Question

First, I would like to say that I'm now 17 years old. When I was about 15 I lost my virginity to a guy I was seeing. We had sex several times during our relationship. About a year after we broke up I started seeing a new guy and again I had sex with him. I prayed to God to give me the strength to resist temptation with this boy, but every time I promised myself I wouldn't do it again, I would fail. The relationship of course, didn't last.

I am now with a guy who has helped me in my relationship with God. We started our relationship around the fact that God will come first in every aspect, yet somehow this relationship has recently taken a turn for the worse, as we have began to kiss intensely and touch each other which has led to oral sex. I am just beginning in my journey of coming to know the Lord, and I am deeply regretful of my past mistakes, as well as being part of the reason my Christian boyfriend fornicated. Can I still be forgiven even though I knowingly sinned repeatedly, and may continue to do so in other aspects of my life?


Answer

I'm assuming you are a Christian and have done what God requires of you to be one of His children (see: What Must I Do to be Saved?). All sins can be forgiven of a Christian, if they are repented of (II Corinthians 7:10-11) and confessed to God (I John 1:9).

Repentance means that you have changed your mind about your sins. It is more than just agreeing that they were wrong, it is also seeing that they were repulsive and that there was no excuse for them. Repentance also means changing your behavior. You work at making it harder to sin. What I find concerning is that you are already leaving room for sin. You are expecting to continue to commit fornication even though you don't want to.

My guess is that you have been dating guys who weren't interested in following God. So while you were trying to not commit fornication, your partner continued to tempt you and push your limits until you gave in.

In the current relationship, you again wanted to do what was right, but I suspect that both of you were focused on not having intercourse -- so focused that you ignored the other sins you were committing.

Most young people discount too heavily the strength of their sexual instinct. This is why I constantly get notes from people saying, "I didn't mean for it to go this far," or "I don't know what happened," or "It was an accident." Such aren't lame excuses. They are the responses of someone who didn't have a healthy respect for the strength of her sexual instinct.

Solomon points out the problem when he asked, "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" (Proverbs 6:27). You can show a hot coal all the affection you want. You can cuddle it and dote on it and it will still burn you. Your kindness to it doesn't change its nature. How often do you hear someone say, "But I love her!" Solomon's point is that your feelings toward your boyfriend won't change the fact that both of you have built-in desires and capabilities for sex. Trigger them and they follow the instincts built into you.

Solomon also asked, "Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" (Proverbs 6:28). Using the same example of a hot coal, if you walk on it, it will burn you. You can apologize and say you didn't mean to step on it, but you'll still be hurt because your intentions doesn't change what it is. Thus, the excuse, "But I didn't mean for it to go this far!" becomes an empty one because your intentions doesn't change your body's drive.

That is why Solomon concludes, "So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:29). Though he is talking directly about adultery, the same point is true about fornication. When you start stirring up sexual feelings, you are never innocent when thing go further than you wanted. As you have noticed your behavior with your boyfriend is getting progressively worse. So far you've managed to avoid intercourse, but the situation keeps pushing you closer and closer to actually doing it. If something doesn't change, eventually it is going to happen and only after he ejaculates are you going to realize what you just did.

That is why we are told not to make room for lust and lewdness. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). Lust is those thoughts and desires you keep battling about taking things even further. Lewdness is engaging in sexual foreplay that gets the body ready for intercourse. The Christian must recognize the danger and not start a sequence of events that can't be legitimately completed.

For example, you've been sexually lusting after your boyfriend. Because of your behavior, I know you frequently think about what it would be like to have sex with him. I would not be surprised that you've dreamed about it and at times wonder if there is a way you could get away with it. What is being forgotten is that lust is a sin. It isn't the same as actually committing fornication, but it is no less of a sin than fornication. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Desiring to sin to the point of justifying it in your mind is just as bad actually doing it.

Rules, then, are needed so that you don't go down a sinful path. No touching each others private areas. No stroking skin to get you or him sexually aroused. No taking off clothing or putting your hands under clothing. No long passionate kisses that leave you out of your mind. You have to treat each other with respect and not as sexual objects. "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1).

With that comes not talking dirty or showing nude or semi-nude pictures to each other. "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (Ephesians 5:3-7). You don't stay pure by sexually arousing the other person.

One of the problems is that once sex enters into a relationship, it dominates it. I suspect you are already getting to the point that you two get together as often as you can to make out. You rarely just spend time together talking or doing things together (at least not things which involve sexual feelings).

None of this is going to work if he isn't also trying just as hard not to sin. If one of you is pushing the other to get their clothes off, then it is going to fail because you'll eventually give into temptation. However, if both of you are committed and willing to date each other by following God's standards, then there is a good chance you'll succeed.

I have not yet been saved. I am trying to come to know God beforehand so I can realize how important salvation is. I want it to change me forever. I don't feel that I am ready or know enough about God to be saved. I read on your site "What Must I Do to be Saved?" but is there any advice you can give me on how to prepare myself and become ready, and what I actually need to do? Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions, as I know you are busy. I am so very grateful.

There is an old saying that if the farmer waits for the perfect day to plant or to harvest, neither will get done. You end up holding off, thinking tomorrow might be better. "He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap" (Ecclesiastes 11:4).

Christianity is about your attitude toward God and against sin. If you wait for the perfect time to change, then you are likely to never get around to changing. Instead, the successful Christians are those who change because they know it is the right thing to do and approach Christianity as a life time spent in improving themselves. For a similar question, see: How do you change to be a Christian? It seems so hard.

Don't get me wrong, there are basic ideas that you need to know to get started, but they aren't difficult to learn. See: Why Be a Christian?, I Got Sick Of The World, and How to Become a Christian.