Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18, NKJV)
Like the citizens of Corinth when the apostle Paul visited their city, many people today believe fornication (sexual immorality) is normal and natural, and no violation of social norms or divine truth. Yet, the Bible is clear. It violates God’s will. God intends us to use our bodies for holiness, not to fulfill sinful passions (1 Thess. 4:3-7). To commit sexual immorality (whether it is premarital sex, adultery – whether homosexual or heterosexual, bestiality, incest or pedophilia) is to sin against God and against the purpose He gave the body. Every sin we commit begins in the mind (“outside the body”), as Jesus taught in Mark 7:20-23. Sexually immorality is antagonistic to the very purpose God gave your body – to give glory to God as His dwelling place (1 Cor. 6:19-20). It is not love when sexual activity occurs outside of God-endorsed marriage; it is dishonorable in His sight. This is God’s judgment: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Christians are “joined to the Lord,” therefore, we must not join ourselves to a harlot (1 Cor. 6:16-18). Keep both mind and body pure, and serve the Lord in holiness.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13, NKJV)
Jesus is not saying to pray that we are never tempted; Temptations to sin come to us all. James settles the matter once and for all that the devil, not God, is the source of temptations (Jas. 1:13-15). Jesus is teaching us to pray for God’s watchful care so that we will not succumb to temptations (for by so doing, we choose to sin). “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” was the Lord’s exhortation to the three disciples who slept in Gethsemane; and to us as well (Matt. 26:41). Sadly, we often sleep even as we walk into the midst of temptations, all the while expecting the Lord to miraculously rescue us from spiritual harm. While praying for God’s assured protection and to use the available avenues of escape when temptations come, we must vigilantly watch for the enticements the evil one will set before us (1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 5:8). God’s deliverance from temptation comes as we watch and pray, resist the allurements of the devil and refuse to sin against God.
25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. 26 For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. (Proverbs 6:25–26, NKJV)
Yielding to fleshly lust is a losing proposition. What appears so appealing and promising such satisfaction, invariably causes pain, sorrow, regret and loss. How many men have literally squandered a fortune on the fleeting fantasies of the flesh? The passion of lust promises pleasure but produces the spiritual bondage and death of sin. Many men and women have been led to the depths of disgrace and despair by its sordid appeal. Sin, whatever form it takes, is never a good deal. Today’s verse reminds us that even more than material poverty, lust bears fruit that brings a person spiritual shame and deprivation. Thanks be to God there is a Savior who lifts sinners out of the muck and mire of sin. Jesus Christ forgives sinners (1 Tim. 1:15)! Trust and obey Him; not the lusts of the world (1 Jno 2:15-17).
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1–5, NKJV)
“The last days,” as Lenski correctly observes, “refer to the whole time from the completion of Christ’s redemptive work until his Parousia” (Commentary on Timothy, 820). During this final age (in which Paul, Timothy and we live) before Christ’s appearing there would (and will) be occasions of particular stress upon the righteous (v. 1). Spiritual dangers and threats arise from people who disrespect God and their fellow human beings. Their conduct is unrestrained by godly fear, which is abandoned for self-indulgent, wasteful and hurtful living. Loving self, material increase and sensual indulgences, there is no formation of godliness within them. Any claim to godliness is empty, powerless and unworthy of our attention. With Timothy, we are warned to “turn away” from such people. The harmful influences of their sins endanger us, urging us to compromise, approve and participate with them in their sins. Refuse, resist, and turn away!
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:19–20, NKJV)
We live in an age when rebuking sin is viewed as unloving, judgmental treatment of others. Yet, with clarity and force, with lovely urgency, Jesus rebuked the Christians in Laodicea for their spiritual arrogance and apathy (Rev. 3:14-22). Sin destroys the soul! It must not be comforted; it must be rooted out of the heart. Only then will Jesus enter the heart and abide with us. You see, sin separates people from God, including Christians. We must accept the chastening of our sins that Jesus gives us in His word, and make the correction that must occur for Christ’s fellowship to truly exist. Remember, this is a passage spoken to Christians. Our hearts can become apathetic toward Christ, preventing Christ from abiding with us. We can turn away from Christ and close the door we once opened to Jesus. But the door of your heart does not have to remain closed. Fellow Christian, if you have turned away from Christ, then start listening to Him. He is calling you to repent. Open your heart to Him and do His will. He will come in, forgive you and bless you with His saving presence (Jno. 14:21, 23).
1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1–3, NKJV)
The horror inflicted upon these worshiping Galileans by Pilate did not mean they were worse sinners than everyone else. The misfortune of others is not our solace when bad things do not happen to us. It is easy to measure ourselves against others. We can always point to someone and perceive them and their sin to be worse than ourselves. By doing so, we can rationalize our own sins, while continuing in them, unabated. Jesus emphatically says this is distorted thinking that will condemn us. Unless we repent of our sins, we will perish – regardless of what others do or do not do. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to the “perfect law of liberty” (the gospel), and correct yourself by doing God’s will (Jas. 1:22-25). Otherwise, “you will all likewise perish.”
Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16, NKJV)
Cain murdered his brother Abel, “because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous” (1 Jno. 3:12). As a fugitive and a vagabond, Cain left the presence of God, finally dwelling east of Eden in the land of Nod (“wanderings”) (Gen. 4:12-16). Thus, east of Eden is used as a metaphor for a life damaged by sinful choices, of a life that is lived away from God, needing redemption. Since all of us have sinned, we have all lived “east of Eden,” wandering aimlessly in the darkness and vanity and death of sin. Yet, there is mercy available to us all who have wandered east of Eden. God gave Cain a mark to identify him, lest he be unjustly killed (Gen. 4:15). In Christ Jesus, God’s mercy is offered to the whole world (Matt. 11:28-30). Through His gospel we escape sin’s death and its punishment, and we inheritance eternal life. Stop wandering east of Eden, and come to Christ, by whom sinners are given access to the garden of God (Rev. 22:1-3, 17).