Dear Christ Church,
This past Sunday we heard God’s heart for us from Ephesians 5:3-14 on why sexual immorality cuts us so deep and how God wants us to flee from abusing this gift he has given us and come to Him in our brokenness, so that in His light we can become light. I don’t usually promote my own sermons, but if you didn’t get a chance to listen to this one, I’d really encourage you to do so. We live in a very sexually confused and broken world and none of us transcend the environment we live in. Sexual brokenness has touched us all in one way or another.
During the sermon I received two questions.
Question #1 We talked about David and his sin, however, David had many wives and constantly lived in sexual sin that way. So does David have no inheritance in heaven?
To give some context for this question, I used David as an example of God’s invitation in Ephesians 5:14 for us to come into the light, so that Christ can shine on us.. In Psalm 32 David talks about how he felt his soul withering away as he kept his sin in darkness, but when he repented and confessed it to God, he experience God’s healing through his forgiveness.
The short answer to this question is that polygamy was not considered sinful under Jewish law. So David was not in sexual sin by having many wives. His sin with Bathsheba was wrong, because she was another man’s wife and so it was adultery. Now just because polygamy was not forbidden, that does not mean that polygamy was what God intended for his people. When Jesus was asked about marriage he goes back to Genesis 2:24 and cites how God created one man to be married to one woman. So in the NT we see a restoration of what God originally intended. We also see why the new covenant is better than the old covenant. The old covenant was all about keeping God’s law, but the new covenant is about God having our hearts. So while technically David was not sinful because God did not expressly forbid polygamy, he did miss God’s heart for marriage. So to answer the question: no David is in heaven, even though he had multiple wives. However, he did not get to experience the fullness of what God intended marriage to be. By having more, he experienced less. Praise God that in Jesus, we can know what is better.
Question #2 At what point do we receive God’s forgiveness and grace and at what point does He decide He will bring His wrath upon us for not obeying Him in this scripture?
This is a great question, because in many ways it gets right to the heart of the gospel. The beauty of the gospel is that God came to save sinners and so we are to come to God just as we are. No matter what we have done, if we place our faith in Jesus and are therefore united to his life, death, resurrection and ascension these things are true of us:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa 1:18 ESV)
as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us (Psa 103:12 ESV)
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1Co 6:9-11)
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake (1Jo 2:12 ESV)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1 ESV)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-- by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:4-6 ESV)
We all have broken God’s scripture (Psalm 14:1-2, Romans 1:18). However, there is forgiveness for any who would put their faith in Jesus. “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Rom 10:13 ESV)
Such is the power of the gospel, that not only in it do we receive God’s forgiveness, but also through it we also receive God’s transformational power.
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. (Rom 6:17-18 ESV)
Through our faith in Jesus we have been rescued from our slavery to sin and given new hearts that can be obedient to God out of love for God (John 14:15). This does not mean that we will not still struggle with sin.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1Jo 1:8 ESV)
No one in this life will be sinless. Yet, as for those who are united to Jesus by faith, there is a transformational work that is going on inside of us through the Holy Spirit.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2Co 3:18-1 ESV)
There needs to be a healthy understanding of the difference between struggling with sin and giving ourselves over to sin. The struggle with sin is real and will be throughout our life here on earth. However, struggling with sin, asking for God’s help, desiring to fight, showing progress over time, that is very different from deliberately sinning without caring at all about who God is and what He says.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. (Heb 10:26-27 ESV)
That phrase “if we go on” speaks to a continuous action. It is not a struggle, but a lifestyle. Those who give no thought to God here on earth, God will justly judge by allowing them to do that for all eternity. Far from that being a party with your friends, it will feel like a “fury of fire.” Being separated from the life of God is to live in a state of perpetual death (John 5:24-29). If you are ok with sin, if it is not that big a deal to you, if you don’t struggle and fight and battle, but are content and just say, “God will forgive me”, then you have reason for concern. What Ephesians 5:5-7 is making clear is that if you are ok with sin, then God is not ok with you.
So the answer to this question is that God’s forgiveness and grace is for any who would come to him. In coming to Jesus we are forgiven of our sin and empowered to battle our sin. Therefore, though we still sin, we do not “go on sinning deliberately.” For those who do that, who choose to live in ways that are rebellious to God as an ongoing lifestyle, the Heavenly Father’s plea is to turn from the hellbound race to destruction and come to him so that they might have life.
Let me know if you have any follow up questions to this. I'm grateful to be part of this learning community with you!
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