The Greater Sin
Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. – John 19: 11
Quick Confession: Today’s note is really not about the shared scripture. But stay with me.
Few weeks ago, I shared in the concern of a friend about the explicit sexual contents of the initial seasons of the popular movie series, Game of Thrones. My friend was largely uninterested in policing people’s choices. He was primarily concerned about his own daily, existential struggles (which sincerely mirror the realities of many) and how a casual dismissal of the power of such visuals could be a subtle expression of confidence in the flesh. When he comes to any shade of sexual images, being single, he was a running Christian. He has perfected the command to flee. But we had another friend who felt there was a hypocrisy to such selective condemnation. Why would you see a movie full of violence, killings and blood, but only pick issues with the one with sexual scenes?
I felt there could be a genuine and valid personal answer to that question. I do have one. But the moment he said God never classifies sin, he lost me. While I understand the spirit of such claims, I argue against the sincerity of it. For a start, Jesus classified sin. One was greater in grievousness to him. And perhaps on the matter of sexual sin, when we understand, from the Bible, how grievous it indeed is, perhaps we would treat every sexual temptation with all seriousness it deserves. I write to myself even more now. Sin is indeed sin. But maybe it is time we started treating the matter of sexual sin as grievously as Jesus classifies the greater sin. Perhaps it is time to let self-confessed believers know that there is nothing woke about trending popular conversations about sex outside its defined, Biblical confines. Perhaps it is indeed time to truly flee and save our souls. Perhaps it is high time we really learnt the disciplines of the Spirit as opposed to the untamed indulgences of our choired, fleshy weaknesses.
Paul argues for the peculiarity of sexual immorality:
Flee Fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Cor 6:18 – 20
When you read this scripture with renewed purpose, your desire shouldn’t be to argue for difference, to accommodate your missteps, but to repent of past omissions and learn in grace against future indiscretion. Don’t trigger a defensive disposition. Don’t acquiesce yourself by looking for plausible explanations elsewhere. You can easily ask, what about those who had been raped? What of those who are bi-polar who commit sexual sin when they lacked control over themselves?
Truly, there are people who had no control over what happened to them. However, God’s grace is available for healing, restoration and total liberation. But for you in control of yourself and circumstance NOW, take this seriously: Flee fornication!
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from all fornication: That everyone should possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God…” – 1 Thess 4: 3-5
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be named among you, as becometh saints… Let no man deceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them…. – Ephesians 5:3ff
It cannot be clearer to me than it has been in recent weeks: sexual immorality kills.
Flee fornication…. Remember Joseph? He said, “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” This was long before the law or the coming of the Spirit. It shows that at the heart of honour to God is a personal fellowship with Him. A man who genuinely fears God will live to stay away from sin. Joseph ran. He fled. The only way to respond to lust, to sexual temptation is to run. Don’t ever say you can handle it. You may mean well but the bible calls it confidence in the flesh. Sam Allberry once said, “Fleeing sexual sin means doing all we can to avoid it. For some of us, that will mean restricting what we look at online, or not watching certain TV shows, or being more careful about what social situations we place ourselves in, or breaking up with someone (even if they mean the world to us), or changing our job.” It might sound old fashioned, but it helps.
At the heart of sexual sin is a sense of guilt that perpetuates a vicious cycle of repetition. Soon, it is normalised and your ability to say No wanes. But thanks to God who gives us victory in Christ Jesus, who not only delivers us but also teaches us to flee. I hope that as a married person you will remain faithful to your spouse, and as a single, you will not make excuses for careless touches, stirring the waters of love too early.
I hope when your mind slide into that warm, stifling space, being dragged playfully by the helm of your cloth, charmed with seductive eyes and smooth speeches, with the long staring, lustful gaze that easily unfurls the layers of your thick skin, and you are tempted to touch, to kiss, to touch more, you will not just stare at the eyes of that fornicator, but that you will rather see God’s eyes, bright and pure, with fire and love, watching you and pleadingly asking, “Will you honour my temple?”
May we never lose our wonder in the arms of lust. Amen.