A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog called “A Very Hard Teaching.” Link here: http://joshandjenmendenhall.theworldrace.org/?filename=a-very-hard-teaching
Jesus told us that being His disciple would be very difficult. He told us that we would have to deny ourselves (say “NO!” to our sinful desires and to a comfortable life of complacency), pick up our cross daily, and follow Him. In my last post, I talked about how He is the good master who has paid the price to set us free from Satan, sin and self; all which lead to a dark, lonely eternity away from God and all that is good, but that many people refuse to accept the freedom either because they love themselves and their sin too much, or they think that they can get freedom on their own, which is of course, impossible.
One of the most difficult sins to break away from is sexual immorality. Unfortunately, the human attitude toward sex is, “if it feels good, do it.” Even among Christians there are some who think that lovemaking is beautiful in any form, whether it’s two unmarried people, two gay men or two gay women, it doesn’t matter. They obviously are not reading the same Bible that I am. Or they do, but they try to twist what the Bible says and justify their sinful lifestyle. (Haven’t we all at one time or another?)
This greatly disturbs me and honestly makes me wonder about the condition of their salvation. How can anyone who claims to love God call something beautiful that He has called an abomination and shameful? Do you dare to disagree with God or to call Him a liar?
Yes, lovemaking is beautiful, but only in the context for which God created it, and that is between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage. That’s it! “Love” making in any other context is vile, disgusting, broken, dirty and an abomination to the Lord our God! He created it for a man and his wife to enjoy each other and to show their love for one another and that is ALL He created it for. Only then is it the beautiful, wonderful, glorious thing for which He designed it. Any other use of it is a perversion!
Would you call raping an innocent child beautiful? Of course not! What about a man cheating on his wife or vice versa? I certainly hope not! What about women and children being sold into the Sex Trade and the wicked men who buy them? Why then would you call any other form of sexual immorality beautiful? Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery, But I say to you, that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Also, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander (Matt. 15:19, Mark 7:21).”
That’s a hard teaching, because unfortunately, that makes me an adulterer, and that breaks my heart. Thanks be to God that I never got the opportunity to indulge in physical sex outside of marriage, but I sure spent a lot of time looking and lusting after women both in real life and on TV and the internet, and did things I certainly shouldn’t have done. I don’t want to be an adulterer, and now I’m not because Christ has set me free from it. I am deeply convicted by Paul’s words in I Corinthians 6:19-20: “What?! Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God?? For you are bought with a price! Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which belong to God.”
If you are truly a believer in Christ, then all that you are belongs to God! How can we glorify Him if we are defiling our bodies by perverting something that He created for one purpose only to satisfy our own selfish pleasures? This also goes for addictions, storing up riches for ourselves and refusing to give to others and many other sins. As the great preacher Donald Barnhouse said,
“The great fact is that God wishes these who name His name to become like Him day by day. He is a holy God who demands holiness of His people. We are all born as children of Adam, with natures that are prone to sin. The greatest of all sins is that each of us desires his own way. Wanting one’s own way is absolutely natural and absolutely sinful.” Matthew 5:48, Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” And God the Father Himself: “Be holy because I am holy,” all over the Old Testament.
I hope you see that I am trying to identify with you as a fellow sinner. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, I love you and God loves you, because you are created in the image of God and He longs to redeem you and I long to see you redeemed if you have not been. I wish that you could feel the deep love and concern that I have for you as I write this. My words may sound harsh, but the truth is harsh sometimes and I would not be a good or loving neighbor or brother or friend if I did not warn you of the danger you are in by living in ways contrary to the Word of the Creator of the Universe.
But I know that many will misunderstand me. I know that this post will be incredibly offensive to some. I know that insults and false accusations of intolerance, hate, homophobia and judgmental bigotry will come. But I know my own heart and I know that God knows my heart. I do not wish to estrange myself from my family members or my friends whom I love dearly, but I desire the approval of God and not of men. I will never view anyone as my enemy, but I can’t control how others view me. That is the attitude that Jesus had, and look where it got Him.
I understand that it’s hard. I have to fight against my flesh daily. Being a follower of Christ is not meant to be easy. I wish I could tell you that it’s ok to live however you want. I wish I could tell myself that, but I can’t. Barnhouse again with a great thought says, “God tells man that the divine way is perfect and that He desires men to walk therein. Man cannot do it by himself, so God provided His own Grace.” That’s the Gospel in a nutshell. Why would we want to trample the Grace of God when our lives should be wholly devoted to Him with all gratefulness and thankfulness?
Titus 3:3-7: At one time we (Believers) too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us (Believers), not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Before I end, I also want to share a word to the judgmental and/or self-righteous, which, at times is also me, but really is everyone. This also from Barnhouse. “God repudiates (hates deeply) formalism without a heart change, and the (person) who trusts in liturgical ceremonies or religious rites without having a definite change of heart is in the folly of self-deception.” Just because we may not live lifestyles that we wrongfully consider more sinful than others, doesn’t make us right with God. Only by putting on Christ’s righteousness can we be made right with God.
I pray that my words, harsh though they may sound, were spoken in love and genuine concern. Once again, these are not my ideas or opinions. They are the very truths of God and the ONLY truths that matter. They are hard, they hurt and they can be incredibly offensive, but the Word of God is the only Truth that can set you free! It MUST be shared! As one who has been given the responsibility to speak the Truth, I HAVE to. I cannot suppress it, it burns within me, and it has changed my life!
I also pray that I share these things with humility, knowing that I do the same things sometimes. I truly desire and long deeply to see us all set free from our selfish, sinful desires, and brought from the kingdom of Satan and darkness and self, and into the Kingdom of God and His glorious, marvelous light!
Grace, peace and love to all through God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!