Are you ashamed by sexual sin?1
The following is an excerpt adaptated from Sunday's sermon by Joey Phillips.
I'd like to tell you the story of a girl we'll call Jen.
Like many people who grow up in church, Jen was raised by parents with strong morals and a church that clarly taught the principals of purity and abstinence. Like so many others, she fell into sin and ended up pregnant. As a result of her indescretion she felt like she was walking around with an increasingly large scarlett letter on her stomach. She condemned herself and she felt the judgment of people who no longer thought highly of her now that they knew she was impure.
Jen was ashamed of her sexual sin.
She began to wonder if she had a place in the church. Intellectually, she believed that God would forgive any sin. Experientially, however, she was burdened by the constant guilt of her sin and her desire to continue in sin with her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend took advantage of this kind of thinking by telling her she did not need the self-righteousness of the church. If they would not accept her how she was, then she should forget them. While appearing to defend her, his perspective actually encouraged her to find her identity as a permiscuous girlfriend, rather than a woman made in the image of God.
To the dismay of Jen’s parents, she utlimately stopped going to church and tells them, "This is who I am. I may be too young to get married, but I'm not going to pretend to be a good church girl anymore."
Jen’s story is all too common. Christians are quick to define themselves by sexual sins. How else would she--if she truly was a Saint indwelt by the Holy Spirit--find herself in this struggle? Although she had died to sin, the dead man kept rearing his ugly head. Although she was no longer a slave to sin, she still struggled with it.
The Bible says in Galatians 2 that we have been "crucified with Christ." Anyone who has died has been set free from sin. We are no longer slaves to sin, but to righteousness, and our identity has been completely changed. Jen was no longer identified as a promiscuous girlfriend, but her primary identity was as forgiven. She needed to view herself the way God viewed her.
Jen’s parents continued to reach out to her. When her relationship with her boyfriend broke down, she reached the end of herself and went running back to God. Although she continually struggled with viewing herself as the sinner, God used her small baby to change her perspective. She began to view her child as a blessing from God, not a reminder of sin. She rejoiced in the fact that God uses all things for her good. And she realized that she was called by God, a that no sin could change the fact that God had chosen and adopted her.
Suddenly, her sin was put in its proper place. It no longer defined or dominated her life. Christ had already defeated that sin and she didn’t need to live in it any longer. The reality is that through the cross she had gained a righteousness that could not be taken away by any pull of the flesh. That life giving imputation allowed her to be idendtified, not as a sinner, but as a sinner saved by grace.
Here are some questions to consider if you wrestle with shame over sexual sin:
1. Do you think of yourself primarily as a sinner? If so, what sin do you allow to define you?
2. If you have sinned sexually in the past, do you allow that sin to hold undue influence on your identity?
3. If you are currently involved in sexual sin, are you believing the lie that this sin is somehow more powerful than other sins? Is it, therefore, more difficult to confession and repent of?
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