And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. -1 Corinthians 6:11
The passage above is Paul's finishing touch on his statement that "the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God." He lists some of those unrighteous acts: idolatry, adultery, sexual immorality, homosexuality, drunkenness, and thievery. It's a list as long as your arm of those acts that our human nature tells us are against common decency. That law is written on our hearts – even the hearts of unbelievers. Although many today would deny that, it remains a biblical fact, and our society’s frantic attempts to justify its actions prove the point. It’s not just perverts and thugs hiding out in back alleys anymore who go for this kind of stuff; we show it on almost every sitcom in America and laugh our heads off. It's the new normal. And don't kid yourselves, our children see it and understand. Tolerance is king, and when you can't beat ‘em, you join ‘em.
Nevertheless, here's the tragedy: the sitcoms don't show the end results. They don’t show men and women trapped by drug addictions or alcoholism, destroying their lives and their families and other innocent people, or the free sex that results in one in four teenagers in America fighting a sexually transmitted disease. The "freedom" that is offered is actually a trap, and although we may convince ourselves that we are the exception to the rule, that we can control the sin, that thinking always proves spiritually fatal in the end. A little peek here, a quick phone call there, just one more drink for the road, maybe something just to "spice things up a bit," and then we find that we cannot stop. The guilt sets in and we convince ourselves that we are the immoral ones that God will never allow into the kingdom, and the gig is up. We either fight the long battle back to purity, or we find ourselves slipping away, giving in to something that is so easy and so natural, until we really don't care anymore that there is a great God who can and will heal us of our immorality.
The two great weapons that immorality holds (sexual and otherwise) are secrecy and anonymity. Break the silence and you go a very long way toward breaking the death grip this lifestyle holds on you. Once the secret is out you have someone in your corner to pray with you, encourage you, and remind you that God offers far greater promises than this world can ever offer, and he delivers in a way this world never can. You begin to fight fire with fire, holding fast to the permanent promises of God over the fleeting pleasures of the world. You remind yourself, daily if you have to, that "you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." You begin to find your hope and pleasure in God and not in licentiousness, greed, or the cravings of your flesh.
“Washed” – that’s a great word from 1 Corinthians 6:11. It pictures in our minds a cleansing, a removing. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice shower after a day working in the muck? That is what those of us who have come to know Jesus are – those who have been washed – because we are included in those who need a good washing.
How do you start? By taking the most important step. You confess your sin to God, then you find a trusted brother or sister and you confess to them and ask them to hold you accountable. You set up safeguards in your life. You get rid of your home computer or your T.V. (yes, it is possible) if you have to. You seek help for an addiction or you confess your indiscretions to your husband or wife. You submit your life to the Lordship of Christ and let him help you regain control. Then you live in the freedoms that only God can offer. No one does this perfectly. Everyone struggles with sin. That notwithstanding, we are called to holy living.
Do you need additional help? Please call or email me or one of our other pastors/elders. We are ready to help. We either have, or will find, the resources to help you, and you will have one more person praying for you. Sin, my friends, is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:7).
Grace and peace,