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Q&A: Is it okay to live together if we are planning to get married?

My fiancée and I are living together and plan to get married in a year, but my parents say it’s still wrong. Doesn’t the fact that we are planning to get married make this okay?

God’s will for our lives

“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). God tells us that we ought not even have a hint of sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3). God also tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Would we ever think of desecrating even an earthly church building? How much worse would it be to desecrate the temple where the Holy Spirit lives?

God is very clear on his will: “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers . . . will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). The heart of a believer is not a perfect one, but it is a repentant one. These passages are speaking of those who live in these sins and are not repentant. Scripture describes the unrepentant person’s viewpoint: “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

The Christian life is difficult

It might be difficult to live in a God-pleasing way immediately. However, we make situations difficult for ourselves. Now making it right may be doubly hard, but this is exactly what a believer wants to do for the one who gave everything up on the cross for him.

Jesus promised that the Christian life would be difficult: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Deny self. That is so difficult, but this is what it comes down to: Deny yourself, or deny your Savior who gave up everything for you.

Repentance cannot be programmed

Living as husband and wife before marriage is sinful. We are the bride of Christ. When we deliberately walk away from his will, the Bible says that we are committing adultery against God. Imagine that your girlfriend has an affair with another man. You confront her about it and she says, “I’m so sorry!” You forgive her. But then she proceeds to say, “So in a year when he leaves town, this affair will be over.” Are you okay with that? Of course not, and neither is God. Since repentance is the work of God through his Word to lead us to sorrow over our sin and look to him for forgiveness, we cannot program it. We cannot say that we will be sorry in a year and turn away from a sin at that time. God loves you. He is also jealous for your love.

God wants your heart. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37). Can you see his heart? He longs to have you back. It is the same heart that willingly paid for every one of your sins on the cross, including this one. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Author: David Scharf
Volume 108, Number 3
Issue: March 2021

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This entry is part 28 of 67 in the series question-answer

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