“Will I go to hell if I’m not a virgin?” a girl asked me. I wish I could scoff, “Of course not!” But the truth is, it all depends . . .
Hell—Not Heaven—Is Our Default Destination
Our culture views it backward.
God’s Word is clear that our default destination isn’t Heaven; it’s Hell (2 Peter 2:4-10). If this seems unfair, it’s because we’ve minimized two realities:
- God’s holiness, and,
- Our sinfulness.
Randy Alcorn says it like this in his book, Heaven:
“If we understood God’s nature and ours, we would be shocked not that some people could go to hell, but that any would be permitted into heaven. Unholy as we are, we are disqualified from saying that infinite holiness doesn’t demand everlasting punishment.”
God is stunningly more holy than we can imagine. Habakkuk 1:13 describes Him this way:
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong.
You and I, on the other hand, fail to keep God’s law every day:
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
You and I aren’t the exception; We all sin in countless ways. And sin always results in death: relational, physical, and then eternal death in Hell (Romans 6:23a).
But let’s specifically address this girl’s question about premarital sex.
Is Premarital Sex A Sin?
Our culture ridicules the notion that sex is off-limits to everyone other than a man and a woman united in marriage. But God says otherwise. As our Creator, He calls the shots, not us. And as the Designer of sex, it’s His prerogative to determine what sexual expressions fall outside His design.
Sex is reserved for the marriage bed alone (Hebrews 13:4). Why would God limit sex to one man and one woman for life? Because God designed sex, ultimately, as a sign to point to a greater reality. Sex is designed to showcase the kind of relationship Jesus has with His people. God’s relationship with us is:
- faithful, and
Therefore, sex is designed to be:
- faithful, and
How do I know this? The Apostle Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 where God institutes marriage, and then adds,
“This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:31-32).
Marriage and sex is ultimately about Jesus Christ and His love for His people, the church.
Choosing to have sex outside of marriage is sin, and all sin leads to Hell. So the million-dollar question is this: How can this girl—and how can you and I—exchange our one-way ticket to Hell for Heaven?
How to Exchange Your One-Way Ticket to Hell for Heaven
We can’t on our own. But Someone has done it for us. Jesus chose to endure “hell” for you and me so we might enter the joys of heaven. Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us that,
He [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Because of our sin, you and I deserve hell. But Jesus has made a way for us, instead, to enjoy Him forever in heaven.
In response to this girl’s question, “Will I go to hell if I’m not a virgin,” I have to ask: Have you accepted Jesus’ extravagant gift? Have you confessed and turned from your sins? First John 1:9 promises that:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
In direct opposition to what many believe, God does not discriminate based on sins committed or good works performed. Rather, He welcomes those who tightly cling to Jesus and casts out those who spurned His Son.
Have you exchanged your filthy rags for Jesus’ robe of righteousness? Has Jesus washed, sanctified, and justified you from your former way of life? (1 Cor. 6:9—11)
If you’d like to hear more on sexuality, check out this podcast conversation between me and the top U.S. sex worker as we discuss sex from two diametrically different viewpoints.
Paula (Hendricks) Marsteller is a compassionate Christian communicator.