Greetings, I would like to know if lobola (bride price) is equivalent to marriage with regards to sexual relations. I have recently payed lobola (bride price) but not the full amount, I am saving money and will pay the full price next and then get married. My curiosity is: Is it ok still sinful to have sexual relations after paying the bride price and having been declared the groom and the bride but prior to marriage?
As you noted, you are not yet married. There is no covenant entered into (Malachi 2:14), just an intention to enter a covenant with her. Until the wedding takes place and you made a covenant with her, sex is not allowed. "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).