Part of the recovery process for everyone who has become sexually broken or addicted is knowing what is true and what is false. Truth, as Jesus said, will set you free. Lies are the language of the devil and keep us captive, isolated, and broken. This is so critical because many of you…like me…are believing that you can never tell anyone about your secret love of porn, and therefore need to keep trying to recover on your own. Good luck with that…didn’t work for me.
This has led to your dependence on porn as an escape even though you know it is a highly addictive behavior. Causing you to fear you might not be saved or were saved but have lost it due to the idea that surely Christians cannot become addicted to sexual sin…even though it is a highly addictive behavior because of the addictive chemicals our brain pumps out when we begin to be sexually aroused.
This brings us to a fork in the road…are we going to continue down the path of porn and the destruction it will bring into our lives or are we going to choose the path of recovery knowing full well it will be a long and slow journey where we can begin to experience God changing us from the inside out and helping us gain more and more freedom.
I know many of you are saying to yourself that you have tried to stop on your own many times without success. Perhaps you have even started going to one of the 12 Step programs. But there is this underlying fear that you have lost your salvation.
Here are two verses that seem to teach that idea but in fact are not and are often misinterpreted and misunderstood. The first is in Galatians 5 where Paul has taught us that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh…
“So, I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Being filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit are God’s provisions for recovery and need to be part of our daily spiritual routine. However, a few verses later Paul writes…
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and … debauchery; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
At first glance, it seems to be saying that those who live in sexual immorality and impurity will not be going to heaven and not inheriting the kingdom of God. And yet we know from the mouth of Jesus…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Now either Jesus and Paul do not believe the same thing about the eternal security of our salvation, or we are misunderstanding what Paul is saying to the Galatians? The words of Jesus are simple enough to understand…believe in Him and you will not perish because you have been given the free gift of Eternal Life.
The answer to these two ideas seeming to contradict is found in better understanding Paul’s statement “…those who LIVE like this…” Paul is not saying that those who struggle with sexual temptation have lost their salvation. If that were true, then the majority of men in every church will not inherit the kingdom of God.
However, we need to know a little bit more about what the words in Greek mean. I think we can agree that in real life there is a difference between someone who is battling against some behaviors and there are those who are not battling against those behaviors and have accepted it as an ok way to live. They have given themselves over to living that certain lifestyle because that is what they want.
Do you see the difference? One is struggling with the sin because they know it is wrong and is not what God wants for them. The other doesn’t care if it is right or wrong…they are just going to live that way because they like it and do not see the harm in doing so. One is battling the temptation while the other has given themselves over to that way of living.
John says it a little differently in 1 John 3:4-6…
“But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”
This phrase “keeps on sinning” and “who continues to sin” is describing someone who is not trying to stop nor struggles to do so. No…they are those who chose to continue to live a lifestyle of sin instead of fighting against it.
These two verbs are in the present tense which means it is an ongoing action in their lives that has become their lifestyle and they see no reason to not just accept it and give themselves over to it. These two passages are not describing Christians who struggle with sexual sin…but those who are not Christians and therefore are fine just making sexual sin an ongoing part of their life.
It also might help us to remember the words Paul wrote in describing his own battle with the sin of covetousness…or lust…
“So, I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Tomorrow we will look more closely at what Paul is saying in Romans 7.