Question:

I am a young man, aged 25. I have been involved in church leadership for almost 5 years now. I got myself into the habit of watching porn more than a year ago. I would feel bad, pray to God seeking for forgiveness, but I would find myself doing it again and again. I have a Christian girlfriend whom I have been going out with for a year now. We intend to marry in two years or so. Our relationship has been more physical (flirting), though we don’t do sex since we agreed not to pass those boundaries.

Last week I went out at night into the streets intending to find a prostitute who would ‘just strip’ for me, not intending to lay with her. I got one, and we went to her room in town. Before I knew it, she was putting on a condom on my organ and within seconds we were having sex. I felt like I was dreaming when I left her on my way back. Even today I can't believe that I did it. Me? Of all the people. How will I tell anyone, especially my girlfriend? I am afraid she may be heartbroken and leave me. I love her more than anyone.

Is such a sin pardonable before God? How do you comment on I Corinthians 5:9-13? Usually the Lord speaks to me in dreams. I had a dream sometime this year which more or less resembled this incident, almost exactly like this. The only difference is that in the dream I later realized that I had mistakenly grabbed the prostitute’s cellphone instead of mine.

I know I have disobeyed God. What do I do now? I’m scheduled to minister in September during a conference. Can I cancel all my ministry assignments and “get right with God” first?


Answer:

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:15-20).

Like others whom I've met before, you focus on one sin and tell yourself that as long as you don't commit that sin, then you are all right. You had decided that as long as you didn't put your penis in a woman, you had not committed a grave sin. The sad thing is that you've been sinning all along and it is because you did nothing about your sin that you kept progressing to more sins.

Looking at pornography is a sin. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). "Passion of lust" refers to sexually stimulating things which are designed to generate lust in a person -- in other words, pornography would be included in "passion of lust." Jesus had said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). If that is true of a married man, then why do you deceive yourself into thinking that unmarried men are not included? You stared at images of women to whom you are not married imaging having sex with them. That is fornication! "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23).

It is because you excused yourself for thinking about fornication that you set yourself up for the next sin. "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1). "Touching" here refers to sexual touching. You and your girlfriend are not married, but you have been touching each other in sexual ways. You called it "physical flirting" but this is a vain attempt to minimize what you were doing -- arousing sexual passion in each other. Such generates lustful thoughts and the type of sin you were involved in is called "lewdness." "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). Notice that you made all sorts of provisions for the lusts of your flesh.

This set yourself up for the next sin. You knew you couldn't ask your girlfriend to strip for you, so you thought you could buy sexual behavior from a prostitute. You sort of behaved liked the simple-minded young man Solomon described in Proverbs 7:6-27. Actually, you were worse that this man. He stupidly roamed the streets at night not even thinking about being solicited by a prostitute. You, on the other hand, purposely sought out a prostitute. Like the young man, once you got sexually aroused, you lost control. "With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him. Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life" (Proverbs 7:21-23). You foolishly thought you could resist fornication, even though you've been thinking about it for a long while. When a man gets strongly aroused, his judgment centers in his brain shuts down. You can be looking at the situation and say "This is wrong!" but it is like being locked behind a glass window and your body isn't listening to you. Look at what you said. You intended to just commit the sins of lust and perhaps lewdness, but you let this woman pull your pants down and you did nothing to stop her. She put a condom on your penis and you just let her.

Another reason you fell is because you thought you were immune, even while you were committing so many sins. You called yourself a Christian, a leader of God's people, a teacher. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). Let's put things back into perspective: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). You told yourself that you could sin a little bit and still go to heaven. That sin grew and you still told yourself lies that you were all right. Now it is so big that even you have to admit you are in trouble.

All sin is forgivable -- if the sinner abandons his sin. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).

"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person"" (I Corinthians 5:9-13).

Paul is talking to the church about how to handle members who will not repent of their sins. They had a man in Corinth who was having sex with his step-mother. Paul came down hard on the church for not taking a stand against such sin. The passage here in I Corinthians 5:9-13 expands it so that no one will think that standing against sin only means "really bad sins."

What you did falls under this category. Whether the church should withdraw from you really depends on you. Are you going to seriously straighten up or are you going to continue to make excuses for your sins? "Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:9-11).

You stated that you love your girlfriend more than anyone. Sadly, that isn't true. You proved that you love sex more than her. That can change, but it won't change if you don't face the reality of your sins.

You also claim that God speaks to you in dreams. I find that fascinating that you think that God was speaking to you directly while you were violating His teachings. It reminds me of what God said about the prophets of Jeremiah's day:

"I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!' How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, "who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal. The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?" says the LORD. "Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore behold, I am against the prophets," says the LORD, who steal My words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets," says the LORD, who use their tongues and say, 'He says.' Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," says the LORD, "and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all," says the LORD" (Jeremiah 23:25-32).

The truth is that God did once use dreams at times to communicate His will, but that has changed. "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2). God said prophecy would end and it did. "Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away" (I Corinthians 13:8-10). The perfect law of liberty has been fully revealed and there is no more to be said. "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

It is time to leave the world and its lies and put on Christ in truth.

Thank you, sir.