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Sexual Impurity In The Church
Northern Maine Snow - The Acadian House
Sexual Immorality in the Church?
A common topic encountered today in religion is pornography and sexual immorality among leaders and believers in the pew. Rarely is it discussed in the public forum. I will attempt to approach it from a Biblical standpoint gracefully.
In recent years sexual addiction has risen to be a part of psychological disorders much like other obsessive-compulsive disorders, or analogous to supplementary addictions. Those include internet pornography, and illicit drug use, with these phenomena being a somewhat recent development.
Sexual addiction, also called hyper-sexual disorder, may be defined and identified as any compulsive or impulsive sexual activity that falls into one of three categories: shameful, secretive, or abusive. Internet sexual addiction is a new form of sexual addiction and is one of the most prevalent.
Sexual addiction starts with an initial temptation or lust. Let’s take a closer look at what temptation is and what it means for a Christian. James 1.2-3 states,
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
Where translated “trials” above perhaps it should have been rendered “temptations” which you will find in the footnotes of most Bible translations. Temptations and trials are mentioned in every book of the New Testament. However, they are seldom preached and the problem of sexual addiction continues to rise.
The story continues as we examine temptations as they relate to avoiding addictions.
A Study of Temptation
Where Do Temptations Come From?
I have identified seven steps in temptation. None of these emanate from God. The list may not be inclusive and expanded in the future. Read these carefully and try to come back to them as you need over time. The simple steps in temptations are:
2. One then becomes drawn away by their imagination.
3. When the imagination matures, one then physically views the object of their sin.
4. While viewing the object of their their will is weakened. (re. Romans 6.12)
5. One then yields to the sin. (re. James 1.15)
6. The sinful act is completed.
7. The end result of a sinful nature is death.
Immorality and being filled with lust for either a man or woman is a sin according to the Bible. Going back to the Old Testament to the Book of Job this should scare the hell out of you, "For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. It is a fire that burns all the way to hell. It would wipe out everything I own." (Job 31.11-12)
Promiscuous sex outside of marriage is commonly called a psychological disorder in the field of psychology. An undeniable fact is people are simply using this diagnosis as an excuse for explaining away their sin.
Keep in mind that God’s nature does not change. It is man who changes and begins to do what is right in his own eyes instead of staying in what the Bible tells us about living in God's moral circle. We must change our sinful habits and stop trying to explain away unrighteousness. (see Malachi 6.3)
What are the Problems?
What do I do to avoid the allure of temptations?
Remove the sin from your heart and soul by asking God to forgive you and remove the sin as far as the east is from the west.(re. Psalm 103.12) This is a Scripture that we need to memorize. When God separates sin He really does it.
Please review what the Bible has to say about sexual sins. (see Acts 15.20 below; 1 Corinthians 5.1; 6.13, 18; 10.8; 2 Corinthians 12.21; Galatians 5.19; Ephesians 5.3; Colossians 3.5; 1 Thessalonians 4.3; Jude 7)
Let me state it succinctly, there is no time proper to have sex outside of marriage or sexual imaginings. Instead, we are told to flee from them. This is especially true of any leadership in the body of a church. If the leadership is not clean, how can they teach the believers in the pews?
The temptation is a spiritual issue that comes down to making the right or wrong choice. We each have struggled with temptations. Let me make a suggestion to try at the time of temptation. Simply say out loud “I will not sin.”
Here are eight tips in relation to temptations. They are:
1. Pray – After physically saying out loud “I will not sin” pray that God will give you the wisdom and strength, opportunity, and power to heed your own words.
2. Flee from the Sin – Try going for a good run outdoors. Put on the tennis shoes and hit the pavement. This is much better for you than the guilt of falling into sin.
3. Quote Scripture – Remember Jesus our Lord used the words of the Bible against the tempter and never challenged his authority over the earth.
4. Pray Again – Right in the midst of the temptation kill it with prayer. The temptation is not the sin, acting on it is.
5. Find a Brother or Sister in Christ to pray with you by Smartphone or in person.
6. Ask them to hold you accountable – This can be insurance against you giving into the sin. Knowing that someone is accountable to you helps one in avoiding temptation.
7. Never forget God is faithful - “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10.13)
God can and will always provide “a way of escape” to help us to avoid the sin. This is a memory verse to recall at times of need. What we need to practice is the "way of escape."
8. One Must Remember – There are clearly sin consequences. – Galatians 6.7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
Come on – fight the good fight of faith. Say “I will not sin” (Romans 6.12) and mean it. Remember a life of sin leads to death away from God, the Saints, and your family who are in heaven. But I have provided a few suggestions and verses to avoid the allure of temptations. I hope they help.
Is This A Sign of the Times?
A Closer Look
Clearly temptations and trials come to everyone including Christians. Having the temptation is not the sin, but acting on it is. What we need to remember is the words of the Bible that cause the temptation to be overcome and not put into action. That is our ultimate goal.
The Acts 15.20 verse is the only rules that a Gentile believer must adhere to according to the first Apostolic Conference about twenty years after Jesus death. It reads, “Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from their blood."
James with "instead" from above was alluding to the many rules numbering in the hundreds the Jews were expected to follow and even their leaders could not. Paul delivered the Apostle meeting results to the home churches wherever they were and told them to announce the above and live by them.
Most sin becomes addicting. I will go as far as to say that all sins engaged in on a regular basis are addicting. Those that can become habitual are lying, gossiping, drinking in excess, smoking, gluttony of food and other things, illegal drugs, rage, pornography, etc. There are probably hundreds more but you get the idea.
In due course, each of us, in our fallen bodies, have had a “sin addiction.” Sex outside of marriage can lead to "ever-increasing wickedness." (re. Romans 6:1, 19) Objectively, illicit drug use can drive one to increased amounts of whatever drug to achieve the same "high."
It stands to reason immoral sex may prime one to progressively commit more "uninhabited" actions to receive the same high. Psychologically and physiologically a person may be addicted to recurrent, uninhabited, experimental, and even obscenely immoral sex.
So, it is a fact, sex outside marriage and our sin can become addicting. The fact that both exist and before God both are a sin Christian leaders and the flock need to flee from them, repent, and ask God for forgiveness.
In the world, they are not seen as a sin. A Christian must not allow sin to be reduced to simply a psychological disorder. It is not in the eyes of our Father. Regular lovemaking by a non-Christian couple will result in some cases becoming psychologically and physiologically addicting.
However, for a Christian’s couple lovemaking between a husband and wife is always pure before God. (see Hebrews 13:4) God’s ordained way of lovemaking between a married couple has the effect of mitigating the pressure of any "sexual addiction" when the man and woman agree.
If anything happens to become addicting it may become a hindrance to other aspects of life also. That is why it is always advisable to overcome the temptation that always precedes the addiction.
However, again, it is never wrong for a Christian husband and wife to desire regular lovemaking with each other. Where there is mutual consent, a Christian husband and wife are Biblically allowed to make love as often as there is agreement. (see 1 Corinthians 7:5)
The only true cure for both sexual addiction and sin is Jesus Christ. Being clean before Him should be our top priority. A dire warning exists in Roman 1.21 where lust and illicit sin causes a darken heart as part of the curse of unbelief of God's creation of the heavens and the earth.
Jesus, our God in human form, paid the eternal and infinite penalty for each one of us. (re. 2 Corinthians 5:21) On condition we wholly trust in His sacrifice on our behalf as full payment for our sins, taking Him as Savior and Lord in faith, He has promised all of our sins are forgiven. When this happens God makes us “a new creation.” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Then, our Lord starts the sanctification process of “conforming us to His will.” (see Romans 12:1-2) This includes enabling each of us to overcome sin as the Holy Spirit breaks any sin addictions we may have. It really comes down to how different we are compared to the non-believers around us.
If we are busy at achieving the image of our Lord we will not be involved with the sexual additions or other sins for that matter. Paul was a great example of being conformed to the same image as Jesus Christ. Let us all copy what Paul did and we will stay out of trouble with the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (re. Romans 7:24-25)
Thank you for reading this short article and please leave your thoughts and comments on this essay. God’s blessings to you and your family.
My Final Comments and Tribute to Bob Shufeld!
Sexual Impurity. What a tough subject to cover. It came to my attention a couple of months ago. We can overcome sexual addictions by letting the words of the Bible fill our minds. With Christ, there is hope in a hopeless world. (Romans 5:5) And Peter says we should always be ready to tell others the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).
I would like to dedicate my comment section to a wonderful man I knew and worked for about 9 months, Bob Shufeld who passed away 18 Feb. 2018. A kinder and funny person you will never meet. Bob who always lighted up a room with a joke or limerick. His wife Pat is a wonderful person as well and they were an exemplary Christian couple I and many others learned about true love like my wife and I have as well. I will never forget him as a friend. His body was racked with cancer but no more. He is now in heaven in an eternal body that is perfect. God's blessings, Gary