What would you say to a young man who is considering sleeping with his girlfriend?
I would ask him if he was a Christian first. "Do you trust Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? Do you know that you're a sinner on the way to deserved everlasting punishment, and that there is one way out, namely the blood of Jesus Christ to cover all of your sins? Do you know that?"
How he answers that is going to make a huge difference in which way I go here. Let's just assume that he says, "I am." Then I would say, "So that means that you cherish Jesus Christ as your Savior, your Lord, and as the Treasure of your life. Do you?"
He is probably going to weasel a little bit there, because he has sin crouching like a lion trying to devour him, and he wants this sin. And when you want a sin, you are very hesitant to affirm truths that seem to contradict the sin you're about to desire. So he is going to start to get troubled at this point. But I'm pushing on him at the center, to confess Jesus as his precious Treasure, Lord and Savior.
That's the only kind of obedience I want! Staying out of bed with your girlfriend doesn't get you into heaven, right? It doesn't make you a good person. There aren't any good persons. The kind of person I want is a yielded person, a broken person, a person who is just stunned by the grace of God in his life.
So I'm going for the gospel first. And if he says, "Yes," and he is with me in the gospel, then I think I could go two or three different ways biblically. And here you judge the kind of person you have in front of you. What helps most?
One way is to just go the obedience route and say, "You confess him as Lord, right? He said, 'Flee fornication.' He says it in 1 Corinthians 6:18: 'Flee fornication.' And he gave arguments for it: 'Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? Don't be united with a prostitute [or with your girlfriend]!'"
That would be one thing. Just say, "Don't do it! The Bible says, 'Don't do it,' so don't do it!" That's one approach. Maybe not the most effective, depending on who you have before you. It's what works for some people. They just need a sentence in the Bible that says they shouldn't do it.
A second approach is to say, "You know (don't you?) that Christ died for your sins—all of them—including your future fornication. When you penetrate this woman, you thrust a sword into Jesus' side. Think about that. Do you want to do that? All your sins—if you're a Christian—are on him. Every new sin you commit is a fresh sword thrust into the side of Jesus. Keep that in your mind, buddy. This pleasure that you're getting is murdering the Son of God. Don't do it lightly." That would be another approach.
A third approach is to say, "Save it! I promise you, your life will be richer, your marriage will be deeper. God designed this so beautifully for you to enjoy. Save it. Save it! Don't throw it away! It will hurt you and your marriage in the end. You'll always wish you hadn't done it in the end. I promise you. That's the truth. This is a beautiful gift, it's not an ugly thing. It's a gift, designed to be the physical counterpart to an emotional, psychological, spiritual union with a wife. There is nothing sweeter—I say it from testimony—to lie with your wife, look right into her eyes at the moment of sexual climax and say, 'Only you! Only you! Never another!' That's worth a billion dollars!"
I feel like I ought to say here that, for those who will see this but who have already failed to keep themselves only for their spouse, there is redemption. There is forgiveness. There is cleansing. But this question was asked, "How do you help a guy not do it?"
So that would be my third approach: to say, "God designed this beautiful thing for marriage. Don't throw it away."
A fourth and really pragmatic thing to say is, "You might get a very serious disease doing this." That's really low on the priority list.
I would say all of that to the woman and add this: "If a man wants you in bed, you don't want that man. Period! You don't want him! If that man is willing to use you outside the covenant of marriage, why wouldn't he use another woman outside the covenant of marriage ten years from now?"
I'd add that to the woman. You could say it to the man. But I think the man bears a very unique responsibility here, because women desperately want to be loved. And they will yield more than they should if they feel that in order to keep him this is the way she has to do it. And I would just plead with her that she doesn't need that.