Does God Forgive Sex Before Marriage?

Does God Forgive Sex Before Marriage?


My husband and I have the distinct honor and privilege of leading a small group of youth students at our church. It’s truly remarkable to see how they are taking leaps of faith and stepping out in courage to make God’s name known. God is really moving in this up-and-coming generation, and it is truly awe-inspiring!

Yet, it’s also worth mentioning that these kiddos are the enemy’s prime target. Unfortunately, he is using every tactic possible to manipulate and falsify faith-filled messages that are built on truth and grace. Add to that the current society that is entrenched in so many misconceptions about their identity and the misguided views on sex that confusion is running rampant. The result is that children and teens who have grown up in the church and profess their faith are failing to see the way God truly sees them and the nature of sin.

Honestly, it’s an easy trap for any of us to fall into, as each generation has their fair share of worldly and sinful struggles. And, while the method may have shifted or changed over the years, the temptations are still strong and sugarcoated, the lies are just as clever, and the bait to sinful choices always lure us in with tempered thoughts that look to push boundaries and find loopholes in God’s law. This is generally when the heavy weight of guilt and shame meets the whispers that state, God will never forgive me.

Friends, the deceiver is still deceiving! But God is still God, and His very nature exudes love, grace, and mercy. So, when one of those students asked if God forgives sex before marriage, my initial response was a wholehearted, “Yes, of course, He does!” However, I know that there are many layers to this question, and it comes with a heart that may be seeking permission to fall into lust (if there will be forgiveness) or repentance due to guilt that is weighing heavy.

There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s address this issue, shall we?

Are All Sins the Same to God?

First, we must address the question about sin. Are all sins really the same to our God? The simple (and short) answer is yes and no. Yes, because all sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). James 2:10 basically states if one keeps the whole law but stumbles just a bit, they are guilty of breaking all of it. Sounds pretty harsh, right?

Well, the point that James is driving home here is that all sins matter to God, no matter how big or small they may seem. That means we mustn’t dismiss any sin we commit and confess it to God. However, that said, there are degrees to sin. Proverbs 6:16-19 lays out seven sins the Lord really detests. Pride, lying, murder, evil intent and enjoyment, perjury, and stirring up strife and division.

While these are all sinful choices and detach us from God, festering hurt, pain, and betrayal in our relationships, it’s not just the sin itself but the nature of our heart that God chooses to see (1 Samuel 16:7, Jeremiah 17:10). If a heart is bent toward deceit and malice, the consequences and punishment will be given by God accordingly (John 3:36), but if the heart is pliable and soft, God grants great mercy and grace (Ezekiel 36:26-28).

Pertaining to the lustful sin of sexual relations outside of marriage, Jesus addresses this in Mathew 5:27-28, stating that this type of sin manifests in the mind and then grips the heart. Just the sheer fact of looking at another with lustful eyes is committing adultery and can lead to devastating consequences. However, the physical act of committing adultery bears a whole new set of consequences. In Jesus’ day, it was punishable by death. Today, we see how sexual relations outside the confines of a marriage can leave a mark of deep pain and a wake of utter betrayal with shame to follow.

Jesus is telling us that our thoughts often produce our choices, and sinful thoughts and choices have lasting consequences that affect not just our lives but the lives of others, including those we love. Even more, when we don’t guard our minds and hearts, including how we view sexual relations, it will cause grave consequences and a disheartening distance of separation between us and God.

God’s Plan Is Best

While all sin separates us from God, and we understand that there are degrees of sin that can conjure up different levels of consequences and punishments, it’s wise to understand what God really wants when it comes to our sexuality, so we can live accordingly.

Sex and our sexual identity are part of God’s design for us. We are to enjoy the gift that masculinity and femineity bring into a marriage, and honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 7:5). Sex is a beautiful blessing that God offers a man and woman when they proclaim their vows and become one flesh under Him through a covenant (Mark 10:8-9). Apart from that, it goes against God’s plan for us and can cause dissonance and damaging consequences.

Several passages in the Bible tell us to flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Galatians 5:19-20) because God knows that sex outside of a marriage can lead to a misunderstanding of the power and beauty it offers faithful married couples.

Yet, more and more couples, including Christians, are finding it difficult to wait and may see nothing wrong with entertaining the thought if they have plans to get married one day. However, as mentioned before, impure thoughts are merely playing with fire and can lead couples to carry out actions that can (and will) taint their relationship.

The truth is when a couple chooses not to wait for marriage and God’s perfect timing, it essentially mocks and cheapens this precious gift. Going beyond God’s boundaries and plan also brings forth its own unique set of consequences. Due to sex being a blessing from God that is to be shared between a husband and a wife, the hormone oxytocin is released to help create a special bond that builds trust and promotes unity. When this is done outside the confines of a marriage, it is proven to have an adverse reaction, generally weakening the bond. Not only that, but the view on sex overall will become distorted and flawed, making the relationship numb to growing spiritually.

God Is Full of Mercy

So, where is the hope? Does God truly forgive sex before marriage? Yes! The answer is still a wholehearted “Yes.” While this sin comes with many emotional strings attached and can bear quite a heavy burden, the reality is that once we know where our identity is found, we know where to find our source of hope that leads to redemption!

Let’s look at the heartfelt (and longest) conversation Jesus had with another person in the gospel of John. A conversation that would have been seen as forbidden, and even unlawful, as Jewish men were not to speak to unknown women, let alone a Samaritan. But that didn’t hinder Jesus from setting up a divine intervention with this woman. A woman seen as an outcast and adulterer by her community. Yet, Jesus was already waiting for her. Ready to meet her in her hurt, pain, and shame (John 4:7-14). In His loving and gentle way, Jesus tells her that her sins may have caused her great harm, leaving her soul desolate and dry, but He is the answer to find healing and hope (John 4:21-16).

Oh, sweet brother or sister, if you are wrestling with the sin of sexual immorality, Jesus sees you and is waiting for you to come to Him. He is waiting to offer you hope found in the living water that will wash away your sin and cleanse you from all the hurt, shame, and guilt. You are never too far gone for Him to reach you. Soften your heart today and seek repentance, then receive His great gift of mercy.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/silverkblack

Alicia SearlAlicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy.  Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.