WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE?

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There is no Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible that precisely refers to sex before marriage. The Bible undeniably condemns adultery and sexual immorality, but is sex before marriage considered sexually immoral? According to 1 Corinthians 7:2, “yes” is the clear answer: “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” In this verse, Paul states that marriage is the “cure” for sexual immorality. First Corinthians 7:2 is essentially saying that, because people cannot control themselves and so many are having immoral sex outside of marriage, people should get married. Then they can fulfill their passions in a moral way.

Since 1 Corinthians 7:2 clearly includes sex before marriage in the definition of sexual immorality, all of the Bible verses that condemn sexual immorality as being sinful also condemn sex before marriage as sinful. Sex before marriage is included in the biblical definition of sexual immorality. There are numerous Scriptures that declare sex before marriage to be a sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The Bible promotes complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4).
Far too often we focus on the “recreation” aspect of sex without recognizing that there is another aspect—procreation. Sex within marriage is pleasurable, and God designed it that way. God wants men and women to enjoy sexual activity within the confines of marriage. Song of Solomon and several other Bible passages (such as Proverbs 5:19) clearly describe the pleasure of sex. However, the couple must understand that God’s intent for sex includes producing children. Thus, for a couple to engage in sex before marriage is doubly wrong—they are enjoying pleasures not intended for them, and they are taking a chance of creating a human life outside of the family structure God intended for every child.

While practicality does not determine right from wrong, if the Bible’s message on sex before marriage were obeyed, there would be far fewer sexually transmitted diseases, far fewer abortions, far fewer unwed mothers and unwanted pregnancies, and far fewer children growing up without both parents in their lives. Abstinence is God’s only policy when it comes to sex before marriage. Abstinence saves lives, protects babies, gives sexual relations the proper value, and, most importantly, honors God.

Prophet Nathan Emol

HOW CAN I OVERCOME DISAPPOINTMENT IN MY LIFE?

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One of the unfortunate byproducts of living in a sinful, fallen world is that every person, Christian or not, experiences pain and suffering and disappointment in this life. From failed relationships to unfulfilled dreams, life can be filled with sorrow and disappointment. In fact, Jesus assured us of it: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). No one is immune.

In overcoming disappointments, it is important to keep them in perspective. Even though we cannot eliminate suffering or disappointment this side of heaven, it can become less formidable when viewed from a different vantage point. The first thing to keep in mind is this: no amount of suffering or disappointment we experience in this life can ever undo what God has done for us in Christ. Apart from Scripture, it is very difficult to have a proper perspective on suffering and disappointment, and these things will rarely make sense to those unacquainted with God’s Word. Neither psychology nor philosophy can offer a sufficient explanation for it. No social science can work restoration on the soul; only God can do this (Psalm 23:3). The truth is, our trials and disappointments, though we may not like them, do serve a purpose. It is through trials that we learn patience and humility, endurance and trust—virtues that strengthen us and develop godly character.

Also, it is during the difficult times that we learn to rely on God and experience firsthand the absolute trustworthiness of His Word. We also learn the truth of what Paul taught: God’s power is at its strongest when we are at our weakest (2 Corinthians 12:9). As A. W. Tozer observed, “If the truth were known, the saints of God in every age were only effective after they had been wounded.”

It is important that our perspective includes eternity. Our time on earth is an incalculably small fraction of our eternal journey. Consider the apostle Paul and the persecution he was subjected to while spreading the gospel. Although his litany of suffering seems unbearable by any measure, he amazingly referred to his hardships as “light and momentary troubles.” This is because he focused on the “eternal glory” that far outweighed any earthly disappointments he experienced (2 Corinthians 4:17; see also Romans 8:18). We can do this, he said, when we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but rather on what is unseen, our heavenly home (2 Corinthians 4:18).

It is faith that allows us to see the unseen. That’s why faith is such an indispensable element of the Christian life. Scripture teaches that we live by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7) and that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). We know that, as followers of Christ, we will experience disappointment and endure trials where our faith is indeed put to the test. And the apostle James tells us we should “consider it pure joy” when we face these trials, as this is how our faith strengthens and we mature as Christians (James 1:2-4).

Now, even though disappointments plague us until our final heartbeat, we can minimize them by understanding and applying the principle of reaping and sowing found throughout the Bible. “He who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18), whereas “he who sows wickedness reaps trouble” (Proverbs 22:8). When we faithfully live in accordance with God’s perfect Word, we forgo bringing unnecessary troubles and disappointments into our lives in the first place. As the psalmist declared, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word” (Psalm 119:9).

It also helps to remember the absolute sovereignty of God. Everything occurs either by His prescription or permission and in perfect accordance with His sovereign purposes and unfathomable ways (Romans 11:33). Prayer is the ultimate acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty. In the midst of our trial and disappointments, prayer gives us strength. It did for Moses (Exodus 32:11; Numbers 14:13; 20:6), David (Psalm 55:16-17), and Daniel (Daniel 6:10; 9:20-23). And before our Savior took on the sins of the world, He spent His final night in prayer (Matthew 27:36-44; John 17). Now He invites the “weary and burdened” to come to Him, and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).

Being a child of God means we are never alone in our trials (Hebrews 13:5). God gives us the strength and grace we need to endure any circumstance and to overcome any disappointment (Philippians 4:13; Psalm 68:35). His peace will guard our hearts when we look to Him (Philippians 4:6-7). As Maurice Roberts stated, “The degree of a Christian’s peace of mind depends upon his spiritual ability to interpose the thought of God between himself and his anxiety.” If we keep our mind on God, nothing can steal our peace.

Prophet Nathan Emol

IS IT WRONG TO BE ANGRY WITH GOD?

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Being angry at God is something that many people, both believers and unbelievers, have wrestled with throughout time. When something tragic happens in our lives, we ask God the question, “Why?” because it is our natural response. What we are really asking Him, though, is not so much “Why, God?” as “Why me, God?” This response indicates two flaws in our thinking. First, as believers we operate under the impression that life should be easy, and that God should prevent tragedy from happening to us. When He does not, we get angry with Him. Second, when we do not understand the extent of God’s sovereignty, we lose confidence in His ability to control circumstances, other people, and the way they affect us. Then we get angry with God because He seems to have lost control of the universe and especially control of our lives. When we lose faith in God’s sovereignty, it is because our frail human flesh is grappling with our own frustration and our lack of control over events. When good things happen, we all too often attribute it to our own achievements and success. When bad things happen, however, we are quick to blame God, and we get angry with Him for not preventing it, which indicates the first flaw in our thinking—that we deserve to be immune to unpleasant circumstances.

Tragedies bring home the awful truth that we are not in charge. All of us think at one time or another that we can control the outcomes of situations, but in reality it is God who is in charge of all of His creation. Everything that happens is either caused by or allowed by God. Not a sparrow falls to the ground nor a hair from our head without God knowing about it (Matthew 10:29-31). We can complain, get angry, and blame God for what is happening. Yet if we will trust Him and yield our bitterness and pain to Him, acknowledging the prideful sin of trying to force our own will over His, He can and will grant us His peace and strength to get us through any difficult situation (1 Corinthians 10:13). Many believers in Jesus Christ can testify to that very fact. We can be angry with God for many reasons, so we all have to accept at some point that there are things we cannot control or even understand with our finite minds.

Our understanding of the sovereignty of God in all circumstances must be accompanied by our understanding of His other attributes: love, mercy, kindness, goodness, righteousness, justice, and holiness. When we see our difficulties through the truth of God’s Word—which tells us that our loving and holy God works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), and that He has a perfect plan and purpose for us which cannot be thwarted (Isaiah 14:24, 46:9-10)—we begin to see our problems in a different light. We also know from Scripture that this life will never be one of continual joy and happiness. Rather, Job reminds us that “man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7), and that life is short and “full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Just because we come to Christ for salvation from sin does not mean we are guaranteed a life free from problems. In fact, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” but that He has “overcome the world” (John 16:33), enabling us to have peace within, in spite of the storms that rage around us (John 14:27).

One thing is certain: inappropriate anger is sin (Galatians 5:20; Ephesians 4:26-27, 31; Colossians 3:8). Ungodly anger is self-defeating, gives the devil a foothold in our lives, and can destroy our joy and peace if we hang on to it. Holding on to our anger will allow bitterness and resentment to spring up in our hearts. We must confess it to the Lord, and then in His forgiveness, we can release those feelings to Him. We must go before the Lord in prayer often in our grief, anger, and pain. The Bible tells us in 2 Samuel 12:15-23 that David went before the throne of grace on behalf of his sick baby, fasting, weeping, and praying for him to survive. When the baby passed away, David got up and worshipped the Lord and then told his servants that he knew where his baby was and that he would someday be with him in God’s presence. David cried out to God during the baby’s illness, and afterward he bowed before Him in worship. That is a wonderful testimony. God knows our hearts, and it is pointless to try to hide how we really feel, so talking to Him about it is one of the best ways to handle our grief. If we do so humbly, pouring out our hearts to Him, He will work through us, and in the process, will make us more like Him.

The bottom line is can we trust God with everything, our very lives and the lives of our loved ones? Of course we can! Our God is compassionate, full of grace and love, and as disciples of Christ we can trust Him with all things. When tragedies happen to us, we know God can use them to bring us closer to Him and to strengthen our faith, bringing us to maturity and completeness (Psalm 34:18; James 1:2-4). Then, we can be a comforting testimony to others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). That is easier said than done, however. It requires a daily surrendering of our own will to His, a faithful study of His attributes as seen in God’s Word, much prayer, and then applying what we learn to our own situation. By doing so, our faith will progressively grow and mature, making it easier to trust Him to get us through the next tragedy that most certainly will take place.

So, to answer the question directly, yes, it is wrong to be angry at God. Anger at God is a result of an inability or unwillingness to trust God even when we do not understand what He is doing. Anger at God is essentially telling God that He has done something wrong, which He never does. Does God understand when we are angry, frustrated, or disappointed with Him? Yes, He knows our hearts, and He knows how difficult and painful life in this world can be. Does that make it right to be angry with God? Absolutely not. Instead of being angry with God, we should pour out our hearts to Him in prayer, and trust that He is in control of His perfect plan.

Prophet Nathan Emol

IS BLAMING GOD RIGHT?

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Blaming God is a common response when life doesn’t go our way. Since God is supposedly in control of everything, the thinking goes, He could have stopped what happened. He could have changed the situation to benefit me; He could have averted the calamity. Since He did not, He is to blame.

In one sense, those statements are true. Isaiah 45:7 seems to validate the idea that God is to blame for everything that happens: “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” And Isaiah 46:9–11: “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. . . . I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ . . . What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.” If God is willing to take responsibility for everything, then is it wrong to blame Him when disaster or heartache strikes us?

The word blame means “to find fault with.” Blaming goes beyond acknowledging God’s sovereignty. Blaming God implies that He messed up, that there is a fault to be found in Him. When we blame God, we make ourselves His judge and jury. But mere human beings have no right to pass judgment on the Almighty. We are His creation; He is not ours: “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’” (Isaiah 45:9–10).

To help avoid blaming God, we must first understand why heartache and pain are a part of our lives. Sin is at the root of every harsh and evil act. God did not design the human body or soul to live in a sinful world. We were created perfectly to dwell in a perfect world (Genesis 1—2). But the sin of Adam brought devastation and disaster into God’s perfect world. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts—ultimately, all natural disasters are here because of sin (Genesis 3:17–19). Our own sinful choices create a ripple effect that echoes throughout our lives. And the sin of others affects us as well. Earthly trouble is a reminder that sin has terrible consequences, so, before we blame God for a crisis, we must examine our own lives and be honest about choices that could have led to it.

Second, we need to examine our own relationship with God. It is puzzling that many people who never give God a thought while doing their own thing become very religious when disaster strikes. They live for themselves 99 percent of the time, as if there were no God. But then tragedy strikes, and suddenly it is God’s fault. Not only is this irrational, but it is insulting to the Creator, who has already given us everything we need to have a relationship with Him.

Of course, having a right relationship with the Lord does not exempt us from suffering terrible heartaches. What do we do when disaster strikes us? Often, Christians are tempted to blame God when the suffering comes. We have a tendency to follow the advice of Job’s wife to her suffering husband: “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).

Instead of blaming God, Christians can run to Him for comfort (Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 34:18). Christians have a promise that the unbelieving world cannot claim. Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Some quote this verse and stop after the word good, but that is a misuse of Scripture. God placed two qualifiers after this promise that define its limits: the promise is “to those who love God” and to those “called according to His purpose.”

Instead of blaming God, those who love Him can face tragedy with the assurance that nothing can harm them that God did not allow for a good and loving reason. He allows difficult things, even suffering and death, for His own higher purposes. When we desire God’s will for our lives, prioritizing it over our own will, He wastes nothing. No suffering, heartache, loss, or pain is wasted in the lives of God’s own people. He transforms our grief and loss into a platform for future ministry. He uses the difficulties to strengthen us, giving us greater opportunities to store up treasure in heaven than we would have had without the pain (Matthew 6:20). Instead of blaming God, we “give thanks in everything” (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

We acknowledge that God can intervene in any situation; when He does not intervene, and tragedy ensues, we should stop short of blaming Him for wrongdoing. In all that Job suffered, “he did not sin by charging the Lord with wrongdoing” (Job 1:22). Instead of blaming God, who had allowed such overwhelming loss, Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). God honored Job’s response and blessed him mightily after he passed the test. God wants to bless us as well with greater understanding, deeper devotion, and eternal reward that can never be taken away. When we are tempted to blame God, we can choose Job’s response and trust that He knows what He is doing (see Psalm 131).

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHY DOES GOD REQUIRE FAITH?

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Our relationship with God is similar to our relationship with others in that all relationships require faith. We can never fully know any other person. We cannot experience all they experience nor enter into their minds to know what their thoughts and emotions are. Proverbs 14:10 says, “The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.” We are incapable of even knowing our own hearts fully. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the human heart is wicked and deceptive, “Who can know it?” In other words, the human heart is such that it seeks to hide the depth of its wickedness, deceiving even its owner. We do this through shifting blame, justifying wrong behavior, minimizing our sins, etc.

Because we are incapable of fully knowing other people, to some degree faith (trust) is an integral ingredient in all relationships. For example, a wife gets into a car with her husband driving, trusting him to drive safely, even though he often drives faster than she would on winter roads. She trusts him to act in their best interest at all times. We all share information about ourselves with others, trusting they will not betray us with that knowledge. We drive down the road, trusting those driving around us to follow the rules of the road. So, whether with strangers or with intimate friends and companions, because we cannot fully know others, trust is always a necessary component of our relationships.

If we cannot know our fellow finite human beings fully, how can we expect to fully know an infinite God? Even if He should desire to fully reveal Himself, it is impossible for us to fully know Him. It is like trying to pour the ocean (seemingly infinite in quantity) into a quart-measuring jar (finite)… impossible! Nonetheless, even as we can have meaningful relationships with others that we have grown to trust because of our knowledge of them and of their character, so God has revealed enough about Himself through His creation (Romans 1:18-21), through His written Word, the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21), and through His Son (John 14:9), that we can enter into a meaningful relationship with Him. But this is only possible when the barrier of one’s sin has been removed by trusting in Christ’s person and work on the cross as payment for one’s sin. This is necessary because, as it is impossible for both light and darkness to dwell together, so it is impossible for a holy God to have fellowship with sinful man unless his sin has been paid for and removed. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, died on the cross to take our punishment and change us so that the one who believes on Him can become a child of God and live eternally in His presence (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Peter 3:18; Romans 3:10-26).

There have been times in the past that God has revealed Himself more “visibly” to people. One example of this is at the time of the exodus from Egypt, when God revealed His care for the Israelites by sending the miraculous plagues upon the Egyptians until they were willing to release the Israelites from slavery. God then opened the Red Sea, enabling the approximately two million Israelites to cross over on dry ground. Then, as the Egyptian army sought to pursue them through the same opening, He crashed the waters upon them (Exodus 14:22-29). Later, in the wilderness, God fed them miraculously with manna, and He guided them in the day by a pillar of cloud and in the night by a pillar of fire, visible representations of His presence with them (Exodus 15:14-15).

Yet, in spite of these repeated demonstrations of His love, guidance, and power, the Israelites still refused to trust Him when He wanted them to enter into the Promised Land. They chose instead to trust the word of ten men who frightened them with their stories of the walled cities and the giant stature of some of the people of the land (Numbers 13:26-33). These events show that God’s further revelation of Himself to us would have no greater effect on our ability to trust Him. Were God to interact in a similar fashion with people living today, we would respond no differently than the Israelites because our sinful hearts are the same as theirs.

The Bible also speaks of a future time when the glorified Christ will return to rule the earth from Jerusalem for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-10). More people will be born on the earth during that reign of Christ. He will rule with complete justice and righteousness, yet, in spite of His perfect rule, the Bible states that at the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will have no trouble raising an army to rebel against Christ’s rule. The future event of the millennium and the past event of the exodus reveal that the problem is not with God insufficiently revealing Himself to man; rather, the problem is with man’s sinful heart rebelling against God’s loving reign. We sinfully crave self-rule.

God has revealed enough of His nature for us to be able to trust Him. He has shown through the events of history, in the workings of nature, and through the life of Jesus Christ that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving, all-holy, unchanging, and eternal. And in that revelation, He has shown that He is worthy to be trusted. But, as with the Israelites in the wilderness, the choice is ours whether or not we will trust Him. Often, we are inclined to make this choice based on what we think we know about God rather than what He has revealed about Himself and can be understood about Him through a careful study of His inerrant Word, the Bible. If you have not already done so, begin a careful study of the Bible, that you may come to know God through a reliance upon His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth to save us from our sins, so that we might have sweet companionship with God both now and in a fuller way in heaven one day.

Prophet Nathan Emol