My girlfriend and I are both virgins, but last month she gave me a hand job. We know it is bad. We asked for forgiveness and have decided we will stop sexually touching each other. My question is do I need to be taken out of the church? Like the brother in I Corinthians chapter 5? I am like the ones that Paul writes about, a fornicator, whom we are not even eat with (I Corinthians 5:11, I think it is). Does this apply even though I did not had sex?

Some of my not so good friends tell me, if I had a hand job, then just go all the way and have sex because it is almost the same thing. I respond no, even though it is bad, intercourse worse. Am I judging badly?


I'm glad you and your girlfriend recognize that what you did was sinful. Paul stated, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1). By that Paul is speaking sexual touching between a man and woman who aren't married to each other. It is false to say that you did not have sex. You haven't had sexual intercourse. What you did do was go part way -- you were involved in foreplay, which is an essential part of sex. The fact that you ejaculated externally and didn't put your penis into your girlfriend doesn't make it any less a sexual act.

In I Corinthians 5, the problem Paul was addressing was, "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles--that a man has his father's wife!" (I Corinthians 5:1). In other words the man was actively engaging in immoral sex and yet was still being accept by the people in the church. It is clearly seen in "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a person" (I Corinthians 5:11). By saying "who is" Paul is talking about people currently engaged in sinful activity.

This doesn't fit your situation. You sinned, but you are not remaining in your sin. You aren't trying to justify it, you know that it was wrong and you repented of it. In other words you are like some of the members of the church in Corinth. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11). Notice the use of the past tense in verse 11. Some of the Corinthian members had been involved in these sins, but no longer.

"My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent" (Proverbs 1:10). Sounds to me that you need to stop calling these people "friends." Perhaps "acquaintances" would be better. What they are saying is foolish. Doing one sin doesn't justify doing more sin. Being given a hand job was a sin, you don't justify doing it again by saying you've already done it once. For the same reason you don't justify intercourse because you've had a hand job.

In one sense, all sins are alike. They are all wrong. The unrepentant sinners all end up in the same place. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). In another sense, some sins are worse because of the impact that the sin has in the world. Getting a hand job could in very rare cases lead to pregnancy, but having sexual intercourse increases the odds greatly. If such happens, it can impact not just your life, but hers and possibly a child's. So in that sense, sexual intercourse can be a worse sin. The point is that sins have consequences. They cause damage to people's lives and to the world around them. That is why Christians need to avoid them as much as possible.

Even this sin has impacted your life. At a minimum, you don't look at yourself the same way as you did before. What concerns me is that it leaves both of you vulnerable to repeating the sin. I'm glad you are committed to keeping your hands off each other, and I strongly urge you to keep that commitment until after you are married.

Thank you for the answer, brother. I have wondered about that verse. I know I did wrong, and I know it is hard to stop, but with God help it is possible. My girlfriend lives far from me so that helps.

So I understand, when you say you're worried that we might do it again, do you mean that if it happens we do need to be kicked out of the church, or do you mean if we do it again we will end up having intercourse?

Yes, with Christ all things are possible. But that means you need to stay with Christ. As God warned King Asa, "The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you" (II Chronicles 15:2).

My concern is that I understand the lure of sin, especially sexual sins. I've seen many young people slip into sin, even though they had firm intentions to do what was right. Habits are hard to break. You and your girlfriend had formed a bad habit of sexually arousing each other through touch when you got together. That eventually led to you allowing her to give you a hand job. Now that you realize the sinfulness of that action, you need to not only stop the hand jobs, but also to stop the sexual touching that led up to the hand job. That is going to be hard. It means you are going to have to find a new (though better) way of relating with your girlfriend. You are going to have to spend more time communicating and no time of fooling around with each other's bodies.

Many relationships can survive such a drastic change. Many end up going back to old habits, sometimes out of desperation of trying to make the relationship work. I'm hoping and praying that doesn't happen to you.

And, yes, there is a strong danger that if you slip up again that you'll give up for the moment and go further, perhaps even to fornication.

Withdrawal from someone comes when it is shown to them that their actions are wrong and they refuse to give up their sins. Then the congregation, to keep itself pure, withdraws from the sinners until such time that they do repent of their sins. It is a way to get people to stop continuing in sin. It is not a punishment given each time a person sins (assuming they also repent of their sins).