God won't send someone to hell just for pre-marital sex will He?


As I explored your web site, I noticed it wasn't a medical web site, it as a religious site. Well, I have another question for you then, if you don't mind me asking too many questions. This one is actually coming from my fiance and I.

We are working with a long distant relationship. I'm in the Army, stationed a couple of states away from where she lives. About two months ago, I was able to spend about three weeks with her, and we became very intimate. Although I wasn't a virgin, she was. I have just gotten back from another block leave which gave us a week together and we were intimate that week as well. I then received a phone call from her after I returned to my duty station. She was really upset, and she had told me that her Sunday school teacher told her that if you have sex before you're married that you'll go to Hell. I think he was wrong by telling her that and that his assumption is a little too dramatic, and that he will be incorrect for what will come to pass.

Now I understand it is going against God's word, but I think being condemned to Hell for eternity over premarital sex is a little extreme. I was brought up religiously by my grandmother. She told me once that the only unforgivable sins was, "making fun of the Holy Ghost" and "suicide."

Since you're a minister I would like to hear your input on the matter. I hope this doesn't make God frown upon me and my fiance. Just so you know, in her defense, her pre-marital sex won't be in vain because we are getting married in about twenty days. As for me, I have been with two others before her. I do regret it, but what is done is done. I can't change what I have done.


I am happy to address all the questions I can, especially ones that raise important issues, such as this one. I hope you will take the time to read the entire answer and not get put out because some of this will likely "step on your toes" a bit, but that is the nature of preaching.

Yes, there is a fair bit of medical information on my site. It came about from writing books on sexual development from a biblical perspective and a book on preparing for marriage. I'm finding there are a number of people who rather ask personal questions of someone they don't know, but can trust to give them a viewpoint that is biblically correct. I have interests in the medical field and am a fairly good researcher, so I'm happy to do what I can.

Few people would consider the actions that they do to be wrong so the knee-jerk reaction to someone pointing out a problem is to excuse the behavior in some fashion. You acknowledge that pre-marital sex is wrong, but you assume that God won't punish people eternally in hell for such a sin. The problem is that all you've offered is your opinion. You didn't seek what God said on the matter and so you put words in God's mouth. Most of us don't like it when someone assumes to know what we like or don't like without ever asking us. I'm sure your mom has bought you clothes that she just knew you liked and was upset to learn that you can't stand them (every mother and son seems to go through such episodes). So why would you assume God will like what you decide on your own to do?

First, lets understand something about the nature of God. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth" (I John 1:5-6). Darkness and light is one of the ways the Bible represents sin and righteousness. God is righteous and there is not even a shadow of sin in His nature. Just as light banishes darkness by its very presence, sin cannot exist in the presence of God. That is why Isaiah was upset when he beheld a vision of God. "So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts"" (Isaiah 6:5). Seeing God made Isaiah realize just how sinful he was. That is why John said that if we practice sin, but also claim to be in fellowship with God we are lying. God has no fellowship with sinners. The statement doesn't come through clearly in English as it does in Greek because Greek has several more tenses than we do in English. John is talking about a person who continues to sins, not someone who had once sinned and turned away from it.

We have to realize that everyone sins from time to time. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8). The point is that by ourselves we could never enter the presence of God because we all sin (Romans 1:23). Fortunately, God has provided a path to forgiveness of sin. It involves the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7). We contact that blood when we obey God's command to be baptized. "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4). But notice that it also involves a change in how we live our lives. God doesn't save people while they remain in their sins. God saves people from their sins. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2).

The concept of changing the direction of our life and leaving sin behind is called repentance. It is the translation of a Greek military term that would be similar to that command I'm sure you are familiar with: "About face!" This is what Paul preached to people, "that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance" (Acts 26:20). It is so important that Jesus stated that a person cannot be saved without changing his life. "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

When you combine the two ideas, you realize that this is what Peter told the Jews when he convinced them of their sins. "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37-38).

Along with the idea of repentance is the fact that we cannot excuse our sinful behavior. God expects us to own up to our faults. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).

All of these verses deal with the nature of sin in general. It is true for any and all sins. Later in the book of I John, John explains that some sins will be forgiven, but others will not be. "If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death" (I John 5:17-18). You can read an article that I wrote on these two verses, called "A Sin Leading to Death," for more details, but for now let's just note that any sin that is not repented of and confessed to God will lead to death. In this your grandmother was at least partly right. Suicide is a form of murder and when someone successfully commits suicide it is difficult -- actually, impossible -- to turn from that sin and ask God for forgiveness since you would be dead. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is of the same nature. People don't turn away from that particular sin; not because they have died physically, but because they have killed themselves spiritually. People who blaspheme the Holy Spirit have no interest in turning from their sin and without that return, they cannot be saved. It is not that God doesn't want them to be saved. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). The sad truth is that some people are just too stubborn to turn away from their sins.

Now, let's address what you and your fiance did. The Greek word for pre-marital sex is pornia. It refers to any sexual act that takes place outside of a marriage covenant. In older English translations it is called "fornication." Newer translations tend to avoid that word. They will generally use the phrase "sexual immorality" or sometimes just "immorality," but the meaning remains the same.

Paul told the Corinthians, "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" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). He could have written this just for you. He starts out by say "Do not be deceived;" in other words, don't lie to yourself about these sins. You cannot practice them and get to heaven. In Revelation we read a more blunt statement, "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

So is the Bible class teacher correct? In part, yes. If you and your fiance don't take corrective action in regard to your sin, then it can result in you ending up in hell -- just like any other unrepented sin. After telling the Corinthians that fornication and other sins will keep a person out of heaven, Paul points out that they did take corrective action. "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 6:11). They were sinners, but that was the past. They had repented. In addition, they were washed, which is an allusion to baptism. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). And as a result they were forgiven of their sins.

That then leads us to your second excuse: the fact that you will shortly be married. What is so wrong with having sex just before you get married?

First, you and I both know you have a dangerous occupation. There is a chance, slight though it might be that you won't live to see your wedding day. "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16). Even people is hum-drum jobs can't guarantee what tomorrow will bring. I could get run over by a truck on the way home tonight. Further, you don't have control over your duty. Neither of us can say absolutely that you won't get deployed just before your wedding. Again, it is not likely to happen, but the possibility is there.

What you did was prove to your fiance and others that sexual gratification is more important to you than doing what is right. You planted a seed of doubt long with your own seed. If you are willing to break God's laws now regarding sex, what evidence can you give to prove that you won't break your vows after marriage if the opportunity arises? After all, it is not as if you couldn't wait, it was only three months if I added the numbers up right. Even if you never break your vows, and I sincerely pray that you will be man enough to remain faithful, you have put an obstacle in your marriage. It can be overcome, but it was an obstacle that didn't need to be there.

You see, one of the foundations of love is trust. Love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing" (I Corinthians 13:7). But now you are going to have to put extra effort in gaining full trust in her and she in you.

Even though people call sex "making love," it isn't love when it takes place outside of a marriage covenant. One aspect of love is that people in love don't want to harm their partner -- physically, emotionally, or spiritually. A person in love doesn't want to cause their partner to sin. "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth" (I Corinthians 13:4-6). Think about it:

  • Love is longsuffering, it bears all things, and endures all things. But you couldn't wait to put your penis in her. Was that truly an act of love? Or was it simply animal instinct? Which did you show to be more important to you? Righteousness or orgasms?
  • Love doesn't parade itself, it is not puffed up, it doesn't seek its own. But why did you have sex? Was it to make her a better person, or to satisfy your own lust?
  • Love doe not behave rudely, thinks no evil, and does not rejoice in sin. You state that you realized having sex with two other women was wrong. So why were you willing to repeat what you state is a sin with someone you claim to love? She had some strength of character to remain a virgin until you got a hold of her. Does it tickle your fancy that you took away her faithfulness before your marriage?

I know I'm being rough in these questions, but you need to see that sex outside of marriage isn't just about orgasm and personal satisfaction. Any time sex happens, there is a possibility that a child can be conceived. If the worse happens and you were unable to marry this woman, that potential child could potential grow up with his father. No innocent child deserves that.

I'm glad that the two of you are going to get married shortly, but I would be happier if both of you turn things around, even in this short time before your wedding and not only not have sex again before your wedding night, but also acknowledge your sin to the Father in Heaven. If you haven't obeyed God's commands concerning salvation from your sins, I pray that you will do so as well.

"Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).