The world’s sliding scale of ethics and morality provides a
fitting non-foundation for a society enamored with limitless
personal freedoms without the corresponding personal
It is perfect for people who want to feel good about themselves
no matter how they live. It makes “sense” to those who see no
ultimate purpose for their lives.
“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14)
is not limited to sex outside of marriage.
God commands us to abstain from all sexual immorality,
including premarital sex (fornication), homosexuality,
incest, voyeurism, bestiality, public nudity and much
more (see Leviticus 18 and 20)
The Bible is very clear that we’re not to be hypocritical when
dealing with sin.
Scripture’s parameters regarding sexual sin are extremely narrow
and govern not only our actions, but our words and thoughts as well.
That leaves me guilty.
How about you?
Where’s your mind when you’re reading that romance novel or watching
that steamy movie?
Are you using pornography?
Flirting with that good looking co-worker even though you’re married?
Using double entendres or other suggestive remarks?
Exchanging inappropriate e-mails with another man/woman?
Fantasizing about sexual encounters with someone you’re not married to?
Going farther than you should, physically, on a date?
Before we start thinking about addressing the sins others commit,
we first need to make sure our own hearts, hands, and mouths are
clean by repenting from any sexual sin we’re participating in.
Be true to oneself, quit lying and ask what is really really the
reason for wanting to go out with her/him and knowing it was
inappropriate; do not sell yourself down the road of no-return,
deceiving oneself for momentary pleasures and reaping an eternal
regret and horrible consequences.
In the New Testament, Paul adds licentiousness, uncleanness
and lewdness (Ephesians 4:19), which largely deal with liberal
attitudes towards sexual matters. Men seem to “get away” with
adultery while unfaithful women are considered tramps.
This double standard is ancient.
In John 8:3-11, a crowd was ready to stone a woman caught
“in the very act,” but where was the adulterous man?
We have a God who does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8),
and since His Word is based on His very character, it does not
α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω
α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω α & Ω
God’s Word, however, deals with both sexes equally.
His Word does not take sexual sin lightly either.
Leviticus 20:10 commands death for both participants for
adultery, as well as for sodomy and homosexuality (verse 13).
Paul reminds us that God killed twenty-three thousand
Israelites in one day for sexual sins (I Corinthians 10:8).
In Abraham’s day God destroyed five entire cities by fire
for their aberrant sex practices.
God sent the Israelites and Jews into captivity for immorality,
among other reasons.
Jesus struck the heart of the matter in His Sermon on the Mount.
Christians must not even lust after another—fantasizing or
committing sex with them mentally (Matthew 5:27-28).
Nowadays, many psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors
actually advise people to fantasize, or perhaps even have
a “little fling.”
Advertisements and fashions all play to the lust of the flesh,
making it increasingly more difficult to obey Jesus’ command.
Teens sometimes scorn their peers if they are still virgins
by fourteen. This topsy-turvy world has completely lost its
understanding of this commandment.
Why should we flee temptations?
Revelation 21:8 states that God will sentence the sexually immoral
to the Lake of Fire, right along with murderers, idolaters, liars
and other unrepentant sinners.
Paul adds, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit
the kingdom of God?” Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators,
nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites
. . . will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9-10)
Much like our big cities today, ancient Corinth was filled
with sexual temptations. Paul advised the brethren there to
“flee sexual immorality” (I Corinthians 6:18).
Too often we flee, yet leave a forwarding address!
It is unwise to hang around people, places or situations that
tempt us into sexual sins.(Proverbs 5:3-14; Genesis 39:7-12).
When we flirt with temptation, we can end up as an ox going
to slaughter (Proverbs 7:6-27).
But for us, it is a slippery slope to the second death.
Through His law, God has provided us a fixed standard,
a pattern of approved behavior that is valid and profitable
for anyone in any place at any time.
This is the factor that allows us to have unshakable faith
in Almighty God and His purpose for us. And we need such an
unshakable faith during these last days. Paul warns us in
II Timothy 3:1 that our time would be “perilous” to us
because of our belief in the truth of God.
What are the results of rejecting and being disobedient to God?
Disobedience would lead to ….
1. Uncleanness, meaning moral impurity;
2. Longing or desiring, especially what is forbidden;
3. Disgracing each other by mutual consent, meaning unlawful
and impure connections with one another. Verse 24 contemplates
not just a perversion of sex—homosexuality—but any use of it
outside of God’s Law, such as fornication.
Paul describes more of what rejecting
God leads to:
For this reason God gave them up to
vile passions. For even their women
exchanged the natural use for what is
against nature. Likewise also the men,
leaving the natural use of the woman,
burned in their lust for one another,
men with men committing what is
shameful, and receiving in themselves
the penalty of their error which was due.
The apostle then lists specific attitudes (verses 2-5),
many of which apply to these three examples of traditional
ethics and morality being turned upside-down. Though the
world continues to increase its store of knowledge,
the people and their leaders are always learning and
never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
One day, hopefully soon, the folly of man’s misguided
immorality will be revealed by the coming of Jesus Christ
and the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Then, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of
the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”
(Habakkuk 2:14), and the problems will truly begin
to be solved.
BE SURE YOUR SINS WILL ALWAYS FIND YOU OUT!
♣ ♥ ♣
NO LOOKING BACK
“Jesus said to him: “No man that has put his hand to a plow
and looks at the things behind is well fitted for the kingdom of God.”
♣ ♥ ♣
This “looking back” is not merely reflecting to evaluate the progress made since one decided to leave the world. Instead, it is like Lot’s wife, who looked back with a degree of longing to return to what she had left. Her life was literally on the line, and rather than being fully engaged in surviving, she placed a higher priority on life’s lesser matters than on the greater one of preserving her life through God’s gift of protection.
She looked back, revealing her heart still to be in Sodom, a type of the world. Her action indicates regret for having left. Success in God’s way requires following an awesome vision of future glory with devoted conviction. Abraham is a primary example: He looked for a city built by God, apparently leaving his homeland without ever looking back (Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16).
Once we commit to Christianity, God’s calling becomes our vocation, which requires our concentrated attention going forward. A vocation is a person’s regular occupation. What happens when a Christian looks back with a measure of longing is similar to someone talking on a cell phone while driving his car. He frequently drifts all over the road, swerving this way and that because, at best, his attention is split between conflicting priorities. He is setting himself up for trouble, and all too frequently, an accident occurs. A Christian cannot make a beeline for the Kingdom with his attention diverted elsewhere. We are not to be anything but altogether followers of the Son of God. The stakes are that high, for the fulfillment of His promise is so great.
Dramatic, sudden death, as happened to Lot’s wife, will not likely happen to us if we gaze yearningly behind us. For this reason, a person who has begun to fall away will most likely take the second step backwards with hardly a pause. Hebrews 10:39 says, “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” Almost invariably, longing for the old life is followed by gradually and increasingly believing that God’s requirements are too exacting and difficult.
In Jesus’ parable in Luke 19:11-27, did not the man given one mina complain something similar to this when asked what he had gained with it? “Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow” (verses 20-21).
We must be prepared to put God first in all things. There will be times when this will be exceedingly difficult, especially if the surrender of a thing involves the sacrifice of someone or something deeply loved or desired. It can happen, but such occasions are quite rare.
It has been said that he who is unwilling to sacrifice everything for the cause of God is really willing to sacrifice nothing. Drawing back happens despite God’s promise that every trial is measured to the exact specifications needed by the individual Christian. In I Corinthians 10:13, God promises to provide relief from every problem: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” The word-picture in Hebrews 10:39 portrays a person shrinking back from following through on the demands of faith. He is looking for an easy way out of some distasteful thing he does not wish to face. This eventually happens to us all.
A major appeal of the world’s way is that it seems to be broader and easier. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:13, the easier, broader way it probably is—for a while. That deceptively effortless way draws the person ever-further from salvation, and he grows steadily weaker as he loses contact with God. The one who apostatizes thus permits himself to be drawn back.
The third step is taken when a person actually turns away. John 6:65-66 records such an occasion in Jesus’ ministry: “And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” In this poignant scene, Jesus watched people who may have been friends leave His entourage because they could not comprehend His teaching. He undoubtedly had spoken of things of an order far higher than they were accustomed to hearing, but rather than patiently facing it, as the apostles did, they simply gave up, proving themselves unfit for the Kingdom of God. Their loyalty could not stand the strain of what may have been merely a temporary misunderstanding. They had been followers, but apparently, they were seeking for something else.
By this stage, it is still not too late for a person to grab hold of himself and move forward, but the world’s appeal has become almost overpowering. Spiritual decline has reached the tipping point, and he is in serious peril.
The fourth and final step backward is illustrated by Isaiah in the Old Testament: “But the word of the LORD was to them, ‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’ That they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught” (Isaiah 28:13).
In examining the context carefully, we see that the people being described have reached the critical point where God’s Word is falling on deaf ears. It is to them just jumbled noise. In New Testament terms, they had backslid beyond the reach of repentance and forgiveness. Here, the apostate reaches the point of no return; he has earned the Lake of Fire.
*John W. Ritenbaugh *