Bible Study Discussions with Gary Panell
Question: Is it alright for two Christians to live together without being married? My sister’s boyfriend’s brother, who is a Christian, lives with his girlfriend. I don’t know if there is any sexual activity going on, but I think this is influencing my sister to consider doing the same. She feels that there is nothing wrong with spending the night at her boyfriend’s house or having him spend the night at our house. How does God feel about this? Is it living in sin?
Answer: So often today Christians who see those in the world sinning think they can do the same thing and get away with it. Or they may feel everyone is doing it, so what’s the difference? But if a person is truly saved they don’t want to even have the appearance of sin in their lives. "Abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
You know, anyone can claim to be a Christian, but the Bible makes it clear that Christians don’t practice sin. God is also adamant about this subject of fornication, and, yes, living together before being married is fornication. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4)
We are not to play as close to the fire as we can, we are to get away from the fire! "Flee [run away from] sexual immorality. Every sin that a man [woman] does is outside the body, but he [she] who commits sexual immorality sins against his [her] own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
If a person is practicing sin they cannot have the assurance of salvation according to the Bible. Living together before marriage certainly is sin. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." (1 John 1:5-6) "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him [her]." (1 John 23-4)
You might think that this is a little strong, but you will need to take it up with God and His Word the Bible if you feel this way. He also says, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man [woman] sows, that he [she] will also reap. For he [she] who sows to his [her] flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he [she] who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." (Galatians 6:7-8)
History and the Bible are full of stories of people who played with fire and ended up being burned. Two people living together or even staying over night together will sooner or later reap the consequences. Just look at the story of Samson in the Bible, Judges 16, and see his tragic end.
How much better it would be to seek God’s perfect will, and wait on God’s timing for us to get married. He can, and will help us if we are willing to wait for His best for our lives. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) "… The LORD God will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly." (Psalm 84:11)
Sometimes we think that "everyone is doing it," and there are a lot that are, but there are also a lot of Christians who are waiting for marriage before they have sex. They want to do things God’s way, knowing He knows best, since He is the one who invented love, romance, and marriage. He also knows the temptations, but He has said if we are willing to let Him help us He will provide a way of escape. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man [woman]; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
If you want to see how it is supposed to be done, look at the beautiful romance story of Ruth in the Bible. Ruth also became a mother in the line of Jesus, because she was willing to wait for God’s perfect will for her life in the area of marriage. We have other articles on this subject if you are interested:
Thanks for the question,
Gary T. Panell
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Keywords: marriage, married, premarital, pre-marital, cohabitation, co-habitation, living together