8. Other Frequently Asked Questions
Lust, Fornication and Adultery – The Fruit and Its Sin
(The Fruit and Its Sin)
For this illustration, we will compare lust as being a tasty desirable fruit. Yet not all fruit is good for you, as was demonstrated in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:6, 16-17). More often than not, lust is better known for its negative influence, those influences that result in acts of sin, such as fornication and adultery. So, let’s examine some of the components often associated with lust.
Lust is an “intense” desire that makes plans to obtain the object of the lust. The scriptures speak of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).
Sex is a specific type of activity, created by God, generally for reproduction and to be enjoyed within the context of marriage (Genesis 2:24, 4:1).
(Genesis 4:1, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain . . . “) The knowledge involved in the Hebrew of the Old Testament is far beyond just having the mental awareness of another person. This is the physical union of becoming of one flesh.
Fornication is the physical sexual union (the becoming of one flesh Genesis 2:24) between any two people that are not married to each other. For there to be one flesh (Matthew 19: 5), there has to be physical penetration. One person can lust, but it takes two to fornicate.
Adultery is very similar to fornication. The distinction between fornication and adultery is that single people can fornicate, but it takes at least one of them being married for it to be adultery.
Understanding Matthew 5:27-28
Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust (G1937) after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
English Words used in KJV:
lust after 1
Many teach that sexual lust is equivalent to the actual act of sexual sin; that is, if a man sexually desires a woman, he has already committed adultery with her in God’s eyes.
Understandably, this passage is often taken out of context giving some the premise that any bad thought that enters the mind equates to sin. That interpretation however is not correct. A person who is thinking about doing something wrong (sinful) and later deciding not to go through with it, although the thought existed, the actual sin did not occur. For example, if I “thought about” going on a 24 hour killing spree (out of anger) but didn’t follow through with it, regardless of my intent (to commit a crime, murder, steal, sin) the crime (the actual sin) never took place.
This is not to say that it is okay to dwell on sinful thoughts, but merely having a sinful thought (often called temptation) without it being acted upon is not the same as committing the “the sinful act.” This dilemma is more inline with the scripture that addresses how to deal with anger (Eph 4:26).
*Note: In addition, many of us forget that Jesus himself (a man) also had to overcome temptations, including those that were sinful in nature (prohibited desires -which would include thoughts of adultery), and His thoughts were not said to be acts of sin. (Heb 4:15)
Thus we need to fully understand the wording used here in (Mat 5:27-28).
The Greek word (G1937) translated here as “lust” in this passage (ἐπιθυμέω; epithumeô) happens to be the same word used to translate the Hebrew word for “covet” (חמד) in the Tenth Command in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), which says:
οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις τὴν γυναῖκα τοῦ πλησίον σου. οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ πλησίον σου οὔτε τὸν ἀγρὸν αὐτοῦ οὔτε τὸν παῖδα αὐτοῦ οὔτε τὴν παιδίσκην αὐτοῦ οὔτε τοῦ βοὸς αὐτοῦ οὔτε τοῦ ὑποζυγίου αὐτοῦ οὔτε παντὸς κτήνους αὐτοῦ οὔτε ὅσα τῷ πλησίον σού ἐστιν. (Ex 20:17 LXX)
“thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife…”
The command we are given here in Mat 5:28 is not forbidding the thought of a woman’s beauty (even if that thought was of a sexual nature), it forbids the action of coveting that thought.
Coveting denotes a desire which is directed at obtaining that which is forbidden, not the mere existence of the desire itself.
“Lust” makes room to go and commit the sin (James 1:15), if it is not properly governed and put under the authority of the Spirit. But not every lust (G1937) [things long for or desired] is sinful. This is important to take note because the Greek word (G1937) didn’t change, the translator decided what English word would be used.
(Luke 22:15) And he said unto them, With desire (G1939) I have desired (G1937) to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
(Mat 13:17) For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired (G1937) to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them
(Luke 15:16 NIV) And he [the prodigal] longed [fain](G1937) to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
(Luke 16:21) And desiring (G1937) to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
It is therefore important that we understand the distinction between the “type” of desire (G1937) [or lust] in contrast to coveting (an act of planning) to partake in something which would be forbidden (like having sex with another man’s wife).
There is a clear difference between having a natural sexual attraction and “coveting” something that is prohibited by the Law: the Law forbids directing one’s desire towards that which is not lawful. Jesus is not condemning the desire itself but the action taken on the desire.
The presence of a beautiful woman may trigger a thought or an even an attraction, which is natural, but it’s the action associated with the thought. Yes, adultery (the act) is a sin, but the sin entered the heart (mind) the moment one plans to seek it out.
There’s an old saying “You may not be able to stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can prevent it from building its nest.”
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Does God forget our sins?
God Knows Who Sinned
And Has Full Memory Of It
I’ve heard pastors, on occasion, make claims that God actually forgets the sins of those who have been saved, and casts them into the “Sea of forgetfulness” (a non-biblical phrase). They almost always cite from one or more of the following passages in support (Heb 8:12)(Heb 10:17)(Isa 43:25)(Jer 31:34)(Ps 103:12)(Mic 7:19)(Isa 38:17)(Isa 44:22).
These types of passages are called metaphors (See: Biblical Metaphors & Figures Of Speech).
(The Representation use of a word in a figurative meaning on the basis of the similarity of two objects or phenomena in some way.)
For example, some passages speak of using blood for washing. They are spoken in the figurative sense.
Gen 49:11 “……. he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:”
Rev 1:5 “…… and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
Rev 7:14 “……washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Washing is usually used to represent some type of “cleansing” and blood usually represents the “source” (from who or what/ man, animal, etc.) that is some how associated with the washing.
God Has Complete And Perfect Knowledge Of All Things
For God to be sovereign over His creation of all things, whether visible or invisible, He has to be all-knowing.
The Bible declares that God “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21), that “His understanding is infinite” (Ps 147:5), and God is greater than our heart, and knows all things (1 Jn 3:20). If God does not remember something, then that would mean God doesn’t know everything.
Since God knows what type of sin we committed, and when we committed a sin, he therefore has perfect memory of it, however God does not hold “those sins” against the believer “after” God forgives him of those sins.
A sin is always sin. It however can be “pardoned” (forgiven) but only according to God’s plan, not some man-made plan of salvation.
The confession of sin before God is integral to the obedient Christian life (1 John 1:9).
Some present the argument that there are sins we may have committed unaware? The Bible addresses that concern like this:
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Jas 4:17
God knows the heart of each individual (Ps 147:5). Doing something wrong and being aware that it is a sin may not invoke the same judgment of God. For example; a child may take an item that does not belong to him but there is a level of understanding that must be taken into account. God is a just God and justice is extended to everyone. Therefore we must have a understanding of God’s justice ( Pro 3:5, 1Cor 14:20, Php 3:15, Eph 5:17).
“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:48)
Note: Every circumstance is unique and this in no way is intended to portray all individuals as making the rapture (the first resurrection of the saints) but that there is a final judgment day (Acts 17:31, 2 Cor 5:10, 1 Peter 1:17). It is those new “unrepented” sins that have not been acknowledged (or forgiven) that are not forgotten by God and are recorded in the Book of Life.
The phrase “And I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer 31:34) is probably best understood as God will not hold those “specific” sins, which God had forgiven, against them.
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Sermon Sayings Not Found In The Bible
There are few sayings that have developed throughout the years that are frequently used in many sermons. Although they may sound biblical they are not. Listed below are some common ones.
Once saved, always saved.
This saying is based on what some call “The Doctrine Of The Perseverance Of The Saints” (a man-made doctrine).
Those who hold this belief, do not believe that a unconfessed sin can keep the “true believer” from receiving the same inheritance (heaven) as other saints, which they claim God has “sealed” in them by the Holy Spirit. Because of God’s grace, they do not believe that a unconfessed sin will forge a breach in one’s experience of the joys of a heavenly life. They believe every believer would be in danger because we all sin constantly in thought and deed.
Nonetheless, this is not a true saying, nor is it a biblical concept. (Ref: Frequently asked Questions About Salvation and Heaven)
Spare the rod, spoil the child.
Despite popular opinion, the famous saying, “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” is not found in the Bible. The saying, however, should not be considered invalid as there are verses that promote a similar concept.
Proverbs 13:24 – “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24 (NLT)
Proverbs 22:15 – “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.” Proverbs 22:15 (NLT)
Proverbs 23:13-14 – “Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. 14 Physical discipline may well save them from death.” Proverbs 23:13-14 (NLT)
Proverbs 29:15 – “To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.” Proverbs 29:15 (NLT)
Money is the root of all evil.
“Money is the root of all evil” is how 1 Timothy 6:10 is often misquoted. A careful reader, however, knows that “the love of money” is the root Paul identifies, not money itself. That puts the focus on the heart, not on the amount of our resources.
Jesus taught in one of his parables that our possessions (money) should not possess us (be our master) in such a way that we become consumed by them and serve them above God.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Matthew 6:24 (ESV)
What’s interesting is that those who have much and those who have very little can both be consumed with a passion for money.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. – 1 Timothy 6:9 (ESV)
Notice that Paul is talking about the desire to get rich and how easy it is to fall into temptation 1 Timothy 6:9 (ESV). This desire or craving for wealth often leads people to embrace senseless and harmful desires that end up ruining lives. In fact, at the end of verse 10, Paul says it is because of this craving that many have wandered away from the faith (the Christian life with all of it spiritual pursuits), and as a result many are self-inflicted with unnecessary hardships, or griefs.
God Has Casted Our Sins Into The Sea of Forgetfulness.
(Ref: Does God forget our sins?)
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