Is There Forgiveness After Sex Before Marriage?
Will God forgive me if I have had sex before marriage?
Sorry and Afraid
Dear Sorry and Afraid,
Although I have much to say about this topic, let me first give you a straightforward answer to your question:
Will God forgive you if you have sex before marriage? The answer is YES!
Although the immediate answer is simple, let me also say a bit more. As you may know, God’s plan for a healthy sexual relationship is within marriage. His design is perfect. Sex is a demonstration of love, emotional connection, and commitment. In a pre-marital relationship, you may feel that you have all of these, but it is within marriage that these three qualities are fully established. This is why God wants us to wait until marriage.
Sex is a demonstration of love, emotional connection, and commitment. In a pre-marital relationship, you may feel that you have all of these, but it is within marriage that these three qualities are fully established.
Your question about God’s forgiveness demonstrates your concern about following his design for sexual intimacy. This is a good thing. God desires for our hearts to be oriented toward his will. Like a compass pointed firmly north, God wants our hearts directed toward, and firmly on, him. For those of us who have given our lives over to him, he offers his unending grace and forgiveness for all we have done or will do that is counter to his will. This includes having sex before marriage.
You may remember the Apostle Paul’s lament: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing,” (Rom. 7:19). You may feel the same way when you think about choices you have made in the past. But we can’t forget that Paul later says, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:25). Praise God that he knows that we struggle with following his will and that he offers his strength, presence, and the presence of other Christians to encourage us and keep us accountable to live godly lives.
So, now that you know God will forgive you, what do you do? Paul asks, should we keep on doing things against God’s will so that we can see more of his grace? Of course not! Instead, consider the following:
- Accept God’s forgiveness. See yourself through God’s eyes. He forgives your sin, and removes it as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
- Forgive yourself. Knowing you have God’s forgiveness, you can be free from condemnation, even your own. Living within this freedom, you can love and serve God and others without carrying the pain and guilt of the past.
- Allow God to restore you. Seek relationships with other Christians who support your desire to remain abstinent until marriage. Avoid circumstances and situations that may make it difficult to make a choice to stay abstinent and focus on activities that build up your relationship with God. Remember, it was for freedom that Christ set us free (Gal. 5:1), so go and live a forgiven life!
Veola Vazquez is a licensed psychologist and professor of psychology at California Baptist University. She regularly speaks at Bible studies, women’s retreats, conferences and community outreach events. She is an author of children’s and women’s fiction. She earned her Ph.D. from Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University.