The Life Foundations Nexus
IS PREMARITAL SEX ALWAYS A DEADLY SIN?
By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti
First, you need to understand a couple of things about any sin. God has two, that’s right…two, standards for sin. One standard is the “eternal standard.” The eternal standard says that “all sins are equally bad.” That means that slapping someone in the face for no reason is just as bad as committing murder. THIS STANDARD OF SIN IS ENFORCED ONLY AFTER WE DIE. IT IS NOT ENFORCED IN THIS LIFE AND IT CAN ONLY BE ENFORCED BY GOD. The other standard of sin is enforced in this life. This other standard is the “temporal standard.” According to the temporal standard “all sins are NOT equally bad.” That means that slapping someone in the face for no reason is almost not a sin compared to committing murder. THE TEMPORAL STANDARD IS ENFORCED IN THIS LIFE AND IT CAN BE ENFORCED BY PEOPLE AS WELL AS BY GOD. This means:
WE ONLY HAVE THE RIGHT TO JUDGE OTHERS BY THE “TEMPORAL STANDARD.”
Now, we can talk about whether premarital sex is ALWAYS a DEADLY sin. Let us begin by defining “premarital sex.” “Premarital sex” is “sex before a person has been recognized by an agent of the government as being legally married.” On that basis, we know that premarital sex is a SIN BUT THAT DOES NOT TELL US WHETHER PREMARITAL SEX IS ALWAYS A DEADLY SIN.
For those of you who are impatient, here is the answer to the question. THE ANSWER IS NO, PREMARITAL SEX IS NOT ALWAYS A DEADLY SIN. HOWEVER, REMEMBER THAT, EVEN THOUGH THE ANSWER IS NO, PREMARITAL SEX IS STILL ALWAYS A SIN, THOUGH IT MAY NOT BE A DEADLY SIN…AND SIN, EVEN IF NOT DEADLY, ALWAYS HAS CONSEQUENCES.
Now we will explain why premarital sex is not ALWAYS a DEADLY sin.
God defines marriage differently than we do. Marriage, according to the Lord, is NOT “recognition by an agent of the government of the fact that you are legally married.” The Lord says that marriage is:
THE SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL UNION OF A MAN AND A WOMAN.
HOWEVER, REMEMBER THAT IT IS A SIN TO BREAK THE LAW. YOU STILL MUST BE RECOGNIZED BY AN AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT AS BEING LEGALLY MARRIED.
So we see that a person has two things to be concerned about: union and law. A person has two responsibilities – the “responsibility of union” and the “responsibility of law.” The “responsibility of union” says that you and your spouse must make a PROMISE to “love each other in every way for the rest of your lives.” The “responsibility of law” says that you and your spouse must make a PROMISE to “be bound by the laws of the land relating to marriage, for the rest of your lives.”
Since there are two responsibilities, there is the possibility of two sins – the “sin of ‘unionlessness’” and the “sin of law.” You commit the “sin of ‘unionlessness’” anytime you “fail to love your spouse in some way.” You commit the “sin of law” anytime you “fail to obey one or more marriage laws.” With regard to which sin is the greater sin, the Lord says:
THE “SIN OF ‘UNIONLESSNESS’” IS FAR, FAR WORSE THAN THE “SIN OF LAW.”
Now, there is a “TIMING ISSUE” related to whether premarital sex is a DEADLY sin…for you see…IN GOD’S SIGHT…PROMISE MUST PRECEDE LAW. Let us emphasize this:
PROMISE MUST PRECEDE LAW.
In other words, in God’s sight, you are married THE MOMENT you and your spouse PROMISE to “love each other in every way for the rest of your lives” EVEN IF YOU DO NOT YET HAVE THE RECOGNITION BY AN AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT YOU ARE LEGALLY MARRIED.
If you engage in premarital sex BEFORE you PROMISE to “love each other in every way for the rest of your lives,” THIS PREMARITAL SEX IS A DEADLY SIN. In this case, you have committed both the “sin of ‘unionlessness’” and the “sin of law.”
If you engage in premarital sex AFTER you PROMISE to “love each other in every way for the rest of your lives,” THIS PREMARITAL SEX IS NOT A DEADLY SIN, THOUGH, OF COURSE, IT IS STILL A SIN. In this case, you have committed only the “sin of law.”
THOUGH YOU HAVE EARNED BLAME, ANYONE WHO VIOLENTLY CONDEMNS YOU FOR HAVING COMMITTED ONLY THE “SIN OF LAW” IS GOING TOO FAR.
Finally, sin, even if not deadly, ALWAYS HAS CONSEQUENCES. Happily, GOD WILL FORGIVE EVERY SIN (EXCEPT ONE). (If you have never learned what that one sin is, you have not committed it.)