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Is Cohabiting a Sin? A Christian Conversation

I know that you probably already have a perception of the word- Cohabitation. Especially as it is commonly used among Christians, which is two unmarried people living together for the purpose of sexual intimacy. However, just like many other words in the English Language vocabulary, cohabitation has two widely used definitions.

So, let us look at definitions of Cohabitation in isolation.

Definition One: As defined by Wikipedia Cohabitation is an arrangement where two people are not married but live together. They are often involved in a romantic or sexually intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis. A lot of other dictionaries define cohabitation in similar terms.

Note the term more broadly because it admits that there is a wider range of people who use the term cohabitation to mean people living together without sexual activities. Just to even buttress this definition; from biology class to ‘cohabit’ is referred to as the act of living together. A place where two or more individuals reside together.The act of two species living together in the same habitat.

Now, let us see another definition also from  Wikipedia more broadly, the term “cohabitation” can mean any number of people living together. To “cohabit”, in a broad sense, means to “coexist”.

So, what should be the believers view of cohabitation. What is Christianity’s thought of definition two of cohabitation at the basic level?

Looking at definition two (the broadly used one), it is no sin to live in the same space with your brother or your sister (speaking of non biological siblings now) at a particular time what makes it wrong is fornicating (sexual activities) and giving yourself to lustful intent. 

It is no sin to live in the same space with your brother or your sister (speaking of non biological siblings now) at a particular time what makes it wrong is fornicating (sexual activities) and giving yourself to lustful intent.  Click To Tweet

Also, we must note that fornicating does not need cohabiting to happen, neither does lustful intent need cohabitation to thrive. It’s not a sin to live with somebody of the opposite sex.

Although, the danger of this is the possibility of you having increased temptation when you stay with someone (same or opposite sex) you are attracted to. The chances that your feelings will get in the way are increased.

So, all these have been said to say; even though cohabiting in itself has no biblical reference calling it sin, there are things the Bible says very clearly that will instruct you away from cohabiting;

Fornicating does not need cohabiting to happen, neither does lustful intent need cohabitation to thrive. Although, the danger of this is the possibility of you having increased temptation when you stay with someone (same or opposite… Click To Tweet
  1. Do not ignite desires that you can not satisfy yet (at least till you are married). Song of Solomon 8:4… “That you do not rouse nor awaken my love until she pleases.”). So, while cohabiting may not be a sin in itself it can open the door to birth sin. 
  2. We have a responsibility to flee the appearance of evil. We are not to manage try to ‘Odeshi’ your way out. The instruction to to flee. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 “Avoid every kind of evil”(CEB). If you know that a decision may/can lead to evil you know it’s not the decision to make. Don’t be sentimental about it. 
  3. Proverbs 6:27-28 “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals  without his feet being scorched?”

You are responsible for making wise decisions for you just like Paul says ‘I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive’. 1 Corinthians 10:23

You have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. You have the right to do anything–but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23 Click To Tweet

‘Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away’ (James 1:14) helps us understand how sin works. So, when you can not subdue your desire, walk away from the situation as much as possible.

‘Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away’. So, when you can not subdue your desire, walk away from the situation as much as possible Click To Tweet

How we should respond in conversations like this;

For people who are trained to study the bible in context, we need to apply the same wisdom in relating to others and having conversations with people. Putting in mind that words get into the dictionary by people’s use of the word and also gets updated as people evolve in the use of the word. If you are so rigid in your conversations that you want to use one meaning to rub over when you have conversations with people, how are you going to love others effectively or even have meaningful conversations with them?

If you are going to have a conversation you must never assume that you and your listener(s) have the same understanding of the word. It is important to always find out the context of people’s conversations, which helps you communicate properly.

It is important to always find out the context of people’s conversations, this helps you communicate properly. Click To Tweet

When people are saying cohabiting is not bad did they really say fornication is not bad?

We should have conversations with people that is how you can edify. In (1 Corinthians 8 vs 1-3) notice how Paul navigates this matter saying the truth yet not throwing anyone out the window. Dropping a piece of your mind is good but you must be ready to build up with your words. 

In (1 Corinthians 8 vs 1-3) notice how Paul navigates this matter saying the truth yet not throwing anyone out the window. Dropping a piece of your mind is good but you must be ready to build up with your words.  Click To Tweet

Speaking the truth is like going to a doctor when you are sick and they put what you need in the syringe that hurts, the truth hurts but the way it is given can change the reception.

Speaking the truth is like going to a doctor when you are sick and they put what you need in the syringe that hurts, the truth hurts but the way it is given can change the reception. Click To Tweet

Considering Exceptions (People with no other option)

Cohabiting with somebody that you are attracted to the same-sex or opposite-sex is not advised because you are flesh and blood. Don’t overestimate your flesh because you just put yourself in a condition that allows temptation to thrive. 

Cohabiting with somebody that you are attracted to same-sex or opposite-sex is not advised because you are flesh and blood. Don’t overestimate your flesh because you just put yourself in a condition that allows temptation to thrive. Click To Tweet

However, there are exceptions and reasons why people cohabit and you can only know when you ask questions. If you are truly concerned check with your brethren. Not everyone who is staying together is sleeping together.

Exceptions are enough reason to be careful and sensitive when speaking about matters.  

Exceptions are enough reason to be careful and sensitive when speaking about matters like cohabiting because Not everyone who is staying together is sleeping together. Click To Tweet

What makes a judge good- is His ability to patiently look through the details of each case before making a judgment.

Well in the case that you find out that two believers are fornicating you have a responsibility to intercede for them, pray for them (1 John 4:13-15) to have the wisdom to navigate the season/time they are in and pray for their faith to not fail in trial because the devil is much more after their faith than them just falling into sin.

Well in the case that you find out that two believers are fornicating you have a responsibility to intercede for them, pray for them (1 John 4:13-15) to have the wisdom to navigate the season/time they are in and pray for their… Click To Tweet

Selah.

This article was inspired by the recent Twitter buzz on cohabitation. It shows what the response of the believer should be. In this article, you will read the response from Jo Deep addressing this. You will also learn the correct way to have conversations or corrections in the body of Christ.

Read next;

Should Christians Cohabit Before Marriage?

Managing My Sexuality As An Unmarried Christian

5 Areas Courting Couples Need to Be In Agreement – Loveology

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