In our modern world there is a controversial subject that is discussed a lot and many people are affected (infected) with this idea, the idea of cohabitation. Cohabitation is also known as “shacking up” or “living together” before marriage. Many people believe that cohabitation is something unique and new for our modern days but that is not the case. Actually, in the US, 40% of adults say that they have tried cohabitation at least once in their lives. Those who cohabitate say that it is better to “try” and see how things work out before getting married and if it does not work out then you can part ways without problems. Do you really believe that this is true? Has it been proven that there are fewer problems with parting ways after cohabitation has taken place when compared to parting ways while being married? Let’s look into the Word of God and see what God has to say about cohabitation and if it brings more or fewer problems. Cohabitation means that two consenting adults live together like a married couple (enjoying the sexual relationship) yet they are not married in the eyes of the State or in the eyes of God. Sex outside of marriage (that happens when one cohabitates) is sin (adultery/fornication) and the Bible speaks very clearly about sexual immorality.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
I. God’s will for every Christian is to abstain from sexual immorality (sex outside of marriage).
A Christian and sexual immorality do not and should not have anything in common. Christians are to be sanctified (set apart by God for God’s purpose, different, one with a pure heart, one with pure actions). Our sanctification is seen through the way we live, especially in the area of sexuality (do you live according to God’s Word or do you live against God’s Word?). The whole world seems to be running toward sexual immorality yet Christians are to be different, running away from immorality. Cohabitation means living in lustful passion because it involves sex outside of marriage. In fact cohabitation causes you to be a slave to lustful passion. Even if you want to stop you still keep doing it. I know many people who have begun practicing sex outside of marriage and then wanted to stop but continued doing the very thing that they tried to stop doing (that is slavery). If you live in lustful passion then you are considered a Gentile or pagan, one who does not know God (you may know of God but you do not know God personally). As you can see, Christianity and cohabitation are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. They are like oil and water.
II. Men who cohabitate do not have respect for the women with whom they cohabitate.
Although the word “cohabitation” is not found in the Bible, the idea of cohabitation was well known. They word used in the Bible is concubine. Men who wanted sexual pleasures from a woman whom they did not feel worthy enough for marriage were taken as concubines. When a man wanted sexual pleasure but did not want the responsibility of having a wife, providing for her, and or raise children, he chose a concubine. Cohabitation happened during Bible times and their are cases of it in the Bible, even by men of God, yet it always had negative consequences. God created the sexual relationship for a man and his wife in the confines of marriage.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
As you can see, the two are joined together in marriage first and then they become one flesh through the sexual relationship.
III. God will judge those who live in cohabitation.
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)
The marriage bed is defiled through fornication and adultery. Fornication and adultery are both sins that deal with sex outside of marriage (cohabitation). If you cohabitate then you do not honor marriage and you defile the marriage bed because sex is reserved for the marriage bed only. If you do not honor marriage and you defile the marriage bed then God will judge you. It does not say here in this text what or when the judgment comes but there is another text that goes along with this idea.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
God does not want to punish you and He is patient toward you, hoping that you will repent (a change of mind that leads to a change of actions) before He has to pour out His wrath on you. Now if you do not use this time of mercy from God then He has another warning.
But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (Romans 2:3-5)
If you choose to harden your heart and not repent then you store up for yourself wrath that God will pour out on you all at once and you will not have anyone else to blame except for yourself. You can stop the wrath of God if you will repent. Jesus Christ died in order to pay the price for your sin (even the sin of cohabitation). Accept His free gift, turn away from your sins (especially the sin of cohabitation) and dedicate your life to following Jesus Christ. God bless you as you serve and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.