We’re in the middle of a pandemic problem concerning biblical marriage: around 3% of young people today keep themselves pure until their wedding. This failure is catastrophic by any conceivable metric. Something has to change; the status quo is unacceptable. What is a better way for us to live? The Bible teaches that we should get married to avoid sexual sin.
“That statistic is for the general population,” you might say. “Religious people are better about waiting.” Actually, according to the data I’ve seen, only 11% of religious people save sex for marriage, and that’s probably not an accurate number. The statistical data comes from self-reported surveys and, since religious people attached a greater stigma to sex before marriage, many of them likely lied. The chances are significant that no difference exists between the two groups.
We Need to Understand Biblical Sexuality
We need a better understanding of the biblical teaching of sex. It’s not my intention to go into too much detail in this blog post, but sex is a topic we need to study more. For now, we’re just going to hit some quick points that will help us see God’s way to avoid temptation.
Sex is not wicked. Sex is incredible. God created sex, and everything God made was “very good” (Genesis 1.31). We do a great disservice to the creator and the magnificent gift of human sexuality when we call sex evil. Not only do we insult the designer, but we also harm our ability to enjoy sexuality properly once we’re married.
Many married women have talked to my wife and me about the troubles they had after marriage. They had always believed “sex was evil” and, once married, it was hard to see intercourse with their husbands as a good thing. By trying to scare people into obedience, their parents, preachers, and other leaders made their life more difficult. Scaring people isn’t the answer.
Worldly Wisdom is Spiritual Ignorance
We need to stop looking to the world for answers. Human wisdom is no match for the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1.20); if we have God’s will, why would we conduct ourselves according to worldly wisdom? Do you recall those numbers from earlier, where only 3% of people save sex for marriage? Human wisdom isn’t working. Otherwise, that number would be much higher. Since the course of the world does nothing but lead faithful people into sin, let’s abandon it. Let’s ditch Satan and his ways; Satan will bring us to nothing but death (cf. Ephesians 2.1-3).
So what is God’s advice for those who find themselves tempted sexually? Get married. That may seem simplistic, but that’s always been the answer.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica that they should get married. 1 Thessalonians 4.3-5 contains instructions for Christians to get married when tempted sexually. We typically give other advice, don’t we? We tell people they should pray more, study more, read more – all helpful things – but none of them the Biblical answer to the problem.
Can I Just Study My Way to Purity?
“What about Psalm 119.9?” you ask. It agrees with what I just said. Take a careful look at that text: “How shall a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119.9 doesn’t mean a young man should study more to avoid sexual temptation. This verse says he should see what God’s instructions are and follow them. God says the young man who wants to stay pure should get married.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for just a second. Young men want to have sex. Young women want to have sex. It’s something just about everyone wants, and there’s only one right way to have it. The drive and desire for sex is so strong that most people can’t resist it (remember that 3%?). Why should we fight an obviously losing battle? We need to seriously and honestly evaluate our weaknesses and use the path God has given us to avoid sin. If you’re tempted sexually, the best way to avoid that sin is to get married.
The Conclusion: Get Married!
Paul gives this instruction in at least two different places: 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 7. We’ll examine these two passages in the next blog posts, but, for now, let that idea sink in and simmer for a little while. Instead of devising all sorts of ways to avoid sex, why not just do what the Bible says and get married? Let’s think, study, and pray about these things, and, Lord willing, we’ll find God’s will on the matter.