Biblical dating rules

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Many wanted to know, did I really mean no physical intimacy? Isn't it sex outside of marriage that Scripture explicitly prohibits?How can you say definitively that other things are wrong? Shouldn't our physical relationship "progress" as other aspects of our relationship deepen? I understand most physical stuff is wrong, but what about just kissing? With respect to pre-marital, romantically oriented kissing, we're clearly talking about an area about which reasonable believers can (and do) disagree.All of these topics will, Lord willing, be covered in future columns.It's simply impossible for me to address all of the fantastic individual questions and comments we've received, but know that we will do our very best to incorporate as many as possible into the columns themselves and the blog discussions that follow. Quite a few of you asked questions or made comments about my statement in Biblical Dating, an Introduction that "Biblical dating assumes NO physical intimacy" outside of marriage.Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his holy spirit." Look closely at verse 6.Some translations render the word "wrong" as "defraud." To defraud someone is to deceive that person — in this context, to imply a commitment that does not exist by committing acts with someone that are appropriate only in the context of a particular relationship (i.e., marriage) in order to satisfy my own "passionate lust." To commit sexual immorality with and against someone, far from showing the "love" to which Scripture calls all believers, is to act like those "who do not know God," and this passage calls such acts "sin." Now, one obvious counterargument to the point I intend to make is that the Scriptures I've cited above just beg the question of whether kissing and other sexual activity violate those passages.Michael Lawrence and other able Boundless authors have written before about the wonderful gift of sex, so I won't belabor the point except to repeat that the Scripture passages on sex, taken together, make very clear that God instituted sex within marriage for purposes of procreation, pleasure, intimacy, holiness, and — ultimately — for his glory. 7:3 and following, Paul says once we are married, our bodies literally belong to our spouse; he also instructs spouses to meet one another's sexual needs and to be together regularly so as to protect ourselves from falling into ungodly lust and extramarital sexual activity.

The argument becomes clearer when we look at some of what the Bible has to say about (1) sex, (2) our relationships with other believers and (3) sexual immorality itself.

Maybe you just caressed one another above the waist as you kissed. Maybe it was just a long, lingering kiss goodnight.

Would you describe whatever you did as "holy and honorable," or was it done to satisfy the "passionate lust" of you or your partner or both (1 Thess. Were you honest with the person about making a commitment to him or her before the Lord, or did you defraud or deceive that person in some way?

Maybe one or both of you achieved orgasm even though you didn't actually "have sex" as you define it.

Maybe you explored one another's bodies but were only partially naked.

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