I'm going to be open and frank with you in this letter, for I have no reason to lie. I'm 19 years old, soon to turn 20, as well as my girlfriend. We are both studying and want to spread the power of God's love one day. We are both Christians, we are both virgins.
Okay, now here comes the question, and please don't quote verses out of context because I tend to look deeper into an answer than normal people. We are truly in love. You get that a lot right? Okay, but to show our love to one another we sat down, we prayed and we made God a promise to look after one another and be together till death do us part. Yeah, we actually did that. Also to one another. I told my family and friends and they all say that they know we'll get married when our studies are complete.
Now, Jesus ripped the temples curtain and brought God to the people through then when He died on the cross. So now we don't need to sacrifice and all that to speak to God. So we spoke and promised to Him and each other. Lastly I must say that my promise is who I am. If I ever break a promise to God I will most likely kill myself (I'm that serious).
Now, after all of this, I'm not saying we are going to have sex, since sex is only a added feature of being married before God, but if we were to have sex and hold our wedding ceremony in the years to come (where we'll basically renew our promises before a few other people), will we go to Hell? Because that doesn't make sense. But obviously no one can really give us that answer, so do you think it's a sin? Not what you quote or anything like that, your true opinion as a fellow follower?
Lastly, did Adam and Eve sin before God then when they had sex? Because they never had a wedding. They made their promises to each other and to God. Exactly like we did.
While we aren't privy to the vows Adam and Eve made, we know that they were married. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). There are three steps listed here:
- A man leaves his parents. Notice that "man" indicates unmarried.
- He is joined to his wife. The "joining" refers to a marriage and now they are husband and wife.
- The two shall become one flesh. After marriage the two individuals start the process of being a new single unit. Included in that would be sex.
Now if you were in a situation where only you and your girlfriend were present, like Adam and Eve, I might grant your point that you can't have further witnesses to your marriage, but the simple fact is that you are not in that situation.
You've made a promise to your girlfriend, but you have not entered into a covenant with her. By your own admission you are waiting until after your studies to get married, which means that you acknowledge that the two of you are not actually married.
Yet all of this positioning is silly. You want her as your wife. Go get married! There is zero reasons why you have to wait until after your studies are completed. There are many married couples in college. Then the issue of avoiding fornication disappears. "But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (I Corinthians 7:8-9). The only ones making this difficult are the two of you when you placed unnecessary conditions on yourselves.
Is it a sin to have sex before your marriage? Yes. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). Neither declarations of love, nor intentions, modify God's law. In fact, these two excuses are addressed by Solomon in Proverbs. Solomon 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 girlfriend 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. All the declared love between the two of you will not change the fact that you would be sinning by having sex without being married.
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. Nor does your intention to one day get married in the future change the fact that you are not married and sex between you and your girlfriend would be fornication.
For that matter, remember that no one has control over the future. It is your intention to get married one day, but so many things could happen, such as getting run over by a bus.
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. You can never appear before God and claim innocence when you are thinking about staying unmarried, but leaving the possibility of having sex open.
All sins can be forgiven, but such sins have to be repented of. Repentance requires an honest change in mind about the wrongness of your actions and with your plotting, it seems to me that you are going to have a hard time admitting you were wrong once you decide to drop your pants before you get married.
But as I already stated, you can save yourself all the struggle and heartache by just admitting that God is right, get married, and then enjoy sex with your wife. If you love her, treat her with respect and make your union one that you are freely and willing to declare to everyone.
For details regarding what constitutes a marriage covenant, see: Marriage Covenants.