Sex Before Marriage - and God's Grace

This is a beautiful post where we see just how gracious, loving and good God is despite our continual failures, weaknesses and compromises. We know that we will all continue to make mistakes, including physical ones, but that we are not to despair, because Jesus has already saved us and we are forever daughters of the King! Read and be reminded our grace-giving Father who loves us no matter what we have done.

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I think I was about nine years old when I discovered that the white wedding dress worn by brides symbolised purity and virginity. One of the Blue Peter presenters was getting married and I think there may have been a newspaper article on how her Christian relationship meant that she could ‘truly wear white’ on her wedding day. Six years later, and I was watching another wedding when the realisation that I could no longer ‘truly wear white’ on my wedding day began to sink in. I became a Christian 3 years later, and watched girls who had never kissed a boy dream about their perfect wedding, their perfect dress, and their perfect man, all the time their faces glowing with a kind of purity that I felt like I had forsaken years before.

But as I grew, I realised the truth and the revelation about Christianity: that I had been absolved of all my sin, and that I could stand pure and blameless before Jesus, as he had taken every sin that I had committed and had washed them all away.

The relief I felt on that day was almost painful, as I gave over to God my past relationships and all the wrong things I had done. I got baptised and I died to my sin, coming back up a new creation in the Lord, determined to pursue this new purity I had been granted. I was determined to eschew my old life and grab on to this new start.

But what happens when this goes wrong? I feel as Christians we are so quick to talk about our old life and what has been done when we were ‘unsaved’ and still living with the consequences of our sin. But what about when we are living as a new creation, and we despoil that one too? Just because we are born again does not mean that our new life is without sin, or huge struggles, and I feel like as God’s people, we need to stop shutting these ‘problem cases’ away, to be dealt with elsewhere, but to really accept the fact that although we have a new life, we are trying to pursue Jesus’ example in a broken world, and there are times that we will mess up.

For me what happened was completely unexpected. If someone said to me last year that I would have gone through the things I did, I would have been very offended and would have completely rejected it. But we need to appreciate the fact that it is often at our highest point where it is easiest to get knocked. I had had a completely ‘Christian’ summer; Christian camps, mission trips, social action projects. I was reading my bible, praying, loving experiencing God in my everyday life...and then I met someone.

He was kind, funny, and intent on spending more time with me. I was flattered, and began to shut God out, more and more each day, as I let this boy in, more and more. He wasn’t a Christian, and I think the way I acted around him and things I failed to say must have portrayed me as a nominal Christian, not someone who just a month before had been so excited and passionate about pursuing God and putting all relationships to the side to honour Him. From the beginning I knew what I was doing. I knew I was disobedient. No one likes to be told off so I covered my ears to the One who made me, who loved me even though He knew what I had done, was doing and was going to do.

The day when I knew it had gone too far was the day I took off my ‘I love God’ bracelet, one that had been given to me by someone so dear to my heart, one that had been worn for months without taking it off. It, instead of being the beacon of my faith to the stranger walking past, embarrassed me. That was the day that I slept with him. It was incredible how easy my new celibacy crumbled, and how empty I felt knowing that I had run away from the God that had claimed me as his own. So I filled this emptiness with that boy.

I would still pray, sometimes in the dark at night. I would be angry with Him: 'Can you see me now God? Are you happy? Why didn’t you stop this? I thought you were all powerful?’. I shut out my Christian friends, knowing that they would give me the uncomfortable truth. Because actually, when I had got so far, it was the hardest but most clear decision for me to make: a present, tangible worldly satisfaction of someone who loved me but made me shun God...or a righteous life with a Creator God, and an acceptance of the sacrifice that was made in my name.

I knew the choice was so painful to make, so I prayed. I said to my God ‘Father, I cannot do this in my own strength. Your will be done’. And His will was done. The decision was made for me.

I look back and see only my weakness, but we know in our weakness, Christ is unbelievably strong.

I love Romans 3:23: ‘For all have sinned andfallen short of the glory of God’. For our Christian society, the sin I committed with my body, the way I messed up is abhorrent to them. It is considered a bigger sin than others, and for me, it was heartbreaking. But ALL have sinned and ALL have fallen short of the glory of God. It is so important to lay off judgement. Speaking out from this shield of anonymity I plead with you to remember that all sin is equal, that we all sin. For me, my immorality sometimes feels like a prison sentence. Not many people know about my not so distant past, so people talk about "those sexual sinners" in front of me - and I just hear condemnation. Worrying that no ‘godly’ man would ever dream about marrying someone with the past that I have had... I instead have to return constantly to the fact that ultimately I am forgiven by the only one that matters, who, when I was still far off met me in His son, and welcomed me home.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:19)

Because fundamentally, if I get married, I am able to wear white on my wedding day, not because of anything I could ever do or 'make up for' - but because God never changes. He loves us more than we can imagine - so I am not tempted to despair: I am born again. I accept the white robes, and the clean life He bargained for me.

When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within Upward I look and see Him there, who made an end of all my sin. Because the sinless Saviour died, my sinful soul is counted free. For God the just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.
The great unchangeable I am, the King of glory and of grace One in Himself I cannot die, my soul is purchased by His blood My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ my Saviour and my God.

- Before The Throne Of God Above, C. L. Bancroft

Click here to read the rest of our summer series.

Perfect Standards for an Imperfect Soul

Perfect Standards for an Imperfect Soul

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Taking a Breath