The First Two of the Ten Commandments are about loving God with all one's heart, mind and soul. The Second is about loving one's neighbor as oneself. The Commandments are NOT "The Ten Suggestions"--instead they describe the wholeness and integrity of God. We are not asked to try harder to live up to standards that are impossibly high and very demanding. That Great Gulf was bridged on our behalf by Jesus Christ. We are asked Jesus to be Lord of our lives. This is entirely reasonable since He owns the whole universe.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks 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. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20)
A Carnal Christian is an individual who actually knows Jesus personally but will not allow Jesus to be one's Lord.
Relating to the physical and especially sexual appetites.
Worldly or Earthly. Temporal. Of or relating to the body or the self life.
“Spiritual versus carnal“ is better understood by reading through the various New Testament where two Greek words are used.
σαρκικός, σαρκικῇ, σαρκικον (σάρξ), fleshly, carnal (Vulg.carnalis);
1. having the nature of flesh, i. e. under the control of the animal appetites (see σάρξ,
2. Rec. (see σάρκινος, 3. governed by mere human nature (see σάρξ,
4. not by the Spirit of God, lawless.
|And I, Paul, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)
Romans 7:14: For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Romans 15:27: It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.
1 Corinthians 3:1: And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:3-4
... for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal
1 Corinthians 9:11-12: If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
1 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
Hebrews 7:16: ...who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.
1 Peter 2:11: Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.
The Screwtape Letters (PDF)
Can a true Christian be carnal? In answering this question, let’s first define the term “carnal.” The word “carnal” is translated from the Greek word sarkikos, which literally means “fleshly.” This descriptive word is seen in the context of Christians in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. In this passage, the apostle Paul is addressing the readers as “brethren,” a term he uses almost exclusively to refer to other Christians; he then goes on to describe them as “carnal.” Therefore, we can conclude that Christians can be carnal. The Bible is absolutely clear that no one is sinless (1 John 1:8). Every time we sin, we are acting carnally.
What is a Carnal Christian?
The key thing to understand is that while a Christian can be, for a time, carnal, a true Christian will not remain carnal for a lifetime. Some have abused the idea of a “carnal Christian” by saying that it is possible for people to come to faith in Christ and then proceed to live the rest of their lives in a completely carnal manner, with no evidence of being born again or a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17 Such a concept is completely unbiblical. James 2 makes it abundantly clear that genuine faith will always result in good works. declares that while we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, that salvation will result in works. Can a Christian, in a time of failure and/or rebellion, appear to be carnal? Yes. Will a true Christian remain carnal? No.
Since eternal security is a fact of Scripture, even the carnal Christian is still saved. Salvation cannot be lost, because salvation is a gift of God that He will not take away (see John 10:28; Romans 8:37-39; 1 John 5:13. Even i1 Corinthians 3:15, the carnal Christian is assured of salvation: “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” The question is not whether a person who claims to be a Christian but lives carnally has lost his salvation, but whether that person was truly saved in the first place (1 John 2:19).
Christians who become carnal in their behavior can expect God to lovingly discipline them (Hebrews 12:5-11) so they can be restored to close fellowship with Him and be trained to obey Him. God’s desire in saving us is that we would progressively grow closer to the image of Christ (Romans 12:1-2), becoming increasingly spiritual and decreasingly carnal, a process known as sanctification. Until we are delivered from our sinful flesh, there will be outbreaks of carnality. For a genuine believer in Christ, though, these outbreaks of carnality will be the exception, not the rule. (GotQuestions.org)
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it,
and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal.
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? (1 Corinthians3:1-4)
STRONGS NT 4559: σαρκικός
Strong's Number G4152 matches the Greek πνευματικός (pneumatikos),
which occurs 26 times in 21 verses in the Greek concordance of the KJV
Romans 1:11: For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Romans 15:27: It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.
1 Corinthians 2:13: These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1 Corinthians 2:15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
1 Corinthians 3:1: And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
1 Corinthians 9:11: If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?
1 Corinthians10:3,4 ...all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
1 Corinthians 14:37: If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:44: It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15:46: However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
Galatians 6:1: Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Ephesians 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Ephesians 5:19: ...speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
Ephesians 6:12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Colossians 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
1 Peter 2:5: ...you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Sexuality and Carnality
“Carnal Christian“ commonly means a professing follower of Jesus who is sexually active but unmarried. This is not the only meaning of :carnal." Marriage is seldom what it’s supposed to be, these days so sexual dysfunction within a marriage is all too common. More broadly, Carnal Christians are said to be sexually active but unmarried, or in a marriage that is sexually dysfunctional. Many legitimate, legal marriages today are dysfunctional or carnal. It Takes Three to Tango. If married, the dysfunctional behavior is called "adultery." In the case of a person who is involved in sexual activity outside of marriage, all manner of dysfunctional behaviors are lumped under the Greek word porneia. In each case the individual professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The betrayed Lover in every case is Jesus. See Jerusalem, An Adulterous Woman. The standards of God concerning sexual conduct for all who claim to be Christians are detailed in 1 Corinthians 5, The Absolutes of God.
In a broader sense, carnal ("fleshly") living involves compromise with one of the Christians three great enemies which are: The Flesh, The World, and The Devil -- in this case primarily with the flesh --which is more than just about biological sex. What is missing in many "Christian" relationships is walking with and knowing Jesus Christ intimately. This can be easier said than done. If we are to function according to design Jesus must be welcome at the interface of every interpersonal relationship! It must begin one-on-one, me and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In both Hebrew and Greek the word “know” can refer to sexual intercourse. The term derives from carnal, meaning "of the flesh," and the Biblical usage of the verb know/knew, a euphemism for sexual conduct. Examples of this usage include the first part of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, which describes how Adam and Eve conceived their first child:
"And Adam knew (yada) Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man with [the help of] Jehovah." (Genesis 4:1).
And in Lot’s plea to the people of Sodom to whom he offered his virgin daughters, in place of his guests:James, in the New Testament wrote, "Let no one say when he is tempted, ||I am tempted by God |; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full grown brings forth death" (James 1:14-15).
“...and they called to Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men that came in to you this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out unto them to the door, and shut the door after him. And he said, I pray you, my brothers, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters that have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out to you, and do to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing, because they have come under the shadow of my roof. (Genesis 19:5-8)
James shows that sin is like illicit sexual intercourse. A seduction takes place, our yielding to sin conceives a child within us, as it were. The "child's" name is death. Death is the final result of sin in our lives, some time later--it can show up as boredom, loneliness, guilt, emptiness, frustration and despair.
Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
Masturbation is nearly universal these days, especially in gens x,y,z. Back in 1967 there was a common saying on campus, "95% of single males masturbate and the other 5% are lying."
See: Sexuality and Wholeness Papers. There are very good reasons why sexual expression is reserved for heterosexual marriage.
Carnal Knowledge by James Montgomery Boice
The War Within, the Anatomy of Lust
The Flesh, The World and the Devil
The Excluded Ones
Psalm 103A Psalm of David.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’ The LORD executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure. Bless the LORD, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul! (Psalm 103)
The Big Picture: World Religion
First, the present world population is ~8000 billion persons and climbing out of control! It ought to be obvious something drastic lies ahead. In other areas of study of the problems coming down the pike, it would be wise if we woke up and smelled the coffee.
The United States still has a memory of once being known as a "Christian nation." Truth be told, our founding fathers immigrated here for good reasons. Many knew the Bible and lots of ordinary folks, as well as leaders, back then trusted and knew Jesus personally. Sadly today we have forgotten our nation's history, it's not taught in schools either, and our Biblical illiteracy is astronomical. Apostasy is like that! Human beings don't go seeking God nor beating a path to His door. Jesus has been called the "Hound of Heaven" for good reason. We are not a Christian nation. The only nation which has a covenant with God is Israel.
Christians who know Jesus, wherever they are live, are under a New Covenant put into effect by Jesus at the Last Supper. The Old Covenant was performance-driven and based on the Law of Moses.
Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. “All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. “But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. “The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:7-18)
I like sorta like charts for looking at the big picture.
Consider how few people in the world claim to be in the real Christian camp! Some claim 20% of the people in the world, others who I know and trust say 10% or less. I believe many, many people whom Jesus actually knows are to be found hiding in all the groups under consideration here.
I don't believe anyone comes to know Jesus unless he or she has been chosen ahead of time. We are just too lost and too indifferent to God. James Montgomery Boice eloquently clarifies the theme of election.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Our problem today is that most people think they are basically good! "God owes us big time." Ignorance of what the Bible actually says can't really help us much about knowing the real Jesus.
To add to what I wrote in the four preceding articles, consider how many who say, when asked, "I invited Jesus into my life at at Billy Graham (or Greg Laurie) Crusade but..." Or, I know Jesus personally but I struggle with lust, or bitterness, or resentment, and God has not delivered me. In reality, God has not moved. Neither has He changed. Therefore...
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;and so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:7-11)
If, for any reason you don't know of person to person, the news is all good! If you know God but are unsure, come the rest of the way into the family of Jesus Christ. Do you feel like you have had many wasted years? Are you well-informed about the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross? is your faith based on hearsay, tradition, or disinformation? Are you really In Christ? Do you know that Christ is in you--if you have trusted Him as an act of the will? If you are not "in Christ" now what's holding you back?
Two great cosmic reviewing stands lie ahead for everyone who has ever lived. The "Last Judgment" is ominous. The reviewing stand of Christ is about freedom and paradise.
"Ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Intimacy with Jesus
To be intimate with someone these days usually means something sexual in today’s culture. But the real, intended sense of intimacy means rapport, honest interaction, and mutual trust. This kind of intimacy when it is fostered creates common ground and puts us on the same page with one another and with God. (The Greek word koine, common, gives us community, communion, fellowship, commonality).
In meeting a new person we feel we are drawn to, or someone we think we want to know, we usually sit down together for coffee or on the couch, perhaps facing one another. To break the ice we often talk about our hometown, our parents, education and careers. What do we have in common? Eye contact is a good idea when possible. Mutual trust is important--otherwise we probably won't connect.
In a broken down, guilt-ridden fear-driven age, our isolation from God and from one another is very great. A short list of symptoms from loneliness and lack of intimacy with anyone might include the following: Fear of rejection, Fear of failure. Fear of Disappointment, Fear of falling in love, Fear of betrayal, Fear of the Unknown, Fear of being found out, Fear of Enslavement, Lack of Experience in trusting others, Lack of role models, Failure to bond well in marriage until now, insidious loneliness, frustration, rejection violence are unwanted enemies lurking in the dark. We all carry around much guilt and fear, real or imagined. What would our relationship be like if we could talk to one another as we talk with ourselves?
What would our relationship with God be like if we could speak with Him in the same way we speak with our friends? This is not as far a stretch as it may sound. This mode of living is actually the way the universe was designed. Try this approach with Jesus, having first acknowledged that He has permission to rule your life. Your permission is necessary. Knowing Jesus (or any person) is not a once-for-all mountain top experience, but an challenging adventure lived one day at a time.
“Can two walk together unless they are in agreement?” (Amos 3:3)
God designed very much like Himself, and He wants to relate to us as friends.
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15)
He wants us to see others as He sees them! For many, God seems very far away—remote, impersonal—a force, not a Person. This is one of the most common experiences in life. Neither is Jesus remote and indifferent far beyond us some high heaven, He is actually very near to those who draw near to Him.
"He who is joined with the Lord is one with Him in Spirit." (1 Corinthians 6:17)
Intimacy with Jesus is the key to intimacy with other persons! Do we not assume that we must first fix things ourselves and then go looking for God?
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind." (Philippians 2:1-2)
In being "like-minded," two-way data streams encompass the communication not only consciously but unconsciously. We all know about good vibes and bad, body language, and the importance of intuition in relationships. It is difficult to “pull the wool over” another person’s eyes if we know ourselves well. Truth is better than lies and deceit, or attempts to manipulate or control each other. In a safe environment we can perhaps trust another human with our pet peeves, our personality type, our hopes and dreams, goals and aspirations. We all long to know and be known, but who can we really trust? “Good vibes” only go so far!
In our natural state, the nature of our dialogs (whether man to man, father to son, mother to daughter, employee to the boss, or lover to beloved), are tailored to our expectations about the other person's likely response. We don't want to "rub that person the wrong way" or start an argument. Relationship can be dangerous, we all are easily deceived by first impressions, desires, and projections (seeing others in our own image). We hope to end up "on the same page,” even when we may be light years apart from the other person. Intimacy with another human being is seldom as it should be. Intimacy with Jesus first, then intimacy with others follows.
The degree of rapport with one’s employer, our relationships with our peers, our siblings, our close friends, the neighbors, our rapport with our doctor and so on—are all different, but in Christ Jesus they are all very important.
A huge cultural divide exists these days in our nation between those over thirty and an entire generation of younger persons who march to the beat of different drummers. Failing to see and experience Jesus in those of us who are older, they have become lost in space, seeking intimacy and love in all the wrong places. The result is isolation, terrible loneliness and existential despair. “Cultural Christianity” is a curse and not a blessing. Sixty or seventy percent of Americans may profess to be Christians, but the real “remnant” is perhaps only 5-10%. The real Jesus has been marginalized now by the world more than ever. All those outside of Christ are without hope. Please re-examine your presuppositions and come on into the family of Jesus.
We all are incurably religious. Either we know and love and gladly serve the One God who created us, or we default to serving idols. Americans today are very idolatrous to say the least. Only the true Jesus can guide us back to reality.
James goes characteristically even further:
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10)
Most challenging of all is how we relate, or fail to relate, with the opposite sex! The latter category is where we all fail to see that the image of God in man is masculine and feminine! Half of life is best understood from a woman’s point of view (though we men may deny this vehemently). Men and women are alike in spirit, but different in body and soul. Yet God enables us the bond with one another whether we are young or old, male or female. Families, churches, communities, societies, alliances all depend upon mutual trust, bonding, commonalities that we all agree with.
Two women or two men can be best friends and even live together in productive ways that are are of great value. David and Jonathan were probably twenty years apart in age when they established a covenant friendship which lasted until Jonathan was killed in battle. Saul, Jonathan’s dad was deeply disturbed by David’s vitality, his intimacy with his son and he slandered the two men by suggesting their friendship was sexual which it was not. (1 Samuel 20:30-31).
Old paradigm Christianity is dead as a door nail now. There are a few living In the professing church by the old rules who actually know Jesus and are empowered by Him. Otherwise one has dead orthodoxy. The old rules are about “sound doctrine” as the measure of truth — not the Person of Jesus. What works now is giving Jesus permission to take over completely and live through us. The default is walking after the flesh. Jesus is a living Person. He did die, once, for about three days, but He came back from the dead as a forerunner, a pioneer, the first in a series of resurrections yet to come.
Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?
If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?
I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained?
If the dead are not raised,
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning;
for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
(1 Corinthians 15:29-34)
The Need for a Positive View of Chastity
We help people, churches and society talk about faith and sexuality.
The most common cause of sexual sin is isolation and loneliness. The sexual appetite is an urge to overcome isolation, to give and receive another person. A person who is fulfilled in their daily life through other forms of “knowing and being known” will find that chastity frees them to be generous and loving and to receive love and generosity without the clinging neediness of sex. The problem is that most people in the contemporary world are literally starving for human communion, and sex fills that need at least temporarily.
Negative chastity, the kind of chastity that limits itself to saying “Thou shalt not,” has consistently failed to persuade the postmodern world because it is madness. The vast majority of people will eat things that are designated “unclean” by their religion or “unhealthy” by their doctors when faced with starvation. In most cases it's not even voluntary. Unless you have strengthened your will to a superhuman extent it's not possible to starve yourself to death. Likewise, unless you've devoted a huge number of character points to picking up the “Stoic” superpower you will simply not be able to endure the kind of social starvation that negative chastity demands in the contemporary world. The way that we live, our architecture, our social structures, our institutions, are all far too individualistic for it to even be possible. From the new institution of “the single life” to the catastrophic experiment of the “nuclear family” we have created a culture of isolation. In order to gain increased autonomy for the individual citizen and the individual family we have severed the ties that hold communities together. Within this insular existence sex is a powerful means of escape. Telling people that they can't have it is like telling a child who has eaten nothing in days that she shouldn't eat a lollipop because it's bad for her teeth. The distant threat of cavities will simply sound hollow and meaningless compared with the present experience of hunger pangs.'
In the Song of Solomon there is a provocative verse about fidelity in one’s relationship with Jesus.
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.“ (Song 8:6,7)
Why Sexual Misbehavior is inconsistent with knowing Jesus as really He is— a whole man, the Second Adam—the Head of a new race. Knowing Jesus is about a relationship not about a membership in a country club. Obviously men and women and boys and girls should all relate to Jesus as they perceive Him today. He meets each one of us as we are. He is an utter realist.
No Fap, No Porn, No Hanky Panky, No Fooling Around
---and Motives Matter
Knowing Jesus is all about loving Him and shunning all that is fake.
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say,
“The LORD is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:4-6)
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body,of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:1-33)
There will be no genital sex in heaven (New Jerusalem), but there will be plenty of intimacy, more than ever. The level of intimacy we can handle in heaven will be fully regulated by Jesus--after all He does not blow people away, nor freak people out! See Little Children.
Thus says the Lord:
“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come,
And My righteousness to be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who lays hold on it;
Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
Do not let the son of the foreigner
Who has joined himself to the Lord
“The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”;
Nor let the eunuch say,
“Here I am, a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
Even to them I will give in My house
And within My walls a place and a name
Better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
That shall not be cut off.
“Also the sons of the foreigner
Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him,
And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—
Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And holds fast My covenant—
Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says,
“Yet I will gather to him
Others besides those who are gathered to him.”
Jesus the man was denied the joys of marriage and raising kids—for good reason. Yet the heart of God is all about the union on man and wife in marriage. From creation till now. The Old Testament portrays Israel as the wife of Yahweh. God was forced to divorce this wife because of her unfaithfulness, but the last chapters of reconciliation and restoration for Israel as restored wife are yet to unfold in history. See Hosea.
Jesus came first as a Jew to his own people. His rejection opened doors for Jesus and His disciples (now Apostles) to reveal God’s good favor to the entire world. But Jesus the bachelor has been given a partner in the life to come. This “calling out of a people for His name” is symbolized by the selection of a Bride for Jesus. She is to be a gentile virgin bride, a not-yet married woman. Furthermore the Bride of Christ is not one woman but millions (billions ?) of men, women and children —all who know and love Jesus. They are now bring readied for the return of the Bridegroom who will restore all things to wholeness and harmony.
Jesus is still a “single man” to this day. That will soon change! How much can He do through us who choose to stay single for whatever reason? I have met few people who are unconditionally available to Jesus. It has been said that there is no limit to what God can do through any man or woman who doesn't care who gets the credit. More than that, Jesus was unconditionally available to His Father. He never took matters into his own hands, never drew upon his own unlimited powers as God the Son. Do we not serve God with rewards in mind? Are we often selfless when we give? Do we expect to be paid back for our time and effort and investment?
Has Jesus been faithful to me? Yes! Since early childhood and before I was born. As a boy growing up in Shoshone, Idaho, I remember well attending a Christmas eve service in the tiny church across the street. It was a cheery evening and my dad said at the time that attending church was a good thing, that I was free to choose. Without hesitation I decided there were more important matters in my "wonderful plan for my life." Two and a half decades would elapse before I came to my senses. See My Search.
Last month two special friends, Dan Heckerman and John Telford, came by bearing food to take note of my 88th birthday. Now in mid-June of 2020 I'm reflecting on my rocky, turbulent relationship with Jesus Christ since 1962. My track record as a follower of Jesus Christ is checkered to say the least. Three years ago this week I very nearly died after ten years addicted to the prescription drug, Oxycontin, which is not unlike heroin (See My Oxycontin Years). My temporary memory loss began to be restored on July 4th and I came home from El Camino Hospital on August 15, 2017. In addition to stopping Oxy cold turkey, my doctors reduced my 23 other prescriptions meds from 23 down to 7. I have now a new intimacy with Jesus I had never had before--as if I had been born again, again. The whole culture here in Silicon Valley had changed subjectively during the previous ten years--(which ought to be a wake-up call to anyone taking any mind-altering drugs, especially those in the class the Bible calls pharmakeia.)
A corollary to the recovery process, Jesus has led me through in the past three years is a new awareness of the big picture, a better world-view than I had before the crash of 2017. I have not had to revise any core beliefs about the Person of God, or that lost state of mankind, or what God has said clearly said He would do to bring about a glorious consummation of His stated program for building a new creation out of the rubble of human civilizations. But, I do see the people of God, "the church" differently.
Once upon a time when I was coming to see that others saw me more clearly than I saw myself less clearly than I saw myself (I was vaguely aware that I might have an ego problem). I ramped up my courage and asked God to show me how He saw me. I expected thunder and lightning and fury, but there was only silence. Yet in the weeks that followed I began to see myself more clearly one small step at a time, and almost always new insights and convictions came from the Bible.
O would some Power the gift to give us To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion: What airs in dress and gait would leave us, And even devotion!
Therefore: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23)
Many people I know, especially guys, grew up with a “father wound.” This of course Jesus heals as we grow up in Him. At the point in time where we give Jesus permission to be our Lord, He sends ripples into the past and into the future, completely erasing all charges against us. Arrested Emotional Development (AED) happens often in our fallen world
Jesus and the Homosexual Jesus Plain and Simple Masturbation Adam's Account of the Fall The Flesh, the World, and the Devil Everlasting Destruction The Meaning of Sodom Carnal Knowledge The Wife of Yahweh & the Bride of Christ Made in the Image of God The Ruin of Creation The Seamy Side of Life Jesus Christ and the Last Days The Consequence Engine The Wasted Years Everlasting Destruction Love and Relationships: Song of Solomon The Oroborus Symbol The Excluded Ones Jesus is a Single Man
Listen to: Jesus, The Light of the World
Notes by Lambert Dolphin
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June 14, 2020, August 12, 2020. May 8, 2022. September 6, 2023.