I have to admit I was surprised to get a request from a women’s ministry director asking me what verses in the Bible she could give to a Christian woman she was mentoring who was divorced and now dating, but struggling with not having sex with her boyfriend. It was a revelation and reminder of how much our culture has invaded the church and how little so many Christians know about what the Bible says about sex and the immoral issues debated and questioned today by not only the culture, but by Christians.
The title of this article, or the fact that the woman in my story was a divorced Christian, might lead you to focus on “divorce” and miss the point of this important discussion of sex outside of marriage for divorced Christians. So may I suggest you read a blog I wrote previously on What the Divorced Christian Wants You to Know. I do believe that God hates divorce, but I don’t believe that it is an unforgivable sin. In fact, the only sin the Bible does say is unforgivable is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31-32). But forgiveness is a process in which we must admit and confess to God that we’ve sinned, ask for His forgiveness, repent, go and sin no more, and live in His undeserved grace and mercy.
The initial question asked by the women’s ministry director was: Where does the Bible talk about sex outside of marriage being wrong? That’s another topic I’ve discussed in Have You Forgiven Each Other for Premarital Sex?. That article covers why sex outside of marriage is a sin, but again we can be forgiven by confession, repentance, and requesting God’s mercy. However, we need to take it one step further in asking forgiveness from the spouse that was either cheated on, or cheated with, before marriage.
So now we come to the question about the divorced Christian and sex. I think the answer is clear: Why would the moral directives be any different for divorcees just because they’ve been married before and are not virgins? For some reason, there is the mistaken thought that the rules of immorality are different if you’ve already had a sexual relationship or experienced sex with a previous mate.
Does that sound as convoluted to you as it does to me? Sex outside of marriage is a sin no matter what season of life. The Bible has no qualifiers. There might be the thought: Well I’ve already sinned getting a divorce, so I’m doomed anyway so I might as well do what I want. That could not be further from the truth. Yes, the circumstances of your divorce might have involved sin, but if you’ve asked for forgiveness and received God’s mercy and grace, repentance means you stop sinning. Why would you want to test God again by sinning sexually?
Anyone questioning God on this issue reminds me of Adam and Eve with Satan in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted Eve with the question: Did God really say that? And civilization has been seduced by that question from the liar and “father of lies” (John 8:44) ever since. So did God really say a divorced person should not have sex? Satan would challenge you, “Can you actually find those words in the Bible?”
The answer: Absolutely! There are no loopholes in the Bible. Sin is sin, but God bumps sexual sin up a degree because it’s a sin against your body that He created, His temple in you. Sex with anyone besides your husband or your wife is immoral, period, whether you’ve been married before or never married. But don’t rely on my word for it, look at what God’s Word says. Every Scripture that addresses sexual immorality, lust, and adultery—sex outside of marriage or with someone who isn’t your spouse—is condemned by God, no exceptions whether you’re single, divorced, or widowed:
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.’ Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’ There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for ‘becoming one’ with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:16-20 The Message)
Some translations might use the word “prostitute,” which means sexually promiscuous. Think about that for a moment... When you have sex outside of marriage, God equates that to prostitution. Here are a few more verses where God addresses the sin of sexual immorality:
“Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.” (Ephesians 5:3 NLT)
“But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2)
“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
Will this be a popular position in today’s culture where living together, unwed pregnancies, and casual hookups are the norm? No, but those are the world’s values and as Christians, we’re told to be in the world but not of the world. To the argument that everyone is doing it, I think we tabled that rationalization when we left high school, or became Christians, whichever came first.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
Whether you’re never married, divorced, or widowed, if you want to have sex with someone, you must marry them. If they’re not the right one for you to marry, they’re for sure not the right one for sex!
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4
Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 18 books including, new release Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, The Team That Jesus Built, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?, Dear God They Say It’s Cancer, and Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. She is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet at: womantowomanmentoring.com.
Publication date: June 20, 2016