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Question 24

Q: The part of the Bible I hate the most is when Paul says it’s better to marry than burn with passion.

I hope God gives us single people extra forgiveness when we fail in this area, especially when we have waited to get married for many years. I still have never heard a good sermon on conquering sexual sin.

Asked by: Paul, Wisconsin

A: Well Paul, I’m a little troubled by your question, actually, when you say that the part of the Bible that you hate the most has to do with sexual sin.

I hope that there’s no part of the Bible that you hate, because it’s all inspired by God—even the difficult parts. And it was not just written for God’s glory but for our benefit.

Also, you say you hope that God is lenient with single people regarding the business of sexual purity. This almost gives the impression that you think that maybe God should be as lenient and as sympathetic to your sin as you, yourself, might be. Well the answer is, He’s not, and He’s the God with whom we have to deal.

Now, thankfully, He’s a God of forgiveness—all of us have struggled with lust and all of us have failed many times. Thank God for His gracious forgiveness. But let’s not use His forgiveness as a license to sin, or let down our standards because He is gracious.

May I suggest to you, Paul, that you spend some time in God’s presence and deal with the issues that we’re talking about? I think you should make friends with singles who are going through the same kinds of struggles, and pray together and work together. The fact is that once you have crossed the line into immorality, the temptation to repeat your behavior is powerful and often seems unrelenting. Like one young woman told me, “I’m defiled now, so what difference do multiple relationships make?”

Then, and I know this is difficult, but Jesus taught we should separate ourselves from anything that causes us to stumble into sexual sin (Matthew 5:27-30). Whether it is pornography, sensual amusements, or the kind of people who lead us into sin, we must avoid these temptations. That’s a longer story than I can give in this brief answer but remember, we must through the Spirit slay this dragon of sexual sin that keeps our consciences sullied.

But realized that God doesn’t lower His standards simply because our sexual drives are powerful and unrelenting. At the end of the day, either we slay lust, or lust will slay us. That’s the stark reality, and there’s hope within the church with other believers. And there is hope as we practice the disciplines of the Christian life, because God will forgive us, but He’s not “extra lenient.” Keep that in mind, and I hope that you’ll live a pure life for the honor and the glory of God. Don’t give up the battle.

Scripture references

  • Matthew 5:27—30

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