The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Will Jesus Weep Over You?

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, - Luke 19:41

The last week of Jesus ministry began with a triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus was met with shouts of rejoicing, “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” (Mat. 21:9). But the scriptural account goes on to state, “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, . . .” Jesus wept because He knew the fickleness of humanity and their dullness to the ways of God. He wept because He knew the sad truth that humanity misses out on God’s blessings because they are unready for them. Humanity misses out on God’s best because of disregard, spiritual dullness, and a degenerate set of priorities.

The nation of Israel missed her Messiah because she was unready for Him. To this day they are sadly still looking for the first coming of their Messiah when He has come and is due to come again. Despite hundreds of prophetic identifiers Israel was unready for her Messiah. This was the source of sorrow for Jesus.

We need to learn from history. Otherwise as George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Just as Israel missed the first coming of Messiah, Christians can miss the Second Coming of Messiah due to not being ready for it. This too would be a source of sorrow for Jesus. When we examine Luke 19 we find instructions on how to be ready for the coming of Jesus. If we heed the scripture, we’ll be ready when Jesus returns. Then we’ll be the cause of rejoicing not weeping in our Savior. What do we learn in Luke 19 about being ready for His coming?

First, don’t let anything keep you from the salvation Jesus offers (19:1-10). On His way to Jerusalem Jesus passed through Jericho (19:1). Jericho was known for its palm trees. It was a rich and flourishing town. It was at this point we are introduced to Zacchaeus, a rich chief tax collector (19:2). Tax collectors were despised and because his wealth came from collecting taxes he was likely resented by those around him. He was wealthy and had position in society and yet when he heard of Jesus nearby he sought Him out (19:3).

Zacchaeus had some obstacles to overcome in order to see Jesus. He was short. Even though he didn’t measure up physically, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree so that he could see Jesus (19:3-4). For a wealthy man of status to run and even climb a tree was an act of humiliation. Zacchaeus made seeking Jesus a priority by humbling himself to a position where he could see Him. When we come to the Lord we do so humbly, on His terms, not our own. Zacchaeus didn’t proudly push through the crowd for an audience with Jesus. He humbly and in a childlike way scampered up a tree to see Jesus. Jesus said to enter his kingdom you had to enter it as a child, humbly and open to learn (Luke 18:16-17).

As Jesus passed by He looked up and saw Zacchaeus and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (19:5). Interestingly Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ name. Zacchaeus was seeking Jesus, but Jesus knew of and was maybe looking for the short tax collector too. It’s also interesting that Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house. What right did He have to do this? A King can invite Himself anywhere He wants. The host Zacchaeus then became the guest of King Jesus. Jesus takes control of the salvation process. He comes our way and is ready when we respond or show evidence of receiving the word He offers.

At Jesus’ invitation, Zacchaeus immediately scampered down the tree and, "received Him joyfully” (19:6). Zacchaeus accepted the invitation of Jesus. He did so joyfully. Something in the rich tax collector responded to the invitation of Jesus. He may have had all he needed materially, but he was missing something more important. He knew that too. Otherwise he wouldn’t have climbed that tree. When Jesus said He would stay at his house, Zacchaeus heart leaped for joy. He sensed his emptiness was about to be ended.

The bystanders complained about this. They resented Jesus going to stay with a “sinner” (19:7). But public opinion didn’t prevent Zacchaeus from receiving Jesus. Even though these were the people he had to work with and live amongst, Zacchaeus didn’t let their opinion and peer pressure deter him. Nothing could keep him from opening his home and heart to the Savior.

We don’t know what the entire conversation was between Jesus and Zacchaeus but what we do know is that it had an impact on the rich tax collector. He stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (19:8). These words indicate a life change based on an inward heart transformation. Zacchaeus was convicted of his sin. He wanted to make things right. What Jesus brought Him, he received. We know this because Jesus responded, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham” (19:9).  A “son of Abraham” is another way of saying Zacchaeus had put his faith in God (see Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4). Zacchaeus was not saved by his works, his works were a product of being saved by the faith he put in Jesus.

The account of Zacchaeus salvation is an example of Jesus’ priority. Jesus said, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost” (19:10). That was Jesus’ priority and that should be our priority. If we are going to be ready for His coming we have to be saved ourselves. We have to receive Jesus into our hearts. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). That’s the first order of business, be saved yourself. Then once your salvation is secure, make evangelism a priority like Jesus did. This is the first step in getting ready for Jesus.

Second, be faithful to use what the Lord gives you (19:11-27). As Jesus spoke of His priority to seek and save the lost He shared the parable of the ten minas. He spoke of a nobleman who went away on a journey to receive a kingdom. As he left he entrusted ten of his servant’s with a mina (i.e. about three months wages) each with the command, “Do business till I come” (19:11-13). Despite some resistance the nobleman received his kingdom (19:14). Upon his return he called the servants to give an account of what they had done with the ten minas (19:15). The first two servants that gave account had differing achievements but the nobleman complimented both and gave each even greater responsibility (19:16-19). But the third servant came and returned the mina with no profit reasoning that he was fearful and implied the nobleman was harsh, unjust, and unreasonable (19:20-21). The nobleman assessed this one as a “wicked servant,” and took his mina from him and gave it to the servant who had invested the mina wisely (19:22-26). Then the nobleman called for his enemies to be brought before him to be slain before him (19:27).

What was so wicked about the inaction of this last servant? Was it simply a monetary matter? No, it was much more than this. The inactivity of the wicked servant implied that he did not expect or desire the return of the nobleman; he assumed he wouldn’t come back. He was an enemy within the household of the nobleman and deserved the same fate of the enemies that outwardly opposed the nobleman (compare the Parable of the Talents in Mat. 25:30). e He waActions speak louder than words. When we do nothing with what the Lord entrusts to us, it implies we really don’t believe He’s coming back. We may even have a desire that He doesn’t come back. That is wicked.

The message here is faithfulness means wisely using and investing what the Lord entrusts to you. If we are going to be ready for Jesus coming we need to invest what He has entrusted to us in a way that will yield a profit. Our talents, material resources, spiritual gifting, everything He has entrusted to us should be invested in the priority of seeking and saving the lost.

Third, understand Jesus will be praised (19:28-40). As Jesus drew near Jerusalem He instructed His disciples to go ahead of Him to secure His mode of transportation, a colt (19:28-31). In Matthew’s account it mentions a donkey and a colt (Mat. 21:1-7). This is not a contradiction only a typological insight added by Matthew. Typologically the donkey and colt refer to the Old Testament and New Testament. In Matthew it states Jesus “sat on them” (Mat. 19:7). But in Luke it shows that while Jesus may have begun sitting on both, He made the transition to sitting only on the colt. Typologically this refers to the transition from Old to New Testaments.

As Jesus rides the colt His “disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen saying: ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (19:32-38). When some Pharisees heard this, they immediately knew Jesus was being hailed as Messiah. They called for Jesus to rebuke His disciples (19:39). To this Jesus said, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (19:40). Jesus is going to be praised. A day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11). This is going to happen. Nothing people say or do can prevent it. Will you be one of the disciples praising Jesus or will you be a religious Pharisee trying to prevent it? Will you be ready when Jesus comes?

Fourth, don’t neglect prophecy (19:41-44). Jesus coming as Messiah should not have met with resistance or rejection. The Messiah was clearly identified in prophetic scriptures. Jesus laments, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (19:41-42). Because they neglected God’s prophetic word and rejected Jesus as Messiah, blindness came upon them that prevented them from seeing Messiah Jesus for who He was. Rejecting God’s word always leads to a hardening, a dulling, and desensitization to the truth of God. The apostle Paul spoke of a blindness that has come upon many Jews that will last until the end times (Rom. 11). Then through a series of events that blindness will be lifted. It will be lifted when they see Jesus return (Zech. 12:10). And Paul says, “And so all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). That will be a great day!

But before that day comes Jesus prophesied there would be great trial and hardship for Israel. He predicted the enemies of Israel would surround Jerusalem and literally bring it down stone by stone (19:43-44). This was literally fulfilled in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. You can trust the word of Jesus.

That God’s word predicted clearly what the coming of Messiah would be like is seen in such passages as Zechariah 9:9 that states:

·         Zechariah 9:9 - “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

This is how Jesus entered Jerusalem. But if that isn’t enough, the book of Daniel contains a more incredible prophetic word identifying to the day when Messiah would make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem:

·         Daniel 9:25 - “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.” 

This is an incredible prophecy! What it means is that from the time that the people are permitted to return to the Holy Land to rebuild Jerusalem, there will be “seven weeks and sixty-two weeks” or 69 weeks of seven years each, 483 years (69x7 = 483). We need to keep in mind too that the Hebrew year consisted of 360 days, not 365 like our calendar.

In the book of Nehemiah we are told of the “command” made by King Artaxerxes to allow the Jews to return to their land from captivity and to rebuild Jerusalem, (not just the Temple but the city of Jerusalem):

  • Nehemiah 2:1,5,8 – “And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before.5  . . .And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” . . . 8 “and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.” 

It is well documented in history that the first day of Nisan “in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes” is equivalent to March 14, 445 B.C. That is the starting point for this prophecy. You might think, “Wait a minute teacher, how do you know what day of the month in Nisan it was?” In his great book entitled, The Search for Messiah, Mark Eastman explains the following:

“By Hebrew tradition, when the day of the month is not specifically stated, it is given to be the first day of that month. So, the day of the decree by Artaxerxes was the first day of the Hebrew month Nisan 445 B.C.E. The first day of Nisan 445 B.C.E. corresponds to the 14th day of March. This was verified by the astronomical calculations at the British Royal Observatory and reported by Sir Robert Anderson.” [1]

Now if we multiply 69 x 7 year units (360 day years) the result is 173,880 days. When we mark off 173,880 days from March 14, 445 B.C. it brings us to April 6th, 32 A.D. In Luke 3:1 it states that Jesus’ ministry began “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.”  The date at which Tiberius’ reign began is calculated with certainty to be 14 A.D. If we add 15 years starting from 14 A.D. it brings us to 29 A.D. We then need to add an additional 3 years due to the three years of ministry depicted chronologically in the gospels. That therefore brings us to 32 A.D. In his pamphlet Jesus Historical Facts, Ralph O Muncaster notes that:

“The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England confirms the Sunday [Palm Sunday – Triumphal Entry] before Passover [in 32 A.D.] to be APRIL 6TH, 32 A.D.’[2]

Therefore, what we have in Daniel 9 is an exact calculation to the day when Messiah Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem!  This not only attests to the supernatural Divine authorship of this prophecy, but it also identifies and bears testimony that Jesus is the Messiah!

The prophecy of Daniel goes on to predict what would happen to Messiah at the end of that week that began with the triumphal entry:

·         Daniel 9:26a - “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;

Here we have a direct reference to the crucifixion of Jesus one week after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;” is referring to the substitutionary atonement of Jesus as the Scripture attests:

  • Isaiah 53:4-6 – “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” 

In the New Testament it speaks of the substitutionary work of Jesus in the following way:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 
  • 1 Peter 2:24 – “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” 
  • 1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” 

The Jews had been looking for a political Messiah who would free them from the oppression of the Romans. But had they checked the word of God more closely and not relied so heavily on the tradition of men, they would have understood that Messiah would first give His life as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all humankind.[3]

We need to pay attention to prophecy in scripture. Otherwise when Jesus returns, we may not be ready. Learn from those who missed His first coming so that you won’t miss His second coming!

Fifth, clean house (19:45-48). Upon entering Jerusalem Jesus went straight to the Temple. As soon as He got there He cleaned house. He drove out those who had reduced the holy Temple grounds to a place of manipulative monetary profit. The money changers preyed on pilgrims who came to the Temple to bring offerings to the Lord. The pilgrims would bring their own sacrifices but they would be rejected and told they needed to buy the acceptable sacrificial animals from the priests. To do this they had to convert their secular money to Temple money. When people would go to the money changers to convert their money, they would be charged exorbitant conversion charges. Since the pilgrims had travelled far from home, they had no recourse but to pay the extortionist expense. Jesus threw those involved in such unjust practices out of the Temple.  He then reemphasized that God’s house was to be a house of prayer not a den of thieves (19:45-46). And He taught daily in the Temple. The religious Pharisees resisted and objected to this. They began plotting how to kill Jesus. But the people were hungry for God’s word and there was nothing that could prevent them from receiving the word Jesus taught.

The final thing we need to do to be ready for Jesus’ coming is to clean our house. Christians are likened to being temples of the Holy Spirit who are not their own but are now owned by God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We need to invite Jesus into our house and ask Him what needs to go. We need to reestablish prayer and the teaching of God’s word in our house, in our hearts.

Jesus is coming again. Many missed Him the first time He came despite hundreds of prophetic indicators. When He comes back next time He will return in two phases. He will come secretly to rapture true believers (1 Thess. 4:13-5:9) before the Tribulation. Then He will come in power and great glory for all to see at His Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation (Luke 21:25-28; Mat. 24:27-31; Mark 13:24-27). Will you be ready? Are you ready? Will Jesus weep over you?



[1] Mark Eastman, The Search For  Messiah, Costa Mesa, CA: The Word For Today, 1993) p. 80.
[2] John O Muncaster, Jesus Historical Facts – Investigation of the Evidence, (Mission Viejo, CA 92691:Strong Basis To Believe, 1996) p. 14-15.
[3] A good book to consult concerning what the Rabbis were expecting Messiah to be is Mark Eastman’s book The Search For Messiah. Mark Eastman, The Search For Messiah, (Box 8000 Costa Mesa, CA 92628. Phone 714-979-0706).

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Gospel for those Caught in Sexual Sin (Revised and updated)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes . . .. “– Romans 1:16a

 “And such were some of you” – 1 Corinthians 6:11

Sexual sins such a pornography, fornication (any and all sexual interaction outside of marriage), adultery, homosexuality/lesbianism, transgender, pedophilia, bestiality, are rampant in our day. So deep is our world in such sins that governments both national (e.g. the United States) and international (e.g. United Nations) are actually passing legislation to legalize and protect those who indulge in such sin. Laws are being passed to justify those who indulge such sins and prevent people from discriminating against them. It is socially anathema to speak against those living immoral lifestyles. Standing for holiness and speaking against such immorality is becoming more and more of a "criminal" offense. Our world is twisted. These are days when evil is called good and good is called evil (Isaiah 5:20). But there is a greater truth. There is a higher reality.

The acceptance of immorality as "good" in our world today is bad enough, but the greater tragedy is that the world refuses to see the addictive nature of immorality. Immoral thoughts and actions release chemically addictive elements in the human body. The images of immorality scar human memory. And the end result is slavery to the sins of immorality. Sexual sin affects every aspect of people; body, mind, and spirit. Sexual immorality is one of the greatest addictive enslavements in our day. But there is a way to be freed. There is a way out. You can make an exodus.

Sexual sin perverts our view of humanity reducing people to objects not people created in the image of God. This is literally happening. The life size sex doll industry is growing fast. Sex robots are proliferating. The obsession with sex is leading to a dehumanization. Sexual sin ruins marriages and families. It is frequently the cause of unfaithfulness and covenant breaking. It wreaks havoc on people financially. People lose homes, jobs, reputation, everything to feed their sexual appetites. All of this is an allurement of a spirit of hedonistic "pleasure." That "pleasure," is far from God's definition of pleasure. Sexual sin leads to putrid sexuality. God’s better way leads to sexual purity.

In the opening lines of Paul’s letter to the Romans he says, “I am a debtor” regarding the sharing of the gospel (1:14). Paul felt the good news of the gospel of God’s grace and salvation was so incredibly awesome and great, that it would be criminal to hold it back from anyone. The powerful gracious love of Christ that he experienced compelled him to share the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Romans 5:5).  Why did he feel this way? Sin is mercilessly captivating and enslaving no matter the form it takes. It chokes the life out of the one it holds in its grips. Sin works a slow death in people. Sin can work a swift death in people too. But sin always kills, murders, and destroys. Sin wrecks lives and leaves spent bodies and broken promises in its wake. Deviating outside the parameters of God’s word of truth and into sin always carries with it cancerous consequences. But there is a cure; a gracious cure from God that is good news for the person bending and near breaking under the weight of sin. The gospel sets sin-captives free and that liberation by God of the sinner is what Paul was indebted to pass on to all slaves of sin.

What was it that so impressed and moved the apostle Paul and caused him to feel indebted to write this epistle and share the gospel? There are four reasons stated by Paul in Romans for his feeling this way and they are immensely pertinent to anyone caught in a lifestyle of sin. 

First Paul says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16a). Paul would not shrink back in shame because some did not receive the gospel or God’s truth. He was not inhibited by peer pressure or public denunciations by his enemies. He cared more about serving God and Christ’s opinions than the opinions and opposition of people. The philosophy of the world is often presented as one of “tolerance.” But that tolerance is selective in that only those views that do not challenge the comfort of those living in sin are tolerated. You have to go with the flow of the status quo to be tolerated in the world today. Go against that flow and you will be labeled and libeled and discriminated against in the most intolerable ways; you will be persecuted. Just as Paul stood and courageously proclaimed in love the truth of God, no matter what, so should we (1 Corinthians 4; Ephesians 4:15)

Second Paul says, For it is the power of God to salvation for everyone” (Romans 1:16b). The good news is that the gospel of Christ is God’s powerful tool to save people from their sins and empower them to live righteous lives. That is what makes the gospel worth sharing. We are saved from the death sentence of sin through the free gift of eternal life through faith in Christ (Romans 6:23). But not only that, God’s gospel introduces us to a grace that helps us to overcome sinful lifestyles and habits that on our own we could not overcome (Romans 5:20; 6:4, 14,22; 7:24-25; 8:1-4, 37; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The Gospel introduces us to the Holy Spirit who gives us spiritual life (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit helps us live a holy life. This is all offered by God as a gift of His grace. The grace of God is able to set the slave of sin free. That’s one great reason to share the gospel.

Third Paul says, For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17). The gospel of God is received by faith and lived by faith. “Righteousness” refers to, “the character or quality of being right or just”; it was formerly spelled “rightwiseness.” Righteousness refers to the right way things are to be done. Righteousness is right living. Righteousness is determined by God’s word.   When “righteousness” is used to refer to an attribute of God it is equated with God’s faithfulness or truthfulness (Romans 3:25-26). God is “righteous” in that He is faithful, consistent with His word, and keeps His promises. [1] When we talk about the righteousness of God, we mean the highest, most holy, just and good standard of what is right. Since God is the highest and holiest of all, so is His righteous standard of governing the universe.

Part of the good news of the gospel is the bad news of sin. Unless a person realizes the bad news of their sinful state, the good news of God’s gospel will not be worth much to them. In the words of the ancient church father Jerome:

“You cannot understand the antidote until you first understand the poison.”

Sin is the poison we need to identify before the antidote of the gospel can be administered. It is the law of God that is meant to expose the poison of sin in life. Paul wrote:

·         1 Timothy 1:8-11 - 8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Two sins that the law exposes ass sinful are “fornicators” and “sodomites” which are sexual sins.  The law of God states that sex outside of marriage is sinful; that is fornication. Jesus elevated sexual sin beyond the act to the thought or “lust” of the mind saying:

·         Matthew 5:27-28 - 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Homosexuality is included under the under the umbrella of sexual sin: 

·         Leviticus 18:22 - 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
  • Romans 1:18–32 - 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 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.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

God cannot simply overlook or dismiss sin; to do so would tarnish and contradict His righteousness and justice. God’s righteousness, His faithfulness to His word, holds the universe in order. Pagan gods are capricious; they are not faithful to their word. But the God of the Bible is righteous and true. You can depend on Him and His word. That is a source of great security and comfort. And the order of the universe is based on God’s standard of justice. Murderers will not go unpunished, nor will the greedy, the covetous or the sexually immoral. All sin will be recompensed justly. It would be criminal to allow a murderer to go free unpunished. God’s oversight of the universe does not allow for unpunished criminals so that there is order and deterrence.

And because all sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4), no sin is a “little,” or “small” sin. One sin, because it is against God, is enough to dam a person for eternity. You might respond, “Really?” Yes. We often categorize sins in terms of little and big. We think of “harmless” white lies versus big perjuries on a witness stand. But that is a totally inadequate definition of sin. Let me illustrate. If a person goes outside with their friends and has a snowball fight hitting each other with some packed together snow balls is to be accepted and no problem. But what is the mischievous at heart throws a snowball at a passerby? That’s a little worse because they weren’t playing. What if a snowball is thrown at an elderly person? That’s bad. What if a snowball is thrown at a police officer? That’s really bad. What if a snowball is thrown at the president of the United States? That will result in you being tackled by secret service agents, taken into custody, and likely lead to some hard prison time. In each instance a snowball is thrown, but what makes the action more offensive is the personal target its thrown at. Every one of our sins is against the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). That’s serious.

There is a penalty, a “wage” for sin that God’s righteousness has set forth, and that is “death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Jeremiah 2:19). All those who sin are deserving of death according to God’s standard. The dilemma then becomes, how can, how does, a righteous God reconcile sinful humanity to Himself and still maintain His righteousness, His justice? The answer to that question is found in Christ. By God’s grace through faith in Jesus, we can be made righteous before Holy God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Salvation is by grace because salvation is possible only because Holy God is merciful and in love decided to make a way of salvation for lost humanity. And that salvation is offered in love at the great expense of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Truly, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And because of that, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9). In sin we are helpless and hopeless. On our own we are the weak prey of predator sin. But the Good Shepherd Jesus came to save His sheep (e.g. John 10).  

Fourth Paul says, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). For those who have not received the gospel of Christ by faith, the wrath of God is revealed and coming against them. God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). There will be no plea bargaining on that day. Saying you are sorry will not be enough to gain a dismissal of the charges against you; you should feel sorry for your sin. No, God is holy and just and His judgment will be fair, just and proper in accordance with His nature. For those who rebel and persist in denying God’s word and law and live on in sin, and come to stand before God’s judgment alone, it will be a time of great fear and doom (Hebrews 10:26-31).  This is reason for urgency in sharing the gospel. 

While we would rather preach and teach about the love of God, the wrath of God is part of God’s character and gospel truth. The holy justice of God results in the wrath of God on sinful injustices. Without God’s wrath on sin, God would cease to be holy and loving. A God who condones or casts a blind eye on sin, is neither loving to the victims or just and powerful to maintain His law.

Called to Sexual Purity

 For the purpose of this teaching we are focused on a particular area of sin, sexual sin. Sexual purity is God’s will for all people as Paul was inspired to write:

·         1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 - 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

The bottom line is that everyone, but especially the Christian should “walk to please God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1) The Christian is held to a higher standard. A Christian cannot simply follow the secular standard or conventional sinful worldly way. A Christian is called to “the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). “Sanctification” refers to, “holiness, i.e., dedication to the Lord, and/or dedication to moral purity (Romans 6:19, 22; 1Corinthians 1:30; 1Thessalonians 4:3, 4, 7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:2f.).[2]

It is interesting that Paul points to a particular area where the Christian is to be sanctified, and that area is sexual purity. Looking at this passage we can define such dedication to God and moral purity in the following ways. Sanctified and acceptable behavior to God consists of:


  1. Each person should know how to control their body in a way that dedicates it to the Lord and is honorable and honoring to the Lord – 4:4
  2. Passionate lust is unacceptable because it is the way of those who do not know God – 4:5
  3. We should not allow ourselves to be manipulated into sexually compromising situations and we should not manipulate others into compromising sexual situations – 4:6
  4. Remember, God called us to be pure and separate, not unclean and polluted by the world. We should guard against adopting worldly standards and compromising by way of rationalizing so that we are unnecessarily in tempting sexual situations – 4:7.
  5. Those who reject God’s call to sanctification and sexual purity are rejecting God’s best for them; they are rejecting God and the Holy Spirit who guides and convicts us in such matters – 4:8.
In light of these words what should we do? We should guard against putting ourselves in compromising situations and take every precaution to fulfill God’s call to walk a holy and pure life, especially in the area of sexuality. For some that will mean cutting off a relationship or relationships. For others it will mean getting rid of a computer, IPad, or IPhone or some other device that is a source of sexual temptation. For others it will mean joining an accountability group to help through the cleansing from sin process. But for all who want to be freed from sexual sin, purified in heart and mind, it will mean coming to Jesus and walking closely with Him. It will mean getting serious about God’s word, fellowship and prayer.

Loophole Christians

God has promised to not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able and that He will make a way of escape so that we can refrain from sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). That path to purity is not to presume on the grace of God (Romans 6:1ff). We are not free to sin, but free not to sin. Grace is not a free pass on sin. The Roman Catholic church historically used human temptation as a way to raise funds. They created a system of indulgences where types of sin were categorized. For instance, if you knew you were going to go to a party and wanted absolution for certain sins you wanted to indulge in, all you had to do was pay the priest ahead of time and you were free to indulge. Adultery, drunkenness, sexual sin, and a long list of other sinful behaviors were put on a scale and you could buy your way into indulging them. As bad as that sounds, there are some today who see grace in much the same way. For them they are “eternally secure” in a way that it doesn’t matter what sin they indulge in God’s “grace” will cover it. Folks, that is little better than a system of indulgences. Grace is a preventative to sin not permission to sin.

There are loophole “Christians.” They look for rationales or exceptions to excuse their decisions to sin. They might define “sex” as only intercourse in order to make allowance for any and every sexual activity except intercourse. They might justify their sin by saying, “It doesn’t hurt anybody.” They may say this regarding the viewing of pornography. But wait a minute. Did you ever think that that person you are watching perform degrading sex acts is someone’s daughter or son? How would you feel is that were your daughter or son and millions of people were gawking at them with lurid eyes? Think of the shame it would make you feel (if you still have a conscience). Human beings are more than objects. Human beings are not dolls or sex toys.

We should not be looking for loopholes to justify our indulgence in sin going as far as we can while still rationalizing our “holiness” before the Lord. Such an attitude is evidence that one has already begun the descent down the slippery slope of sin. No, we need to take every precaution, make every effort, and refrain from every questionable action that threatens our fulfilling God’s call to holiness (Ephesians 5:1-3).

Practically, this means we need to put aside the attitude that says, “Others are doing it, why can’t I? God will understand.” This is the sin of presumption. Presumption is assuming immunity or God’s approval when it is not there. We need to put the sin of presumption far from us. The only place sexual contact of any kind is holy and permissible is in the marriage relationship (between a man and a woman), nowhere else (Hebrews 13:4). Dating, engagement nor any other state outside of marriage is acceptable for sexual contact. It is a gigantic mistake to disregard the cautions of God and His word in regards to any sin. This is especially the case with sexual sin.

Sexual sin is a more dangerous sin because it strikes to the heart of the soul. The apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘The two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:15-20). These inspired words tell us that its totally inappropriate to have sexual relations with a prostitute or someone who sells themselves for sexual use. But this also applies to any sexual intercourse or activity outside of marriage.  And it states that the one who indulges in sexual interaction with someone outside of marriage actually exposes themselves to joining them. God has designed sin to have a deeper unifying connecting aspect. That’s good when used in marriage. Sexual activity in marriage solidifies the marriage bond and is holy and joyful. But outside of marriage sexual activity creates deeper connections with others that are deadened when they are entered and exited without that life commitment of love. Non-Christians enter in and out of sexual interaction ignorant of the deeper effects of such sexual activity. And each time the sexual bond is abused it becomes a little less powerful, a little more calloused. That is what we see in our world today; people entering into and out of sexual relations because of a deadened God-given connection. Lastly, for those who have been born again through the Gospel they need to understand that their bodies are not their own, they have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus and are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. Think of the sacrilege Christians commit who indulge in sexual promiscuity and sexual sin. And judging by the statistics there is an infestation of sexual promiscuity in the church today. And this would apply to sexual fantasizing too according to Jesus (Matthew 5:27-30). More on this later.

Protect Your Honor

Each person must “know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (1 Thess. 4:4). The word “know” here comes from another Greek word meaning “a dwelling.” It is a word that can also be translated “edification” or “to build up.”  The point made here is that each person is responsible for their own body and how it is to be handled and protected so that it remains sanctified (set apart for God) and honorable. The word “honor” means, “a value, valuables, of the highest degree, or the dignity itself . . . honour, precious, price, some.” Your body and its purity are precious and you should take every precaution to protect yourself from doing anything that would lessen its value and preciousness. If you are a Christian, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, therefore, live in a way that would not embarrass the Holy Spirit who resides in you (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

What is Sexual Immorality?

What is “sexual immorality”? “Sexual immorality” is translated from the Greek term porneia and refers to, “harlotry (including adultery and incest) idolatry . . .  fornication.” [3]  During the years of President Clinton’s time in office and the Monica Lewinsky scandal he justified his interaction with Ms. Lewinsky by interpreting “sex” as only intercourse and therefore he reasoned the sexual interaction he indulged in with this young woman was allowable. Many youths today justify their sexual activities similarly. The Bible makes no such distinctions.

Sexual immorality/fornication is any sexually related contact or interaction between unmarried people or between married people with those they are not married to. Sexual immorality/fornication is any activity that arouses passions and lusts in those outside the holy marriage relationship. Sexual immorality is closely connected to idolatry because a person who is willing to disregard God’s commands concerning sexual interaction has made an idol, a god, of sexualized bodies.

God promises to make a way to escape and overcome the common temptations that come our way due to our natural desires. The desire for sexual activity is from God and is good, as long as it is used according to His plan and will in marriage. When God given sexual desires are provoked prematurely, purity is pummeled and dirtied.

The book of Proverbs, a book of wisdom, addresses this issue. Wisdom is the ability to apply practically to life the revealed truth of God from His word. In Proverbs it states:

  • Proverbs 6:27-28 – “Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?”

The context for this verse is a proverbial warning against the deception and danger of being drawn into sexual sin by a temptress; a harlot. But there is a broader application here. A modern day translation would be “If you play with fire, you’ll get burned.” The natural sexual desires that God has built into the human being to be used in marriage, can be inflamed into an inappropriate burning lust that burns up our purity. And it doesn’t take much. A seductive look, a seemingly innocent touch, a caress, a song, a picture, an image on the screen, words, all of these can provoke passions that are sinfully lustful and need to be avoided. This is true for both males and females.
God loves us and He has given us sex as a wonderful gift. But He has also prescribed certain boundaries for sexual activity, marriage (between one man and one woman). Don’t have the attitude of, “I can handle it.” You can’t! You can’t because God never intended you to handle inflamed sexual passions and lusts. That is not God’s will for you! Your sexual desires were meant by God to be fulfilled with one person (of the opposite sex) to whom you have entered into a holy life relationship of love and commitment.

Your sexual purity is a precious gift to give to the one with whom God has ordained you spend the rest of your life. Unfortunately, many have cast that precious gift aside prematurely. They have prematurely entered into sexual relationships with those they thought they would spend their lives with only to find that the person was not their God ordained life partner. There is no room for slipups with your sexual purity. If you relinquish it, it cannot be regained. You can be forgiven by God, but that precious gift God gave you to share with the one human you love supremely will have been lost forever. Don’t take the chance. Submit to God and the words of the Holy Spirit; you won’t regret it.

Self Worship and Homosexuality

Romans 1:25 – “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” 

The word “exchanged” is found in 1:23, 25, and 26 (also translated “change”). This word is translated from the Greek term metalasso and means, “to exchange, change, alter, and substitute; to exchange by leaving.”  Therefore, those who are being considered here do not merely turn away from God’s truth; they replace it with a “truth” of their own making, which is no more than a “lie.” The idea here is that they leave God’s truth and replace it with a “truth” that they feel comfortable with, that will not convict them or show them to be sinful, a “truth” that they can live with, a “truth” that is nonetheless a “lie.” Any alternative to God’s truth is a lie!

But Paul is speaking of a specific lie as indicated by the article “the.” What is “the lie”? Notice that the definite article “the” precedes the word “lie,” and therefore I believe Paul is referring to a particular “lie.” What might that particular “lie” be? The lie is the belief that man does not need God; because man is “God,” and in control of his or her own life and destiny. This was the foundation of Satan’s initial temptation in heaven and in the Garden of Eden:

  • Isaiah 14:12-15 - “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.” 
  • Genesis 3:5 - “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

This lie is at the root of all sin. The lie is rooted in sinful pride and a lust for self-sovereignty, a lust to sin and serve self regardless how it affects others.

“The lie” says, “I don’t need God; God does not exist; God is not a factor; what matters most is ME.” The lie says, “I don’t need God,” and will try to kill God or remove God from consideration in order to accomplish the goal of self-rule. That’s exactly what is happening in our world today! There is a movement to remove God from society.

But almost worse than substituting self for God is concocting a lie and then attributing it to God. There is a redacting of God’s truth taking place in society and even some segments of the church today. What the Bible defines as sinful is being condoned and even promoted under the misapplied label of “love” and “tolerance.” True loves speaks God’s truth (Ephesians 4:15; 2 John). Attributing a redacted “truth” to God is offensive, blasphemous to God. The wrath of God is on these sinners for misrepresenting God’s truth by attributing their own “truth” (“i.e. “the lie”) to God. An example of this are those who say, “God accepts me for who I am. He created me as a homosexual. Therefore, to be a homosexual is okay; even wonderful; to be celebrated.” This is a perfect example of not only misrepresenting God, but also trying to insert a falsehood in place of His truth.

In order to attain the goal of self-rule, the sinner explains away God and His word. This is attempted in a number of ways. Here Paul points to the elevation of the creature to godhood, idols made in the image of the creature. Idolatry is foolish (Psalm 115; Isaiah 44:9-20).  God is justified in giving such idolatrous self-worshipers up to their own rebellious preferences.

Vile Passions

Romans 1:26-27 – “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.27 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.” 

 For this reason,” what reason? Because they refused to receive God’s revelation truth of Himself (Romans 1:19-24). They rejected God and not only rejected Him but twisted His truth with their own warped view of reality. And because of this, “God gave them up to vile passions.” God allows people to not choose to worship and thank Him. Here we see the downward spiral of sin. “Vile passions,” are the natural consequence of rejecting God. Look around you, what do you see in our post-Christian world? A host of vile passions. When you reject God, you enter into a warped view of existence that leads you into all sorts of contorted, mangled, mixed up, hell bent ways of seeing the world around you. Remove God and expect an anything goes world.

Paul speaks of “For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, . . . ” When a person rejects God, their sin leads them to abuse nature and do things that are actually opposed to nature. One function of sex is procreation. Lesbianism, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transsexual (LGBT) sexual activity is unnatural; it contradicts and goes against nature disregarding the procreative purpose of sex. LGBT lifestyles are a perversion of natural human desires. Turning from God and His revelation leads to idolatry and the height of idolatry is worship of self.  LGBT lifestyles are self-worship as people worship their own gender image in other people, women with women and men with men.

Then Paul says of these people that they, “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.” This is the only occurrence of this particular word for “burned” here in the NT. The word “burned” is translated from the Greek term ekkaio and means, “burned out; consumed; inflame deeply; set ablaze.” The idea here is that so deep is their lustful burning for one another that they actually burn out and are consumed by their lustful pursuits. This may allude to physical consequences (e.g. disease), emotional consequences, and certainly spiritual consequences. Sexually transmitted diseases are a big problem and a source of much pain and suffering for those indulging in immoral sexual behavior. Those who live LGBT lifestyles are notorious for having a myriad of sexual partners. Such can cause a great deal of emotional burnout.

God created sex

Sex is not sinful. God created sex (i.e. “one flesh” - Genesis 2:23-25). Sex only becomes sinful when it is misused outside of God’s ordained parameters. When sex is misused in ways God never intended, it has the opposite effect of God’s intended purpose for it. God intended sex to bring two people together as one in a very wonderful way. When two people enter into sexual activity outside of marriage, a uniting takes place out of sync with the process God laid out as right and proper.

Sex unites

Paul warned against adultery and sex outside of marriage because there is a uniting that occurs between the two parties involved. Paul was inspired to write:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 

Sex is a beautiful part of God’s creation and intended purpose. Sexuality outside of the marriage covenant makes unholy connections. It is Satan’s strategy to take what God meant for beauty and loving expression between two people and turn it into something dirty and shameful. That is what the downward spiral of sin does.

When I was a boy I enjoyed building models. But as a young boy I was impatient and didn’t always read the instructions or follow directions. Nowadays you can buy models that are already painted. But in my day you had to paint the models and then assemble them. As I would put the models together I’d sometimes get impatient. The instructions called for me to paint certain parts in certain areas, let them dry, and then glue them together. Inevitably my impatience would get the better of me and I’d paint over areas I was supposed to leave paint-less and try to glue parts together before the paint was dry. What I found is that the glue never held pieces together that I impatiently tried to glue when the paint was still wet. Then I’d try to take the pieces apart to wipe them clean and I’d have a gigantic gooey mess. When I didn’t follow instructions and acted impatiently, the model always got sticky and weakly assembled and never lasted very long, (at least as long as it might have if I had patiently and diligently followed instructions). The same is true with sex and marriage. If you try to glue two people together with sex before the Lord prepares the parts properly, your relationship will wind up weak and likely won’t last.

The contemporary view of the day is for people to enter into pre-marital sexual activity in order to gauge compatibility. But statistics show that sexual activity before marriage actually undermines the strength of a marriage.[4]  It’s always best to wait on God and follow the instructions of His word (the Bible) when it comes to marriage and sex, and everything else in life for that matter. 

Hope of Deliverance from Sexual Sin


Sexual sin can be addictive whether it manifests itself in the actual physical adulterous act or the lustful fantasy of the mind. Trying to overcome such sin in one’s own strength is futile and frustrating. But there is hope. As we mentioned earlier, the gospel is powerful and God is able to deliver the person caught up in sexual sin from that sin. The Bible states:

·         1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - 9 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, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Notice what Paul says, “But such WERE some of you.” He is inspired to speak of the sin of the Corinthians in the past tense because it was a thing of the past; it had been put behind them.  

How were they able to put their sins behind them? Later in the same epistle Paul writes:

·         1 Corinthians 10:13 - 13 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.

God’s promise is to not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear but will make a way of escape so you can stand and get through it. That’s His promise and the person caught in sexual sin needs to pray long and hard over that verse. God is faithful, He will show you the way out of your sinful lifestyle or addictive habit. That way out starts with turning from your sin to God and putting your faith in Jesus. You put your faith in Jesus by asking God to forgive you based on His sacrifice for you on the cross. Receive God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit will then give you spiritual life; eternal life; abundant life.

In another letter of Paul’s, he writes:

·         Philippians 3:13-14 - 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

It’s time to put your sin behind you and press on with Jesus to His higher calling for you (see Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:18-19; Romans 6:14). That means leaving your LGBT lifestyle behind or some other sexual sin. And that time is NOW. It is time to put your faith in Jesus and seek forgiveness for your sin. That forgiveness is based on the cross work of Jesus. Confess your sins to God. Believe and accept that Jesus died on the cross for of Jesus. Confess your sins to God. Believe and accept that Jesus died on the cross for YOU. Ask God to forgive your sins because Jesus paid your penalty for sin on the cross. Then by faith receive that forgiveness offered by God through faith in Jesus. Receive the eternal life and in indwelling of the Holy Spirit God promises in His gospel. The New Testament puts it like this:

·         Titus 3:4-7 - 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

A story is told of a man who purchased a white mouse to use as food for his pet snake. He dropped the unsuspecting mouse into the snake's glass cage, where the snake was sleeping in a bed of sawdust. The tiny mouse had a serious problem on his hands. At any moment he could be swallowed alive. Obviously, the mouse needed to come up with a brilliant plan. What did the terrified creature do? He quickly set up work covering the snake with sawdust chips until it was completely buried. With that, the mouse apparently thought he had solved his problem. But the truth of the situation was that sawdust chips wouldn’t hold back the snake. The solution to the mouse’s problem came from outside of the cage. The man looked down at the plight of the mouse and took pity on him lifting him out. In the same way, no matter how we try to deny our sinful plight by covering up the truth of our need, in the end the snake of sin will fatally bite us.  We need help from outside of our cage. We need Jesus.

A New Heart with New Desires

In the Old Testament God promises a time when people would be able to receive a “new heart.” We see this in the following verses:

·         Ezekiel 18:30-32 - 30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

·         Ezekiel 36:25-27 - 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

This promise is referred to in the book of Hebrews where it states:

·         Hebrews 10:12-22 - 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. 19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

When we look at these verses in the Old Testament illuminated by the New Testament we learn that when a person turns away from their sin and to God (i.e. repents), trusting in “this Man” Jesus God will give them a new heart. When we trust alone in Jesus’ sacrifice to be the just basis of our forgiveness before God, He will do heart transplant surgery on us. When we do that God will wipe our sinful slate clean and He will give us “a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.” God has made a way to give us a new heart, and that heart is filled with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11). The Gospel or good news for those caught in sexual sin is that they can receive a fresh start with a new heart. What are you waiting for?  

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he was inspired to speak of how in a relationship with Jesus we become a “new Creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That’s what we need to overcome sexual sin, a fresh start with a new heart that will lead us into new holy desires. When a person turns from their sinful life to God through faith in Jesus, God promises to give them a new heart that will be receptive to His law and word.

For those who have received a new heart but allowed it to be dirtied and tarnished once again with sin, there is continuous ongoing cleansing available from God as we confess our sins to Him honestly and walk on in the light of His word (1 John 1:7,9). We should always ask God to search our hearts to expose sin so we can confess it to Him and He can keep us clean (Psalm 139:23-24).

God has revealed His righteous plan of redemption from sin through faith in Christ and no matter how we try to suppress or hold down the truth that we are sinners and need a Savior, this truth cannot be denied. The only way to be saved from sin is to turn to the One outside the cage of this fallen world; God in Christ by the Spirit. If we continue to reject and hold down God’s truth, sin will fatally bite us, (Satan the snake is waiting – Genesis 3; Revelation 12:9; 20:2). 

If by reading this you are convicted of your sinful state and know you would be found guilty on God’s righteous judgment day, just turn from your sin to God (repent) and place your faith in Jesus Christ to save you. This is not an uncertainty. This is a certainty. You can know you are forgiven and going to heaven. Below is a simple gospel summary for you to follow. God is reaching out to you through His Only Son Jesus. He wants to forgive your sin and save you from it. Don’t let this gracious opportunity of God pass you by.

The Bible states you can know for sure whether or not you are going to heaven?

·         1 John 5:13 - 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

How can you know for sure?


  1. Realize you are a sinner –

·         Romans 3:23 - 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

·         Galatians 3:10 - 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

·         James 2:10 - 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

  1. Realize there is a price for sin –

·         Romans 6:23a - 23 For the wages of sin is death,

3.      Realize Jesus paid the price for you –

·         Romans 5:8 - 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Galatians 3:10-13).

·         2 Corinthians 5:21 - 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

4.      Realize your salvation is a free gift that requires only a heart decision from you to receive it –

·         Romans 6:23 - 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5)

·         Romans 10:10 - 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

  1. Realize you must now call upon Jesus to save you –

·         Romans 10:13 - 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

A SALVATION PRAYER: “Dear God, I know and admit I am a sinner. I repent of my sins. Please forgive me for my sins. I know that on my own I don’t deserve Your forgiveness. But I believe Jesus died for me on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. Please give me spiritual life. Send Your Holy Spirit to indwell me and help me to live the life that you have for me. Please make me what I need to be, to do what You call me to do, for Your glory, until Jesus returns. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

[1]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.
[2]Swanson, J. 1997. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor
[3]Strong, J. 1997, c1996. The new Strong's dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words (electronic ed.). Thomas Nelson: Nashville