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Re: Homosexuality

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  • Whit
    Chad, I can strongly relate to your friend s tendencies. My only advice is to love him as yourself and remember that the Spirit alone convinces and convicts
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 19, 2006
      Chad,

      I can strongly relate to your friend's tendencies. My only advice
      is to love him as yourself and remember that the Spirit alone
      convinces and convicts as you help your friend. Those details are
      in the wonderful counsel others have given upon which I can't
      improve.

      Whit


      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Martin
      <dmartindnospam@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Chad,
      >
      > Your request has already elicited good resources and advice -- but
      here
      > are some more resources and a bit of advice. I've appended the
      various
      > resources at the end of this post, referencing them throughout
      with [#]
      > notation. I heartily recommend a full reading of those resources,
      most
      > of which are readily available online, not only for your friend,
      but for
      > all Christians, seeing that the principles are broadly applicable.
      >
      > I assume your struggling friend is a Christian; if he is not, he
      will
      > likely have little success with his sin, and whatever success he
      does
      > have will not be true mortification nor profit him if he forfeits
      his
      > soul (Mat. 16:26).
      >
      > When studying sanctification, it is important to beware of false
      > teachings which promise life and peace but actually promote death
      > through a false peace (Jer. 6:14, Rom. 8:6); either by an easy-
      fix,
      > antinomianistic rejection of God's law (Rom. 6:1-2), or by the
      excessive
      > burden of meritorious works and traditions of men which have no
      warrant
      > from God's word (Matt. 23:4, Mark 7:8).
      >
      > For new Christians or those who are still as new Christians,
      > mortification will likely be a more difficult than for those who
      have
      > extensively studied and practiced it, yet always difficult to
      varying
      > degrees. Therefore, it is profitable for us to consider the
      advice of
      > those who are seasoned in waging this warfare (Prov. 20:18, 1 John
      > 2:13-14) in which the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the
      Spirit
      > against the flesh (Gal. 5:17). Concerning the progress of
      > mortification, John Owen writes: "when a man first sets on a lust
      or
      > distemper, to deal with it, it struggles with great violence to
      break
      > loose; it cries with earnestness and impatience to be satisfied
      and
      > relieved; but when by mortification the blood and spirits of it
      are let
      > out, it moves seldom and faintly, cries sparingly, and is scarce
      heard
      > in the heart; it may have sometimes a dying pang, that makes an
      > appearance of great vigor and strength, but it is quickly over,
      > especially if it be kept from considerable success." [1]
      >
      > Sinful tendencies may be mortified directly or indirectly, although
      > typically through a combination of both direct and indirect means.
      > Direct mortification in this case would involve striving against
      the
      > particular sin of sodomy for which various resources and
      suggestions
      > have already been offered by others. Indirect mortification of a
      > particular sin, which I believe is equally important, attacks the
      root
      > of indwelling sin [12] by positively applying the means of grace
      and
      > directing mortification to other particular sins in the pursuit of
      > universal holiness (1 Pet. 1:16). The resources I've appended
      deal
      > primarily with indirect mortification.
      >
      > The fact that your friend is struggling indicates that he
      recognizes
      > sodomy as sin. This should not be left to a general recognition,
      but
      > the Christian ought to carefully study and meditate upon God's law
      > (Josh. 1:8, Psa. 119:9, Prov. 7:1-3, etc.)[11] in order to
      understand
      > how this sin is a violation of that law and in order to cultivate
      a
      > proper abhorrence of what Scripture places within a class of
      > particularly heinous, sexual sins. However, sodomy is one sexual
      sin
      > among many which Christians must mortify. His condition is not
      unique
      > in terms of struggling with sexual sin in general; most, if not
      all
      > Christians are engaged at some point and to some degree in a
      battle for
      > sexual purity. I think a case can be made for sexual sin, along
      with
      > its associated sins, being a violation of the whole law of God.
      1st, by
      > placing oneself above and in the place of God, autonomously
      judging to
      > be lawful what God has declared unlawful. 2nd, by committing the
      > idolatry of self-worship, seeking pleasure (self-pleasing
      hedonism) as
      > the chief end of man. 3rd, by taking God's name in vain by using
      > (profaning) the sexual faculty apart from the only lawful, God-
      ordained
      > context of marriage. 4th, when committed on the Lord's day, a
      > double-offence, consisting not only of the sin committed but also
      the
      > sin of profaning the one holy day which God has authorized and
      > sanctified. 5th, by rejecting lawful authority (aka God's
      authority)
      > whether it is parents, church officers or civil magistrates who
      forbid
      > these sins. 6th, in destroying the body and bodies of others by
      > exposure to the risks associated with promiscuity (ie: disease).
      7th, by
      > direct violation of the commandment which explicitly addresses
      sexual
      > immorality. 8th, by robbing oneself of chastity and a clean
      conscience
      > before God. 9th, by justifying such acts upon the false pretences
      and
      > suggestions of the flesh, world and Satan -- bearing false witness
      to
      > others who are taught to do likewise (Rom. 1:32). 10th, by
      coveting the
      > benefits of covenant marriage apart from the covenant and
      exhibiting
      > discontentment with one's providential condition.
      >
      > Sanctification [9] is a life-long warfare which we ought to take
      very
      > seriously. Fortunately, we have plenty of instruction for this
      warfare
      > within God's infallible word and subordinately in the fallible
      writings
      > of teachers which God has given to the church (Eph. 4:11-12). Know
      > yourself, it is vital to study particular sins, examining the
      stratagems
      > of the flesh, Satan and the world for ensnaring us according to
      our
      > peculiar circumstances and weaknesses. Be earnest in supplicating
      God,
      > the searcher of hearts (Jer. 17:10) for wisdom and understanding
      (Jam.
      > 1:5) in order to perform this task well (Psa. 139:23-24). The
      heart is
      > deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9), and this consideration
      ought to
      > promote humility (Prov. 22:4, 1 Pet. 5:5) in seeking assistance
      from the
      > one who knows what is in the hearts of men. It is important to
      apply
      > our faculty of reason to analyzing our ways (Psa. 119:59);
      planning to
      > prevent recurrence in the future, this being concomitant with
      > repentance. Be vigilant to watch and pray (Matt. 26:41) taking
      all
      > thoughts captive unto Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). However as alluded to
      > earlier, it is not simply enough to apply ourselves to one
      particular
      > sin, we must lay the axe to the root (Matt. 12:35, Matt. 15:18-
      19).
      > John Owen's practical works (volumes 6 and 7 of his works) are of
      > particular value in learning the nature of temptation [2],
      mortification
      > [1] and indwelling sin [12]. Owen aptly states: "Without
      sincerity and
      > diligence in a universality of obedience, there is no
      mortification of
      > any one perplexing lust to be obtained."[1]
      >
      > Sanctification must occur in both the head by way of learning and
      > understanding (Psa. 119:33, Pro. 2:11) and in the heart by way of
      our
      > affections (1 Sam. 12:20)[5]. God not only forbids transgression
      of his
      > law but commands conformity unto it. Loving God with all our
      heart,
      > mind, soul and strength (Mat. 22:37) and acceptably fearing him
      (Pro.
      > 8:13) is essential. To this end, Jonathan Edwards has written a
      useful
      > treatise on religious affections [4] and John Owen has written on
      being
      > spiritually minded [3]. Owen writes: "If you would behold the
      glory of
      > Christ as the great means of your sanctification and consolation,
      as the
      > only preparation for the beholding of his glory in eternal
      blessedness,
      > consider what of God is made known and represented unto you in
      him,
      > wherein God purposed and designed to glorify himself in him."
      >
      > I strongly recommend that your friend seek out a church faithful in
      > doctrine, worship, discipline and government. Faithful teaching
      and
      > exposition of God's word [16] teaches one to effectually wield the
      sword
      > (Heb. 4:12, Eph. 6:17) of the Spirit against sin; purity in
      worship
      > cultivates an appreciation of, and desire for sexual purity (2
      Cor.
      > 11:2) -- fornication and whoredom being typical of idolatry (Eze.
      16,
      > Col. 3:5); the means of grace and ordinances of the Church,
      including
      > the sacraments, rightly administered, will be invaluable means of
      > sanctification; faithful church officers will rule the flock,
      wisely
      > counselling, tenderly admonishing and encouraging the penitent
      Christian
      > (Prov. 9:8, Prov. 17:10) and wielding censures against the
      impenitent as
      > a deterrent (1 Tim. 5:20). Private worship is also of paramount
      > importance. The singing of Psalms (Eph. 5:19)[13], studying of
      > Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), meditation (Psa. 1:2)[6][17], prayer
      (Jam.
      > 5:16)[7], keeping the Lord's day (Exo. 20:8) and fasting (Luke
      2:37)[8]
      > are important means which ought to be assiduously and joyfully
      employed
      > by all Christians. Private fasting when properly practiced can be
      > especially effectual against sensual sins. We also need to
      recognize
      > the obligations of the covenants that bind us. Baptism is a sign
      and
      > seal of the covenant of grace and "...all that are baptized, do
      > sacramentally at least engage themselves to walk before God, and
      to be
      > upright; and God likewise engageth himself to be their God. This
      > covenant is likewise renewed when we come to the Lord's Supper..."
      [14]
      > Likewise, in the Solemn League and Covenant, we bind
      ourselves "to be
      > humbled for our sins"; to value "the inestimable benefit of the
      Gospel"
      > and labour "for the power and purity thereof"; and to endeavour to
      > "receive Christ in our hearts" and "walk worthy of him in our
      lives" [18].
      >
      > Concerning covenant marriage, a wife is no doubt a great blessing
      from
      > God (Prov. 18:22, Prov. 19:14) and a lawful means of preventing
      > uncleanness (1 Cor. 7:9). However, the prevention of uncleanness
      is
      > only one of the purposes of marriage [15], and it presupposes a
      natural
      > desire between a man and a woman. God is not obligated to bless
      sinful
      > men with any of the worldly comforts or joys of this life (Luke
      17:10),
      > in fact, God is just and righteous in trying believers with fiery
      trials
      > (1 Pet. 1:7, 1 Pet. 4:12). Consider the person who has success in
      > mortifying the sin of sodomy. If this person does not discover a
      desire
      > to glorify God in marriage, he is in the same position as others
      who are
      > content being single. If this person does discover a desire, then
      he is
      > in the same position as others who desire lawful marriage and is
      > obligated to wage war against sinful lusts associated with the
      desire
      > for a member of the opposite sex. All who marry ought to desire
      > marriage first and foremost to glorify God by promoting the
      purposes of
      > marriage which God has set forth in Scripture [15]. One who has
      lived a
      > profane life needs to come to grips with the reality that his past
      sin,
      > although forgiven in Christ, and himself justified before God, may
      have
      > lifelong consequences which make marriage a very slim
      possibility. For
      > example, if one has contracted HIV or another sexual disease or is
      > liable to capital punishment or other severe, civil sanctions for
      crimes
      > previously committed.
      >
      > In summary, man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him
      forever.
      > Continually strive to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the
      > transcendent beauty of Christ, learning to love what Christ loves
      and
      > beholding true beauty in those things which both reflect and
      promote his
      > glory and order. Lastly, the Christian life is one of self-
      denial: "And
      > far less shall you ever take up the cross and follow Christ (as
      you are
      > required), except, first of all, you labour and learn to deny
      > yourselves. Matt. xvi. 24, that is, to make no reckoning what
      come of
      > yourselves, and of all that you have in the world, so that God have
      > glory and yourselves a good conscience, in your doings and
      sufferings."
      > George Gillespie, English Popish Ceremonies, p. ix.
      >
      > May Christ sanctify us as members of His Bride, the Church: Thou
      art
      > beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as
      an
      > army with banners. Son. 6:4
      >
      > Martin
      >
      >
      >
      > [1] John Owen: Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers (Volume 6
      of
      > Owen's works): http://www.ccel.org/ccel/owen/mort.pdf
      > [2] John Owen: Of Temptation (Volume 6 of Owen's works):
      > http://www.ccel.org/ccel/owen/temptation.pdf
      > [3] John Owen: Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded (Volume
      7 of
      > Owen's works): http://www.reformed.org/books/owen/vol7/
      > [4] Jonathan Edwards: Religious Affections:
      > http://www.ccel.org/e/edwards/affections/religious_affections.html
      > [5] George Gillespie: Whether a Sound Heart and an Unsound Head can
      > Consist Together? And Vice Versa; or, Whether Truth and Holiness
      be not
      > Inseparable Companions?:
      http://truecovenanter.com/gillespie/ggilles12.html
      > [6] Dr. Joel Beeke: The Puritan Practice of Meditation:
      > http://www.sdgbooks.com/free_beeke.html
      > [7] John Calvin: Of Prayer:
      > http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/prayer.titlepage.html
      > [8] Samuel Miller: The Duty, the Benefits, and the Proper Methods
      of
      > Religious Fasting:
      http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/Fastings.htm
      > [9] Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XIII
      > Of Sanctification:
      > http://www.reformed.org/documents/westminster_conf_of_faith.html
      > [10] Heidelberg Catechism, Question 1:
      > http://www.reformed.org/documents/heidelberg.html
      > [11] Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 91-154:
      > http://www.reformed.org/documents/wlc_w_proofs/index.html
      > [12] John Owen: On the Nature, Power, Deceit, and Prevalence of
      > Indwelling Sin in Believers (Volume 6 of Owen's works).
      > [13] The Psalms of David in Metre:
      > http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/Psalter0.htm
      > [14] Edward Calamy: The Great Danger of Covenant-refusing and
      > Covenant-breaking:
      >
      http://www.truecovenanter.com/covenants/calamy_sermon_danger_of_coven
      ant_refusing_and_breaking.html
      > [15] Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXIV
      > Of Marriage and Divorce:
      > http://www.reformed.org/documents/westminster_conf_of_faith.html
      > [16] Miscellaneous Albany CRPC sermons:
      > http://www.albanycrpc.org/sermons.php
      > [17] John Owen: Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,
      > in His Person, Office, and Grace:
      > http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/m.sion/owenglch.htm
      > [18] Solemn League and Covenant:
      >
      http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_sub_standards/solemn_league.htm
      l
      >
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