It has come to my attention that you are feeling the weight of your sin crashing down upon you, and I understand that you feel chained down and stuck by the lies of the world telling you it isn't that bad. You feel torn. You said that they sounded very convinced and sure that premarital sex, weed, white lies, and drunkenness weren't wrong. I read your list of reasons they gave you and will admit, to the flesh, they seem perfectly fine. In fact, we both have friends who are very moral people that participate in these things. Oh, the dangerous life of a man of morals. You asked me in your letter how immorality can have such a grasp on your life; how it can be justified and clothed to look decent. I will tell you that the answer you're looking for isn't in trying to live a more moral life. Immorality doesn't seem to have such a grasp on your life because of a lack of morals, but because of an abundance of morals!
People too often chase after the definition of what morals are, and the problem is that they achieve it. Morals are defined as, "A person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do." You see my dear reader, everyone has their own morals; their own idea of what is true and what isn't; even though some might be more common than others.
The beginning of moral living came way back in the book of Genesis 3. You see, in the beginning the only thing Adam and Eve knew was from God and God Himself. There was a perfect communion with Him. God wanted to be our only source of knowledge. This was why there was a rule that Adam and Eve were not allowed to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It would give us knowledge apart from Him. In fact, the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil we see them covering themselves with fig leaves. They made the decision apart from God that they were naked and that was wrong. Thus, we have the beginning of moral living. My dearest reader, this is why, by not only our words but our actions, we constantly are saying, "I don't need you God, I have it figured out." We also tend to tell God that "we already know" what to do in various situations. Because of our knowledge apart from God, we have created moral living. So, as you feel stuck in immorality, don't look to what is the moral thing to do, but look to God who is the Truth for a way out. I Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear, but with the temptation provide a way of escape." As you can see, it is not morals or moral living that provides our way out, but it is God Himself and living in union with Him. Still, be careful my friend, because it is the sinful flesh of man that will cunningly focus on what Jesus DID and what Jesus SUFFERED instead of what JESUS did and what JESUS suffered. You will end up in exhaustion from trying over and over to "live better" and grow disheartened from not being able to achieve it. And this is the key to not living a life of morals; to surrender your will to Jesus Christ; to admit that Jesus is everything that is true, and He is the only truth.
Jesus is the end of moral living for us because He is God's Word made flesh (John 1:1) and the exact representation of His truth in man's flesh; not only being fully man, but also fully God. You wrote to me about how you felt chained down and bound by immorality because of it's deceptiveness and lies, but I want to show you the freedom of the truth. John 8:32 says, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Freedom from immorality and from feeling stuck in the persuasiveness of lies is in knowing the Truth. In order for you to understand the truth, I thought I would show you a story of a man who's job was to search for it.
When the Pharisees took Jesus before Pontus Pilate, they judged him by their morals. Pilate wanted to search for the truth of who Jesus was. In John 8:32 Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king and Jesus replies, "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice." This is a huge statement by Jesus. Jesus came to the earth to testify to the truth. The greek word for "to" here means "far more exceeding" and the greek word for "testify" means to "bear record to"; therefore, Jesus literally came to bear record to by His life a truth that is far exceeding any other truth. Jesus is the greatest truth you can ever know. The last part of Jesus's response says, "Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice." The literal translation of the Greek could also read like, "Whosoever that comes to the origin of truth (God) understands my (SINGULAR) voice." What you should see in Jesus's closing remark is three quick things.
First, you should see the importance of being in union with the origin (God). Deitrich Bonhoffer discusses this idea in his book "Ethics" saying that "knowing of good and evil in disunion with the origin, man begins to reflect upon himself. His life is now his understanding of himself, whereas at the origin it was his knowledge of God. Self-knowledge is now the measure and goal of life." With this understanding, you can see how a life of morals can be so tempting and hard to overcome. Bonhoffer later says, "no longer knowing good and evil, but knowing Christ as origin and as reconciliation, man will know all." Just as Jesus says in John 18:37, when we know Christ as origin and truth, we will understand His voice.
Second, you should see understanding of this will only come to those who, by grace, are brought back into union with God. This will confront you as a challenge when your piers who live lives of morals can't understand why you won't conform to their morals. Jesus implies in His answer that there are those who will just not understand why you follow his voice. My dear reader, you might even be called crazy when they don't hear the voice you are following, but be encouraged that God is with you. God can; and God cares. God can provide you with the strength to persevere and He cares for you so much that He will provide it for you.
The last thing to see in His closing statement to Pilate is that we will hear HIS voice. The word "my" in this verse is two things. First, it is a simpler form of a singular Greek word. There is nothing complicated or complex about following Christ. Second, it is a SINGULAR Greek word. There aren't multiple or contradicting voices of truth. There is Jesus Christ, God's Word made flesh, God's ONLY Son. (Duet. 6:4) I urge you not to be like the Pharisees when Pilate, as was custom, gave them the choice of who would be released. The choice was between Jesus, God's Son, and Barabbas, meaning "son of abba." The Pharisees said they didn't want the true Son of their heavenly Father, but chose a false "son of abba". Be wary because choosing that which is earthly is a true thief of life.
Jesus came to a world that was consumed by morals; their own standards of behavior and beliefs, and he did this, why? To testify; to bear witness; to BE the truth. We no longer need to live by morals, because we have Jesus Christ who is the Truth himself to follow.
In conclusion to your question my dear reader, do not search for morals in order to free yourself from immorality and do not seek understanding with your own knowledge or the knowledge of other men, but in all that you do be a doer of the Word of God by following Jesus Christ. As Deitrich Bonhoffer so eloquently states, "The doer is here the man who simply knows of no other possible attitude to the Word of God when he has heard it than to do it; who therefore continues to concern himself strictly with the Word itself and does not derive from it a knowledge for himself on the basis of which he might become the judge of his brother, of himself, and eventually also a judge of the Word of God."
Live a Sh'ma lifestyle. (Duet. 6:4-5)
May grace and peace be yours in abundance,
An apostle of Jesus Christ
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