Tag Archives: sin

Homer Simpson, Bob Newhart and the Pyromaniacs agree: Sometimes you just need to stop sinning

I think there is a lot of value in some types of Christian counseling, where individuals or couples/families can work through issues with an independent person who has skills in helping them think through things carefully and biblically.

But when it comes to specific sins, sometimes we just need to stop them.

Here are some supporting commentaries, in ascending order of value.  First, Homer:

Homer: Marge, I want you to admit you have a gambling problem.
Marge: You know, you’re right, Homer. Maybe I should get some professional help.
Homer: No, no, that’s too expensive. Just don’t do it anymore.

Now Bob Newhart:

Now from the team at Pyromaniacs:

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Pyromaniacs: Avoiding is too mild in light of what Paul actually told them: “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). But first he hammers them with several reasons why fornication is such an unholy, degrading, defiling sin: It dishonors the purpose for which God made our bodies. (1 Cor 6:13) It defiles our spiritual union with Christ. (1 Cor 6:15-17) Such sins of the body also desecrate the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 6:19) Now, put all this together. You want to know why fornication has always been regarded as a particularly heinous sin? Because it involves personal and direct transgressions against each Member of the Trinity. It debases and dishonors the body, which (v. 13) is “for the Lord.” God created it for His purposes. To use it for any other purpose-especially a purpose as evil as an act of fornication-is a sin against God the Father. It’s a sin against Christ as well (v. 15), because it takes our members, which are Christ’s by union with Him, and joins them to a harlot, defiling our holy union with Christ. And it’s a sin against the Holy Spirit (v. 19), because it desecrates the temple in which He dwells. And notice Paul’s counsel to the Corinthians. He doesn’t urge them to get into a recovery program for sexual addicts. He doesn’t suggest that they get therapy. He just tells them to stop it.

Don’t forget that believers have help: Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Advertisements

If you can’t dictate the terms to a McDonald’s cashier, what makes you think you can do so with God?

If you authentically seek God on his terms, you will find him. If you think you get to sit in judgement of the real God, you will not find him.  If you “seek” a god of your own making, you will not find him – except in the mirror, and as you know that god has rather limited powers.  If you think that pretending He doesn’t exist will make him go away, you are mistaken.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

 

Romans 9:20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?

That may sound obvious, but think about how many people insist that all religions lead to God.  Lots of false teachers in churches will tell you such things.  People claim that they wouldn’t believe in a God who says that homosexual behavior is a sin or who sends guilty sinners to Hell, as if not liking someone makes them disappear.

An acquaintance once noted that he would never believe in a God that would send his Jewish friend to Hell.  What was lost on this college-educated person is that whether he liked God or not, if the one true God will send non-believers to Hell then that is what will happen.  God is not going to disappear because this guy doesn’t like his terms and conditions.  And being in Hell with his friend is not going to make it better for either of them.  Side note: If the subject weren’t so serious it would be amusing how certain people are that they will be happier in Hell or that they get to spend time with friends and family there.

They don’t recognize the absurdity of thinking something doesn’t exist just because they don’t like it or the idea that they can tell the real God what He must be like.

What if you went to a company for a job and demanded that they hire you on your terms?  Hey, go ahead and ask for a million dollar salary and unlimited vacation.  Ridiculous, eh?  But only a tiny fraction as ridiculous as thinking you are going to tell God how things must be.

Or tell the cop who pulled you over that you set the speed limits today and that he is wasting your time.  Or pretend that he doesn’t exist because you don’t like him.

Or tell your teacher that she has to give you an A+ even though you won’t come to class, do homework or take tests.

Or if you are still at home, tell your parents that you set the rules now.

Better yet, go to McDonald’s and tell the cashier to give you your entire meal for $1 because you set the prices and see how that works.

If you can’t dictate terms to the person barely and momentarily higher than you on the cosmic organization chart, what makes you think that the one true God must answer to you or that pretending He doesn’t exist will make him disappear?  

God sets the terms, not us.  His first commandments make that explicit.  Better yet, the first verse of the Bible makes that clear.

What makes anyone think they get to dictate the terms of the universe and eternal life to the one true God?  Pride.  Satanic pride (“Did God really say . . .?”).

Be bold in prayer, but know that God still sets the terms.  Ask tough questions, but know that God is ultimately just and all-knowing (also see Job 38).  Seek him earnestly, but humbly and on his terms.

Where do you find his terms?  In the Bible.  They are indescribably generous.  All you have to do is repent and trust in Jesus.  No good deeds required – though in response to his mercy and grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit you’ll be inspired to do good deeds.  Better yet, not only are all your sins forgiven but God will credit Jesus’ perfect righteousness to your account.  It is the ultimate trade, but that is the only way to get there.

If you “seek” a god of your own making, you will not find the one true God.  If you’ve been doing that, stop kidding yourself.  Eternity is a mighty long time to regret your foolish pride.

If you authentically seek God on his terms, you will find him.

Acts 17:26–27 (ESV) And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us . . .

 

Luke 11:9-13 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If you are a believer, try using this line of thinking when sharing the Good News with others.  Ask someone what they think happens when they die, then use the 10 Commandments to point to their sinfulness and need of a Savior.  Explain how God sets the terms of engagement and how remarkably loving and generous they are.  Note how these same terms applied to you and how grateful you are for them.  If they start judging God or pretending that they can ignore him if they don’t like his ways, use any of the examples above to push a reset button on them.  They may not repent and believe on the spot, but you will disarm them of a really bad line of thinking and hopefully plant a seed that someone else will water.

“But I prayed for God do take the desire away and He didn’t, therefore it isn’t a sin”

The title is a synopsis of the sad and illogical argument used by many in the “Christian” LGBTQ community to rationalize their sins.  And the theological Left supports them in this charade because they love the world and themselves more than they love God and their neighbors.

Here’s an example from a recent comment on the Heterosexual questionnaire, aka Best. Homework assignment. Ever. post.

I’ve dealt specifically with scriptures in regards to homosexuality for many years. I struggled with accepting myself and had prayed every night for many months for God to “change” me, which according to my sister was not long enough. However, I was changed: I finally accepted that I was attracted to men and not women. I moved on. And I became much happier and closer to God. And I found the love of my life who I will marry as soon as my state clears the legal path for me to do so.

So he prayed to God to change his sexual desires and God didn’t answer that request.  Instead, God allegedly changed him to accept those desires, even though that goes against the clear teachings of the Bible and 2,000 years of church history.

Those making that claim have the burden to show Bible verses that teach this:

– If you pray for God to remove a temptation, he will do it 100% of the time.
– Therefore, if he doesn’t remove the temptation, it isn’t a sin.

That is transparently false. I could pray that God would eliminate every possible sin from my life. He could solve that by striking me dead, of course, but if He didn’t take away the desires then it wouldn’t be an excuse for me to sin.

If you have given yourself over to homosexual behavior then it isn’t God you’ve moved closer to.

Romans 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

We are all sinners in need of a Savior.  The solution isn’t to pretend that our sins aren’t sins.  The solution is Jesus, who can forgive our sins and give us the Holy Spirit to transform us and to give us power over sin.  Yes, we will still sin, as Romans 7 and other passages teach, but our lives will be transformed now and forever.

If you love your neighbors you won’t encourage them to sear their consciences by pretending that sins aren’t sins — whether the sins are homosexual desires, inappropriate heterosexual desires, lust, anger, greed, jealousy, etc.

Really, people, just say something like, “Yes, homosexual behavior is a sin.  The word of God is clear.  But I’m not going to grandstand on that sin just because it isn’t a temptation for me and I’m not going to try and stop you from sinning before I share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you.  Even if homosexual behavior wasn’t sinful you’d still be a sinner in need of a Savior because of countless other sins.”

Yes, you are likely to be unpopular with the world if you say that.  But if that is your aim then Christianity may not be for you.

——–

Here is the full comment and my response from that post:

Hi Matt,

Thanks for visiting and commenting. I have a couple thoughts to share aside from the survey topic.

You are entitled to your opinion like anyone else. I would just strongly encourage anyone, liberal or conservative, gay or straight, to drop this strong ‘us vs them’ mentality. I would like Christians to adhere to their beliefs and continue to be strong devotees to Christ while simultaneously acknowledging that homosexuality is not an immoral behavior/lifestyle/affliction in and of itself (although who cares what I would like).

While I don’t think the “us vs. them” has to be hostile — even though the LGBTQ lobby certainly is hostile and not interested in any sort of compromise, such as leaving religious liberties intact — what you proposed is completely illogical. What you have said is basically, “Be devoted to Christ but disagree with him on what He says about sexuality.” That is impossible. He is King and Lord of all, so to be devoted to him is to agree with him. And He was very clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.

100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).

0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

* The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Any sex outside of marriage is prohibited, for good reason: that’s a given. But, if you are going to take the INTERPRETATION that certain Greek and Hebrew words were referring to LGBT people and strongly admonish people for identifying as such, then please be consistent. I would assume you also wear clothes of only one material (Deuteronomy 22:11). Indeed, I would expect all Christians who speak out about the destructive nature of homosexuality and back it up with biblical reasoning, to follow most of the hundreds of prohibitions and commandments found throughout the Bible. I should not assume that you do not.

That is a sadly common argument, but one that is false. The literalists who assume that to be consistent with Christ’s teachings on homosexuality (and adultery, etc.) means we must follow every civil and ceremonial law given to the Israelites make two errors. One is that they ignore the distinctions of what God commanded a specific group of people at a point in time relative to his broader commandments to all people. The second is that even if their argument was true it would prove too much, as it implies that unless you wear clothes of the same material then you are inconsistent to argue against any sin, including bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, gay-bashing, etc. That is ridiculous, of course.

Those type of “inconsistency” allegations are full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to study the passages. I address six serious problems with it in flaws of the shellfish argument. http://tinyurl.com/shellfishflaws

But just as you would probably assume that I as a gay man have lots of anonymous sex and use drugs

I wouldn’t have assumed that, though now that you brought it up the statistics say that it is more likely. Whether you have one partner or 100 it is a sin. And you would be 40+ times more likely to get HIV/Syphilis and if you had HIV there is a 62% chance that you would have deliberate unprotected sex.

I’ve dealt specifically with scriptures in regards to homosexuality for many years. I struggled with accepting myself and had prayed every night for many months for God to “change” me, which according to my sister was not long enough. However, I was changed: I finally accepted that I was attracted to men and not women. I moved on. And I became much happier and closer to God. And I found the love of my life who I will marry as soon as my state clears the legal path for me to do so.

Please show me the Bible verses that teach this:
– If you pray for God to remove a temptation, he will do it 100% of the time.
– Therefore, if he doesn’t remove the temptation, it isn’t a sin.

That is false. I could pray that God would eliminate every possible sin from my life. He could solve that by striking me dead ;-), of course, but if He didn’t answer it then it wouldn’t be an excuse for me to sin.

If you have given yourself over to homosexual behavior then it isn’t God you’ve moved closer to. Romans 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

The Bible clearly states that certain men are “born eunuchs” (Matthew 19:12) as in they were not meant to marry women and procreate. In the historical context, eunuchs were simply the men entrusted to serve & protect aristocratic women. Some were already disinterested in bedding the women, which was a prerequisite, while others had to be castrated. If Jesus accepts us as such, then maybe you should, too.

You twisted Jesus’ words to imply that eunuchs = homosexuals, while you ignore the rest of Jesus’ words (i.e., the entire Bible, including his design and ideal for marriage: one man and one woman. Using your reasoning, castration would be a more logical solution than “marrying” someone of the same sex.

The most important thing to remember is that we are all in this society together. I don’t want to live in a crumbling empire spiraling into debauchery and decadence any more than any of you do. Constant partying, promiscuity, and drug use are all recipes for disaster. They are fun for a time I guess, but ultimately lead to misery and isolation. Anyone (gay, bi , straight, trans, etc) can fall into this trap. One of the main reasons there is a ‘gay partying subculture’ is because same-sex couples were excluded from the stabilizing affects of social expectation and pressure to settle down in a permanent monogamous relationship. Marriage fosters strong bonds and rock-solid family foundations which strengthens social cohesion. That’s why I support marriage as much as I do critical thought and compassioned reason.

I agree that less sin is better than more sin. But if I really care about you and your eternal soul then I can’t affirm your homosexual behavior as not being sinful. I hope you study the Bible more carefully and reconsider your views.

All the best to you!

Also see:

Problems with pro-gay theology http://tinyurl.com/5sgoqvv

Responding to Pro-Gay Theology http://www.exodusglobalalliance.org/respondingtoprogaytheologypartip344.php

Responding to same-sex marriage arguments http://wp.me/p1wGU-48E

Rationalize all you like, but . . .

. . . immoral actions are still immoral actions.  Examine works like Macbeth, The Telltale Heart and Crime and Punishment and consider the themes.  People think they can get away with things because they have made careful excuses about them. But they are still wrong, and it haunts them.  At least it haunts some of them.  Some people have such seared consciences that they eventually are immune to guilt.

This happens all the time when people rationalize abortion as being good for the kids being killed.  Seriously, I’ve seen countless Christians say, “But otherwise they’d be poor!”  Note to self: Don’t take those people on mission trips.  At least not with any weapons.

It happens with divorce as well. “The kids will be better off this way.”  Isn’t it interesting how easy it is for people to indulge their desires while simultaneously crediting themselves with helping children?

It also happens with homosexuality and other sexual sins: They need to sleep together before marriage to ensure they are compatible, etc.  They say that if the sinful relationships are “committed and loving” then they are OK and the Bible is wrong.  Indeed.

We can all do this.  I joke that I have the spiritual gift of rationalization.  But that isn’t a good trait.  We should consume the word of God daily and strive to be conformed to his image.

Do you accept God’s forgiveness?

I’ve enjoyed R.C. Sproul’s Does Prayer Change Things? that is available for free on the Kindle app (you don’t need to own a Kindle).  As always, Sproul makes profound points in brief and understandable ways.

Here he tackles a common issue, namely that of confessing to God and asking forgiveness but not forgiving ourselves (or not accepting forgiveness, however you want to look at it).  I’ve experienced this myself and seen it with others, especially when doing Kairos Prison Ministry.  We do a lot of forgiveness exercises — forgiving others and asking forgiveness — but as you can imagine these guys have a lot to feel badly about.

We have God’s promise that when we confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us. Unfortunately, we don’t always believe that promise. Confession requires humility on two levels. The first level is the actual admission of guilt; the second level is the humble acceptance of pardon.

A woman distraught about a guilt problem once came to me and said: “I’ve asked God to forgive me of this sin over and over, but I still feel guilty. What can I do?” The situation did not involve the multiple repetition of the same sin, but the multiple confession of a sin committed once.

“You must pray again and ask God to forgive you,” I replied.

A look of frustrated impatience came into her eyes. “But I’ve done that!” she exclaimed. “I’ve asked God over and over again to forgive me. What good will it do to ask Him again?” In my reply, I applied the proverbial firm force of the board to the head of the mule: “I’m not suggesting that you ask God to forgive you for that sin. I’m asking you to seek forgiveness for your arrogance.”

The woman was incredulous. “Arrogance? What arrogance?” She was assuming that her repeated entreaties for pardon were proof positive of her humility. She was so contrite over her sin that she felt she had to repent for it forever. She thought her sin was too great to be pardoned by one dose of repentance. Let others get by on grace; she was going to suffer for her sin no matter how gracious God was. Pride had fixed a barrier to this woman’s acceptance of forgiveness. When God promises us that He will forgive us, we insult His integrity when we refuse to accept it. To forgive ourselves after God has forgiven us is a duty as well as a privilege.

That is some serious good news, and a great reminder that God’s standards are infinitely higher than mine, and that I should immediately accept his forgiveness and move on.  Otherwise, among other things, I am ungratefully refusing his extravagant gift of grace.

Roundup

Mandatory background checks?  No problem — as long as it is for voting and not gun purchases (already in the Constitution!).

Some great advice on raising Godly children (even if it is over 200 years old — or is it especially because it is over 200 years old?).  A few:

1. The best exercise in the world for children is to let them romp and jump about, as soon as they are able, according to their own fancy.

2. A parent that has once obtained and knows how to preserve authority will do more by a look of displeasure, than another by the most passionate words and even blows. It holds universally in families and schools, and even the greater bodies of men, the army and navy, that those who keep the strictest discipline give the fewest strokes.

3. There is not a more disgusting sight than the impotent rage of a parent who has no authority.

My only complaint about Marshall is that he doesn’t post often enough.  But he’s back with a great take-down on a false teacher who insists that God is pleased with “committed, loving and monogamous” homosexual unions and that Bible-believers should change because we are on the “wrong side of history.”  My comment there:

Great post, Marshall. I could comment on each individually point but would basically be reiterating what you said. So I’ll just note how ridiculous it is for anyone — let alone an alleged follower of Christ — to appeal to a public majority as an authentic, God-approved victory. Using that logic, the early church was on the “losing side of history,” for they had no way of knowing that the persecution would ever end.

1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.

P.S. Re. “two committed, loving and monogamous homosexuals” — 3% of the population is homosexual, and probably 3% of those want to marry, and even less of those even want to be monogamous (another dirty little secret that the media won’t tell you). So as you noted, this is a fantastically small percentage of people to abandon free speech and freedom of religion over — not to mention the active destruction of the innocence of children via public school indoctrination.

And having read the Bible many times, I assure you that there is no passage even hinting that being fully committed to your rebellion-of-choice against God somehow sanitizes it.

Atheist professor converts to Christianity.  I appreciated his concession that he would use his experience to “buffalo” his students.

They are still hiding the truth: Big Three Networks Cover Internet Cats Pics, Lit Trivia, Canadian Clumsiness, But Not Gosnell Trial.  If you only get your news from the mainstream media you are hopelessly — and willfully? — uninformed.

Harrison Ford has 7 airplanes and will fly to get a cheeseburger, but lectures you on the environment.  Check.

This is why everyone should want limited government: Even though the need for helium regulations ended over 80 years ago AND there have been bi-partisan efforts to get rid of them, they still exist.

Hey! Politicians Are People Too — Don’t let the title fool you.  It doesn’t mean, “. . . so don’t be so critical of them!”  It is a great reminder of why we should limit their power, not increase it.

Of all that the American founders understood when they set this grand experiment in motion, their keen grasp of man’s propensity for evil might have been their greatest asset.  And this asset led them to limited the power, not only of the government, but of the majority also.  While they realized that government must exist, * they did not envision government as a benevolent god-like entity.  No, they saw government as a dangerous collection of flawed individuals who suffer from the same afflictions of arrogance and selfishness that plague all mankind; especially those who seek, and then are lent, the reins of power.

Some see government as naturally benevolent because politicians are freed from the motivation of profit.  Such  is a naive and gullible view.  Politicians have plenty to profit politically by making popular promises today while strapping future generations with the bill.   Meanwhile, for the “benevolent” politician, power is a great source of wealth, luxury and ease.  One need only observe politicians, both the ones they love and hate, to see this.

Sadly, and much to even my own dismay, government is not a god-like entity that can usher in social justice, and this is especially true when it is elected by a constituency that rejects the very existence of moral absolutes.  No, the government is a collection of flawed politicians with their own aspirations and venal motivations, because, in the end, politicians are people too.

Voddie Baucham has a great critique of the “sissified needy Jesus” preached by far too many.  His generic quote about what lots of pastors say (“people already know that they’re bad,” so I don’t need to preach about sin) is precisely what a bad pastor at a previous church (Disciples of Christ) used to say. No, we reflexively (rotten) cherry pick people to compare ourselves to based on our own un-Godly standards so we can feel better about ourselves.

It shows their lack of character that they would deliberately make their “subjects” suffer to advance their ideology.

Great take-off on the COEXIST bumper sticker.

coexist

Tony Campolo still teaching falsehoods

Via Campolo Praises United Methodist Political Lobby – Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD).

Commenting on homosexuality, Campolo said: “’Love the sinner and hate the sin.’ Kind of makes you puke, doesn’t it?…Love the sinner and hate your own sin.”

That’s a typical false argument.  The question being debated is whether it is a sin.  It is no more judgmental to say it is a sin than to say it isn’t.  We do hate our own sins.  We just aren’t going around saying that our sins aren’t sins, and that the church must change their definition of our sins or we’ll protest their conventions and split  denominations.

Keep in mind that it wasn’t like oxymoronic “same-sex marriage” was the norm in churches, other religions and atheistic countries for the past couple thousand years and then the mean old Bible-believers came along to spoil things.  The false teachers brought this up, not us.

He warned: “Just to discuss it drives people out of your churches into fundamental independent churches—perhaps independent of God.”

That’s ironic!  They are making a god in their own image and then judging independent churches of being without God?  Indeed.

Anyone claiming to be a “Red letter Christian” needs milk, not meat.  The original writings were all red letters in the sense that they turned out the way Jesus wanted them to.  Matthew’s account of Jesus is no more authoritative than Paul’s.

Read the entire link if you have the stomach for it.