WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE?
Sent: segunda-feira, 6 de outubro de 2003
Subject: Sexo antes do casamento, o que o senhor acha? (What do you think of sex before marriage?)
In my discussion group a great polemics arose about understanding whether or not sex before marriage is sin. So far, all we have heard are actually conjectures about Bible passages, but we haven’t been able to find any biblical basis to state that it is sinful.
With this question we don’t intend to gainsay the principles taught to us, but we’d like to know if you could clear up our doubt about this.
Thank you already for your attention and generosity in replying.
The Lord’s peace to you!
Dear brothers and sisters in the group,
If we look at this “subject”—as studied by you—in the Bible, we’ll find out that it has no relevance at all. In the Bible, marriage was something simple, plain, limited to the home circle, and didn’t carry any regulations other than the covenant between the parties.
Marriage underwent a “sociological evolution” in the Bible. But the “aggregated values” were always dealt with as human. Adam and Eve’s marriage wasn’t “less genuine” because they had no human witnesses at the ceremony, which, in that case, was only a great, surprised “Wow! This is the one!”.
Isaac and Rebekah didn’t even wait until dinnertime. When Isaac saw her in the field, being brought by his father’s servant, he ran to them, took Rebekah on camelback, took her straight to his mother’s tent and “went in to her”.
The wedding ceremony as we know it, with all its rites, pageantry, etc, is a plebeian projection of the nobles’ weddings. It’s a feast with a prince and a princess, trumpets, a white gown and veil, a triumphal entry, witnesses, ring bearers, choirs… and all the “court” watching it.
In Jesus’ days, marriage was restricted to the household. And no “license” was given so the couple could get married. The “proof” was the bride and the groom’s declaration in front of their families. A “written paper” was only required as a “Bill of Divorce” (when the man no longer wanted his wife) or in a separation, in case one of them—most of the time the wife— was “put away” from the relationship as adulterous.
So, papers only legalized a separation, not a union. The union had the witnessing of life, love and the relatives who consented to the marriage, which was solemnly casual.
About sex, here is what I have to say:
Sex is always sin and is never sin. Sex is everything and sex is nothing. What makes sex sinful or saintly is the people who have sex.
In this way, if there is love, there is never sex before marriage. When there is love, sex is the marriage. If there is a “marriage” but there’s no love, having sex is a sin.
Therefore, sex before marriage means an intercourse where both have sex without love. But sex without love in a “marriage” is sinful too. It’s sinful to have sex without marriage, and marriage isn’t something that happens from the outside to the inside. It only happens from the inside to the outside, just like everything else that is worth in God’s sight: It springs from the heart.
The wedding is like the baptism: A visible symbol of an invisible reality that must precede the symbol in order to be true. “Being baptized” by men before being baptized by the faith in Jesus Christ is a meaningless rite—pure foolish religion. “Getting married” without being married at heart is the very same thing.
Before God, it’s all the same. Before men, there’s no sin if someone is baptized at “church” without being baptized in the Spirit first, in an invisible and personal act.
Marriage, however, got this stigma from religion. I, however, always believe in that which is. Therefore, I believe that the worth of what is done as an external symbolization must always be preceded by an inner truth. Thus, sex is nothing and sex is everything. It depends on those who make it and what their attitude is.
If I don’t have love, I am profited nothing—including having sex!
The fornication the Bible refers to isn’t sexual promiscuity only. It can also be the sexual “use” without love or out of interest, even between “married couples” who have sex without love. Such being the case, the man “performs his conjugal duty” to his wife and she gives him what “he has a right to”. This is why there’s much prostitution inside “marriages”: Women who don’t love their “husbands” and are even disgusted to have sex with them do so because of the money, the stability, etc, and husbands who “fulfill their duty” or merely “use” their wives as a “sexual outlet”. And the price is the stability that one provides the other with. Not to mention that quite often both have their “side affairs”.
That’s why many prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of us. They, at least, don’t call their business on the corner a “marriage”. They tell openly what they are charging and how long it’s going to take.
Quite often the Bible talks about dissolution (“lust”, “lasciviousness”, “impurity”, “excess”, “loose behavior”) 1. Our dissolution does no harm to God. He doesn’t become greater or smaller owing to whatever we do or don’t do in life, let alone the use we make of our genitals. Dissolution is only sin because it does harm to us. It dissolves our being. That’s why it’s called dis-solution. And this evil harms those who give themselves over to it. But God isn’t diminished.
And what kind of evil does dissolution bring? It causes the self to be dissolved, paste-like, unable to experience any sort of concrete love. That’s why a dissolute person is incapable of loving and being faithful to anyone. In addition, a variety of sexual experiences won’t make anybody experienced for life, for a bond, for a relationship. It only gives the individual “countless memories” for future comparisons, as he/she will always be prompted by old times’ fantasies.
I’m aware that some think I’m too modern. Others think I’m too old-fashioned. What about me—what do I think?
Frankly, I don’t care at all. I know that what I say is true according to the Spirit of the Word and according to what Jesus taught as true in God’s eyes.
From: Contato do Site
Sent: quarta-feira, 8 de outubro de 2003 20:16
Subject: Sexo antes do casamento, pode ou não? (Sex before marriage: Allowed or forbidden?)
I read the e-mail reply where you talk about sex before marriage. I admit, almost everything was what I suspected all along.
If I love my fiancé and I can’t be away from him because it hurts too much; if we can’t afford to get married right now; if we are faithful to each other and try to live sound lives before God… But we still end up having a thorn in our flesh, a distress that seems never-ending.
We’ve already considered getting married even being unable to, living an uncomfortable life so as not to continue to sin, but it dawned on me that if grace is sufficient for me, it’s no use creating problems that can be bigger than the one we have.
I know God can forgive me, but sometimes it saddens me to know I’m asking Him to forgive me a sin that I keep committing. It shouldn’t be so with those who have a new life in Christ.
In many ways my life got better after my conversion, but dealing with sex is distressing because it’s a need that doesn’t end—and in fact I don’t want it to end, as I want a happy, active marriage. But how am I going to live in the meantime? Always suffering?
For long I’ve been looking for the answer to that discussion group’s question. I’ve looked for something that proves that I must either endure the pain from the continuous sin or bear the terrible pain from abstinence. (I gave up trying to resist. I ask God to strengthen me, but sometimes things get difficult and I can’t even cry for help; then it happens again…) But in the Bible, I couldn’t find clear references; in other books, nothing that convinced me.
Your explanation has been the best so far, but I admit I’m still confused.
After all, is sex everything or nothing? Do I need the civil marriage to have freedom with the man I love?
My doubts are so many that I can’t even speak out all of them. But in short, I only want to have peace and freedom with God, praise Him every day, unashamed of my body and mind’s impulses, assured that in fact nothing will ever separate me from God’s love.
I know you don’t have much time, but my yearning is real, so if you can share your great wisdom and reply to this, I’ll be very thankful.
May God always bless you.
Sex is everything when there is love. And nothing when there isn’t.
As for the rest, when two people love each other and are going to get married, it’s a matter of conscience. Each has his/her own conscience. I’m not going to tell you, “Go and get laid.”
Everything that does not come from faith is sin. Not because of the act itself, but because you do it without the conscience’s approval—the peace that comes from faith.
The matter wouldn’t be a problem to me. But I can talk about myself only. Some esteem a day above another day; a type of food above another type of food. To me all days are alike, and by thanksgiving all foods are consecrated.
Sorry, this is all I can say to you. After such a plain answer I gave you, anything beyond this is not to want to take the minimum responsibility of deciding. That would make up an unhealthy triangle.
Sin is what God alone charges. And without faith, nothing pleases God. And this faith must be yours, not mine. I never ask questions about my private doubts. I believe and live with the consequences, and never ask for somebody else’s complicity.
Grown-ups take the responsibility for what they do. And they only do it by faith.
From the original: “SEXO ANTES DO CASAMENTO, O QUE VOCÊ ACHA?”
Translated by F. R. Castelo Branco | June 2007
1Dissolution: The word dissolução sounds familiar in Portuguese as it is in more traditional Bible versions. For further reference—besides the meanings provided in parenthesis—, read Ephesians 4:19; 5:18 and Titus 1:6 in versions such as the KJV, the NKJV, the MKJV etc. (Translator’s note)