I am pleased with some of the comment-traffic that this is generating. What is interesting is that many think PDA (pre-marital displays of affection) are really conscience issues. I find that to be an interesting (and potentially significant) piece of feedback. Of course, I am open to such argumentation. However, I drive on in explaining my reasons for suggesting that PDA is likely not appropriate (I’m thinking about the conscience stuff, truly).
I have developed a reason that I didn’t at first list. (Is this breaking the rules? No, wait, I make these rules here…)
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body but the wife does. Do not deprive one another…so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:2-5
This passage is about marital sexuality from a context of ownership. In marriage, Paul says one of the constraints on our sexual expression is that our bodies are not our own but our spouses. And as such we are not free to use them as we please in any form of sexual immorality. Marriage is a fence to help keep us holy in this way.
A (short and incomplete) detour. What about the impulse to have sexual relations? What is that for? Are they just physiological, biological or organic? I believe these impulses exist in us because of our built-in connectedness (we were built to be plural: Genesis 2:18 [with the opposite sex]; 3:8 [with God]). God designed us to be together and not alone. He gave us these impulses as a means to draw us to another in marriage. But that’s not all. These are, in some sense, sacramental (thanks, CC), in that they represent something else. They seem to exist not just for our horizontal relational trajectory but for our vertical one as well: they are designed to remind us that He is our Ultimate source of satisfaction and connectedness (did anyone read Psalm 34:8??). They are supposed to draw us near to Him. And, this is especially true if one is single. It is, however, also true when one is married.
Back to the Corinthian passage: what about the unmarried? Who “owns” the unmarried Christian’s body? What fence does he or she have? Is there a comparable ownership principle for their protection from Satan? Yes. Christ owns his or her body. He is the Husband (2 Corinthians 11:2-3; James 4:4-6; Revelation 21:2) and it is to Him that unmarrieds should go with their impulses of connectedness (read: PDA) so they too have a means to avoid the lure of Satan instead of to another single person. (By the way, isn’t it interesting that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, in referring to lust, said that to lust was to commit adultery? He didn’t specify that He was talking to married folks – without understanding our status as married-to-Christ-even-if-unmarried-to-a-spouse this wouldn’t make sense for a single person; they could even go so far as to say “this doesn’t apply to me.”)
Does Christ’s ownership of Christian’s bodies preclude PDA? Has He built into us a means to keep us from Satan that we undo when we engage in PDA? Is it taking His ownership seriously when we engage in PDA?
These questions must be answered.