Freedom is Jesus + Nothing. Jesus is Everything.
Freedom is only found in Jesus. It doesn’t matter what the sin is because we all share sin due to the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That moment disconnected us from the Glory of God. And nothing we do can save us from our sin. No good works. No following the Law of the OT. Look at what God says in the book of Titus 3:3-7 (ESV):
3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
For over 27 years I believed I was saved and just walking a life separate from God and out of His will. Although I grew up in a Christian home, professed Jesus as my savior, taught Sunday School, preached sermons as a teenager, was a DJ at a local Christian radio station and was living a pretty good life (forgive me if I sound like Paul giving my but I was this and that), temptation crept in and took root. Of course when Paul writes his letter and talked about his prior life, that was His before meeting Jesus life!
There was a baby monster that crept into my life and wow did that monster grow! My mind was bombarded with same sex attraction. But it started with a lie about the nature and character of God. I didn’t understand it. How could this happen to me? My father, a Baptist preacher, sent me to therapy. I prayed and read my Bible. But nothing seemed to help. To make a long story short, I accepted the lie from Satan that I was born gay. I believed a lie about the nature and character of God. And that created a great gulf between me and Jesus or was that gulf already there? I don’t believe one can lose their salvation because there is nothing that can pluck us out of the Hand of God. So, was I really saved as a kid or did I just say a prayer without understanding what it meant to be a follower of Jesus? I am not for sure of the answer for back then since I was a kid when I said a sinner’s pray. But I do know my life has changed now. Why do I know I’m different? Read on….
For 17 of those years I had a partner. We had a pretty good life. And then he died in 2012. I remember refusing to pray when he died. I was so angry. The grief was insurmountable or so I thought. Eventually my life came back to a steady pace and routine. I tried other practices like Buddhism to help me find my way, and while there was some comfort there, I knew deep inside of me that it wasn’t the answer. I learned this last Fall why I never prayed during that time. It was because death stared me in the face and I had no answer. And the question begs, had I ever been saved? Or was I self-deceived?
But last fall, God’s Grace came into my life in a way I can’t ever recall happening before. My heart was open to seeing things differently. Oh I knew what the Bible taught but it didn’t take root as it should have. Now, it was like seeing for the first time (like taking the pill in the film the Matrix and waking up). Jesus, my Good Shepherd, began pulling me up out of the pit I had fallen into. He called my name and I heard His voice! For every question, He had an answer in His written Word, the Bible. And then I repented of my sins, asking for His mercy and forgiveness and for Jesus to change me – not out of some religious obligation but out of love and gratitude for what He did for me. Facing The Truth of God’s Word that I was living in sin and that Christ alone took my punishment, what else was there to do but ask for forgiveness for my sins and follow Him? My Shepherd saved me.
I John 1 :9 (ESV) tells us:
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I Cor 6:9-20 (ESV) and especially verse 11 is a passage I hold onto daily. Let me share it with you:
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 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! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 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, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
No longer do I identity as gay or homosexual, but I identify as a Christian, which means God abides in me and I abide in Him. I am a Christian because Jesus has given me a new heart and new desires. He told me through the Scriptures to repent and follow Him as He does to all of us. The old life is gone. He has given me a new, eternal life. This also means that I accept His Truth, the only Truth, that since God made me in His image, then I am heterosexual. And that is how I was born. That is how we are all born. If we turn our eyes off of Jesus or turn from the Truth of His Word, the Bible, we just might believe a lie about God and how He made us.
No matter what temptations we face God tells us in 1 Cor. 10:13 (ESV) that “he will also provide a way of escape.” My hope is in Jesus and in Him alone I depend. Don’t let sin take root. Take the escape. Be Free in Jesus.
Check out Pastor Levi Lusko’s series on Baby Monsters – don’t let sin take root.