I discuss this principle more fully in "Principles for Drawing Boundaries" and "What Does a Biblical Relationship Look Like?
" As a quick refresher, we can "defraud" our brother or sister in a dating context by showing or encouraging a level of intimacy — either emotionally or physically — that the Bible seems to reserve for marriage and marriage only.
Scripture calls Christians to "flee" from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians ), not to "see how difficult we can make the temptation and still prevail" or to "see how close to the line we can get without sinning." In my view, Scripture teaches clearly that there is to be romantic physical intimacy outside of marriage.
No reasonable person would argue that physical temptation does not increase — a lot — the longer two people date who are attracted to each other and who grow to love each other.
As your general comfort level around each other rises, that momentum grows even more. We'll assume, per another clear principle from Scripture, that both members of our college couple are Christians.Let me try to deal very briefly with the most popular responses I get to this argument — especially from college students.I think it does, even if the physical circumstances are different.Where a relationship is shorter, accountability stronger, and the level of temptation, and the likelihood of sin, goes down.To put it simply, "not acting married before you're married," gets exponentially more difficult the longer a pre-marital relationship persists.I've spoken to numerous "long-dating" couples, in college and beyond, who other than living together, could do little to intertwine their lives any more than they already are.They see each other every day, are with each other's families every holiday (and often know their partner's family as well as any son or daughter-in-law does), they travel together, spend most of their non-working (or studying) time together, they daily confide in one another (and maybe one another), and are without doubt, closer emotionally with one another than with anyone else on the planet.In the meantime, the "we're already committed" rationalization tends to make couples feel free to act in all sorts of ways they didn't before, and every argument I've made in this series applies ), but that doesn't mean that anyone who uses that language is automatically correct. As a quick theological aside on guidance, God does not primarily lead His people by mystic feelings in the pits of our stomachs about what He wants us to do. I've arrived at this conclusion by thinking through a number of biblical principles.One of our bedrock governing principles in biblical dating — and in how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ generally — is not to "defraud" our single brothers and sisters by implying a greater level of commitment between us and them than actually exists (see 1 Thessalonians 4:6).