I remember talking with one community college student a while back.
First, I shared with him what I had been learning about in the Gospel -- all my sins are forgiven, and God comes to live in me to a new, everlasting life.
He told me about a reported controversy in National Geographic. Supposedly, archaeologists and Coptic theologians had found a fragment of a "lost gospel" which described Jesus as a married man, and other unseemly ideas which do not run current with the Word of God.
I disputed these empty ideas right away, although I had to read up on the article for more information. I found out exactly what I expected. The "fragment" of parchment has a few scrawled sentences, none of which were connected to each other. The word "wife" does appear, but the rest of the words, even if they were placed side by side, could not communicate that Jesus was married to anyone.
Besides, Jesus already has a wife: The Body of Christ, His Church!
At any rate, one comment of his stuck with me while we were talking.
"I think that you should be able to sleep with someone before you are married!"
The issue of sex, its propriety, and its proper boundaries, has only gotten more skewed and confused, not less.
The Bible writes clearly about sexual immorality -- anything outside of one man and one woman married:
"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the
members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid." (1 Corinthians 6: 15)
Paul's verse signals an unalterable reality: when a person has sex with another person, they are joined together for life. There is no "clean break", there is no such thing as a "one night stand".
When someone sleeps with another person, it's similar to gluing two pieces of paper together. After an hour, any attempt to separate the two pieces of paper creates a big mess of ripped papers, with flecks of each piece stuck to the other. In effect, the person which one sleeps with never leaves the other. And that's not good. For this reasons, sexual abuse can be so traumatic.
Evangelist Billy Graham shared during one sermon that 75% of college students seek out a counselor after having sex with someone. An uneasy sense of shame persists with these young people, and they cannot explain why. Their parents never hear about it, to begin with, so the reproach of their parents is not the issue. This unchanging consequence of sex outside of marriage indicates the danger and the dysfunction of two people sleeping together before they are married.
Yet even the dangers of shame and regret, coupled with the risk of disease or pregnancy, are not enough to dissuade anyone from premarital sex.
Other concerns come from giving up oneself in an encounter with no safety nor security. An intimate relationship should not be fraught with anxiety or worried for future consequences. The man may look for other partners, while the woman wonders if he will remain with her, or wonders what he will do when he finds out that she is pregnant. One pastor pointed out that at best, two unmarried people share sex, but not love, joy, or anything else worthwhile. Another pastor taught that married believing couples are more "content" than unmarried couples.
I still remember one high school students, a "Casanova" type, so he styled himself. Since I am a French teacher, he wanted me to teach him how to say to his girlfriend: "Let me take you to the bed." I looked at the guy, and thought to myself: "This guy would not last five minutes. She would be asleep before he got started." This element of "adequacy" cannot be ignored, either. It takes a measure of "selflessness" to be adequate with a partner. Without the safety of marriage, one cannot help but be self-conscious. Where is the joy in all of that?
Once again, warning people of the dangers of premarital sex, or any other sexual perversion, does not dissuade individuals from sleeping with whomever whenever.
Let's consider the glorious admonition in the Word of God:
"Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
"Let thy fountains
be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
"Let them be only
thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
"Let thy fountain be
blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
"Let her be
as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all
times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
"And why wilt thou,
my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?" (Proverbs 5: 15-20)
"Why wilt thou?" It's foolish, empty, and downright stupid to give up oneself to a "stranger".
It's polluting, it's damaging, and it's depressing to give oneself so casually to another.
Besides, there is one example of a woman who had many partners, yet she still felt nothing but "fallen apart":
"There cometh a woman of
Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink." (John 4: 7)
The scene from John Chapter 4: Jesus has sat down at the well of Sychar, or Shechem, and a Samaritan woman has come to draw water. The time is afternoon, not the customary time for anyone to draw water, but this Samaritan is no customary woman, either.
Jesus ministered to this woman, asking her for water. He offered living water which could spring up within her and grant eternal life. Initially, she thought that Jesus was talking about the water in the well, when He was speaking of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus asked her to call her husband, she responded:
"The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well
said, I have no husband:
"For thou hast had five
husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou
truly." (John 4: 17-18)
This woman had been drinking from many cisterns, and she was lacking, depleted. Her waters had also been running in the streets, as well, since everyone in the town was aware of her reputation. For that reason she drew water in the afternoon: to avoid the shame and gossip of the other women.
There is no such thing as a one-night stand. The damage that one does to one's body, mind, and spirit cannot compare with the fleeting pleasure of giving one's body away to a stranger.
The Samaritan woman at the well had had five husbands, and she was living with a sixth man. There is no peace, no satisfaction, no delight in compromising or corrupting oneself so casually.