The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Has God forgiven me for what I have done? And is there any verses to support self control? I have masturbated many times during my past years with lust. I have confessed, repented and forgotten about the sins. Although I may be tempted, for several weeks, I have not fallen to temptation and I do not plan to either as this time, my resolve is firm and I plan to go to church every Saturday starting from now on despite my family issues. But how may I know God has forgiven me? If not, is there any way for me to be sincere and truly repent? And is there any verses in the Scriptures about self control? I am only in my teens but I do understand the Scriptures quite a bit. Thank you.


Answer

It is easy to think that your sin is worse than all others because other sins don't bother you, but yours is the one you struggle against. We forget that God sees all sin the same, whether it is lying, stealing, murder, or lusting.

People also expect God to act like they would when faced with someone who repeatedly does the wrong thing. "Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts"" (Isaiah 55:6-9). God isn't just waiting for you to mess up so badly, so He can pounce on you. He wants you saved from the mess that you are making of your own life. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).

I assume that you've been looking at pornography, and that is what you are meaning by lusting. That has to stop and I'm glad you are committed to stopping. "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). For more on why pornography is wrong, see A Look at Pornography.

In regards to masturbation, I would like you to read Is masturbation a sin? Am I being punished by God?

Here is a list of verses mentioning self-control.

Finally, the big question is how do you know if God has forgiven you? "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6). You know because you are doing what God commands in His Bible. There are two parts to this. First is actually becoming a Christian. By this, I don't mean the watered down stuff taught in far too many churches. I mean really becoming a Christian as God taught. See How to Become a Christian for an introduction to this topic. A part of becoming a Christian is forgiveness for all past sins.

But sins will ever remain an issue. Being a Christian doesn't make you immune to sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1). A Christian has the privilege of being able to admit his sins, ask God for forgiveness, and know that God has forgiven them. How do you know? Because God is faithful -- He always keeps His word. So it comes down to a matter of faith in God.