Lies about Sex vs the Bible: #2—Jesus Didn’t Say Anything about Premarital Sex

Dear Christian Sisters,

If you read through all of my last post, then you learned that the Greek word porneia is translated to

  • fornication,
  • immorality,
  • sexual immorality, and
  • unchastity

in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) [see the Blue Letter Bible].

We get our English word pornography from the Greek porneia [see dictionary.com].

You also know from my last post that the sexual acts that are included in porneia are the forbidden sexual acts listed in Jewish Law, mostly Leviticus (Jewish Law refers to the first 5 books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy):

  • adultery
  • homosexuality
  • lesbianism
  • intercourse with animals
  • sex with close relatives
  • sex with a divorced man or woman
  • premarital sex

Hypocrisy within the Church

As Christian Sisters, we know that historically the Church has looked down on women who have premarital sex. We know that even today women with crisis pregnancies are judged within the church and in society.

As women living in a feminist society, we feel the hypocrisy—men are hallowed for their sexual conquests while women are quietly (or not-so-quietly) called whores.

Jesus’ Kindness

But have you ever noticed that when Jesus talked to women about their unchastity, He was kind?

In contrast, whenever He talked to crowds of men and women, He was direct.

Sometimes Jesus was angry, but I only see His anger when He’s addressing men—and He called them hypocrites.

Jesus Talks Kindly to Women about Unchastity

For example, when Jesus talked to the woman at the well about her unchastity, He did not condemn her. He did clearly reveal Himself as the Christ to her, a woman. That was a big deal. At that point in His ministry, He was not even that direct to the 12 disciples about His divinity.

For more on the woman at the well, read my blog post titled “Abortion & the Church.”

When the Pharisees brought a naked woman caught in the very act of adultery to Jesus, He redirected their eyes away from her and down to the sand. Once all the accusatory men left, Jesus did not condemn the woman but simply told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

For more on the woman caught in adultery, read my blog post “Abortion & the Church.”

Jesus did not condemn either woman, but He was clear about their sin.

Jesus is Direct about Unchastity

Jesus was also clear about porneia (unchastity) to all of His disciples (not just the 12 but the crowds).

There are no parables about sex. Jesus outright says not to have sex outside of marriage.

In three stories, Jesus uses the word porneia.

Jesus Talks about Unchastity in the Sermon on the Mount

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is direct about unchastity but because He does it in the context of divorce, we often miss what He’s saying about premarital sex.

but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity [porneia], makes her commit adultery [moicheuō]; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery [moicheuō].
Matthew 5:32 NASB

Notice that unchastity is the Greek porneia and that adultery is the Greek moicheuō. It wasn’t until I studied this verse to understand what Jesus was saying about sex rather than what He was saying about divorce that I noticed the difference between unchastity and adultery.

Unchastity includes adultery. Adultery is a subset of unchastity. So, unchastity is the larger term and includes any type of sex other than heterosexual, consensual sex between one man and one woman who are married to each other.

That tells me that if your husband thinks that you’re a virgin when he marries you and then finds out that you were not, he can divorce you. And, yes, of course, the same in reverse—if you think that your husband is a virgin when you marry and you later find out that he wasn’t, then you can divorce him.

I hear you laughing under your breath! I know. I know—it would be unusual to find a couple in the United States today who has not had premarital sex. But doesn’t that tell you something about the context of Jesus’ teaching? In Jewish society, it was typical to be chaste until marriage, not unchaste like today.

Now, I’m not saying that you should divorce him! Assuming both of you know the other’s sexual history, The Church expects you to remain married, and God does, too (Malachi 2:16).

There are many couples who stay together through adultery. Certainly if a couple can stay together through adultery, then you can stay together even if one of you lied about his/her virginity.

The fact that Jesus said that couples could divorce because one of them had premarital sex (whether heterosexual or homosexual) tells us that He takes sex very seriously. Why do I say that? Because God hates divorce (see Malachi 2:16).

Jesus is Direct about Divorce and Unchastity

On His way to Jerusalem for the final week of His life (we call that Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Day or Easter), Jesus was followed by large crowds (Matthew 19:2) and some Pharisees came to test Him about divorce (Matthew 19:3).

Now, these Pharisees were trying to find fault in Jesus’ teaching (“testing Him” in Matthew 19:3). They already knew what He said about divorce in the Sermon on the Mount or other places, since certainly He taught His commands wherever He went (if all that Jesus did was written, the world could not contain all the resulting books—John 21:25).

These Pharisees wanted to discredit Jesus since He was preaching against what Moses allowed. Here, read the story for yourself. Note that anything in all caps is a quote from the Old Testament:

and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE (Genesis 1:27, 5:2), and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? (Genesis 2:24) So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality [porneia/unchastity], and marries another woman commits adultery [moicheuō].”
Matthew 19:2-9 NASB

As you can read, Jesus is direct while repeating and reinforcing what he preached in the Sermon on the Mount. Not only is divorce not in God’s will, but unchastity is not, either.

Jesus Gets Frustrated or Even Angry with the Disciples

In another passage, Jesus gets frustrated, maybe even angry, with his disciples for their lack of understanding.

In Mark chapter 7, we read that the Pharisees and Scribes watched Jesus’ disciples closely, found fault in them about the tradition of ritual hand washing, and challenged Jesus about it (Mark 7:1-5). Jesus calls them hypocrites (Mark 7:6), quotes the Old Testament prophesy about them (Mark 7:6-7), and goes on pointing out their hypocrisy (Mark 7:8-13).

Then Jesus turns to the crowd to declare all foods clean (Mark 7:14-16). Frustrated with the Jewish leaders, Jesus goes into Peter’s house to calm Himself down only to find that the disciples didn’t understand either (Mark 7:17-19).

Jesus then makes it clear that there’s a difference between food laws and moral laws:

And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality [porneia], theft, murder, adultery [moicheuō], coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Mark‬ ‭7:18-23‬ ‭ESV

Have We Kept His Commandments?

So, yes, Jesus did talk about unchastity. Are we keeping His commandments on unchastity and adultery?

Jesus said:

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
John 14:15 NASB

Have we always kept God’s commandments on unchastity and adultery?

Paul said:

The body is not for immorality [porneia], but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:13b‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I am keeping God’s commandments now, but I have not always done so.

But remember that when Jesus points out a woman’s sin, He’s gentle. He also says, “sin no more” (John 8:11).

Have We Confessed Our Sexual Sins?

John said,

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have confessed my sexual sins. Have you?

When I confessed my sexual sins, I named them. God does not want to hear the general request: “forgive me of my sins.” He wants you to name them. He wants you to own what you did—and then sin no more. Because when you own your own sins, you acknowledge how perfect God is and how much you need Him for your eternal salvation.

(S)He who conceals (her)his transgressions will not prosper, but (s)he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Proverbs‬ ‭28:13‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans‬ ‭6:1-2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Here is a sample prayer. There is nothing magic about it. I provide it simply to help you if you feel lost for words:

Dear Lord Father,

Your name is above all names. You are holy. You are mighty. You are perfect in all Your ways. You love me even though I sin.

You created the moral laws for my good. I trust You, Lord, that Your laws are for my good.

I have not followed Your laws about sex. I have been unchaste. I have fornicated. Please forgive me for _________________ (having sex before I married [heterosexual or homosexual–both are wrong], looking at porn, looking at soft porn on the TV and in movies, fantasizing about someone other than my husband, saying crude words that demean the beautiful sex that You created for one man and one woman to have in covenant marriage, what other sexual sin does God want you to confess?).

I acknowledge my sexual sins to You, and my iniquity I will not hide from You. I confess my transgressions to You. Please forgive me the guilt of my sin in the name of Jesus, my Savior.

I have died to sin. May I forever feel uncomfortable with sexual sins. May I forever live as a citizen of heaven, a foreigner living on earth until You take me home.

Thank You for Your lovingkindness, Abba Father.

Send me out today as a new woman, in the name of Jesus, that others would recognize the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control [Galatians 5:22-23]) within me.

Amen

Are We Teaching Others What Jesus Said about Unchastity?

Not only did Jesus have something to say about unchastity, but He tell us to teach all He commanded. Here it is in the Great Commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬ [emphasis added]

If you are a mother, then you are a teacher to your children (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

If you are not a mother, then you can have more children than the rest of us (see Isaiah 54:1-3). You are a teacher. You are an influencer to your nieces and nephews, to your coworkers, to children in your church.

Do you want God to reverse Roe v. Wade and greatly reduce abortions?

Then

  1. confess your sexual sins
  2. sin no more
  3. teach other disciples that unchastity is a sin—because it is. Jesus said so.

In Christ,

Cheryl

Lies about Sex vs the Bible: #1—Everyone Else Does It!

Dear Christian Sisters,

We cannot talk about abortion without talking about sex–the very thing that results in crisis pregnancies.

If we were to follow what the Bible says about sex, we would have far fewer women and men considering abortion because we would have far fewer crisis pregnancies.

NOTE: Please remember that I am not writing from my pedestal. I, too, have had premarital sex, which you already know if you’ve read my story (see Faces of Abortion and Forgiveness & Peace that Passes All Understanding).

Keep reading this series to find out how I dealt with my sin and why it’s important for you to deal with yours, too, even if you never got pregnant or never had an abortion.

What the Bible Says about Sex

Do we know what the Bible says about sex? Do we know what the New Testament says?

Most of us had sex before we got married. It’s what we do here in the United States whether we’re Christian or not. It’s the culture. We live in a sex culture.

New Christians under the rule of Rome also lived in a sex culture. Sex was often part of the Gentiles’ worship of gods.

They didn’t slither into a brothel like people do today (of course, it’s unlawful here). They openly went to the temple to worship their gods by having sex with temple prostitutes.

When Gentiles began believing that Jesus was their Savior, some Jewish Christians said that the Gentile Christians had to be circumcised and follow all the Jewish laws.

This was a big debate! Paul and Barnabas brought this debate to the Apostles, including Peter, and the elders. You can read the drama in Acts 15.

James, the half brother of Jesus, gave a speech that convinced those who had gathered for the debate that Gentile believers should not feel burdened (Acts 15:13-20).

They then sent a letter to the Gentile believers letting them know that they did not need to follow Jewish Law–except to:

“abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication” (Acts 15:29).

Fornication? What is Fornication?

The sexual acts that are included in fornication are the forbidden sexual acts listed in Jewish Law (mostly Leviticus):

  • adultery
  • homosexuality
  • lesbianism
  • intercourse with animals
  • sexual intercourse with close relatives
  • sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman

For a complete list of Old Testament laws about sex, go to the Gospel Outreach page and scroll down to #330.

In the list of Old Testament Laws about sex, did you notice that God didn’t just say, “Men, only have sex with your one wife” and “Women, only have sex with your one husband”?

We people are so hard-headed that He had to give specifics, like “don’t have sex with your sister or half-sister.”

This is a good reminder of our sinful nature. It’s also a reminder that we need to teach each other the specifics of what fornication includes.

In the World, Not of the World

We may live in the world that embraces the sex culture, but we are called by God to not live like the world. (Ephesians 4:22-24; John 15:19, 17:14-16; Romans 12:2)

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality*; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-5

[*Sexual immorality in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is translated from the Greek porneia. Porneia is translated to immorality, sexual immorality, unchastity, and fornication in the New American Standard Bible (NASB).]

Teach Them the Way They Should Go

Let us also remember as mothers, aunts, and leaders that we are called to teach our children.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:7

Let us consider how to inspire one another to love and good deeds, encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).

In Christ,

Cheryl

+20: What Does Our Future Have to Do with Our Obedience?

Why think ahead 20 years? Because the Lord has a plan and a purpose for every person’s life. Everyone’s. His plans are good, and they further His kingdom.

When I was in Uganda last December teaching the Bible to children, the Lord impressed on me that He envisions a different Uganda in 20 years and that those children were the ones who would make Uganda different and better.

I want to see that Uganda! I intend to be back in 20 years to take pictures–because I want the before and after photos!

You see, in Uganda, the average age is about 14. For comparison, the average age in the United States is about 38.

There are more children in Uganda than there are adults. Why? Because war and AIDS have killed a generation.

As a result,

  • there are about 85 students to 1 teacher in the classrooms.
  • Many, many grandmothers are raising their children's children.
  • Children are in orphanages.
  • Children are raising themselves while their parents are off working.

I want to see this different Uganda that the Lord envisions. I want to see what is now the slum of Katwe as a prosperous, beautiful place that makes the Lord smile both day and night.

So when I went to Uganda a few weeks ago to talk about purity, that is, abstinence before marriage, I started by asking the teens what they would be doing in 20 years. I told them to take their age and add 20. How old will you be? What will your life look like?

+20 What Will Life Be Like for You in 20 Years?

Why think ahead 20 years? Because the Lord has a plan and a purpose for every person's life.
Everyone's.
His plans are good, and they further His kingdom.

Question is: Will we seek His plan? Will we obey Him?

“For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV84

In the United States, we like to claim Jeremiah 29:11 as our very own prosperity gospel. As several bloggers have been writing recently, we are flawed in our thinking.

If you read the verse before ("When 70 years have been completed…"), then you know that God is telling His people that His plans are for the nation as a whole and that the next generation is who will see welfare.

Remember that Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, was in exile at this time (do you ever feel like you are in exile?), and the nation was in exile because of its disobedience to God (Jeremiah 25:4-5, 8-9).

Disobedience. Remember that. We'll return to the topic of obedience shortly.

If you read verses 12 and 13, then you know why God wants to provide prosperity, future, and hope:

“Then you (My people) will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:12-13 NIV84

There's always a God-glorifying reason why He wants you to do what He wants you to do. God wants you to seek Him. He wants you to find Him.

And if you're going to choose to stay in exile, then He wants your children. He wants your children to seek Him. He wants your children to find Him.

Remember–He is the great teacher:

  • The Father teaches (Isaiah 48:17)
  • The Son teaches (do you really need a citation here?)
  • The Holy Spirit teaches (John 14:26).

When you find Him, you can learn the way you should go, His straight path for you.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

In both the United States and Uganda, we have forgotten that "in all your ways acknowledge Him" and "seek Him" and "search for Him with all your heart" means obeying Him.

I mean, really–Why is it that we expect God to prosper us when we don't obey Him?

Obeying Him

Purity. Obedience.

Seems to me that when it comes to purity, to abstinence before marriage, and to adultery, we have followed the world's ways, not God's.

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.
1 Corinthians 3:19a NASB

So, what does God say?

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled.
Hebrews 13:4 NASB

What does that mean?

It means PURE.
It means abstinence before marriage.
It means that the only person you should EVER have sex with is your husband or your wife. If you're not married, then you don't have a husband or a wife and therefore no sex.

As I told my teen just the other day, premarital sex is adultery. By having premarital sex, he would be cheating on his future wife.

The body is not for immorality but for the Lord and the Lord is for the body.
(Emphasis mine) 1 Corinthians 6:13b NASB

If you are married, then you have exactly ONE husband or ONE wife (Genesis 2:24)–and you will ONLY have sex with him or her (Exodus 20:14).

God does not want the pain of premarital or extramarital sex for you.
God does not want the pain of pregnancy outside of marriage for you.
God does not want the pain of abortion for you.

God wants you to trust Him with all your heart.
God wants you to seek Him with all your heart.
God wants you to acknowledge Him in all your ways.

God wants to make your path straight.
God wants to teach you to profit.
God wants to lead you in the way you should go.

Too Late–I've Already Disobeyed

Too late, you say? You've already had sex outside of marriage?

Me, too.

Don't be fooled into thinking that just because I am blogging and following the Lord now means that I have always followed the Lord. You're not that naive.

I am a GenX-er who has done what most others in our society have done. I am in my second marriage (and my last, just in case you were wondering!). I did have premarital sex. I am not perfect.

I will not preach from a "holier than thou" pedestal. I want you to have life better than me. I want you to learn from my mistakes. I want my children to have life better than me. I want my children to learn from my mistakes.

Let's work together to stop generational sins!

It's not too late. It's never too late to turn back to God.

It's Never Too Late to Turn Back to God

We can change the course of our lives, and we can teach our children so that they do not repeat our sins.

+20. What will your life be like in 20 years? What will your children's lives be like in 20 years?

The Lord has changed the course of my life, and I am teaching my children purity so that they do not repeat my sins. God's promises are not just for me and my children. They are for all of His church.

If you are having sex outside of marriage right now, stop. Do not continue in sin.

How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:2b NASB

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
Hebrews 10:26 NASB

For this is the will of God, that you be sanctified [separated and set apart from sin]: that you abstain and back away from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor [being available for God’s purpose and separated from things profane], not [to be used] in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God and are ignorant of His will; and that [in this matter of sexual misconduct] no man shall transgress and defraud his brother because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we have told you before and solemnly warned you.

For God has not called us to impurity, but to holiness [to be dedicated, and set apart by behavior that pleases Him, whether in public or in private]. So whoever rejects and disregards this is not [merely] rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you [to dwell in you and empower you to overcome temptation].
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 AMP

God has a lot to say about sex. These are just a few verses.

But as we Christians know, we need only go to the throne of God in confession, true repentance, in order to be forgiven.

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren (that is, fellow Christians), that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Acts 13:38 NASB

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Proverbs 28:13 NASB

I have confessed my sins before the Lord. I have confessed my sins before my husband. I have confessed my sins before my children.

And I am free from guilt!

Let the wicked (that's me!) forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.
Isaiah 55:7 NIV84

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Acts 3:19 NASB

It was for freedom that Christ set us free;

therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery (to sin, sexual or otherwise).
Galatians 5:1 NASB

The Lord is calling you and your children to walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (See 1 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB)

When we trust in the Lord with all our hearts
When we do not lean on our own understandings of the world
When we acknowledge Him in all our ways
He will make our paths straight.