[19]   Sex (1): Extra-marital Sex

STORY: In North America, it is estimated that about one quarter of men and about one-seventh of women have sexual relations outside marriage while married.


Canada allows cohabiting couples to claim common law marriage (not formally married). In 1981, 92% of couple families were married couples; the remaining 8% were common law couples. In 2001, 83% were married couples while common law couples increased more than twice to 17%.

87.  What is the Biblical viewpoint on human sexuality?

a.   Sexual relation:

·         It can refer to any physical intimacy that leads to sexual arousal. Strictly speaking, it refers only to sexual intercourse. However, deep physical intimacy may lead to an uncontrollable desire for sexual intercourse. Therefore, extreme caution is required (see Dating below).

·         The Biblical viewpoint is that sexual intercourse has a much deeper meaning than the physical act itself. It turns the sexual partners into “one flesh” (Mk 10:7-8), forming a mystic union with spiritual implications.

b.   God’s intent for sexual relation:

·         Sexuality was designed by God and is good. Some people theorize that the “forbidden fruit” (which led to Adam’s Fall) was actually sexual relation but this is pure conjecture with no Biblical evidence.

·         God’s design is that sexual relations will lead to procreation.

·         Sexual relation properly leads to sexual satisfaction but it should only be in the context of a loving relationship, as illustrated in the Song of Songs.

·         Sexual relations must occur only within marriage (Heb 13:4; 1Co 6:12-20; 1Th 4:3-7) as they will strengthen the marital union by: sealing it, constituting it, and making it fruitful. Sexuality itself is not sin but sexuality outside marriage is.


C&MA teaching on sexuality

1.     Creation and Sexuality: God created man and women in His own image, and pronounced them good. Human nature as created consists of a number of dimensions that influence one another. Sexuality is one of these dimensions.

2.     God-honouring Expression of Sexuality: All human activity, including the expression of sexuality, should have as its end the honouring of God. Those pursuing godliness are to live lives of purity in thought, word and deed, including purity with reference to sexuality. God is honoured by the mutually intimate physical expression of sexuality when this expression occurs between a man and a woman within a monogamous marriage.

3.     Fallenness and Sexuality: Through human disobedience to God, all dimensions of human nature, individually and collectively, have been corrupted. Thus, human sexuality is subject to abuse and misuse which dishonours God.

4.     God-dishonouring Expression of Sexuality: God is dishonoured by anything which displaces Him from His rightful place of priority in one’s life. Therefore, He is dishonoured, for example, by sexual obsession, the intimate physical expression of sexuality outside of marriage, sexual activity between persons of the same sex, between an adult and a child, between close relatives, or between a person and an animal.

5.     Forgiveness and Sexuality: While some temporal effects of sexual sins may remain, sexual sins, like any other sins, can be forgiven by God through Jesus Christ, upon confession and repentance.


Child & adolescent sexuality

Reasons why secular humanists chose child and adolescent sexuality as the battleground on which to press their advantage:

1.     By teaching children an entirely different sexual ethic than their parents hold, a wedge is driven between generations that makes kids vulnerable to other secular humanist ideas.

2.     There is no better way to destroy the family than to undermine the sexual exclusivity on which life-long marriage is based.

3.     Premarital chastity and marital monogamy are centrepieces of nearly all major religions. To destroy these ancient concepts in the minds of today’s children is to weaken or totally negate their faith.


88.  What is the meaning of extra-marital sex?

a.   Extra-marital sex refers to all sexual relations outside marriage including:

·         fornication: sexual relations between unmarried persons (Gr. porneia) (1Co 6:9; 5:1-2,13)

·         adultery: illicit sex outside marriage; sexual relations between a married person and somone not the spouse (Gr. moicheia)

·         incest: sexual relations between close relatives where their marriage is illegal or forbidden by custom

·         other “sexual orientation” (the term is not legally or practically defined, homosexual people now begin to use the term “sexual preference” to create more confusion): such as homosexuality (sexual relation with the same sex), pedophilia (with a child), polygamy (with many spouses), etc.

·         other sexual perversions, such as bestiality (sexual relation with an animal)

b.   The 7th Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14) includes fornication because terms for fornication, adultery, prostitution in NT coincide. They are generally called “sexual immorality” (Ac 15:20,29; 21:25; 1Co 5:1; 6:13,18; 7:2; 2Co 12:21; 1Ti 1:10; 1Th 4:3).

c.   All extra-marital sexual relations are violations of the 7th Commandment and are a serious sin.

·         In the 11 sin lists [see lesson 2], “sexual immorality” is included 6 times, 5 of them placed first in the list. In all, sexual sins are mentioned 13 times in the 11 lists.

·         Persistent and unrepentant sexual immorality risks second death (Rev 21:8; Gal 5:19-21).

89.  Can Christians have sexual relations before marriage?

a.   Today, many couples live together (cohabitation) without being formally married. In Canada, it is even recognized by the government as common law marriage. The arguments favouring cohabilitation include:

·         It is a test for compatibility (sexual and psychological) before marriage.

·         The ritual of marriage is unimportant.

·         A couple can live together after formal engagement as they are preparing for marriage.

b.   However, any sexual relation outside or before marriage is fornication. It is a sin even for a couple who is engaged to be married. An engaged couple living in the same residence but with no sexual relations is not a sin. However, it is putting oneself under temptation and also may cause others to stumble.

c.   Other problems of fornication:

·         physical consequence: pregnancy

·         emotional consequence: guilt and emotional scars

·         fornication naturally leads to promiscuity (multiple sexual partners) which then leads to many kinds of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and AIDS (Acquired immunity deficiency syndrome) (see Gal 6:8)

·         causes others to stumble and sin

d.   Dating:

·         Dating couples need to exercise self-control in their behaviour because physical intimacy during dating may easily lead to sin.

·         An unmarried couple under temptation for fornication should be advised to marry.

·         Because of problems with dating, some Christian leaders promote no dating or else only group dating.

e.   For church members who are involved in extra-marital sex, they should be rebuked and be required to repent or else be expelled. Public repentence and possibly some kind of discipline are required before the marriage of a cohabiting couple can be allowed in church.

90.  What should Christians do about sex education of children in schools?

a.   The need of sex education for children:

·         Today’s children face sexual temptation very early in their lives because of sexual explicitness in television and in everyday life.

·         Sex education can be of two kinds: moral sex education and practical sex education.

·         To face today’s challenges, children require only basic sex education that concentrates on the moral component and only a brief and rudimentary practical component.

b.   Basic sex education that the children should be taught include:

·         What everyone decides about their sexual life will affect one’s whole life. The consequence can be long-term or even permanent, not temporary.

·         Sexuality is a gift from God for marriage; abstinence until marriage in the best choice.

·         Extra-marital sex is immoral in God’s eyes. It will also earn rebuke from parents.

·         Sexual relations can be dangerous because of possible pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including AIDS.

·         For now, there is no need to know things like sexual acts or birth control methods.

c.   Characteristics of many sex education courses in schools:

·         ACLU: “It is our position that teaching that monogamous, heterosexual intercourse within marriage is a traditional American value is an unconstitutional establishment of a religious doctrine in public schools.”

(1)  Premarital sex is routinely promoted, with efforts made to reduce guilt, inhibitions, moral imperatives, and prior teachings. Abstinence is mocked or made to look hopelessly out of date.

(2)  Desensitization techniques are used to make the subject of sex more familiar and commonplace.

(3)  Concern over homosexuality is presented as a myth and fallacy. These perversions are typically held up as valid alternate lifestyles.

(4)  Marriage receives a consistent, but subtle, drubbing. Various alternatives, from living together to communal and group marriages, are offered as options for consideration.

(5)  Societal attitudes based on the Christian ethic are universally undermined, such as the Christian teaching of “saving oneself till marriage”.

(6)  Sometimes, emphasis is put on describing and downplaying the seriousness of sexual deviations that even most adults would not experience.

(7)  Contraceptives are distributed, discussed, and demonstrated in class.

d.   Problems of today’s sex education courses:

·         By lower sexual inhibition, students will not regard sexuality as a serious decision which will impact on their entire lives.

·         As chastity and abstinence are either ignored or ridiculed, students will feel the peer pressure of getting early sexual experience.

·         Showing students the “forbidden fruit” has the effect of encouraging them to try it out, especially because of the general rebellious nature of many teenagers.

·         By telling students about how abortion-on-demand is available, the danger of possible pregnancy is dispelled and pre-marital sex is encouraged.

·         By describing sexual deviations and perversions simply as alternative lifestyles (a mere “preference” or “orientation”), students are encouraged to try it out.

·         In general, students of sex education courses are unconsciously educated to select an immoral lifestyle.

e.   Action for Christian parents:

·         basic sex education at home, with emphasis on morality

·         know the content of the sex education classes taught at school

·         if content unsatisfactory, apply or insist on non-participation of children [Remember: Parents have the authority to decide how their children are educated.]