adultery (see What is adultery?).
What is pornography, lewdness and prostitution?
Pornography is any material giving views of or description of sex
acts or the naked genitals (vagina or penis) made to give sexual
arousal. The material can be anything from text, to spoken words, to
photos, artwork, video or live performances. Material that is not
intended to give sexual arousal is not pornography, such as most "timid"
Hollywood sex scenes, but performing those kinds of acts for the public can still be
considered lewdness, which is a sin. Having lust in watching those kinds
of things can also be a sin even though it is not pornography (see What Is Adultery?).
Sex scenes that are
intended to give sexual arousal can be considered pornography. That
means many crude R-rated movies and material are actually pornography
and should not be viewed. Material used for education, such as medical
illustration, is generally not pornography. Material that simply gives
sexual instruction is also generally not pornography, though producing
that kind of material may be lewdness.
Lewdness, lasciviousness or licentiousness is any kind of
excessively sexual or sexually inappropriate public act, whether or not
it is intentional, such as unwittingly dressing in inappropriately
revealing clothes, a woman baring breasts in public, or being overtly
sexually intimate in public (2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:18-19; 1 Peter 4:3; Jude 1:4).
We are to leave behind that kind of behavior and be conscious of
dressing and presenting ourselves appropriately as one of God's (Mark 7:20-23; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:16-21; Ephesians 4:17-32; 1 Peter 4:3-11). Our bodies are literally temples of the Lord after all (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Prostitution is any willful act that
sexually arouses or satisfies a stranger whether or not it is
compensated with money or anything else. Like lewdness, prostitution and
acting with the prostitute is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Leviticus 19:29, 21:9; Deuteronomy 23:17-18; 1 Kings 15:12).
- Abortion is murder - Life begins
at conception, so any means of aborting a pregnancy is sin, which
includes using things like the "morning after pill". There are
consequences to abortion beyond the loss of life that should be
considered. A soul's condition in the afterlife is affected by sin. The spirits of aborted babies have been found in purgatory3, so any sin can have consequences beyond judgment for ourselves. Our sin can directly affect our children and families (generational curses: Exodus 20:5, 34:6-7; Leviticus 26:22, 26:39; Numbers 14:18, 16:25-35; Deuteronomy 5:9, 23:2, 28:18; Joshua 7:24-26; 2 Chronicles 29:6-9; Jeremiah 2:9, 9:16 32:18, 36:31; Lamentations 5:7; Hosea 4:6; 2 Peter 2:14).
Even in cases of life threatening pregnancies, abortion should not be
considered. Keep faith in God to protect you and your children. I've
heard of more than one account of someone saying how grateful they are
for having survived an abortion. We should value life and not so easily
dismiss the value of an unborn child's life. How can you decide how
valuable someone's life will be and not give them a chance to live?
If abortion is being considered because a baby is in danger of dying
from its health conditions, then the baby should be given a fighting
chance. Why should we terminate a life just because we think
they will not live? Miracles of healing are real. I've heard first-hand
witnesses for these, so we should be using prayer and faith instead of
giving in to fear. If the baby does die then it is God's will and we
need to understand why. Like with other serious problems, failed
pregnancies are most likely curses for sin, so we should ask God why bad
things happen and examine our lives.
After I shared pro-life views with people and noted that tens of
millions of babies have died in the United States from abortions since
it was legalized in 1973, I got a sarcastic and critical response about
all the millions of adoptions that will happen to save all these
unwanted babies3. This kind of response does not see the root
of the problem. Society needs to ask why are there so many unwanted
pregnancies in the first place. Rampant lust and loose sexual morals are
producing these babies, so the root is society's lack of morals and the
promotion and acceptance of inappropriate sexual values. Those need to
change if we are to reduce the number of unwanted babies from millions a
year to only a handful of truly accidental pregnancies.
- Assisted Pregnancy and Artificial Insemination
- Infertility can be a curse for sin (Genesis 20:18; 2 Samuel 6:23), so if you are infertile it may be
the Lord's will. You should inquire of Him if you are having problems
getting pregnant. He may have a different plan for you or want you to
wait. We should always depend on Him for our help first and using
methods to force a pregnancy will usually not be necessary. Sarah and
Hannah needed no help other than faith and the Lord's power to bring
about their pregnancies (Hebrews 11:11-12; Genesis 17:16-21, 18:10-14, 21:1-7; 1 Samuel 1:19-20, 1:27, 2:21).
If you decide on assisted pregnancy, though, you must use methods that
do not abort, discard, or store extra fertilized eggs (zygotes/embryos),
because life begins at conception. Acceptable methods of assisted
pregnancy include the use of fertility drugs, herbal remedies or
naturopathic medicine to help induce pregnancy (like yoga or
acupuncture), artificial insemination or intrauterine insemination
(IUI), sperm or egg donation, surrogacy, and reproductive surgery to
However, in vitro fertilization (IVF), in vitro maturation (IVM), gamete
intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT),
intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and other forms of assisted
reproductive technology (ART) are not recommended because they often
produce too many fertilized eggs. Aborting, discarding, or
storing/freezing fertilized eggs is unacceptable (see Abortion is murder). All fertilized eggs should be treated as a new human life and
so must be given the respect warranted of a living person. Because of
this, methods like IVF, IVM, GIFT and ZIFT that can produce too many
fertilized eggs should not be used.
- Contraceptives or means to prevent pregnancy, like
condoms, diaphragms, vasectomy or tubal ligation, and birth control
pills (not morning after or abortion pills) are not sin to use,
however, remember it is sin to have sex before marriage, so
contraception should not be a concern for unmarried people.
Teach these things to everyone, especially your
children. Parents should not make the excuse that teaching about sex is
uncomfortable. There aren't many more beneficial things than teaching
our children the truth when it comes to God and how He wants us to live,
because if we know how to avoid sin and what it truly is, then we will
have much more blessed lives. How could we as loving parents deny them
the best future they could have?
- Betrothal or engagement to be married is a covenant relationship like marriage (Deuteronomy 22:23-29).
It is a serious commitment that requires a "divorce" like marriage, so
being unfaithful to your betrothed or cheating with an engaged person is a more serious sin than betraying a
boyfriend or girlfriend.
The importance of a betrothal can be seen in
Scripture in how God refers to engaged people as spouses and in that
judgment for having sex with someone's betrothed warrants death while
death is not warranted if there is no betrothal (Deuteronomy 22:23-29; Matthew 1:19-25).
Jews also used to require a divorce document to break an engagement and
sometimes still do today, though God never commanded a document be
written to break an engagement2. Betrothal is also the kind
of covenant relationship we have with God when we believe in
Christ, though may not yet be saved. That is why Jesus is called the Bridegroom and we the Bride (Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19-20; Luke 5:34-35; Matthew 25:1-13; John 3:29; Revelation 19:7-9, 21:2, 21:9-22:5, 22:17).
Like marriage, an engagement should be broken if you want intimate
relations with someone else. You should inform your betrothed the
is off, and like marriage, no special divorce documents need to be
written or delivered (see Valid Divorce below).
We should also treat engaged persons as married when considering
intimacy with them. The world has grown too comfortable with treating
betrothal and marriage with no regard when it comes to their lusts. We
break the Second Greatest Commandment and may commit sexual sins by
cheating with someone's fiance. Do not defraud each other in that way (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8), but wait until a relationship is officially ended before pursuing romance.
- God defines marriage, not man
- Marriage is a sacred covenant relationship between a man and a woman
only, and it is meant to last until the death of a spouse (Mark 10:6-9; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39; Malachi 2:14; Proverbs 2:17). Same sex unions or gay marriages are not marriages in God's eyes.
A wedding ceremony, marriage papers, or other marriage rituals are not
needed for a valid marriage in God's eyes. Adam and Eve likely did not
have any of those things, and there is no mention of a wedding ceremony for Jacob when
he was tricked into marrying Leah (though there was a feast) and also no ceremony when he married Rachel (Genesis 29:21-30). They simply accepted the marriage, so marriage only needs the couple to agree they are wed. Likewise, God
defines divorce, so a paper divorce may not be valid (see Valid Divorce below).
Because of how God defines marriage, a forced marriage is still valid as
long as the unwillingly participant goes along with it. If you agree to the marriage even though you
don't want it in your heart, you are still agreeing to the marriage
On the other hand, if one or both of the wedding couple is chemically
intoxicated (in a drunken state) or does not truly understand what they
are doing, then the marriage is not valid. Using drunkenness to get
someone to marry you amounts to taking advantage of them while they are
intoxicated or unable to
understand what they are doing, which are sins.
Marriage is set until the death of a spouse (Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39) or until there is a valid divorce in God's eyes (see Valid Divorce
below). So if you are separated from your spouse and do not know if
they are alive or not, such as in times of war, consider them alive and
that you are still married until you are absolutely sure
your spouse is dead. If you move on and remarry while your spouse is
still living, you will be living in adultery and the new marriage will
not be valid in God's eyes even though you are unaware your original
spouse is living (Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Romans 7:3).
This will bring curses to your new relationship and your family, so it
is better to remain unmarried until you're certain your spouse is dead.
God also wants us to be evenly yoked with fellow believers, so we should not
be seeking marriage with people who do not believe in Christ, since they
often lead the believing spouse to turn from Him (1
Corinthians 7:15-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy
7:3-4; 1 Kings 11:1-11; Ezra 9:1-2, 9:12-14; Nehemiah 10:28-30, 13:23-29;
- Consummation or the need to have sexual intercourse to seal a marriage is not
required. I used to think it was because of information given to me by a
ministry I used to work with. However, I found that ministry to be
misled by one or more false christ spirits that give them false
guidance. They noted that consummation used to be part of traditional
Jewish weddings, however, I no longer simply accept traditions or
anything else as sacred or necessary unless God recorded it as such in
There are no references in Scripture to consummation or even wedding ceremonies being necessary for a marriage to be valid. The Jews were tainted by pagan beliefs and traditions
since they came out of Egypt. Their worship of the golden calf in Exodus
32 is an example, and things only got worse over the centuries as God's
people continued into worse sins. Their thinking and traditions were
changed by the cultures of Babylon and Persia when they were exiled, and
this tainting by cultures continues to this day wherever the Jews and
Christians have settled.
The Lord also noted the Jews were
tainted by the enemy in the first century since He called them "synagogues of Satan" (Revelation 2:9, 3:9), their leaders "sons of hell" (Matthew 23:15), and their father was Satan (John 8:44).
The church has been no different in its history and there is much false
teaching and guidance today, so we need to evaluate everything very
closely and compare it to valid Scripture before accepting it as given
by God or as doctrine (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; Acts 17:11).
is not a sex-based covenant. It is a sacred agreement between two
people that makes sex legal for them. When God notes the married couple
would become one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:6-9; Ephesians 5:31; 1 Corinthians 6:16),
it was not just a reference to sex but to their relationship with one
another - a married couple is meant to be in harmony with each other as
if they were one person, and they have a sacred spiritual bond between
them that cannot be broken except by God (Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:7-9; Romans 7:2; see also Valid Divorce). What if a couple cannot physically have sex because of paralysis or some other disability? Are they not also considered married by God if sex cannot be a part of their relationship?
all these "one flesh" references with marriage is not about
consummating a marriage to make it final, but to sex being allowed for a
married couple and that that physical union symbolizes their new
unified life with each other.
- Polygamy or having more than one spouse is sin and just having inappropriate desire for another person when you are married is sin (Matthew 5:27-28; Titus 1:6; see What is adultery? below).
- What is adultery? - Married people absolutely should not fantasize about anyone other than their spouse because just a thought with lust for someone else is adultery (Matthew 5:27-28).
Lust is willing and inappropriate desire. Simply being
attracted to someone else or having a sinful thought is not sin because
not all our thoughts are our own and our biological wiring is programmed
to be attracted to certain things. We cannot control those urges.
However, we should never accept those feelings. Kill them quickly and
make a covenant with your eyes as Job did to not look at another person
in the wrong way (Job 31:1). A strong resolve to
do the right thing is necessary because being lax can lead to worse sin
or even prevent getting eternal salvation, which is why Jesus said it is
lose an eye or other body parts and have life, than to be in hell with
them intact (Matthew 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-48; Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 21:8, 22:15).
Also, having romantic love for someone other than your spouse is not
sin. It is not the same as lust, but if you are married, you cannot
allow those feelings to turn into lust, so cut off relationships that
endanger faithfulness to your spouse and certainly do not fantasize
about anyone other than your spouse or it will be adultery. We should
not make a habit of sexual fantasizing anyways, even if it is about our
spouse since it can lead us to focus on the wrong things. We should not
be living by biological urges, but leaving lusts behind (Colossians 3:5; 1 Peter 4:1-2; Romans 13:13-14).
- Pornography and marriage - No one should use pornography (see Pornography and What is pornography and prostitution?
above), but using porn is a greater sin for a married person because it
becomes adultery when you lust after anyone who is not your spouse (see
What is adultery? above). You will open your marriage to being cursed and attacked if you live in adultery of any kind.
- Spousal rape, beating, and abuse are sins. They are attacks that break the Second Greatest Commandment (Matthew 19:19, 22:39, 5:43-44; Mark 12:31-33; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13-14; James 2:8; Leviticus 19:18) and are reasons why husbands are told to be considerate of their wives (1 Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:28-33).
Some ministers have said that a wife cannot leave an abusive husband and
must be submissive to him. However, God's wish to have hierarchical
order in a family where the husband is the head over the wife (see Family and Societal Order)
does not give him right to abuse the wife or anyone else. An abused
spouse most certainly can leave her abuser and may get a divorce. See Valid Divorce for why.
rape is a sin and a wife does not have to submit to a husband for sex
if she does not want to. Both husband and wife submit to each other in
this regard (1 Corinthians 7:3-6; see Withdrawing intimacy for more).
- Withdrawing intimacy - Spouses should not withhold sex
or affection from their spouse for too long, but if they do, it should
be by mutual agreement (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). The enemy would use lack of intimacy against you and your marriage by inciting adultery (1 Corinthians 7:5).
- Valid Divorce - Divorce is not allowed unless there is unfaithfulness/adultery (see What is adultery? above) or immorality against a spouse, which includes chronic abuse (Matthew 5:32, 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:3).
This is because "marital unfaithfulness, unchastity, immorality, or
adultery" in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 is the same Greek word that refers to
violation of a sacred relationship, as well as sexual sins, like
adultery and fornication. An abusive spouse is being unfaithful to the
marriage covenant, like Israel and the Harlot Church was and are
unfaithful to God. The same word for unfaithfulness or adultery is used
in the cases of divorce in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 and for unfaithfulness
to God (Revelation 2:21, 14:8, 17:2, 17:4, 18:3, 19:2).
Divorce is also allowed if the couple is unevenly yoked (1 Corinthians 7:15). God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16),
but divorce is allowed for any reason for couples who are unevenly
yoked (one spouse does not believe in the Lord). It is not God's desire
that we have unbelieving spouses since they often lead the believing
spouse to turn from Him (1 Corinthians 7:15-20; 2
Corinthians 6:14-18; Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4; 1 Kings
11:1-11; Ezra 9:1-2, 9:12-14; Nehemiah 10:28-30, 13:23-29; Jeremiah
16:1-2). The truth of this can be seen when Apostle Paul says it is his opinion, not God's, that an unevenly yoked married couple must stay together (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). But if they separate then a divorce needs to be made or they must not marry again (1 Corinthians 7:11; Matthew 5:32, 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:3).
A paper or state divorce for any other reason is not valid in God's
eyes, like if you cannot agree on handling money or child rearing or
simply cannot get along with your spouse (Matthew 5:32; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:3).
On the other hand, a paper or state divorce is not needed for God to
consider a couple to be divorced. All that is needed is one person
wants to no longer be married and one of the conditions for a valid
divorce be true (unfaithfulness/adultery or an unevenly yoked couple). A
state divorce should be done, though, to severe all material marital
The only exception to the divorce conditions above is if you are a Jew
living by the Law of Moses. In that case, you may divorce for any reason
if a divorce document is written and delivered to the spouse (Matthew 5:31; Deuteronomy 24:1-4), except in specific cases - divorce is not allowed if the husband wrongly accuses the wife of promiscuity (Deuteronomy 22:19) or if the marriage was obligated (Deuteronomy 22:29).
However, living by the Law of Moses is a very heavy yoke because anyone who does so must obey the whole law as God gave it, not as man changed it or erroneously interprets (Galatians 5:3; Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32). All who live by that law is cursed (Galatians 3:10; Deuteronomy 27:26; Nehemiah 10:28-29), so why would you want to live under so hard a burden? Jesus came to remove that yoke and so we could live by better standards (Galatians 3:13).
They are the standards God originally wanted for all people since Jesus
noted, divorce for any reason was permitted in the Law of Moses because
of "hardness of heart" or people's unwillingness to accept what God
truly wanted, which was that a husband and wife would marry and become
one only with each other for life (Matthew 19:3-9). Marriage is a very serious covenant contract. If you are not able to accept its terms, then it is better not to marry (Matthew 19:10-11).
- Family and Societal Order - The
husband does not own the wife, but both husband and wife belong to each
other and to the Lord if both are saved in God’s Kingdom (1 Corinthians 7:4, 11:11-12).
God is supposed to be Head of the household as He is for the Church, so
both husband and wife should align with God’s will on any matters.
However, the husband is the head of the house over the wife (Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 11:8-12),
so if he makes a decision that the wife disagrees with, then the wife
should respectfully submit to that decision so long as it is God’s will (Colossians 3:18; Ephesians 5:33; Titus 2:3-5). Husbands should not use their position of authority unrighteously against their wives, children, or anyone else (Colossians 3:19-21; 1 Peter 3:7).
Unrighteous decisions that go against God’s commands made by husbands or
anyone in leadership need not be submitted to, though we should always
give appropriate respect to anyone in authority and try to do what they
request if it doesn't lead us to sin (1 Peter 2:13-20), so be peaceable with everyone and do not argue or do other harm because of a disagreement (Romans 12:18; 1 Corinthians 10:32-33; Hebrews 12:14-17; Galatians 6:10; 1 Peter 2:17, 3:8-12; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Mark 9:50).
It's ok to be angry, but don't let it become sin by allowing it to go out of control and abuse others (Ephesians 4:26, 6:4; Colossians 3:21; 1 Peter 3:7).
Don't leave arguments unsettled or let the sun set on anger. Resolve
things peacefully as soon as possible or the enemy will use unresolved
anger to harm your marriage and relationships (Ephesians 4:26-27). If you feel slighted and want revenge, let the Lord do it (Romans 12:19;
Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 32:35-36). We are to love even our enemies, be peaceable with everyone, and bless them and not curse (Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:14-21). Arguing is also not productive, so
we should remind people what is right in a respectful way and not
constantly fight about it (2 Timothy 2:14-16; Titus 2:1-2; 3:9-11; James 5:9-11; 1 Peter 2:23; 3:8-17).
Children should obey and honor their parents (Ephesian 6:1; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 15:4, 19:19; Mark 7:10, 10:19; Luke 18:20), however, parents should not be unreasonable with their children (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21), so do not force your children to do things you wouldn't do yourself.
Everyone should respect authority and government (1 Peter 2:13-20; Romans 13:1-7; Colossians 3:18-25).
Being unruly or disrespectful can cause sin by making parents or those
in authority lash back in anger, so we should love each other enough to
give respect and not escalate disagreements into raging arguments or
worse (1 Peter 1:22-23, 2:17; Leviticus 19:17-18).
Children need to turn their hearts to the parents as well as the parents to the children so that we can live peacefully and out of sin (Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:17). Try to see things from others' viewpoints and do not be quick to judge others (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37-38; 1 Corinthians 5:12-13). We are to judge sin, especially of those who believe (1 Corinthians 5:3, 5:12), but we should not judge the person. Most people don't even know how they sin and cannot control themselves (Romans 7:14-25).
Sometimes parents and those in authority are wrong about things, but the
Lord put lawful authority in place so there would be peaceful order in
our lives, and so it would benefit the public and provide structure for
society to live within righteous authority instead of unlawful anarchy. We are told to submit even to
unreasonable people so
long as it doesn't lead us to sin (1 Peter 2:18-20). Let the Lord judge the situation.
it is not sin to disobey man-made laws. Sin is the transgression or
breaking of God's laws and commands, not man's or what man may think are
God's laws (1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20, 4:15, 7:7),
so if someone's rules or laws go against what God says is right then we
need not obey them. Some "commands" in Scripture are also not strict
absolute commands from God, but strong suggestions we should do but are
not obligated to strictly adhere to, like paying our taxes (Matthew 22:17-21; Mark 12:14-17; Luke 20:22-25; Matthew 17:24-27; Romans 13:6-7).
Other "commands" are the opinion or suggestion of the people who wrote Scripture and
not truly commands from God, like 1 Corinthians 7:12 in talking about
- Appropriate relationships after marriage - Old romantic
or close relationships with people should be cut off or severely limited
after you are married. Do not use the excuse that someone is just your
friend or that you only want to remain friends. People can easily come
between you and your spouse, and the enemy will take advantage of those
opportunities if there are problems in your marriage (1 Corinthians 7:5). A husband and wife are to become one (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:7-9)
and should be each other’s best friend, so there is no good reason to
hold on to old relationships that could damage your marriage.
- Appropriate Jobs and Occupations - Once we are married,
we should conduct ourselves accordingly as wed people and avoid things
that endanger our marriage or are inappropriate for a wed person.
Severing inappropriate relationships was talked about above, but our
occupations can also be inappropriate for married people.
Jobs that can bring us into close physical contact with others, like
acting, physical therapy/training, massage therapy, doctoring and
nursing, need to be conducted with care and respect for the marriage
covenant. Marriage is to be held in honor among everyone (Hebrews 13:4), so we should not take jobs that violate the exclusive physical intimacy we have with our spouses.
A common problem is married actors and actresses performing roles where
they are physically intimate with other cast members. It may not be
adultery (see What is adultery?),
but close physical contact can easily lead to it and is obviously
inappropriate for a married person. The high rate of infidelity and
divorce in the acting industry is in large part due to people being
inappropriately close to others and letting it become adultery by
allowing lust for others to be accepted. Your marriage can become cursed
if you or your spouse live in adultery of any kind (see What is adultery?).
Other occupations where there is a lot of close contact with others,
like massage therapy and physical training, need to be evaluated and
conducted with care. You may need to limit your clients to certain
people, like those of the same sex, or reevaluate your career choice so
you don't endanger your marriage or allow inappropriate attraction for
others to become a problem.
A friend of mine's wife is a massage
therapist, but she did not want to change how she did business after
they married and he expressed his disapproval of her having male
clients. Both my friend and his wife are Christians, but infidelity came
into their marriage because of sin and how they conducted their lives.
Another important point is the proper age to talk about sex is not in
the teen years but pre-teen. The sooner the better. If your child is old
enough to ask about sex or where babies come from, then it is time to
tell them the truth about it. Why? I've heard far too many stories of
kids in grade school (aged 12 or less) having sex and getting
pregnant. I heard about them when I was in grade school and that was
decades ago. Children need to know as soon as possible what is
appropriate intimacy, what is sex, and what God wants us to do related
to those things.
Popular culture is too full of sex and romance, which makes children
think they need those kind of relationships and worse, that sexual
relationships are fine for their age or before marriage. I see pre-teens
seeking boyfriends and girlfriends and coveting those relationships.
It's not a healthy way to look at life even if they are generally
innocent relationships. "Dating" in grade school is often just a closer
friendship and limited to holding hands, but it isn't a good way to have
relationships, especially at that age. Dating of any kind sets our
focus on the wrong things, like trying to satisfy your partner in ways
you should not, and it will lead to more serious things, such as sex and
dependence on those kind of relationships. We should be teaching our
kids to depend on God and appropriate things, and not to take comfort in unhealthy
relationships or activities.
Teaching our kids the right things to focus on will make them more ready
for when they do have intimate relationships. They will be able to see
what is right and wrong and hopefully be strong enough to refuse inappropriate
advances because they've set their mind on doing what is right and not just on pleasing others.
Having sex and getting married to the wrong people can have very serious
consequences that affect the rest of your life and your children's'
lives, since getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant leads to a
lifetime commitment to the children, and unhappy marriages and divorce
scar children and spouses alike in how families break apart or force
people to live in constant strife. It would be better for everyone if we
didn't let sex and lust ruin our lives and families, not just in those
moments of sin, but we can feel the consequences of our mistakes for
decades or even generations since generational curses can affect our
1 Deuteronomy 8:20, 9:4-5; 2 Kings 16:3, 21:9 and 2 Chronicles
28:3, 33:2 also note peoples and nations judged for sin before the Law of
Moses was given
2 The word used in Matthew 1:19 for Joseph's intention to
"send away" his betrothed, Mary, after he finds out she is pregnant is
also a word that means divorce and is translated that way in some Bible
3 "Abortion's Unseen Consequences". 3rd Compass - Christ Hephzibah Church.