Still Over It

A few more thoughts on this morning’s post, just in the realm of assumptions.

1. Sexual sin is a grievous thing with long-standing consequences. It’s an offense, both against a holy God and against one’s own body, according to the Scriptures.

2. Some sexual sin carries with it more emotional baggage than others, and some carries with it more tangible consequences than others.

3. No sexual sin — or any other kind of sin — is beyond the reach of the forgiveness of God, and no sinner is beyond the amazing transformation brought about by the Holy Spirit.

4. Pre-conversion sin can, as mentioned in #2, have consequences that last throughout one’s life, but these consequences are not ours to enforce. When we see a non-virgin who, by the Holy Spirit’s power, is currently living a chaste life, we should rejoice in God’s provision not shake our heads at the ongoing shame of past unchastity.

5. It is the VERY GRIEVOUSNESS of sin that makes Gospel transformation so amazing, so worship-engendering, so God-glorifying! If I told my friends that the estate of Bill Gates had not only paid off my mortgage and remaining student loans, but also given me ten million dollars, I hope they would be incredibly excited for me and celebrate with me, not say, “Shame on you for no longer living in your former indebtedness!” That, friends, is exactly what Jesus has done for sinners: he has paid off the debt we owe to God and given us every spiritual blessing and resource for godly living.

6. The attitude of “I thank you that I am not like that publican” has no place in the hearts or mouths of those who have been rescued from their (grievous, offensive, disgusting, condemnatory) sin by a merciful God. But for the restraining grace of God, who among us would not have given in to the lowest and vilest of our desires? If you think it’s your own effort and free will that have kept you sexually chaste, then of course you’ll be driven by pride to look down on those who have not been — after all, if I can do something in my own power, why can’t other people? But if you humbly believe that your heart, left to its own devices, is every bit as wicked as that of the worst sinner, and that every bit of good in you is there only because of the kindness of a loving Father who preserves you from falling into sin? Your attitude toward others is going to be very different.

What keeps coming to my mind are the words to one of my favorite hymns.

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains!

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away!


10 thoughts on “Still Over It

  1. This list is such a great follow-up to the first post, Laura, and point number five is a great big dollop of awesome-sauce all on its own!


  2. I followed your link from Boundless, and just wanted to say that I really appreciated your responses on the original post and here as well. Thanks for sharing them! My former pastor used to stress the need to ‘preach the gospel to yourself’ every day. Without that, it’s so easy to forget the grace lavished on us (on me!) and to forget to extend it to others.

  3. Hello, Laura. I also followed from Boundless where you and I discussed it. This and the previous entry contain a lot of truth and are well written but please be honest with your regular readers. Some people on the original thread may have been more legalistic than you’d like. Some, like me, had a more nuanced point that shouldn’t be dismissed as sinful with the broad brush you’re using. Most of the people you disagreed with never stated it was a non negotiable.

    • Hi Micah, thanks for your comment. The original post urged men not to say things like “must be a virgin,” and I’m sure you’d agree that the word “must” indicates a non-negotiable. Please do explain your position here if you like — I’m always happy to interact with people who have intelligent and nuanced ideas. Things were getting a bit too accusatory on the Boundless blog, and I’m glad to have a chance to talk in a calmer space. Thanks again, brother.

  4. I see. I was responding to another commentator who had a different scenario from the original post. There was some overlap with my point but some important elements were different. The conversation continued for a bit afterwards. I still think we have more leeway in what we can be picky about when it comes to future spouse/parent of our kids than we do with just friends. Also remember, the original post was all about dismissing people for blurry pictures in their personals ads πŸ™‚

    • LOL! Yes, I also take a hard line on blurry pictures! πŸ˜€

      Again, I think it’s fine for it to be a desire. I think it’s foolish and silly to make it a demand. Let’s say you meet a girl who actively participates in your church, who spurs you on to godliness, whose view of sexuality is rigorously biblical, who has a mentor discipling her, who has lived chastely since she was converted, but who isn’t a virgin. This girl has first-hand knowledge of God’s power to transform lives. She understands the seriousness and destructiveness of sin. She is able to rejoice in the victory God has given her over sin, and delight in God’s forgiveness in a really practical way. She understands redemption, and is able to see in her own life how God uses what was man intends for evil to accomplish good. If you start dating this girl and she tells you that she’s not a virgin, and it throws you into a tailspin and you break up with her, and you and I are friends… I’m just going to be honest, I’m going to rebuke you! πŸ˜‰

      This is a godly woman who understands the Gospel, who can raise her children to avoid the things that entrapped her, to teach them about God’s power to redeem sinners. I mean, can you give me a biblical justification for dumping her? Like I tell my students, “icky” is not a legitimate category for sin. πŸ˜‰

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