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Is marriage still holy when neither is a virgin?

Sex is part of God’s wonderful creation, and it is to be enjoyed in the way God designed it: within the bonds of marriage. But what if one or both partners have committed sexual sins before they marry?

If the couple that is going to marry are truly sorry (repentant) for their past sins, then the marriage is just as holy as one with two virgins. Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 are helpful here:

For do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

There is cleansing and forgiveness

In verse 11, Paul says that some of the Corinthians were sexually immoral. But in Christ they have been washed, sanctified (made holy), and justified (made right with God). Therefore, no matter what past sexual sins have been committed, in Christ there is cleansing and forgiveness. But equally the fact that God has (and will) forgive sin, mustn’t be used to justify further sin. Remember Paul’s comment in 1 Corinthians 6:18: “flee from sexual immorality.”

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James Steer

James had the privilege of growing up in Christian home, and decided to follow Jesus during his teenage years. After studying chemistry at university and working in the pharmaceutical industry, he began training for Christian ministry. After completing an M.Th. at Oak Hill Theological College he and his wife spent five years as missionaries working in Thailand. He now lives in Cambridge, England, and is the pastor for International students at St Andrew the Great church.

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