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In the Old Testament God has given all the rules and regulations, but today we see many Christians sinning, especially with regards to sex. Why don't they obey the rules?
Thank you so much for your honest spiritual inquiry. It is a really practical and important question. I will attempt to answer your question from the Bible. Forgive me if I have not fully understood your question, but I hope the following will be helpful. Let’s think about God’s law and its relevance to us today, then more specifically about sexual sins.
The bible reveals God to be holy: One who cannot even bear to look on sin. We are made in the image of God. In the beginning we were made morally perfect to glorify God and humanity enjoyed a happy and fulfilled relationship with God, one-another and the rest of creation. But when sin entered the world our whole human nature was corrupted (Romans 5.12). The bible calls sin lawlessness (1 John 3:4). The law was given to Israel to reflect the holy character of our Creator and reveal more fully the reality of sin in our hearts and lives (Galatians 3:19-25). The law comprised of the Ten Commandments with additional rules and regulations outlining how it was to be applied in the historical-cultural context of Israel. Ceremonial laws were also given to Israel, enabling sins to be temporarily passed over, as the people lived in the presence of a holy God.
However, while the law was holy and good, it is powerless to save and restore any to God, since by it we become more aware of sin and our guilt (Romans 3:20). The whole system pointed to humanity’s need of a God-given Saviour. The Good news is that the Saviour has been provided; God the Father sent his Son into the world. Fully human, he came to be our representative. He was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15), Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirements of God’s law and offered himself on the cross as a holy sacrifice for our sins. Now we can receive a fully restored relationship with God by turning towards him, acknowledging our sins, and depending upon Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. We then do not need to be afraid of God’s law, because by faith in Christ we’re already judged as being righteous. (Romans 8:1-4)
We will all be judged by the “law of liberty” (James 2:12) and Jesus has been appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10.42). Our Lord fulfilled and therefore removed the regulations which barred our access to God, but he continued to affirm and further illuminate the spiritual nature of the Ten Commandments, summing it up as loving God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind, and your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 5 & 6; 22:36-40). Some would argue that Christians are free from the law; we are certainly free from condemnation under the law, but the Lord is the same forever. The ultimate state in heaven is not freedom from law, but freedom from sin (Romans 6:18; 1 John 3: 2-3).
As a new child of God, the Holy Spirit writes God’s law upon a Christian’s heart (Jeremiah 32:33). We are called not only to receive forgiveness, but also to follow Jesus as our Lord. Free from condemnation, there is a new love for God’s law as it reflects the character of our Heavenly Father. There is a new desire to please our Lord and Saviour (John 14:15; 1 John 3:1-3). The New Testament encourages Christians to live in a way that reflects the holy life of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we now share (1 Peter 1:16).
Your question raises the issue of sexual sins in particular. We must remember that in the beginning sex and sexual desire was a good part of humanity’s God-given nature. Even now, within marriage, it is a real blessing, creating life and sustaining community. Paul encourages married couples to maintain their marriage partly by enjoying a healthy sexual relationship (1 Corinthians 7:5). However, sin has corrupted our whole nature. Sexual desires have become corrupt and distorted. Contrary to the message in the world around us, we cannot trust the goodness of, or seek to fulfil every desire. Lust is selfish, demeaning, destructive, and above all an offense to God. Jesus said that if a man looks on a woman to even lust after her, he has already committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:28).
That Christians are prone to sexual sins is a problem shared by humanity. Christians can and do fall into temptation. However, if professing Christians are flagrantly unrepentant, then you would have to assume that they either do not understand what it is they have been saved from or, if there is evidently no concern for sin and love for God’s character, it is possible they simply have not been born again. However, if we are honest, all of us have been guilty of sexual as well as other sins in some way. Thank God there is full, free and eternal forgiveness in and through Jesus Christ. We can never keep God’s commands perfectly in this life, but we have a God-given opportunity to repent and be restored.
In summary, being a Christian means we don’t struggle alone. The Holy Spirit is actively at work, making his people more like Jesus. The most effective motive to living a godly life is to focus on and enjoy the greatness of God’s love poured out on the cross. There you will see how awful all sin really is. There you will also see the amazing grace of God towards us. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding any question you may have about God’s law and grace. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- John 8: 1-12
- Galatians 5: 24
Romans 8: 29
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answers affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at http://www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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