You’ve heard it asked before. “OK, so sex before marriage is wrong, but how much can we do and still be good with God?”
I’m not sure if there’s a worse question a dating couple can ask.
There are two reasons this is a bad question:
1. It assumes God’s promises aren’t good for you.
That question has an underlying mindset that God is out to keep us from having fun. So yeah, we’ll give Him lip service because we don’t want to get struck with a lightning bolt or go to hell, but lets still have as much fun as He’ll let us before that happens. After all, God is out to get us, and everyone knows that it is satisfying to have as much fun with as many different partners as possible. Sex in a faithful, lifelong monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is no fun. (BTW, the numbers prove otherwise.)
2. It doesn’t come from a heart of love for God.
If I were to tell you that I love you as a friend, but right after that, ask what would be the minimum requirements to maintain our friendship, what would your response be?
What if I did the same thing to my wife? “Babe, I love you. Now, what is the absolute least I have to do in order for you to not divorce me?”
Rightfully, you would question whether or not I really loved you or loved my wife. A true heart of love seeks to do whatever it can to make the one he loves happy. And if someone seeks the minimum, it is likely a sign that his allegiance lies elsewhere.
When we ask the question, “How far is too far,” let’s be honest with ourselves. It does not reflect a heart that wants to love and serve God. It reflects a heart that wants the benefits that God gives without actually giving God anything of value. In the same way a guy wants to use his girl to satisfy his flesh (or vice versa!), it shows he wants to use God to do the same thing.
A Better Question
There isn’t one person in Scripture that was viewed as positive who wanted to do the minimum requirements to serve God. There is also not one command for Christians to go as close to sin as they can without “crossing the line.”
In fact, Scripture says Christians should “flee” unrighteousness.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things (1 Tim 6:11).
Flee sexual immorality . . . (1 Cor 6:18).
Flee from idolatry . . . (1 Cor 10:14).
Flee youthful passions . . . (2 Tim 2:22).
When Joseph was drawn by Potiphar’s wife to sleep with her, he didn’t get as close to intercourse as he possibly could and still maintain he was free from guilt. No. He ran away as fast as he could. He fled.
The question men and women of God must ask ourselves when it comes to dating isn’t “How far is too far in being physical?” The question to ask is, “By God’s grace, how far will He empower me to pursue righteousness?”
Asking this question seeks God’s best and encourages a loving response to God instead of trying to manipulate Him. Let’s start with asking how we can please God, not how much we can get away with.