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A recent survey asked people whether they had had sex outside of marriage. Ninety-five percent said yes. Sadly, people who profess to follow Jesus Christ are often among them. It often seems we might as well give up the fight to preserve the sanctity of marriage. But giving up ignores a critical consideration: God has not changed His mind about the sanctity of sex. The Apostle Paul addressed this issue in 1 Thessalonians 4. He gives three reasons why we should avoid sex outside of marriage: One reason is that “It is God’s will that we stay away from all sexual sin; That each of us should control our body and live in holiness and honor.” He says God chose us to live for his glory, and that means we should stay celibate until we marry. A second reason he gives for avoiding sex outside of marriage is this: God gave us His Holy Spirit to help us live celibate. The apostle says that to refuse the Spirit’s help is to reject God’s right to govern our lives. Finally, he says, to ignore God’s call to live a righteous life is to ignore that God will punish us for such sins. When we ignore God’s ageless standards about having sex apart from marriage, we are surely denying God’s ability to help us; and we are ignoring the penalty this violation brings–in both this life and the life to come. Those consequences remain even if everybody else is doing it.

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