Immorality

Prevailing opinions regarding the importance and definition of morality have been radically uprooted in the last fifty years. Never before in human history has a generation experienced such a quantum leap in social norms and mores. From attitudes and expectations to activities and apparel, choices and lifestyles forbidden for millennia are now commonplace and universally acceptable. While the wisdom of such cultural change may be debated, what is without dispute is the enormous stress such personal freedom is placing on families, society and the Christian faith.

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Does Anything Go?

There's truth in the old adage "beauty's in the eye of the beholder." Whether discussing attitudes, behavior or clothing, what one individual, society or generation may consider tolerable, acceptable or even commendable others finds tasteless, offensive or even immoral.

This raises a question. Are there any legitimate standards? Is
"anything goes" and "if it feels good do it" the right way to live? Are morality and character archaic concepts best left in the past? Is goodness just a matter of opinion or even totally irrelevant to modern life? It seems so to billions. Personal choice is the new integrity. Accepting and embracing everything, except morality, is constantly promoted and reinforced as the only enlightened and 21st century politically correct attitude.

Consciously or not, we all live our lives based on a world view. Yet few invest much effort carefully considering theirs. Ironically, in the name of freedom and liberty, most are content to let modern culture do the thinking for them. By default mostngo along with the flow, adopting whatever parts of conventional
wisdom we prefer. Yet few realize to what extent normal and acceptable is choreographed and controlled.

The most obvious and immediate manipulator of society is the media. While claiming to simply reflect the values of it's audience, by constantly pushing the envelope, it influences and directs habits and trends that become lifestyles and societal norms, with far less concern for public welfare than for the almighty buck. Sex sells. Hollywood, Motown and Madison Avenue know the hotter the better. By targeting baser instincts, they fan the flame of desire into the
original sin of entitlement.

The genius, expertise and success of societal engineering by the TV, movie and music industry is rarely fully appreciated. In conjunction with the influence of modern advertising, mainstream media has dominated public thinking while amassing unprecedented wealth and resource.
This is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in regards to morality. In a single generation millennia of traditional and religious values have been turned upside down or swept away entirely . Consider abortion and homosexuality. In only a few decades, what was largely illegal and unthinkable for thousands of years has become an inalienable constitutional right upheld by the very institutions long considered the bastions of ethics and morality.

As noted by Christ, in regards to geopolitical leaders amassing wealth and influence,
"the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." Shrewdly, through strategically calculated incremental steps, the attitudes and actions of billions were altered while creating trillion dollar industries. And at the core of the diabolical plan was that by design few if any would be the wiser. Slowly introducing terminology and imagery to redefine concepts such as love and tolerance, drastic changes were imperceptibly accomplished. Whetting the appetite for self gratification is a growth industry, as Al Pacino playing the role of the Devil in the movie, "The Devil's Advocate" explains:
  • "You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire. You build egos the size of cathedrals. Fiber-optically connect the world to every eager impulse. Grease even the dullest dreams with these dollar-green gold-plated fantasies until every human becomes an aspiring emperor... becomes his own god."
While modern media successfully "sharped the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire" other changes conspired to dull our sense of right and wrong. The 1960's saw a Sexual Revolution wash over the Western World like a tsunami that never receded. The release of such flood waters, combined with a fifty year rain of temptation, turned every aspect of earth into a "Water World" of immorality.

During the same period an explosion of scientific and technological advances impacted every strata of modern society. Incredible insights in physics, chemistry and biology yielded
unprecedented blessings, transforming the lifestyle of the average person. Yet glimpsing the intricacies of creation seems to have served to harden humanity's heart against their Creator. In the same way, our incredible gift of wealth and resource is daily taken for granted while God's very existence and goodness constantly assailed and denied.



Reverse Evangelism

Societal forces have shaped the thinking of this generation and will continue doing so for all those to come. Christian nations, once the heralds of Christ's gospel of righteousness, now brazenly produce, consume and export immorality on a global scale. Worse, having had our conscious slowly seared, we do so with little or no feeling of guilt and disconnect to God, our past or one another. With the foundations of faith being eroded, billions outside and inside the church feel free to engage in whatever situational ethics they find to their liking.

While few have noticed the pseudo religion "Meism" been busy replacing many faith traditions throughout the world.
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism or MTD has become the default philosophy of secular and religious alike. While it's name may be unknown to it's vast and growing number of adherents, MTD's five simple tenants have arisen as a byproduct of modernism:
  • A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  • God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  • The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  • God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
  • Good people go to heaven when they die.

With less interested in theology and doctrine, society grows ever more unaware of traditional religious beliefs and the importance of the core values they represent. This being the case when it comes to the most crucial questions of faith, hundreds of millions respond with a shrug and "whatever" either verbally or through lifestyle choices. Throughout the developed world "God's become something of a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: always on call, taking care of any problems that arise, professionally helping his people to feel better about themselves without and becoming too personally involved in the process."

Even within
modern Christianity, the concept of holiness has been replaced with over emphasis on the doctrine of unconditional love, a term never used in scripture. What the Bible's 6,400 commands and 1,456 "if's" do teach is the importance of Christ's costly atonement and crucial need to receive the free gift of conditional salvation by grace. While God's love, mercy and faithfulness are available to all, scripture's clear that many, if not most, choose to reject the offer:
  • You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it." Matthew 7:13-14
  • "Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
And when it comes to worldliness and immorality, scripture couldn't be more clear:
  • "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:1-2
  • "When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you." 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
  • "Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, 'The two are united into one.' But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6: 15-20


Deal Breakers

As seen from the passages alone, even Paul long considered the Apostle of Grace warns Christians practicing immorality have crossed the line. For millennia, throughout both Old and New Testaments, the Bible echo's this refrain. The Gospels, Book of Acts and nearly every epistle continue to command God's people be holy as He is holy.

All the apostles present at the first church council in Jerusalem agreed with James, the Lord's half brother, that the newly emerging Gentile believers should not be burdened with keeping Jewish religious traditions. Compassionately, the condensed all the dietary and ceremonial commands down to three, yet felt it necessary to stress the crucial nature of morality:
"It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things."

Present at that meeting, the apostles commissioned Paul to continue carrying the gospel to the Gentiles. Everywhere he went, both in preaching and writing, he repeatedly stressed the vital need for holiness among
true Christians:
  • "Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. They went through the waters, in a baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God's fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. But just experiencing God's wonder and grace didn't seem to mean much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased. The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—"First the people partied, then they threw a dance." We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with 23,000 deaths in one day! We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them. These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes..." 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 MSG
  • It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom." Galatians 5:19-21 MSG
  • ”Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them." Ephesians 5:1-7
  • "Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ. And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk." Colossians 3:3-8 MSG
  • God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you." 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8


Passion for Purity

Paul was not alone in his passion for purity within the Church. Such chief apostles as Peter and John, as well as James and Jude the half brothers of Jesus, shared his zeal that believers not be deceived by devilish doctrines promising God's earthly blessings or eternal life to those practicing immorality:

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.' Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear." 1 Peter 1:13-17
  • "What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to. But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own." 1 John 3:1-3 MSG
  • ”Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that 'he's a fiercely jealous lover.' And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble." James 4:1-6 MSG
  • But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, 'God opposes the proud but favors the humble.' So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor." James 4:6-10
  • "Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment." Jude 1:3-7
Sadly, many today are ignorant of the stern language of scripture in regards to sexual impurity. If this or other potentially sensitive topics are addressed at all, many churches prefer a more tolerant, seeker friendly approach. Unfortunately, the wholesale diluting of Biblical directives has only served to foster scriptural illiteracy, deluding millions into believing God doesn't really mean what He says or say what He means.

While currently unpopular, past generations understood the exact opposite. As
Creator and Savior, God's word was seen as the Manufacturer's handbook on human affairs. Over millennia, individuals and whole societies reaped the benefits or suffered the consequences of keeping or failing to keep God's commands.

One of the Old Testament's and history's most renowned and beloved figures serves as a case in point. The psalmist David remarked,
"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him" and "God's words are pure words. Pure silver words refined seven times in the fires of his word-kiln. Pure on earth as well as in heaven." A prophet in his own right, the great warrior King David often marveled at the wisdom of God's commands:
  • "The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right. bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They're more desirable than gold even the finest gold. They're sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They're a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them." Psalm 19:7-11
Yet for all his insight, faith and valor even this man after God's own heart was undone by the temptation of immorality. Like Abraham, recognized by billions as the Father of the Faith and Solomon, perhaps the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live, David was ensnared by the Seducer into sexual sin. Rather than remaining vigilant, the original sin of entitlement crept in deceiving God's anointed. From the rooftop of his palace, the slayer of Goliath and champion of the faith fell far from grace when first leering at and then sleeping with Bathsheba. A little digging through scripture reveals the full extend of David's treachery and the reason the king could spy on her from his chambers. She was the grand daughter of Israel's greatest counselor Ahithophel, the daughter and wife of two of David's mightiest men Eliam and Uriah! This single act set in motion a series of events including adultery, betrayal and murder which in turn would ruin one of Israel's greatest families and undo much of David's life's work by severing the unified strength of an entire nation.



Bottom Line


Clearly the Bible repeatedly warns against immorality. What's less clear to many is a practical, real life definition for this forbidden sin. Is all sex outside of marriage taboo? What constitutes sexual activity? Are the boundaries between what's permissible arbitrary?
Is appropriate behavior a matter of individual and cultural choice or does scripture impose timeless guidelines?

There are several reasons why scripture, while over emphasizing the importance of morality, may be said to under emphasize it's definition. First, the Bible is meant to be relevant to all cultures throughout generations of time. For example, what may be appropriate attire for a prosperous "civilized" nation in cold Northern Europe may be inappropriate for a tribe wrestling to survive in a tropical Amazonian jungle. Another is to allow time for the step by step development of conscience within varied cultural responses to the gospel.

Perhaps more relevant is the fact that scripture rarely belabors the obvious. For instance, some would argue the Bible fails to directly address the issue of
abortion. While perhaps technically true, the same could be said for the doctrine of the Trinity, a word absent from scripture yet one of the most important foundational tenants of Christianity. In fact, in regards to abortion and the Church, including it's devastating impact on the prayers, communion and worship of the Christians, their are hundreds of direct and indirect scriptural references.

Any honest person witnessing a mid to late term abortion would clearly recognize this heinous act as the most violent kind of murder, more often than not itself a result of immorality. This being the case, all Biblical passages dealing with violence against, much less the murder of, the innocent clearly come into play. It's also true that even children viewing a video of an embryo forming into a fetus instinctively identifies it as a baby rather than a glob of cells or inviable tissue mass. Here again, all scriptures addressing how we treat one another, not to mention loving and protecting children, become relevant.

In the same way, even in an environment as sexually saturated as our own, every teenager and adult understands when a action or even attitude becomes sexual. These include:
  • Pornography: Improper viewing of naked bodies, in person or through various forms of print media, the internet and video.
  • Crude Language: Instigating or listening to suggestive talk or coarse humor in person or through various forms of media including music and video.
  • Dressing Suggestively: Jesus warned, "Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting."
  • Leering and Fantasizing: Temptations are everywhere today. Even so, God expects Christians to avoid as many as possible. While you can't keep the birds from flying overhead but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.
  • Inappropriate Touching: Clearly sexual body parts are off limits except for monogamous heterosexual married couples. Depending on the situation this may include kissing, hugging or even holding hands.
  • Oral, Anal or Vaginal Intercourse: Self explanatory.
  • Cohabitation: Morally forbidden for millennia, only a generation ago 70% off all couples married before living together. Today the number is reversed and "shacking up" is a growing trend among professing Christians.
Beyond the obvious, New Testament scripture explains that we will each give account of "every deed done in the body," "every idle word" and perhaps our every thought. In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raises the bar considerably when warning:
  • “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." Matthew 5:27-30
God extends His love, mercy and faithfulness to those willing to admit and forsake their attitudes and actions when they oppose the principals of His Kingdom. Having paid the ultimate price to purchase salvation for mankind, the resurrected and glorified Jesus acts as our faithful and compassionate spokesman. As Heaven's permanent High Priest, "he's there from now to eternity to save everyone who comes to God through him, always on the job to speak up for them."

Yet, far from blind to the goings on of His people, Christ has much to say about the
holiness of His Church. And as previously noted, scripture declares the Holy Spirit has a love of a jealous kind as well. So much so that regardless of how accommodating Churchianity may have become, the Bible's case agains immorality has been set in stone for millennia. Tragically, just as the Bible warns, many today sacrifice the sanctity of scripture and the holiness of God's people for acceptance, influence and financial gain:
  • "Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people." 2 Timothy 3:1-5 MSG
  • ”But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They'll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They've put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can't tell right from wrong. They give the way of truth a bad name. They're only out for themselves. They'll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won't, of course, get by with it. They'll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on." 2 Peter 2:1-3 MSG
Even in the face of such clear passages as these many today openly or indirectly teach God's love and acceptance as "unconditional" yet time and again scripture warns that "to obey is better than sacrifice" for "you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit." Peter continues addressing such serious and costly error:
  • "God didn't let the rebel angels off the hook, but jailed them in hell till Judgment Day. Neither did he let the ancient ungodly world off. He wiped it out with a flood, rescuing only eight people—Noah, the sole voice of righteousness, was one of them. God decreed destruction for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A mound of ashes was all that was left—grim warning to anyone bent on an ungodly life. But that good man Lot, driven nearly out of his mind by the sexual filth and perversity, was rescued. Surrounded by moral rot day after day after day, that righteous man was in constant torment. So God knows how to rescue the godly from evil trials. And he knows how to hold the feet of the wicked to the fire until Judgment Day. God is especially incensed against these "teachers" who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule." 2 Peter 2:4-10 MSG
  • ”These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end. Their evil will boomerang on them. They're so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They're obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they're experts at it. Dead souls... There's nothing to these people—they're dried-up fountains, storm-scattered clouds, headed for a black hole in hell. They are loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they're dangerous. Men and women who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most susceptible to their brand of seduction. They promise these newcomers freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they're addicted to corruption—and they are—they're enslaved. If they've escaped from the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that same old life again, they're worse than if they had never left. Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of the proverbs, 'A dog goes back to its own vomit' and 'A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud.'" 2 Peter 2:12-22 MSG


Restoration


Thankfully the Bible's as clear on the issue of forgiveness as it is on sin.
God is a forgiving God, as an often quoted and beloved scripture assures:
  • "If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. 1 John 1:8-9 MSG
Yet again, such encouraging good news is proceeded with a qualifying condition:
  • "This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there's not a trace of darkness in him. If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth—we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin." 1 John 1:5-7 MSG
Here as elsewhere, the Bible explains that while God's holiness and righteous judgment could only be appeased by Christ's sacrifice, Christians having free received such a Divine gift must then "walk in the light as he is in the light." This doesn't mean believers never sin, but rather that genuine Christians don't make a habit of it. Using John's metaphor, there's a vast difference between "walking" in darkness and making it a lifestyle or "stepping" out of the light on occasion. John, whom even the Gospel calls the Disciple of Love, explains:
  • "All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God's order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They've got him all backward. So, my dear children, don't let anyone divert you from the truth. It's the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil's ways. People conceived and brought into life by God don't make a practice of sin. How could they? God's seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It's not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here's how you tell the difference between God's children and the Devil's children: The one who won't practice righteous ways isn't from God, nor is the one who won't love brother or sister." 1 John 3:4-10 MSG
  • "People conceived and brought into life by God don't make a practice of sin. How could they? God's seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It's not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here's how you tell the difference between God's children and the Devil's children: The one who won't practice righteous ways isn't from God, nor is the one who won't love brother or sister. A simple test." 1 John 3:9-10 MSG
For those willing to give their all to pass scripture's "simple test" God offers the promise of pardon, redemption and even eternal glory which far exceeds any earthly paradise. Additionally, untold numbers throughout the ages testify to the restorative power of choosing Biblical over worldly wisdom:
  • "If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that's why you're worshiped." Psalm 130:3-4 MSG
  • This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe and obey the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him." John 3:16-18 MSG
  • ”One day on my way to Damascus, armed as always with papers from the high priests authorizing my action, right in the middle of the day a blaze of light, light outshining the sun, poured out of the sky on me and my companions. Oh, King, it was so bright! We fell flat on our faces. Then I heard a voice in Hebrew: 'Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me? Why do you insist on going against the grain?' "I said, 'Who are you, Master?' "The voice answered, 'I am Jesus, the One you're hunting down like an animal. But now, up on your feet—I have a job for you. I've handpicked you to be a servant and witness to what's happened today, and to what I am going to show you. 'I'm sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I'm sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me.'" Acts 26:12-18 MSG
  • ”Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever." 1 Timothy 1:15-19 MSG
  • God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He's set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating." Colossians 1:13-14 MSG
  • ”How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need..." Ephesians 1:3-10 MSG

Your Decision


What should be apparent to the honest observer is God's concern for the wellbeing of individuals and couples, families and society throughout time and eternity. Truth be told, the morality of mankind has no immediate baring on
Omnity one way or the other. Rather, as Creator and Savior, God's knows how healthy relationships among His creation are best established and maintained. Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of failed romances, marriages and lifestyles attest to the fact that without a deeply laid Godly foundation, the stresses and temptations of daily life bring misery and ruin.

This is not to say that all "
Christian" relationships succeed. It's a telling sign of the times that immorality and the divorce rate among believers rivals that of their unchurched counterparts. Yet, like abstinence, all Christian relationship principals are 100% effective when used correctly. Sadly, the diabolical nature of temptation and deception's equally effective and devistating on the disobedient whether inside or outside church walls.

Whether you
go to church or not, deciding to live a life of purity comes down to a couple of simple questions. First, do we believe God knows what's best for us in time and eternity? Is there compelling evidence that faith's reasonable and trustworthy in modern times? Is the Bible accurate and authoritative? Is Divinity the final Authority and Answer to life's ultimate search for satisfaction and meaning?

Secondly, how's the new Golden Rule, "if it feels good do it" really working out? Since the "freedom" of the 1960's have our relationships grown stronger or more frail? Has promiscuity, sexually transmitted disease, HIV/AIDs, pornography, drug abuse, abortion, divorce, broken homes and child support, child abuse, domestic abuse, gang activity and violent crime declined or risen? Are emotional difficulties and prescription drug use for mental health at all time lows or highs? Are our courts and prisons systems emptying or overflowing? Is corporate, economic and political corruption a thing of the past or a growing threat? What has and will be the true price tag for unrestrained choice as individuals and a society?

The best lies are built on truth, a fact hardly lost on the Architect of deception. All worldly wisdom and sin is designed to revolve around the "right to choose." The problem is with the fine print. Having neither created ourselves and without the power to alter our eternity, depending on our current choices our momentary "freedom" may be fleeting and short lived at best. Nevertheless, even God recognized that in the end it is our decision. Many of the leaders and performers of this generation agree. From Creed's "Who's Got My Back" and "My Own Prison" to the grunge, heavy metal and acoustic band Alice in Chains who in the 90's alone sold over 40,000,000 albums worldwide. Anything but a godly herald of purity, the words and melody of their song "Your Decision" are a haunting reminder that we should beware lest, in the words of "Indiana and The Last Crusade" we choose poorly.


Alice in Chains
"Your Decision"
Video and Lyrics

Time to change has come and gone
Watched your fears become your god
It's your decision... It's your decision

Overwhelmed, you chose to run
Apathetic to the stunned
It's your decision... It's your decision

You feed the fire that burned us all, When you lied
To feel the pain that spurs you on, Black inside

No one plans to take the path that brings you lower
And here you stand before us all and say it's over... It's over

(Solo)

It might seem an after thought
Yes it hurts to know you're bought
It's your decision... It's your decision

You feed the fire that burned us all, When you lied
To feel the pain that spurs you on, Black inside
It's your decision... It's your decision

No one plans to take the path that brings you lower
And here you stand before us all and say it's over

It's over... It's over...





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