The above descriptions are all related to the modern day phenomenon of “co-habitation.” It is also referred to as “living together outside of marriage.”
So how does the Author of marriage weigh in on this choice? He does have a right to speak, after all, since He has invested more in the realm of love…and love relationships that any other entity. He has also seen the impact of unwise love choices over the 6000 years of human history.
We need to add one more dimension when it comes to this living arrangement. In most of these relationships there is sexual behavior that takes place. Now we have something that God openly addresses…and for good reason -- sex outside of marriage places people at risk.
We need to let God speak on this “risk” issue. We find Him speaking through the apostle Paul in Galatians: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery… I warn you as I did before, those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (vss.19 & 21b).
What Paul is pointing to here is a lack of repentance. The “obvious” sin is not being addressed by those involved. The very sin that God desires to remove is not being confessed, and the person is not turning away from their sin. The repeated sin is only adding more weight for Christ on the cross.
Put directly, these sexual partners are placing their salvation in jeopardy. They risk losing the eternal joy of heaven for the sake of temporary sexual pleasure on earth. This is a significant risk!
There is another “risk” that God is sensitive to -- the impact of such sin on the children who are often involved in co-habitation scenarios. A sin pattern is being set that is likely to be repeated by these children. Now it is Jesus Himself who offers a strong warning: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to the person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.” (Luke 17:1-3a).
Co-habitation is not a sin. The sexual behavior that occurs is. God desires to address this sin and bless this couple. He cannot do the latter when sin continues to create a separation in the relationship with God.