Is abstinence before marriage a realistic choice in our modern culture? Should our modern culture continue to encourage premarital sex or protected sex instead of abstinence? What practical steps can a person take to successfully abstain until marriage?
Studies reflect that only 29 percent of people in the United States consider the act of having sex before marriage as being morally wrong, while 97 percent of people in a country like Indonesia believe that premarital sex is unacceptable. In Europe, the majority of Europeans believe that premarital sex is acceptable. The same study also says that in religions such as Catholicism and Islam, having sex before marriage is morally unacceptable. In African countries, there are also strong cultural beliefs that sex before marriage is morally wrong.
Therefore, people’s perception of abstinence and premarital sex depends on 3 major factors which are – geographical location, one’s culture and one’s religious beliefs.
However, what does the Bible say about abstinence? Is abstinence a realistic option especially in the 21st century culture? What practical steps can a person take to ensure that he/she successfully abstains from sex until he/she gets married?
There are many verses in the Bible that declare sex before marriage to be a sin.
For example, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, Mark 7:21 and Colossians 3:5.
Therefore sex was created by God in order to be enjoyed only within the confines of marriage.
Is abstinence realistic? Yes it is. A spiritual understanding of sex and spiritual conviction plays a big role in helping one to practically abstain.
So what are the practical steps that you can take to abstain from sex before marriage?
- Don’t put yourself in situations where you might be tempted to compromise your sexual purity or values.
- Have boundaries and uphold the boundaries. Date a person who has the same beliefs about abstinence as you do. If both of you have the same convictions about waiting before marriage then you are likely to be successful.
- Avoid material such as pornography or any entertainment which have heavy messages on promoting premarital sex. Such material is bound to progressively lead you into temptation by polluting your mind.
- Make yourself accountable to someone or to people you can trust and who uphold the same values that you have about abstaining until marriage.
- Always remember that God’s word is the ultimate authority. Abstaining from sex until marriage is God’s will and through obedience, we are expressing Christ’s nature and character in our life.
- Always remember that God designed sex to be enjoyed – but only within the confines of marriage. Therefore you and your partner will reap the long-term benefits of obeying God’s word in this area.
- Always involve God when it comes to your feelings, temptations and relationship. Never remove God from the equation in your relationship. Ask Him to always give you the strength to abstain and keep you from being tempted into premarital sex.
Abstinence prevents some of the following problems
1. It prevents abortions or unwanted pregnancies
2. It prevents sexually transmitted infections
3. It prevents teenage pregnancies
4. It prevents mistrust caused by previous sexual relationships
5. It prevents the chance of children who grow up with single mothers
6. It may even prevent you from marrying the wrong person
Have You Already Had Premarital Sex?
If you already had sex before marriage, the Bible says that there is God’s forgiveness which is always available. If we confess our sins, God is just and faithful to forgive us of every sin – including sex before marriage (1 John 1:9).
Therefore, even if a person has had premarital sex, that person still has an opportunity to repent and start focusing on obeying the word of God in that area.