Saturday, January 28, 2012

Can I look but not touch?

Job’s fight for purity is something that is almost extinct in our culture today.  Immorality runs rampant around us and for many of us, myself included, we turn a blind eye.  Let me be the first to say that this topic is not written from the perspective that “I have it figured out” or that “I have it all together,” because I do not.  I am a sinner but not an excuse maker.  This  is not written from the perspective of “I am the judge and the jury.”  This is written for us to think about what God has to say about living a life of purity.

As I think about purity, I must search the scriptures to detail what God thinks about purity.  The thoughts of God recorded thousands of years ago apply to this day in 2012.  Immorality, what is immorality?  What better place to go than to an area that was jacked up with immoral sin.  Let’s look at what God says through his servant Paul to the church at Corinth.  “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans,”
According to 1 Corinthians 5:1 immorality is defined: 88.271 πορνεύω; ἐκπορνεύω; πορνεία, ας f: to engage in sexual immorality of any kind, often with the implication of prostitution—‘to engage in illicit sex, to commit fornication, sexual immorality, fornication, prostitution.’
Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996).

And lets take a “fresh” approach on immorality as defined by Merriam-Webster; immorality is defined as  the quality or state of being immoral; especially : unchastity.  

Now as I read these examples, my flesh and my mind think, “That is extreme.”  No one would really behave in such manner (prostitution?  really???).  I am then reminded of the culture we live in, what was  happening in Corinth is exactly what happens today.  Are we desensitized to sexual sin in our culture and in our churches?  The reality is that most do not wake up and think suddenly, “I believe I am going to have sex with a prostitute today.”  That being said, sexual immorality and sexual sin obviously is a process.  So what does God’s Word say in the book of Job about Job’s dealings with sexual immorality?  I am so glad you asked. 

First, Job addresses sexual immortality in chapter 31 of his book.  
[31:1] “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
(Job 31:1 ESV)

Job recognizes that HE is the Lord’s and that by being fully surrendered to the Lord, Job is in a covenant relationship with the FATHER.  That being the case, Job is committing himself to purity of the eyes.  Job is stating I will not look at a woman lustfully.  In our culture, we have adopted two vantage points with our eyes as men.  First, for young men that are unmarried, the culture’s view is looking hurts nothing.  Second, for those that are married, our culture declares you can look, but do not touch.  I would have to say that with Job’s wording in this verse, biblical men must not even look!    Let’s view Jesus’ teaching in the beatitudes.  
[27] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ [28] But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:27-28 ESV)

According to this passage, to look with lustful intent is to commit adultery.  So the real question is how do you feel about adultery and about the commandments.  I have heard on dozens of occasions that the commands are old and irrelevant in our culture today.  With this thought, I am again reminded of the words of Christ.  
[17] “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. [18] For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. [19] Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20 ESV)

First the law is fulfilled in Christ, not abolished.  Second the law and God’s Word will NEVER pass away.  Third, we would do well to teach these to all that we know especially our children.  “You shall not commit adultery.
(Exodus 20:14 ESV) is so important for genuine believers.  To live a life of sexual immorality mentally and or physically is not the will of the Father for HIS children.  Our response is to identify immorality in our lives and confess it as sin.  Repent of this sin and to find someone to hold us accountable.  Sexual immorality in the form of internet pornography is a struggle that few men can overcome on their own.  Men, we have to recognize that viewing immorality in any fashion (sneaking a peek on the internet or when we think no one is watching) is detrimental to who God is calling us to be in HIS word.  

Lastly, in Job 31 we see a consequence for an immoral man.  
[9] “If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door,
[10] then let my wife grind for another,
and let others bow down on her.
(Job 31:9-10 ESV)  
Our approach must be taking every thought captive and filtering our thoughts through the word of God!  May we guard our eyes men!  The text means exactly what it says.  If a man’s heart is enticed toward a women then his wife will be involved in sexual immorality.  We don’t know what all that means but may we be warned that there are dire consequences for each person’s immorality and that is why we must wage war for purity to be at the foundation of who we are as a biblical man.  Men, join me in praying that there would be a massive movement and a heart cry for purity in the lives of all that profess to be Christians.  The sad reality is that many proclaim, but few are genuine converts, which is a different topic for a later post.  I will close with this passage as an instruction from the apostle Paul; 
[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. [19] Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, [20] for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
(1 Corinthians 6:18-20 ESV)  
Stay tuned for a follow up post, Romans 6; slavery and the sinner. 

1 comment:

  1. Bro. J. That's where the rubber really meets the road. Good article. Thanks