…and the discussion continues seeking out a Christ-following version of dating and relationships that is more effective than the model we have simply been borrowing from the world – beginning with a renewing of your mind and refusing to conform any longer to the pattern of this world.

Somebody asked the question – what if we have already crossed the line physically with someone or some ones?

There are two very important points to hear on this one:

[1] God is full of grace and love and that is freely available when we take responsibility for our past and when we confess our sins and invite Him to bring freedom, restore purity and grant forgiveness. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” [Romans 8.1] So if you are living with condemnation and guilt, then something is definitely wrong. Go to God. Deal with it with Him, and move on.

[2] Having said that, the church often gets it wrong in terms of our definition and understanding of God’s grace and Love because at no time does it cancel out His justice. Love and justice always work together alongside each other. But in the name of niceness (rather than Truth) the church has created this concept of “Second Virginity” which is the idea that when you confess your sins you can become a virgin again. It is a nice concept, but it is just not true. Once you have had sex with someone, your virginity is gone and that is a consequence you need to live with. God forgives and restores and will deal with all condemnation and guilt, but you cannot be made a virgin again.

There is a big difference between sin and consequences. I am reminded of one of my friends who slept with her boyfriend and got pregnant. Does God forgive her sin if she asks Him to? Absolutely. Did God remove the consequences? Not at all. She has a son – who is an amazing kid, we’re not disputing that [Romans 8.31 reminds us that God can bring good out of all situations] – but at that moment all her dreams and ideas for her life and situation changed completely. She can be forgiven the sin, but some of the consequences stick around.

So if you have crossed the line physically and messed up there is hope for you in terms of forgiveness and grace and being able to let go of condemnation and guilt. If it is your current dating person then it is important that you speak about it directly and put things in place that will protect you from the temptation to mess up there again. Having accountability with an outside Jesus-following person who is of the same gender as you is a highly recommendable thing.

And i have to say it again but this topic of dating better requires an absolute renewing of our minds. We need to think differently. We need to enter into dating relationships with an awareness of the dangers of sexual attraction/temptation and have some principles in place to protect us from going there.

[For the next part on Joy and Serving one another in love, click here]