Part 1: My Cause and My Defence
Matthew 7:16 “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
I have had a passion stirred within me this morning to write about a matter that has been grieving me for a long time. The matter is the movies that professing Christians watch that are corrupted by the bad fruit of blasphemy, adultery, crudeness, homosexuality, prostitution, grotesque violence, or any other imaginable sin. I am not assuming that there are people know who watch these things; I have heard professing Christians talk openly, and unashamedly about sin that is in the movies they watch. As I think about it my hands shake and I feel like breaking down in tears. I say this so that you will know that I am writing from the heart, and that I am truly concerned and grieved in the Holy Spirit.
In writing this I know that two labels will come into the minds of many readers regarding me. One, that I am a legalist. Two, that I am self righteous. Let me address this.
Romans 10:3-4 “For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
A legalist is someone who, like the Pharisee, is seeking to commend himself to God because of the good works he thinks he performs. Like many Catholics, he seeks to attain salvation by WORKING FOR IT. “But I was baptized. I read my bible every morning. I go to church every Sunday. That is why God will accept me into His Heaven.”
It is wrong to call someone a legalist for holding out a standard of Holiness. This is the response of a convicted person who does not want to repent and despises the messenger.
My opinion about my personal good works is that they are “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and do absolutely nothing to contribute to God’s love me or His desire to save me. I do not even believe that it is possible in and of myself to perform a truly good work. Romans 7:18 “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” Knowing that God requires our works to flow out of a perfect love for Him, pure motives, and faith, I realize that I am incapable of doing anything that meets His perfect standard on my own.
Romans 8:7 “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”
I will quickly address self righteousness. Before the parable about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18, verse 9 says “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt.” Jesus went on to tell this parable, in order to expose self righteousness in His hearers. He tells of a Pharisee who stands to pray and thanks God that he is “not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” He considers himself righteous saying “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” But “the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.”
So the self righteous person considers that he possesses the righteousness within himself that is necessary to please God. He also looks down on other people as if he is better than they are, and treats them with contempt. This is the type of judging that Jesus condemns.
So before you continue reading, please understand that I hate legalism. I also do not consider myself in any way superior to anyone else, especially with regards to righteousness. I am guilty also of having watched all types of perverse movies while at the same time professing to have been saved. Having repented of this a couple of years ago the Lord Jesus Christ has washed me with His blood, and restored my conscience to be tender towards him in this area. May the Lord have mercy on you as well, by convicting you, bringing you to repentance, and forgiving you, for His glory and honour.
Part 2: The Excuses
Psalm 94:7 “And they say, “The Lord does not see;
The God of Jacob does not perceive.”
I will address movies that many Christians who I personally know have watched. You may be surprised by the movies I review, because they may not even rank in the top ten list of worst movies you’ve seen. I have chosen them specifically to show God’s standard of holiness, and to avoid having to be overly explicit in my description of a movie. Here are many popular excuses people make for watching sinful movies.
“But it is such an eye opening movie. There is a lot I can learn from it.”
A movie that has been very popular is titled “Taken,” about a man whose daughter gets taken into the sex trade, and his desperate attempt to find her and rescue her. I have been told that this is a great movie because it “opens your eyes to the reality of the sex trade industry.” Meanwhile, in order to have this “eye opening experience” you must sit through several horrific scenes showing woman in various stages of undress. You must endure vulgar language as well as one dozen blasphemies. Emotionally charged, you will undoubtedly be tempted with unbiblical thoughts about vengeance, as the father in this movie tortures and kills anyone he can find who is related to the crime. Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Eye opening experiences do not need to be found in secular movies. Simply watch the news, or better yet get informed online by several great missionary groups like “Gospel for Asia” who spread the good news in the most horrific of places and circumstances. You need not sin to be informed about the trouble in this world.
“It is a very touching movie.”
Knowing that the following paragraphs are going to come as a shock to many people, let me express why I have chosen to review “Marley and Me.” I considered reviewing another popular movie titled “The Notebook” which many Christians enjoyed pronouncing that it was “touching” or “made me cry.” Movies like this blatantly endorse adultery and fornication, and it should be clear to believers that they are sinful to view. I chose Marley and Me because I know most people would never think to question it, and because I can easily imagine the reasons people would give to deem this movie acceptable for Christian viewing.
I was recommended “Marley and Me” by several Christians, who claimed it was a touching family film. Trusting their recommendation my husband and I went to see it in theatre, much to our dismay. The main characters frequently utter blasphemy in their daily conversations. The married couple often share sexual jokes and desires between each other. There is a brief vulgar conversation endorsing lesbianism, as well as scenes leading up to sex, without subjecting the viewer to sit through it. Jen often wears low cut outfits, as well as strips naked to jump into the pool in one scene without actually showing anything explicit. You might say that the movie “leaves room for the imagination,” which I conclude is not at all worthy of endorsing, but rather is exactly the problem. I regret that my husband and I waited through half of the movie before getting up and leaving the theatre, something that we had to repent of.
Why not have your “heart touched” by sitting down and reading your Bible? Or by finding some good clean entertainment that does not subject you to swearing and impure talk and images? Do you really think the excuse “but it was such a touching movie” will suddenly cause your standard to match the standard of God’s holiness? I think not.
I can further hear more excuses brought up because of what I have said. “But it is only rated G,” which is an absolutely appalling truth. But whenever did you decide to let the world tell you what is appropriate for you viewing? Base your convictions upon the Word of God and not the opinions of Hollywood!
Ephesians 5:3 -4“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. ”
Romans 1:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
How can you and I expect to be transformed by the renewal of our minds if we are filling our head with the profanity of this world? What you invest your time into will shape who you become. I can guarantee you that if you are entertaining yourself with worldly things you will be conformed to the likeness of this world instead of Jesus Christ.
“But they are a married couple.”
I have no idea why anyone thinks it is appropriate for a movie-married couple to talk and act sexually with each other on film. If a married couple in real life acted that way in your presence you would find it uncomfortable and inappropriate! Worse yet, if you walked up to their window and peeked in at them during their intimate moments, it would not be called “ok” on the basis that they are married and are allowed! That act would be called perverted, to put it plainly. Hebrews 13:4 “Let the marriage bed be undefiled.”
“But it didn’t actually show anything. The camera stopped rolling before things got too far.”
1Corinthians 6:18 “Flee sexual immorality…”
Ephesians 5:3 “But among you there must be not even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity…these are improper for God’s holy people.”
Do not flatter yourself, but recognize that like all other human beings you can be tempted to entertain lust in your thought life. Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications…” If a movie is even introducing sin into your thought life, you need to cut it off. If your eye causes you to sin “tear it out” (Matthew 5:29), and if your viewing of movies tempts you and corrupts your eyes and your thoughts, then you MUST stop. Matthew 5:30 “For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
“You can’t just hide yourself from the real world. Christians aren’t supposed to just stay in their Christian bubble.”
This may possibly be the most popular, and the most ridiculous excuse for seeking sinful entertainment. Why would a Christian thinks they need to watch movies about the sin the world craves and loves, in order to be informed about the world we live in? Open up the Bible and you will be informed about the real world. You will learn about how human beings are hopelessly lost, blinded by Satan, slaves to their sinful desires, and bent on hatred towards God. So what should be our response and our attitude?
Jude 1:18-23 “’In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
Don’t you see? The world in its passions and lusts are corrupted and dead; they are walking on a wide path that leads to Hell, and in it they will burn for eternity. What are we thinking when we get on that path with them, and down in the muck of sin they enjoy, only to find ourselves laughing and gawking at it in the comfort of our own living room? Oh Father, have mercy on us. We are called to care enough and be disturbed enough, to get out of our living room, and go to where they are and snatch them from the fire. This does not mean that you get in the fire and dress worldly, dance worldly, joke worldly, so that you can gain them for Christ! You are to be “hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
Do you want to get out of your “Christian Bubble” by watching worldly movies, listening to ungodly music, and joining hands with non-Christians as if you had everything in common with them? There is so much I could say.
Philippians 2:15 “…That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
Dear Christian, if you are truly saved, then be washed from this sin so that you could be blameless and innocent children of God. We are to be in the very midst of this crooked world, yet so distinctly different from the world that we shine so brightly their deeds are exposed! I would like to quote a preacher by the name of Paul Washer.
“Many of the things that you love to do God hates. Did you know that? Pray for a revival. You’re going to have a youth rally, you want God to move, but before you go there you watch programs on television that God absolutely despises. And you wonder why the Holy Spirit hasn’t fallen on a place, and why you have to create false fire and false excitement: Because God’s not in it. God is a Holy God.”
Jesus Christ said His followers are “not of the world, just as I am not of the world (John 17:14). He didn’t pray that we could be taken out of the world, but that we would be guarded from Satan (John 17:15). So while you are sojourning in this world, do the movies you watch and the things you enjoy make others believe you are also of the world? Or is it obvious that you hate the things God hates, and love the things that He loves, so much so that anyone could see you are clearly a stranger on this sinful planet. I end this portion with instruction from the Word of God.
1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honourable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
So I speak to you and to myself just as much, DO get out of your Christian Bubble. Get informed through the Bible and through missionaries about the condition of the world in its suffering and sin. Get off your couch and stop being entertained with it all. Get out of the Bubble, and go share the only message of salvation with those who are perishing today.
“But movies just don’t have an affect on me that way.”
If you entertain any particular sin for a length of time, your conscience will grow increasingly hardened towards it. For example, particularly in the life of the unbelieving, imagine a person steals a five cent candy today. They will likely feel a twinge of guilt, and even fear, having never stolen before. They aren’t caught, and they feel a small thrill as they enjoy their treat. The next week they steal a candy bar, and again a few times after that. That’s getting easy isn’t it? A few months from now they think, “Well if I can get away with that, then I can get away with stealing a t-shirt from the store. It doesn’t hurt anybody really.” So onward they go with their sinful habit, until they have next to zero conviction left regarding theft. Sounds possible, doesn’t it?
Jeremiah 8:12 “Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush.”
Could it be the same with you and me when we find ourselves watching increasingly more and more sinful movies? Or maybe, you think you “play it safe” and stick to PG-13, but now find that the images and words that used to make you squirm, your face hot and your heart beating faster, now hardly cause your conscious any grief at all.
It is not a merit to you or I, if we consider ourselves better able to tolerate sin then another person. The Lord desires that our hearts be soft and pure, and that our consciences be sensitive and tender. You will find that if you would repent and have your heart, mind, and conscience cleansed from this evil, that after time you could not tolerate the sinful viewing you are now so accustomed to.
Examine your heart. Do you want to be Holy as He is Holy? Do you want to please Him in this area of your life? Or do you harden your heart even now against everything that I have said? Are you most afraid that if you heed these words, than you will have to give up your precious entertainment? Continue in that and you will prove that you have a greater love for those things than you do for Jesus Christ.
John 3:20 “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
If you are a Christian you should WANT to come into the light and have your deeds exposed.
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you fail to meet the test.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 “Look carefully then how you walk,
Not as unwise but as wise, making the best use
Of the time, because the days are evil.”
Let me start by saying this: if all you or I do in response to this article is stop watching bad movies, we may still fail the test. God is not impressed with us if we make a check list of “do and do nots” and feel proud and content in our propriety. Jesus Christ requires righteousness from the heart, and a willingness to obey Him, not because you have to, but because you want to.
1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
Keeping this in mind, join me in considering some reasons why we should cut off any entertainment that promotes sin in others and in ourselves.
God Has Wrath Towards Sin and Sinners
Colossians 3:5-7 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these things you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away…”
Please continue reading, and do read every word. This is a desperate matter.
Ephesians 5:5-12 “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”
Dear friends do you understand the gravity of these words? Because people are crude, because they cheat on their spouses, because they murder one another and desire each others’ possessions, the wrath of God IS coming. I believe a huge contributor to why the so-called church today is caught up in all the lust of Hollywood is because so few are preaching about the wrath of God anymore. We all know the Jesus who sat with the woman at the well, or with the little children on His lap. But do we remember that the same tender and loving Jesus is also the same one who at His coming will cause hiding sinners to call to the mountains and rocks “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand (Revelations 6:17)?”
If God hates sin and punishes people for their sin, shouldn’t our attitude towards sin be hatred? I hate sin because it grieves the God who loves me and made me. I hate it because when I sin I take delight in something wicked and exalt it above all the pleasures which are freely offered to us in Christ Jesus. Sin destroys souls, it rips apart families, and it heaps up condemnation all over this planet. God is Holy and He loves all things that are Holy and glorify Him. He hates sin. Let us not be guilty of fulfilling Romans 1:32 “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them, but give approval to those who practice them?” Maybe you don’t blaspheme God’s name. But do you spend your money on movies that do, and then watch them and recommend them to others? You give approval to those who practice blasphemy.
Sin Personally Offends and Grieves God
I need only to show you this from some scriptures found in Jeremiah. Read these words carefully.
Jeremiah 2:5,13 “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless… For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
When we fulfill our longings for pleasure in sin, we reject the God who opens His arms to us to display His infinite worth. We are not sinning against a set of rules or against a religious establishment. We are rejecting the loving instruction of our Heavenly Father! It is a person we are rejecting, and not some distant, unfeeling power in the universe! He is personally offended by our sinful choices, because by them we lap up dust with our tongues as if it will satisfy our thirst, and meanwhile the fresh and flowing streams of God lie right beside us.
If you are a Christian, here you will find the ultimate reason to stop indulging your flesh in the world. Jesus willingly chose to die for a people who hated Him and practiced all of the things which offend Him. Romans 5:8 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
When He was on the cross He was bruised because men abuse their wives. He was willing to have His beard ripped out on His journey to the cross, to save adulteresses, thieves, and liars. He was mocked, and made to wear a crown of thorns and a purple robe as men hit him, because He chose to take the punishment we deserved for being blasphemers. He was nailed to a cross, and bore the shame of every racist slur or obscene joke. And even more significant than His physical suffering, Jesus Christ was willing to bear the wrath of God and be separated from His Father because of our sins which He bore in His body.
Jesus died. Isaiah 53:5-6,10 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all…Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin.”
If you truly love Him, and understand His death, why would you choose to watch the things that caused Jesus Christ to come and die? This is very serious, and in your walk you must watch your steps very closely lest you fulfill Hebrews 6:6 “they… fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”
Sin Grieves The Holy Spirit
Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Ephesians 6:15, 19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! …Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
If you are a Christian understand that our Holy, sin hating, universe-upholding God, did everything necessary to make it possible for His Holy Spirit to condescend to live in fallen man. It is commonly said among Christians “would you do that if Jesus was in the room?” The truth is, that He cannot only see you wherever you are, but He is ever more powerfully living inside of you. God loves you and wants to work in your heart to make you more like Jesus. When you sit down and allow filth to pass through your eyes and ears, the Holy Spirit is subjected to your sin, and is extremely grieved. If you are saved, why then would you conform yourself to this world instead of submitting yourself to the sanctifying work and power of the Holy Spirit? Philippians 2:12-13 “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Part 4: Response
Proverbs 1:23 “If you turn at my reproof,
Behold I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.”
How you respond really depends on the condition of your soul before God. As quoted above, the Bible to “examine yourselves , to see whether you are in the faith.” The Biblical description of what takes place in the conversion of a person is this:
Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
Has this happened in your life? I am NOT asking if you said a prayer one time and asked Jesus to come into your heart. I prayed that prayer when I was sixteen, because I was lonely and wanted to try Jesus. That is most often experiential and superficial, and it is NOT repentance or faith. Did you have a Biblical conversion? What I am asking is if you have ever seen yourself in the light of God’s Holy law and joined with Isaiah crying out “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts (Is 6:5)!” Or with Paul who said “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Have you ever grieved over you sin and felt your condemnation in such a dreadful way that you wanted to die? Then, in such a state, did you look up at the cross where Jesus drank that cup of condemnation and God’s wrath for you? Did you forsake your sinful life because of love and gratitude towards Him? Has He enabled you by His grace to desire Him and to grow in hatred towards sin? Is there fruit on the tree, or will Jesus looking at your life find it empty and dead, and in the end proclaim it cursed and useless, good for nothing other than to be thrown into the fire?
John 15:5-6 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” p
Are you a new creation? Test your heart! Pray! Pray “Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind (Psalm 26:2).”
There is SO much I could say. I write this way because I know of so many who at one time professed to have a love for God, but now reject Him and live like the world. I am not saying that just because you watch sinful movies that you are unsaved, but I am saying that it is a good cause to examine yourself.
Hebrews 3:12-14 “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, IF indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
Repent With True Repentance
If you examine yourself, and find in honesty that you have never felt the power of Christ transforming your heart, desires, and mind, then you need to repent so that you may be saved.
Maybe you look at your life and see a growing in Holiness, and a true love of communion with God through prayer and through His Word. Yet, possibly, you recognize that in the area of entertainment you have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22). Then in the same way, you need to repent. “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8).” Repent because you love Jesus more than anything. Turn from sin because you have a desire to be sanctified.
I will explain what I mean by “repent with true repentance” by quoting Charles Spurgeon.
How many of us are like men who see their faces in a mirror, and then walk away and forget what we look like! Yes! My friends, it is not your promise of repentance that can save you; it is not your vow, it is not your solemn declaration, it is not the tear that is dried more easily than the dew-drop by the sun, it is not the momentary emotion of the heart which constitutes a real turning to God. There must be a true and actual abandonment of sin, and a turning to righteousness in real act and deed in every-day life. Would you say you are sorry, and repent, and yet go on from day to day, just as you always have before? Will you now bow your heads, and say, “Lord, I repent,” and in a little while commit the same acts of sin again? If you do, your repentance is worse than nothing, and will make your punishment yet more sure; for he that makes a promise to his Maker, and does not keep his promise, has committed another sin, in that he has attempted to deceive the Almighty, and lie to the God that made him. Repentance to be true, to be evangelical, must be a repentance which really affects our outward behaviour.
Repentance to be true must be total. How many will say, “Lord, I will give up this sin and this other one; but there are certain favourite lusts which I must hang on to.” O friends, in God’s name let me tell you, it is not the giving up of one sin, nor fifty sins, which is true repentance; it is the serious giving up of every sin. If you conceal one of these accursed vipers in your heart, then your repentance is nothing but a fake. If you indulge in only one lust, and give up every other, then that one lust, like one leak in a ship, will sink your soul. It is not sufficient just to give up your outward sins; it is not enough just to give up the most wicked sin of your daily life; it is all or nothing which God demands. “Repent.” And when he commands you to repent, he means repent of all your sins, otherwise he never can accept your repentance as being real and genuine. The truly repentant person hates all of their sins, not just certain ones. He says, “Cover yourself with the finest gold, O sin, I will still hate you! Yes, cover yourself with pleasure, make yourself flashy, like the snake with its turquoise scales—I still hate you, for I know your venom, and I run from you, even when you come to me in the most illusive clothing.” All sin must be given up, or else you will never have Christ: all evil must be renounced, or else the gates of heaven must be locked to keep you out forever. Let us remember, then, that for repentance to be sincere it must be total repentance.
Not Moral Reformation, But Conformity To Christ
Repentance that is not united with faith is useless and dead. Morality without a passionate love for Jesus is as dangerous as outward sins. By it many make the fatal mistake of recommending themselves to God on the basis of good works rather than free grace.
To be clear, what I am saying is that when you are convicted and repent of your sin, you must also trust in Jesus for forgiveness and the strength to live righteously. You don’t turn from sin primarily because sin is morally unacceptable, but because you want to love and please your Father in Heaven. You do not say “now I see that I have sinned, so I will just stop sinning.” You say “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh (Romans 7:18). I need the power of the Holy Spirit to help me turn away from this sin each day.” Always recognize that the removal of your condemnation and the gift of grace and righteousness you need, is found only in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus at the cross.
The reason we watch sinful movies, or commit any type of sin, is that we are looking for satisfaction, pleasure, and comfort apart from Jesus Christ. Forsaking sin and pursuing Christ is not a call to boredom, or to the denial of your joy, but rather to seek your joy in His person. Only Jesus can fully and eternally satisfy the hunger in human hearts.
For this reason, do not simply stop watching sinful movies every Friday night, but rather take that time to delight in Him. Jeremiah 29:13-14 says “You will seek and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.” So run! Go and find sanctuary with Him in prayer. Don’t delight in what is evil, but rather delight in God’s word (Psalm 119:16). Instead of allowing the world to impact you, get your light out from under the bowl and impact the world for Jesus Christ through acts of service and evangelism (Matt 5:15). Forsake your life to find it in Him (Matt 10:39), and you will find yourself filled “with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (1Peter 1:8).
2Corinthians 4:18 “And we all, with unveiled face
beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed
Into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”
Part 5: Be Reconciled
2Corinthians 5:20 “We implore you on behalf of Christ,
Be reconciled to God.”
Maybe during reading this book so far, the Holy Spirit has impressed upon you that you are not in a right standing with the Lord. You have felt deeply of your need to be forgiven in a saving sense, so that you may be spared the judgement to come and that you may know and love the Lord Jesus. I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to share the gospel clearly with you. I pray the Lord will guide you to Himself, at the foot of the cross.
Let’s back up and start at your understanding of “goodness.”
Do you consider yourself to be a good person? Not just by your own standards, but by God’s standards. His standards can be found in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are also written on our heart and conscience, so that we may know the difference between right and wrong. God has given us these laws because he created us, loves us, and knows what is best for us. He also commands us to obey His commands so that our lives would not dishonour Him. Let’s go through some of them as a test to see if you would be good in God’s eyes. You can answer to yourself.
How many lies do you think you’ve told?
Have you ever stolen anything?
Have you ever used God’s name in blasphemy like “omg” or used Jesus name to curse with? Exodus 20:7 says “The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.”
I am sure you have never murdered anyone. But the Bible says “Everyone who hates his brother (which just means another person) is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in them (1John 3:15).” Have you ever hated anyone? Have you ever called someone an “idiot?” Jesus says to call someone a fool is to be in danger of the fires of Hell (Matthew 5:22).
The Ten Commandments say that you must not commit adultery, and when Jesus came He said “everyone who looks at a woman (or man) with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:20).” Have you ever looked with lust?
We just went through only five of the Ten Commandments. I know that I, in essence, have violated every one of them. What about you? If you stand before God on judgement day will he consider you innocent or guilty?
Many people have several reasons why they think God will still say they are innocent. The most common two ideas I hear, I will address.
Idea 1: “Ok sure I’ve done a lot of bad things, but I think my good will outweigh my bad. Therefore God will let me enter Heaven.”
Imagine that someone has murdered someone close to you. That murderer feels sorry for the bad
thing they did, so they make many efforts to make up for it. When they get to the court they say “Yes Judge, I did murder that innocent person. But I also washed your car, donated blood, gave money to orphans, and helped an old lady cross the road. Therefore I think you should let me go.”
The judge will say that is irrelevant to what the criminal is convicted of! It also insults the judge’s sense of justice. God is a just judge and He will punish sin wherever it is found. He is not a crooked judge who can be bribed by the good deeds with think we have to offer Him.
Therefore God cannot let you into heaven because you think that your good deeds outweigh your bad. The truth is, because God is Holy, He cannot dwell with sinners in Heaven. And for Him to just declare a sinner righteous because of a few good things they think they’ve done, would make God an unjust judge and an abomination to Himself.
Idea 2: “Well I know God will let me into heaven because He is very loving and very forgiving.”
You are correct that God is very loving and very forgiving, but He is also just and full of wrath towards sinners. Just because a judge is kind, doesn’t mean he should by any means let convicted criminals go. That doesn’t work on earth, and even more so, it will not work in Heaven.
The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)”, and “the soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4).” It also warns that “the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death (Revelations 21:8).” So what we earn and deserve for our sin and hostility towards God is eternal death in Hell.
In the same token however God’s heart says “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)”
So then, how has God made eternal life possible?
God knew that it was impossible for us to accomplish the righteousness He requires to enter into eternal life.
So “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5).”
Jesus lived a perfect life. He was “tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).”
Jesus Christ came with a mission. As the apostle Paul said “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost (1Timothy 1:15).” When he was nailed to the cross, he took the terrible punishment that we deserved! Look at these most sorrowful yet wonderful words.
Isaiah 53:5-6,10 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Yes, he was crucified by the hands of sinful men, but who ultimately ordained His death? Look at verse 10 and stand in awe: “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin.”
Jesus was willing to save us, not only bearing the wrath of man, but much more necessarily He bore the wrath of God for our sin.
2Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
“What must I do to be saved?” – Acts 16:30
If you are already experiencing sorrow over your sin, and a recognition that all sin is against the Lord, then you are on the right track. If not, cry out to the Lord and pray for Him to break your heart over your sin!
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Upon this conviction, confess your sins to God Almighty. Take your trust off of your own good works, and rid yourself of the notion that you are a good person. Be like the tax collector who “would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying “God be merciful to me, a sinner (Luke 18:13)!”
Place your trust instead in the sacrifice that Jesus made to remove your guilt and your transgressions. Ask Him to wash away your sin, and make you new.
Psalm 51:7 “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
In John 6:37 Jesus said “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
Find a Bible teaching church and get in fellowship with other believers. Don’t let repentance be a “one time thing” but “bear fruit in keeping with repentance (John 3:8).” Jesus Christ is to be “our life (Colossians 3:4).” Read His word. Seek Him. Know Him. He is worthy of your all.
Galatians 4:16 “Have I then become your enemy
by telling you the truth?”
I hope that it will not be so. I have written this because I am truly concerned. I want God to be glorified; I want His people to be Holy, and I want you to know the fullness of joy that is available in Him alone.
I leave you with two verses that we are to live and examine ourselves by.
1 Corinthians 10:31“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Philippians 4:8 “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
May God be gracious to you, and bless you, and make his face to shine upon you (Psalm 67:1).