The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hi,

I read your post on blasphemy and everything. I'm going to be honest that I've been in that mindset where I willfully rejected God. If what you are saying is true, then I don't understand how I could be saved.

I used to be really close to God as a child, and as I grew older I got worse. I am now 19, and through my attempts to change, I have had moments where I felt really connected to God in the past few months. I had drug problems that I was getting over, and addiction to pornography. I still struggle a lot with pornography, but I have stopped smoking marijuana. I understand marijuana affects your judgment, and my rejection toward God began when I was under the influence.

If I cannot be saved, why can I still hear God's voice sometimes? Like I said, I honestly think I've been in the position of one of the Pharisees. It's not like I don't want to be saved, but what is the point of trying to change if I can't be forgiven anymore? I was concerned because I felt I couldn't be forgiven anymore. I know the verse in Hebrews says "If we continue to willfully sin, (not "if we willfully sin") then there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins.

Is there any way you can help me? I miss being able to ask God for forgiveness and actually know that I am forgiven.

Thank you.


Answer

I re-read my answer to the young woman who wrote the question and I'm can't see how you came to the conclusion that I said willfully rejecting God is not forgivable. As a matter of fact, I scolded her for claiming this. All sins are forgivable, if we are willing to leave those sins. "But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7).

As you noted some people purposely (willfully) continue to sin. Because they won't give up their sins, God cannot offer them forgiveness. It would be equivalent to having a credit card on which you've racked up a huge amount of debt that you could never pay off in a life time. Then along comes someone who offers to pay off the entire amount if you will just cut up the card. Some people want the debt removed, but they want to hang on to the card and continue to rack up more debt. Paying off such a person's debt does no useful purpose because they will still have debt from their continued use of the card. The same thing happens with sin. Some people want to be forgiven of their sins, but they don't want to stop sinning; therefore, forgiveness is not possible.

The Pharisees had a different type of problem. They hated Jesus much that they were willing to tell everyone that Jesus' miraculous power actually comes from Satan (Matthew 12:22-24). Most people don't understand what blasphemy is. Blasphemy is a form of slander. It is purposely setting out to ruin another person's reputation by telling lies about them -- all the while knowing that they are spreading lies. Jesus said that blaspheming him could be forgiven (Matthew 12:31). This is because there is still a chance that they will read God's Word that was brought to the world by the Holy Spirit and be convicted by it. But when a person purposely sets out to ruin the reputation of the Holy Spirit by spreading lies about the Spirit, that won't lead to forgiveness. It isn't that God is unwilling to forgive -- God wants to forgive everyone (II Peter 3:9). The problem is that since they utterly and purposely rejected the Spirit, they also reject the work of the Spirit. There is nothing else available to convict them to turn from their sin and without repentance there is no forgiveness. Jesus was warning the Pharisees not to fall into that trap as a result of their hatred of Jesus.

I'm so glad you've stopped smoking. Marijuana is a difficult drug to recover from because the effects can last over nine months after a person quits smoking. Too many people lack the patience to deal with the withdrawal for that long, even though the effect decrease over time. One bit of advice that I want to pass on to you. The only way to successfully beat any drug is to consider yourself a drug addict for the rest of your life. Never compromise and think you can try it just one more time because it will pull you in faster than you can think.

Pornography is beatable, but most guys try to beat it the wrong way. Most guys think that the way to beat pornography is to stop ejaculating. It is much like thinking I can beat gluttony by not eating. You have to eat to survive. The male body has to ejaculate because it constantly produces semen and there is only so much storage capacity. The old semen has to be ejaculated to make room for fresh semen. When a guy stops ejaculating eventually the need to ejaculate rises so high that he starts doing crazy things. Since he has a habit of looking a pornography in order to masturbate, he ends up going back to porn without really thinking about it. The next thing he knows his pants are off and he's masturbating. He can even be thinking, "I really shouldn't be doing this," but he just can't make himself stop. This is because instinct has taken over. Only after he ejaculates does his control come back and he bets himself up over his lack of self-control.

The first step is to understand that pornography is a sin and why it is wrong. See: Lies Pornography Tells Men and A Look at Pornography. What I hope you learn from these to articles is that it isn't acceptable to look at pornography and God has good reasons for this rule. Thus the next step is to stop looking pornography. It is easy to say, but hard to do, but if you have the will to serve God, it is doable.

But I want you to notice that I never said anything about stopping ejaculating. That isn't possible. Many guys assume masturbating itself is wrong since pornography is wrong. That is because most people are more likely to blame what the physical than the conceptual. The truth is that God doesn't say masturbation is a sin. It is alluded to in the Bible, but it isn't categorized as a sin. Like most things, it can be used sinfully, such as with pornography, but it doesn't mean that by itself it is sinful. See: Is masturbation sinful or not? Thus, what I recommend is that you use masturbation without pornography to keep yourself under control. When you feel the desire to look at pornography strike, go some place where you don't have access to pornography and take care of the matter. Don't put it off or you'll lose control. Once you ejaculate you'll find the desire disappears for a while.

When you get use to ejaculating without pornography, then you can start tackling lustful thoughts and if you want, try to replace masturbating with wet dreams. A few guys are able to do this, though most can't. Some guys don't want the wet dreams because you can't control the content of your dreams, but while you are awake there is a chance to control your thoughts.

Following God feels good, but feeling good doesn't necessarily mean you are following God. Too many people mix this up and assume their feelings are their guide. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). How do you know if you have God with 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). In other words, when you listen to the teachings of God from the Bible, you are hearing God's voice. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16). "Inspired by God" translates a Greek phrase that means breathed from the mouth of God.

One of the things God's Word tells us is that we can place our complete trust in God. God is faithful! "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).