Appropriate intimacy in dating

As a good initial principle here, we should affirm that sex itself (and sexual activity in general) is not inherently negative or sinful.On the contrary, in the proper context, it is a kind and good gift of God.Was your purpose for doing what you did to build that person up spiritually — to make that person "more holy" (Eph. Do you believe that you and your partner "honor[ed] God with your bodies" in doing what you did (1 Cor. Whatever you did, did that interaction reflect "absolute purity" (1 Tim 5:2)?Was there "even a hint" of sexual immorality in what you did (Eph. Whatever you did, as you now think about it, does it inspire a comfortable peace or an uncomfortable shudder to remember that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit observed it all?

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?

I'll start by putting my position right on the line: I believe the Bible to teach that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, and all romantically oriented physical activity is sexual activity. As the questions above indicate, however, many single Christians have questions about whether premarital physical activity at some level beyond kissing is OK.

We need to address the whole spectrum ("just kissing" included). First, the fact that "romantically oriented" is in italics above is important.

It is certainly true that no passage of Scripture says — in so many words, at least — "thou shalt not kiss before marriage." Having said that, I submit that there is a strong argument to be made from Scripture that there is no room for any sexual relationship outside of marriage.

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.

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