The following is a re-post from the TNMBC Young Adult Bible Study Group on Facebook from June 9, 2011
"It is God's will that you be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;"
1st Thessalonians 4:3
A college student I know was very happy in her dating relationship. As far as she was concerned, everything was perfect. Her boyfriend was very attractive, excelling academically, active in young adult ministry at his church, well-liked by her parents, etc. So she was very serious when she asked me how to know whether or not it was "God's will" for them to be together.
She certainly hoped so because one of the wonderful qualities of their relationship was that they had already discovered that they were "sexually compatible". Okay...
I had to share the passage above in order to explain why from a biblical perspective, she and her boyfriend were NOT "in the will of God". She was very shocked to discover this since she was very convinced all was well. After all, they were in a loving, long-term, and monogamous relationship and had always been 'very careful' in their sexual exploration (not very careful to obey God's law... but very careful in other ways, apparently).
What I ultimately discovered was that she was looking for some kind of sign or confirmation that God had already given the green light on a decision she had already made. And this is the major temptation for us all: as fallen and sinful humans, we are naturally rebellious and routinely seek out an excuse or a rationale to exalt our post of view as right even when the Bible clearly teaches otherwise.
In another passage, the Apostle Paul says, "But among you there must be not even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity... (Ephesians 5:3). When he says, 'not even a hint', there's not a lot of breathing room, is there?
The issue is bigger than sex. It's about sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit empowers us to be less and less under the power of sin by making us more and more like Jesus in thought, behavior, and character. Being holy means being separate, and set apart for God's purposes. In a generation where seeing it all and doing it all by/before age 18 is acceptable and applauded, the Christian is challenged to stand out and invite ridicule for what many call "out-dated and old-fashioned".
But if you're a believer in Christ, it's personal. You were bought and ransomed from sin at the cost of Christ's blood. You are no longer your own, therefore, you honor God with your body. It's God's will.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1st Corinthians 6:18-20