The SPIRIT OF CELIBACY is a term I have given to represent Godís work through the Holy Spirit to enable his children to function with total control over their sexuality. Is it a gift of the Holy Spirit that is for everyone? I believe the scriptural evidence points to it being universally there for all true believers. Unfortunately, few understand this potential that is available to them. And even fewer understand the freedom and empowerment it can give to them in their relationship to God.
The SPIRIT OF CELIBACY has been available to all believers from the very moment mankind was cast out of the Garden of Eden. In the modern age where illicit sexuality has swept through the church like a massive tsunami, it has never been more necessary. The sanctification of every believer is in dire jeopardy.
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: I Thessalonians 4:3-5
In the very end times we see Godís special work taking place, including the ministry of 144,000 male virgin Jews. †Why is a main component their virginity? With sexual deviancy so prevalent throughout the world today masses of people have succumbed to sexual idolatry. In contrast, the ability to resist sexual temptation to the point of celibacy with 144,000 male Jews is an affirmation of the power of God over the most imposing idols of man. Revelation 13:4
The same power has been available throughout the ages and is available to all Christians today. Jesus talks about it in the book of Matthew.
His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their motherís womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heavenís sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matthew19:10-12
God gives three categories for all believers who are commanded to have their sexuality under control:
1. Eunuchs who do not have their sexual organs due to a birth defect.
2. Eunuchs who are eunuchs because they have had their sexual parts removed.
3. Eunuchs who are such because they have the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY, having put their sexuality under the control of God for His Kingdomís sake.
There is no fourth option here other than those who are not able to receive it. And the only ones I know of who cannot receive what Jesus teaches are unbelievers; those who are resistant to the Gospel; those who are stiffnecked. Jesus was responding to the question as to why Moses allowed divorce among the Jews who had just been rescued by God from slavery in Egypt. With several million Jews to deal with and all their problems, Moses apparently got so tired of dealing with a stiffnecked people that he compromised and allowed them the option of divorce. Why God allowed Moses to deal with this stiffnecked people in such a manner is not fully revealed to us. We can only speculate. †A Theory †Many who try to justify their sins point to those syncretistic elements from the Old Testament.
Most of us arenít Jewish and we donít live with only the Old Testament as our guide. Jesus set the record straight as recorded in the New Testament but also added a similar response to those descendants who were also stiffnecked. Here he was dividing the sheep from the goats; the redeemed from the rebellious. Here he was saying that if you canít receive what I am saying in regards to setting the record straight, concerning what is truly marriage then go ahead and do what you want. You are also stiffnecked and will not enter into the promised land (heaven) but will die in the wilderness (eternal punishment). He was making the same analogy as Moses except Jesus was setting things onto the right course; a course that was always there from the beginnings of man. Nevertheless, Jesus was not going to spend all his time debating the issue with a stiffnecked and rebellious people who were soon to have him nailed to the cross.
Jesus is therefore calling upon all believers to be eunuchs; to have the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. This means that the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY is for every believer, including those who are married. Why it includes married couples is because the context of Jesusí statement on eunuchs revolves around marriage and the issue of divorce.
Every believer should adamantly affirm that they are a part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Most believers have all their sexual parts therefore situations #s 1 and 2 donít apply. And few believers would even consider chopping off those parts to satisfy situation #3. That means that situation #3 is referring to a commitment to celibacy that can only be successful with the power of God. This commitment and reliance upon God then classifies you as a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven and that commitment and reliance gives you the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY.
The SPIRIT OF CELIBACY requires not only a commitment to sexual purity in both body and mind, but a recognition and reliance upon Godís guidance and power. A believer must accept that there is absolutely no way you can fully control your sexuality. You must rely upon God and His power for that to occur. If you donít rely upon God (through keeping yourself away from temptation and calling upon God for his help when tempted), then you are seeking to serve God in your flesh for which the Apostle Paul said:
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing. Romans 7:18
Continuing on through to verse 25 in Romans 7 you will find that the only way to have victory over the flesh is through Jesus Christ. His work in our lives is the only way to have victory as God also says in the Psalms.
For thou Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. Psalms 92:4
The SPIRIT OF CELIBACY proclaims Godís triumph over the flesh. It is through our reliance upon Christ Jesus and his work and power that we know we can have victory over sexual sin.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:4-14
The SPIRIT OF CELIBACY is not an option. There are many sincere people who purposefully live in sexual sin yet go to church, teach Sunday School, pray, read their Bible and do all sorts of wonderful things. Many will be totally mystified as to why God will not allow them into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23
Charles Finney said this about these false Christians:
They all profess to be servants of God, and yet by observing the lives of many, it becomes manifest that instead of their being Godís servants they are only trying to make God their servant.
There is a class of professed Christians who are the true friends of God and man. Ö They will make it manifest that this is their character, by their carefulness in avoiding sin. They will show that they hate it in themselves, and that they hate it in others. They will not justify it in themselves, and they will not justify it in others. They will not seek to cover up or to excuse their own sins, neither will they try to cover up or to excuse the sins of others. In short they aim at perfect holiness.[Ü]
Today, marriage is treated as a case of trial and error. A common sentiment is that eventually you will hit the right one. How many times have we heard people comment on how they think this marriage has a good chance? Itís like the church of today and its members are attempting to sanctify adultery by their ceremonies and marriage certificates. Everyone that condones this type of behavior among Christians is a worker of iniquity. You need to reject this kind of thinking and instead embrace the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. Only then can your head be clear to do what is right, no matter the price.
The majority of books on marriage never deal with the true definition of marriage. Theyíre almost always about relationships but never on the truly important relationship: our relationship with God. In the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY, God is always first and our relationship with him is never sacrificed for a human relationship. To entertain the idea that God will condone adultery because it has resulted in children or seems to be working okay is ludicrous.
The SPIRIT OF CELIBACY in the natural seems anything but an easy course, but it is the only course for beginning to set straight what has been so twisted and distorted. Here are some of the results or repercussions when embracing the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY
∑ You will immediately give up any deviant sexual behavior as revealed in the Bible. If you donít know what those deviant behaviors are, then itís time to get busy reading His Word.
∑ You will take every precaution to avoid sexual temptations that are sinful in nature.
∑ You will take the steps to annul a marriage that is actually adultery. If you have embraced the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY, the idea of purposefully causing God to suffer because of your adulterous behavior will be so abhorrent that no love for a spouse will ever interfere with your love for your precious Savior.
Or despisest though the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Romans 2:4
∑ If you are in a courting situation with someone to whom you know you are both eligible for True Marriage, you will not put yourselves in compromising situations that could lead to sexual intercourse. But, if you do end up having intercourse, then you must recognize you are now married. The sin and violation for having intercourse is where you have entered into the marriage on a physical foundation and you were not conducting yourselves with the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. The fleshly foundation can cause many problems in the marriage but divorce should never be an option or even a thought. Premature intercourse should be repented of and then the couple should move forward in the marriage with the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. Then you will be back on course for what God desires, which is the Ultimate Marriage Bliss. And remember the only thing that can legitimately break up a True Marriage is the death of a spouse.
∑ If you are unable to unravel past sinful sexual relationships to figure out if you are eligible for True Marriage then this requires that you live the rest of your life in actual physical celibacy. When committed to the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY this consequence can prove to be a tremendous blessing in spite of it being difficult for many to comprehend. I Corinthians 7:7-8
∑ If many Christians embrace the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY, there will be a massive spike in divorces among those couples who are actually living in adultery. This could very well be on a colossal scale as upwards of 90% of Christians might actually be living in adultery. If this ever did occur, the church would experience a revival unrivaled in the Churchís history. The pain and suffering that comes with such commitment will be counter balanced by Godís pouring out of unimaginable blessings. The greatest blessing will be that of a pure and holy bride outfitted in a spotless white garment, anxiously awaiting her groom, her Savior, her precious Lord: Jesus, the Son of God. Revelation 19:7-8
∑ Young people who embrace the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY will have the opportunity to experience True Marriage, as God intended and along a path that leads toward the Ultimate Marriage Bliss. The young could be the leaders in this revival, exhorting their elders to repent and declare their full allegiance to the Lord of the Universe. In most cases this will be a painful experience, having to call upon their own parents to divorce from an adulterous affair. Young people need to be careful how they go about this. They should never rebuke an elder Christian. Rather they should entreat or urge them to do what is right in a loving, honoring, and respectful manner. I Timothy 5:1
∑ Committing to the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY will immediately put you into a wilderness in regard to family and acquaintances. You will experience isolation like many of the prophets, particularly Elijah and John the Baptist who are associated with the wilderness. This should not be a purposeful hermitage but the outcome of making a firm stand on moral issues which will require exhortations, reprovings, and rebukes. In spite of this condition it is important to seek ways to continue the relationships without compromise. John the Baptist is a wonderful example. He reproved Herod and his wife Herodias and was placed in prison. But he had such a great relationship with Herod that Herod constantly engaged in dialogue on theological issues. Herod was extremely grieved over the request to behead John. Nevertheless, he caved in to the political and social pressures of the world. A firm commitment to the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY requires much prayer and thought as to how to maintain relationships without compromise. Your love, care, and concern is what should come across and not a self-righteous judgmental spirit. But if the relationship breaks down and you are left outside as the black sheep of the family and all your friends abandon you, do not despair because you are in good company.
∑ We cannot and should not control other peopleís environment or house. We are required to have our house under control. With Jesus, his house was the temple and whenever he went to the temple as an adult, he threw out the money changers and would not allow them to operate their sinful business within His house. So to, we have to take steps to ensure our house does not become a place that allows behavior in violation of the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. That means you should only allow those couples to sleep together in your house who you know are truly married or have been affirmed to be truly married. Here is where positive changes can begin to occur in our culture. It is when we begin our inquiry and lay down firm rules that people are forced to take notice. They may be offended and never want anything to do with you again. Yet, they now know a foundational truth and must purposefully live counter to God and His foundation.† If you inquire concerning their marriage condition and they lie to you, their sin of adultery is compounded by the sin of lying. Unless you know for certain that they are lying you should allow those guests to sleep in your house. If they donít know whether they are truly married then your commitment to the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY should compel you to not allow the possibility of adultery taking place in your house. To have your household under full control is each Christianís responsibility.
∑ Visiting someone who is living in adultery should fall under the same criteria. To accept their hospitality to sleep overnight in a place where adultery could be taking place can be perceived as you approving of that union. If you know the relationship is adultery, a clear black and white scenario would be for you to decline an overnight stay while explaining your position. This could very well incur a break in the relationship. Nevertheless you have made a definitive statement that lets them know that their relationship is or might be an adulterous one. We cannot control their response; we can only control our testimony and message to a dark world in desperate need of a clear, pure, and brilliant Light.
Abstain from all appearance of evil. I Thessalonians 5:22
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a manís foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. Matthew 10:34-40
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; Ö but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my nameís sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Matthew 19:28
There is only one person that we know for certain had the complete and perfect SPIRIT OF CELIBACY; and that person is Jesus Christ. We will look at this aspect of Jesus in more detail. First, letís look at some others who elicited certain aspects that are contained within the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. Some with the clearest example are:
∑ John the Baptist: He appeared to have chosen to be physically celibate as there is no indication of having a wife. He was so committed and focused upon God that there seemed to be nothing in his life to distract him from that focus. He even went to the extreme as far as being content with the scarcest of food and clothing. He does not appear to have had a permanent dwelling, but lived in the desert, probably finding shelter in a cave or building something like a lean-to out of sticks and branches. His commitment to God and Truth put him in conflict with King Herod over the issue of sexual sin. Herod was living in adultery and Johnís rebuke of Herod and his illegitimate wife Herodias led to his beheading. Matthew 14:1-12
∑ Joseph the son of Jacob: when faced with the temptation of a woman who desired to have sex with him, he demonstrated that aspect of the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY of fleeing from temptation, even though it ended up having him put into prison. Genesis 39
∑ Job: he had a lifestyle that completely avoided sexual temptation. With the covenant he made it is unlikely he would have placed himself in a tempting sexual situation. Plus, he would most likely have turned his gaze away from any woman that might sexually appeal to him. ďI made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?Ē Job 31:1
∑ The Apostle Paul: Paul recognized his celibacy was a gift from God for the purpose of being able to concentrate fully on the Lord. He also felt that physical celibacy should be the most preferable route for all Christians. And there was a time in the early period of the church around the time of Augustine that some married converts would mutually agree to separate from each other for the purpose of full concentration and service to the Lord. I Corinthians 7:6-8
∑ The Jews who had returned from the Babylonian captivity: many of them were in violation of keeping themselves separate from the Gentiles. It was determined that 113 of them were in illegitimate marriages. Over the course of 3 months they carefully considered each case. The important thing to realize in this example was their obedience and willingness to do what was right regardless of the cost. Nehemiah Chapters 9 & 10
Our ultimate source for embracing the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY is Jesus. He faced every main temptation known to man, including sexual temptation. All temptations were faced without sin which enabled him to be the pure and perfect sacrificial lamb; able to not only take away all our sins, but to give us victory over all temptations. With reliance upon God and the power of the Holy Spirit we have the full capability to walk our lives in perfection upon this earth just as Jesus did. There is no excuse for giving in to temptation. We can and should walk in total perfection. We are weak, but so was Jesus. No temptation is beyond the power of God to enable us to resist and when we do rely upon God and his power to resist temptation, the Devil doesnít just stop his endeavors to get us to sin, he actually flees away.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Hebrews 2:18
Seek the Lord, and his strength: ÖPsalm 105:4
Jesus was celibate like his cousin John the Baptist. To keep himself pure he perfectly adhered to the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. Having a ďrock starĒ type status, Jesus would have faced multiple temptations. Plus, he was surrounded by harlots and other sinners. Jesus had the lifestyle with the proper checks and balances to help protect Him from sinful situations. One of the protective measures was to never purposefully be alone with a woman. We can surmise this practice by the surprise we see from His disciples when they found Him talking to the woman at the well. John 4:5-30 Most importantly, Jesus lived a life with total reliance upon God. Because he departed this life in perfect holiness we know his complete reliance upon God kept his thoughts and actions totally pure. Every temptation was defeated by fleeing from or keeping away from tempting situations and by calling upon God the Father for the strength to resist temptation.
A looming question should be concerning why we sin when we have the same capability as Jesus to always overcome temptation by the power of God? It certainly is not because of Godís weakness. It is not because of a lack of faith because even the smallest faith (akin to the mustard seed) can move mountains. It comes down to submission to God. When completely submitted to God everything is at work to keep us from sinning. Those submitted to God are not in rebellion. If not in rebellion, you are completely willing to rely upon God and his strength. You are completely willing to obey God and flee from evil. You are completely willing to avoid even the appearance of evil. Only then can you walk in perfection. But the moment you want your way and your will ascends to the throne of your life, that rebellion opens the door for temptation to do its destructive and sinful work.
When walking in submission, you receive Godís acclamation. But your very next action where you walk according to your own way puts you into Satanís camp where you have no claim to Jesus whatsoever. †See Matthew 16:15-26
Walking in submission to God is a commitment to not allowing the smallest of sins to have its way. The modern church has surrendered its keys to the god of sexual immorality. In its desire to draw people into the fellowship they have thrown their doors open and put up the banner of ďunconditional loveĒ. Jesus is our absolute guide when you want to understand true love. He never compromised on one jot or tittle of the law. His unwavering stand led him to torture, heartache, and death. His love was uncondemning but his command to the adulteress was to ďgo, and sin no more.Ē John 8:11 His love took him to feasts where there were gatherings of Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, and lawyers of the law but that didnít draw him into their ways. Instead many of them received rebukes of being whited sepulchers, thieves, etc.
When we exhort fellow believers to have the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY we will undoubtedly be accused of being judgmental. And indeed that is cause for concern; which is why it is important to differentiate between exhortation and being judgmental.
Because of our fallen humanity, we do not have the capability to make eternal judgment upon others in the area of spirituality. When Adam and Eve sinned the effect was to impair themselves and all future generations in the totality of body, soul, and spirit. This impairment, due to our own sin, makes it impossible to make eternal judgment. It would be like the blind leading the blind. Being wrongfully judgmental is an attempt to assert that which is reserved to God alone. Even Jesus in his humanity said that he did not come to judge the world. However, this does not mean we are to be neutral when dealing with sin and its effects.
We are told to: ďJudge not, that ye be not judged.Ē Matthew 7:1; which doesnít mean we sit on the sidelines as sin and evil run their course. Most unrepentant sinners quickly use this verse to try and justify their behavior. They use it to try and put a sugar coated veil over deeds in need of reproof. Here is what Jesus said:
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:19-21
Cognizant of our own sinful nature and with humbleness and the fear of the Lord, we should firmly declare truth and righteousness regardless of the consequences to us. To ignore sin and even worse, to condone sin is a condemnation upon ourselves.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13
If we truly fear the Lord, wisdom will call out to us. If we embrace the wisdom that comes from God then we will also immerse ourselves in understanding and knowledge.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
The more understanding and knowledge you have, the more you will understand truth, holiness, righteousness, and the depth of Godís mercy and grace. Then you will fear the Lord even more and the cycle continues and grow until we approach the perfection we are commanded to strive for and thus glorify the Lord more and more.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48
As you embrace wisdom and she takes you to knowledge and understanding, what you learn is in direct contrast with a dark world for which you are called to be the Watchman. Here is where ignoring sin or even worse condoning sin brings condemnation upon us. Ezekiel 3:17-21
God makes a distinction between being eternally judgmental and finitely judgmental. Paul in talking about sin taking place among Christians within the church said:
For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? I Corinthians 5:12
Christians are only called to finite judgment which condemns the sinful behavior. God is the only one who dictates eternal judgment which condemns the sinner.
∑ We are commanded to pass judgment upon sinful behavior in humbleness and remorse knowing our own tendency to sin.
∑ We are called to make a clear delineation between dark and light. We are never called to condone or muck around in the grey areas.
∑ We are to declare truth and righteousness. Each individual is responsible and will be judged by God as to how they respond.
∑ The command not to be judgmental does not mean impotence of action. If known sin is tolerated in your house or church grouping this is a sin upon the church or household. Parents are responsible to take the proper steps to ensure sinful behavior is not tolerated within their domain. Church leaders are likewise responsible for their flock. Tolerance comes with a curse just as when the sins of Achan affected the entire Jewish nation. Joshua 7 This same curse is assigned to a church that tolerates sin by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:8-9. †Unfortunately, this call to action has been abused in the past where Church officials have hunted down suspected witches and other sinful behavior and enacted harsh penalties including torture and death. Past abusive action should not deter us from following the correct Biblical course of action. The Bible is clear as to how the church should conduct itself. It calls for believers to separate themselves from rebellious and impenitent sinners. The action is a call to not allow that person into your fellowship and if the church refuses to respond then you are called to remove yourself and not be a part of a fellowship that condones those who refuse to stop their sinful ways. This same principal also applies in your home, particularly with children or other residents who are of legal age and who refuse to stop sinful behavior (such as having illicit sexual relations in your home, drugs, etc.).
Every age faces a new battlefield. Fortunately, our battle manual tells us how to fight each new battle. A quote widely attributed to Martin Luther has this to say concerning these battles:
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.
Wherever the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.[á]
Turning the Tide of Sexual Immorality
Embracing the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY might be the beginning of turning the tide. It begins at the personal level, one person at a time. A drastic commitment to Godís way like that enacted by King Josiah can bring about a revival. II Kings 22:1-23:25 The alternative is for sexual degradation to continue until the rubber band of Godís longsuffering and mercy stretches until reaching the breaking point and snaps. That brings an unleashing of Godís cleansing wrath and no Christian should desire it to reach that drastic point of no return.
Itís time we made a stand. We need to stand with boldness like John the Baptist and more recently the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was hung for standing up to Adolf Hitler.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer explored the link between faith and moral strength. In a world where evil approaches us in ďso many respectable and seductive disguises that [our] conscience becomes nervous and vacillating,Ē he wrote, and where weíre taught to trust duty, reasonableness, or private virtue, keeping ourselves ďpure from the contamination arising from responsible action,Ē we can easily accommodate the worst moral ills. The courage to challenge them, Bonhoeffer said, resides in ďthe man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God.Ē
Bonhoeffer counsels a highly demanding faith. While we may want to trust the wisdom of the self, he argues, it canít be an isolated self, the one-dimensional creation of a shallow or destructive culture. Instead, we need to listen to that voice of conscience that represents the deeper wisdom of God, and be loyal to it, embracing what he called ďthe cost of discipleship.Ē [ß]
Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen! Martin Luther
Religious leadersí tremendous responsibility to make clear the dark and light
Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. Jeremiah 12:10
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Ezekiel 22:26
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. Ezekiel 44:23
The Broken Windows Syndrome and Sexuality
There is a phenomenon called the Broken Windows Syndrome. It basically deals with neighborhood crime and how allowing the little things ends up digressing into a virtual jungle. The world around us is becoming more and more a spiritual jungle and the digression started right in our churches. Allowing those broken windows or grey areas within the church has crippled the ability for Christians to make a concerted impact on the cultures they live within. Most churches have redefined marriage. They bring two people together who might have had several sex partners or been divorced, run them through a ceremony, give them the blessings of the church, hand them a brand new marriage certificate, then proudly pronounce them husband and wife. This redefinition of most marriages today is nothing more than certified adultery. When that occurs, what kind of message does the church have concerning all the sexual sins and deviancy that takes place in the world around us? When we live in the midst of the Broken Window Syndrome we shouldnít be amazed at the jungles within our society.
To begin our attack on the sexual idolatry that has permeated our culture begins with personal commitments to a path in direct opposition to sexual enslavement. It is a path that leads to a commitment to the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. Then, there will be intolerance for broken windows within our churches. Then, there will be a huge contrast between the Christian and the world. Then there will begin the elimination of the grey areas. There will be dark and light. There will be black and white. Christians will begin to transform their church of fence sitters and the world will then know and be convicted of their unrighteousness. Shame will begin to return to our societies. People will begin to fear the Lord and become remorseful. And perhaps, hoards of people will stop fighting against God and allow him to take them to the cross where his mercy and forgiveness will transform them with truth, purity, and righteousness. Then the church will be a bride no longer arrayed in a grey and dingy wedding dress, but arrayed in a bright and clear and pure and brilliant and shining garment that will beacon to the Groom in search of the bride who is worthy of His throne and the Kingdom of Heaven.
Women and Fashion
Women are accountable for their modest behavior and dress. They need to embrace modesty and quit revealing flesh that has tempted many a man to sin both physically and mentally. If they dress or act in a manner that produces sexual arousal in a man (other than in privacy with their legitimate spouse) they are committing sin. This doesnít excuse the man, but it does put the woman into Satanís Babylon camp. Revelation 17:3-6
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. I Timothy 2:9-10
Christian women need this change to be so dramatic and widespread that it radically transforms the fashion industry. Men can help encourage a change in female mannerisms by shunning immodesty and responding positively to modesty.
Chastity needs to become a banner of pride: Pride in holiness, faithfulness, modesty, and fidelity.
A complete commitment with total reliance upon Godís power and grace
The SPIRIT OF CELIBACY is not some endowment like the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is a commitment to sexual purity that can only be accomplished by the power of God. And this commitment is to a total rejection of any sexual indecency to the ultimate point of spiritual and in some cases physical celibacy. When everything sexual is surrendered to God that leaves you as a eunuch for the Kingdom of Heavenís sake. Then sexuality falls completely under the direction of God leaving only Legitimate Marriage as the only place where sex is allowed. This leads to Godís full blessing which then has the potential of achieving Godís Ultimate Bliss within true marriage.
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. I Peter 4:1-5
A SPIRIT OF CELIBACY †Prayer
Below is a prayer example for dealing with the battle for spiritual celibacy. It is important to become comfortable with praying to God for his help even while engaged in sex with your wife. It might seem inappropriate but that is because we have somehow been ingrained with the idea that God thinks sex is bad. He created sex and He delights in His children enjoying what He has created within the wonderful freedom of True Marriage.
Dear Lord. Please help me to be pure in thought and deed. Help me to remember to immediately call upon you whenever sinful sexual images attack my mind. Help me to see temptation pitfalls so I can avoid them. When faced with temptations, help me to flee from them whenever I can. If unable to flee, please help me to avoid sinning against you. Give me the strength to avoid the temptations; that I might glorify you as Jesus, the Son of Man on this earth glorified the Father in sinless perfection. For I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
A prayer like the above calls upon God to help you in these important areas:
∑ Sexual thoughts and images conjured up from the imagination, from pornographic images from the past, or from lustful images in the events of life.
∑ Situations at work or the dealings in life that are sexually tempting.
o Our first reaction should be to flee from the situation. When that avenue of escape is revealed, there should be no hesitation, but to immediately remove ourselves from the tempting situation. Then ask God to cleanse you from those lustful inclinations that Satan might be using to get you to sinfully dwell upon them.
o If unable to flee, then you are to call upon God to give you the strength and resolve to avoid letting the temptation lead to lustful sin both in body and mind.
∑ A true commitment to the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY will mean this will be a genuine prayer and not an exercise. In this case, God will always give you a way out or protect you in the worst of environments.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:13
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; Mark 16:18
End Time Message
The 144,000 Jews in the book of Revelation are specifically said to be virgins. This seems to indicate that the Idol of Sex will be a huge end time problem. The 144,000 are a testimony of Godís power and the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY perfectly at work. And not only are they perfect in their sexuality, but in all other areas of their lives as we see in Revelation 14:5. They are a supreme testimony of an army of men able to stand in perfection before God because of their total reliance upon God and his power. This same power is available to all generations no matter how difficult the cultural impositions. The Bible clearly tells us why it will be so difficult for those in the end times to embrace the SPIRIT OF CELIBACY. II Thessalonians 2: 3,10-12
1. The people of the end times will be part of or fall for the deceit of unrighteousness. In other words, right will be considered wrong and wrong will be considered right. Think how our society now views virgins as an anomaly and as having something wrong with them. Today most people act as if it is their ďright to sinĒ.
2. They will have no love for the truth.
3. There will be a great falling away from God, righteousness, and the truth.
4. They will be ripe for embracing strong delusions because of their rebellion against God.
5. They will have pleasure in unrighteousness.
Interestingly, right after Godís exaltation of the 144,000 and the angelic gospel call there is given a condemnation to Babylon, the source of sexual immorality.
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Revelation 14:8-11
Postmodernismís effect upon sexuality
Our society is inundated by the philosophy of postmodernism. This is a philosophy that appears to allow you the right to pick and choose your own reality. In most cases, the organized church doesnít help resolve this issue even though they claim to have the absolute and inerrant Word of God. Various subliminal messages ripple through the church and its teachings today that give you permission to pick and choose from the Bible what fits your own private philosophy or reality. Iíve never heard a minister truly deal with this issue at the foundational level. They claim the Bible is absolute and possibly might go a bit deeper and say that the originals are actually what are inerrant and their knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew allows them to bring out that truth. The real truth is that we donít have a single scrap of the originals and that is where they run away from the issue. If you arenít afraid to explore this dilemma, I invite you to take a look at:
Questions & Answers
I was told that once you are saved you are a totally new creature. Old things are passed away and all things are new. So all those things that were immoral have been taken away and we can have a fresh start.
Understood properly, everything you said is absolutely marvelous. But you have brought out a dangerous interpretation that quickly begins to fall apart when we look at a couple extreme cases. If a murderer or child molester repents of his sins and becomes saved, you are not going to have a judge throw out his case and let him go free. Sin holds consequences that will many times affect us for the rest of our lives. The marvelous fact is that no matter what the circumstances, we can move forward in perfection by the power of God. The murderer and pedophile can be a wonderful witness and example to others within the prison environment and to family and friends as to Godís transforming work in their lives. The adulterer can also, by Godís power and strength, walk in pureness and righteousness within the consequence of their adultery by a return to a legitimate marriage partner or to a life of celibacy. The sin is forgiven, but to continue in an illicit sexual relationship is still adultery and we are to examine ourselves if involved in perpetual sin to see if we are truly in the faith and possibly not a true believer.
A non-virgin upon conversion does not miraculously revert back to virgin status just the same as a murderer or child molester does not revert back to a sinless status in that regard. Sadly, sex has become the god of so many people that they will refuse to give that up but will perpetually continue to walk in sexual sin and rebellion. We must live lives that reflect Jesus Christ to be allowed into the Kingdom of God. Many are in danger of being like the five foolish virgins who did not have oil in their lamps when the bridegroom was ready to come. Were they false virgins? When the door-master looked upon them he said that he did not know them. Matthew 25:1-12 Is illicit adulterous sex worth being cast forever away from the presence of the Lord? Is it worth an eternity in the Lake of Fire? If you are gambling that God just winks at this type of sin you are gambling with stakes that come with eternal consequences.
[Ü] Lectures to professing Christians, Charles G. Finney, pg. 76-77.
[á] This quotation is commonly attributed to Martin Luther who in his own writings definitely affirmed its contents. For an article concerning where this quotation actually came from see: Battle Rages Attribution
[ß] Soul of A Citizen, pg.337