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Still, the overwhelming majority of believers will only share that relationship with one person in their entire lives. Also, look at that phrase about how younger women should be treated — absolute purity.
How are we to relate to everyone else (especially believers), and how does that question inform the topic of premarital sexual activity — including kissing? As a lawyer, I almost never see absolute statements.
Some translations render the word "wrong" as "defraud." To defraud someone is to deceive that person — in this context, to imply a commitment that does not exist by committing acts with someone that are appropriate only in the context of a particular relationship (i.e., marriage) in order to satisfy my own "passionate lust." To commit sexual immorality with and against someone, far from showing the "love" to which Scripture calls all believers, is to act like those "who do not know God," and this passage calls such acts "sin." Now, one obvious counterargument to the point I intend to make is that the Scriptures I've cited above just beg the question of whether kissing and other sexual activity violate those passages.
The argument might run thus: "Of course I want to be loving to others. I just think I can show genuine affection by engaging in kissing and/or other sexual activity (short of intercourse) with someone I clearly care about and still obey those passages." Fair enough. Let's say for the sake of argument that it is theoretically possible to engage in extramarital romantically oriented physical activity and obey the above biblical standards while doing it. Think about the times you have engaged in any type of physical activity with someone not your spouse.
It's simply impossible for me to address all of the fantastic individual questions and comments we've received, but know that we will do our very best to incorporate as many as possible into the columns themselves and the blog discussions that follow. Quite a few of you asked questions or made comments about my statement in Biblical Dating, an Introduction that "Biblical dating assumes NO physical intimacy" outside of marriage.
Many wanted to know, did I really mean no physical intimacy? Isn't it sex outside of marriage that Scripture explicitly prohibits?
On the contrary, in the proper context, it is a kind and good gift of God.
There are too many passages to mention in this space that communicate God's command to live for God's glory and to "love" one another — defined as putting the spiritual good of others above our own desires. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.I will lay out what I view to be applicable biblical principles and passages on this topic, and then I and the editors will leave it to you to follow up with blog posts, comments and discussion.I'll start by putting my position right on the line: I believe the Bible to teach that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, and all romantically oriented physical activity is sexual activity. As the questions above indicate, however, many single Christians have questions about whether premarital physical activity at some level beyond kissing is OK.We need to address the whole spectrum ("just kissing" included). First, the fact that "romantically oriented" is in italics above is important.I am obviously not saying that hugs and kisses of affection or greeting to relatives and the like is out of bounds. In some cultures, kisses of greeting — between members of the same sex or of the opposite sex — as well as hand-holding and other forms of physical expression during normal, non-romantic social intercourse, are more common. You might even be able to talk me into the notion that brief, "non-leaning-in" hugs of greeting, sympathy, etc.
The game changes when two people are romantically involved or "semi-involved" (a fascinating phrase I recently heard). Before you start throwing things at your computer — I can't feel it you know, you're just hurting your own computer — let's go to Scripture.