How does the Bible define sexual purity? Inside and outside of marriage?

To define Biblical sex, we have to look at both the old and new testaments.

First things first. God specifically made woman because there was no suitable helper for a man among what He has created. Men and women’s longing for each other is Biblical in how we were created. And God set this up for a purpose when He created women.

Genesis 2:21-25 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Jesus echoes this scripture in Matthew 19 while addressing divorce and Paul does too in Ephesians 5 as he addresses husbands and wives in the church.

This was God’s plan: for one man and one woman to be joined together, both in a marriage sense and in a sexual sense. The problem? We as people are terrible at obeying God. Adam and Eve sinned, were kicked out of the garden, had kids who brought about the first murder and righteousness began to decline. People were so corrupt that God flooded the Earth to rid it of sin. But even a “factory reset” couldn’t save our sorry butts. People continued to sin. It’s in our nature.

Fast forward to Moses and the Israelites. God sets a bunch of rules before the people and some were about sex. Exodus 22: 6 says, “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife.” Deuteronomy 22 says that if a woman married and was found to not be a virgin at that time, she was to be stoned to death. And, if a man lay with a betrothed virgin, they were to both be stoned. God intended for sex to be between two married people.

In Leviticus 18, God gets even more specific. He addresses adultery, sex amongst family members, homosexuality and bestiality.

And God doesn’t change. He doesn’t contradict himself and there is no evil in Him. So, to those of you saying “well, that’s old testament.” News flash: That’s GOD. He is good and unchanging.

So, let’s face it. Anything we do outside of God’s plan is immoral, so sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:9-20 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined[d] to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[e] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Inside of marriage, sex is an amazing thing. It creates intimacy between you and your spouse. It’s a precious thing that you share with each other and only each other. It’s a good thing. (Read Song of Solomon!) In fact, sex within the boundaries of marriage is worship because you are using it for what God created it for. As long as you are not bringing anyone else into it, whether physically or visually, you’re good to enjoy it!

(Want to do a little experiment with your spouse? Read Sexsperiment by Ed Young.)

What is the church’s view of sex? Will I go to hell if I had sex before marriage? How do I not have sex before marriage?

The church’s view of sex is God’s view of sex. We believe what He says so read the answer to the question above if you haven’t already.

You will not go to hell if you had sex before marriage.

John 14: 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 10: 9-11 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Salvation is a heart issue. There is no good thing you can do to get yourself into heaven and there is no bad thing you can do to get yourself out of heaven. You either accept Christ and believe God or you don’t. But I will say that when you accept Christ, things change. Your heart changes and you want to obey God. As Christians, we all make mistakes and we all give into temptation but we are striving to live like Him. So, check your heart. If you truly believe and have confessed and are trying to follow Him, then you are His.

So, how do you not have sex before marriage? You CHOOSE not to. And don’t say “I can’t” because you can. In the same way that you choose to tell the truth or choose to be patient when you’re frustrated or choose to love someone who is not so loveable, you choose to stay pure.

Here’s how:

1 – I Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” Fill yourself up with God and His word. Watch good things, listen to good things, read good things. Worship, pray, learn and stay connected in God’s word. Good produces good and evil produces evil.

Luke 6: 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

2 – I Corinthians 6:18 says flee from sexual immorality. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t put yourself in the position. Don’t spend time with your significant other one-on-one. Don’t let them spend time at your house and don’t spend time at their house without another person present who will keep you accountable. It’s not “extreme”, it’s smart. And, it’s worth it.

Is it ok for a Christian couple to live together before marriage?

For reasons stated in the answers to the 2 questions above, no. It is not ok to live together before marriage.

Counseling for people that aren’t married but live together as married.

If you know of two people who are looking for counseling, they can fill this out: http://www.thevinecc.tv/counseling/

But, if you are wondering how to counsel those people. You can speak the truth in love but, in reality, there's not a whole lot you can say to change someone's mind. So, encourage them to do right, pray for them and, most of all, don't condemn them. Use kind words and when they don't listen, let it go and continue to show them Christ's love through your life.