Lesson 10 -- fourth quarter 2000
November 5, 2000
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications
I thought it; I'm guilty; I just as well do it.
Is there mercy for me?
In Matthew 5:28, Jesus discloses how serious God is about immorality: "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." When it comes to sexual purity, God sets the standard very high. Even a lustful look ranks as adultery. God sees and judges our spiritual activity just as tangibly as we see and judge our own physical activity. Where we would draw a line between the spiritual and the physical, God says no distinction exists in terms of accountability.
Unfortunately, the Deceiver has used this verse to lead countless people further into sin. The lie goes something like this: "Since you are already guilty of adultery for merely looking and thinking, what further difference will it make if you go further by acting? If you are already guilty anyway, you just as well get some further fun out of it. Not doing it will not make you any less guilty." Such logic seems reasonable and even difficult to refute. What would you say to defeat such a lie? Here are some suggestions:
Your deeds affect other people much more directly. Had David not compounded his sin by acting on his lustful thoughts, Bathsheba, Uriah, the whole nation of Israel and David's own family would not have suffered the effects they did. How can we possibly believe the Devil, then, when he assures us that we just as well sin physically since we're already judged guilty for our spiritual sin? He's a liar, I'm telling you!
Your deeds add more sin to the record. OK, so David looked where he shouldn't have and he thought what he shouldn't have. We can total two sins there, to keep it simple. So far so bad. Then he sends for Bathsheba. This is getting worse; add another sin. Then comes the adultery. Add yet another sin. Could it possibly get worse? It did! Somehow the Devil gets many folks to believe that one plus one plus one plus one will equal no more than the first one. He's a liar, I'm telling you!
Your deeds bring more bondage and accountability. Suppose David had gone no further than his lustful looking and thinking. That alone could have kept him in mental and spiritual bondage. But he would have been accountable only for that. Following through with the actual adulterous deed, put him further into bondage and led to greater and greater accountability. Yet the Devil would have us believe that looking, thinking and doing are really no different no matter what. He's a liar, I'm telling you!
Your deeds affect your testimony more directly. David's lustful thoughts were known only to him and to God. That alone is enough. But at least no one else knew and would know that the man after God's own heart had sinned in this fashion. His deeds first tainted his testimony before those in the palace, and then with his general, and from there it spread further. How can we possibly believe that acting on the sin of our hearts makes no further difference?! The Devil is a liar, I'm telling you!
How would you have dealt with the crushing weight of guilt from lust, adultery, deception, treachery, murder and cover-up? I think David could have very easily felt that he had gotten himself way beyond the reach of God's mercy. "Is there mercy for me?" Yes! Yes! The Devil will say otherwise, but remember who he is!
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