Christians: The need for sexual purity. Masturbation
The bible records the sexual failures of a number of men and women even those who are classified as ‘Faithful’ and whose examples we should follow. The Bible has it all in its records of the varying degrees of sexual sins committed, ranging from incest to adultery, and even to a man sleeping with his Father’s concubines. A concubine is a woman who cohabits with an important man. Some of these sexual sins were met with strict divine strokes whilst others were passed over; nevertheless repulsive in the sight of a gracious God who grants mercy on whom He wills.
Sexual sin one man has said is a crime against one’s own body because the body is meant for Jesus, that is, the body is meant to be used in such a way that makes much of the beauty and glory of Jesus. Sexual immorality simply belittles this beauty and stains the beauty and glory of Jesus. This won’t make sense to anyone who is not united to Christ or who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit living in them because they won’t see the ultimate design of what our bodies were meant to be, namely, a Temple for the Holy Spirit. Because our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit which in itself is amazing because we have God dwelling inside of us, meaning that God is always with us, which should fill us with Holy joy because nobody else in all of creation possess such a heavenly privilege not even the angels, we should seek to be more holy and continuously advancing with great hurricane violence on the ladder of our sanctification.
But as you and I know that this precious, sweet honey-coated truth is so easy to forget in the midst of what seems an eternal battle between the lust of the flesh, namely sexual immoral desires against the frail willingness to be holy and sanctified. Of course, some have a steel desire for sanctification but I fear that many who profess godliness on Sunday have again picked up the fan of a frail willingness to be holy and thus they fall and are back in the same place with the same confession.
The sexual sin I want to focus on is the sin of masturbation. Some secular psychologist and medical authorities may say that it is healthy for one to masturbate happily and freely without the need to feel a religious guilt or to be Victorian about sex. This is only to numb the guilt of what has a deeper source of impurity, namely the heart, for as one teacher once said, that from the heart comes all impure thoughts. I am part of a group where some members have shared their guilt and shame from a constant cycle and powerlessness of defeating masturbation because they know deep down that this sin is really a dishonouring of their bodies because of the root of it which is an impure heart.
C.S Lewis helps us see the slavery of masturbation when he writes in one of his letters:
For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself. Do read Charles Williams' Descent into Hell and study the character of Mr. Wentworth.
And it not only the faculty of love which is thus sterilized, forced back on itself, but also the faculty of imagination. The true exercise of imagination in my view, is (a) To help us understand other people, (b) To respond to, and, some of us, to produce art. But is has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for virtues, successes, distinctions, etc. which ought to be sought outside in the real world--e.g., picturing all I'd do if I were rich instead of earning and saving. Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.
(From a letter to a Mr. Masson dated March 6, 1956 in the Wade Collection at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL)
This unhealthy use of masturbation is prevalent in men as well as woman in the church. It is a sin which many keep secret and a great danger of this sin is as C.S Lewis puts it is that we keep a harem of imaginary brides or groom locked up in our prison to return their often. We lose in this process a touch with reality and expect things of the opposite sex which only imagination can provide.
As dirty as you may feel in what you know as a Christian to be wrong, yet isn’t it wonderful that God who is holy does not leave His temple which is your body. I mean think about it. God is there to stay, through the thick and thin. You must remember the promise that the Holy Spirit is sealed in you until the day of redemption. So no matter how many times you have failed God is in this for the long run, committed to your sanctification. So I'm begging you not to belittle him by questioning his faithfulness. And also please make much of your bodies in such a way that makes Jesus beautiful.
In this short post what I really want to communicate to many struggling with this is really the grace of God and his understanding of your condition.
The Psalmist writes, As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
God is your Father and He knows your condition. He knows that you are weak and that you are dust. Yet He loves you and his patient with you. Always think of him as a gentle Father who is leading you into maturity. You may have failed a thousand times yet his grace is ten million more times plentiful and abounding for you. He knows that you were going to fail, that is what the cross of His Son is all about. Now, do not let the devil or your flesh rob you of your joy. Repent this instant and begin to enjoy your relationship with your Father who will not give you a stone if you ask him for bread. He will give you bread in abundance.