In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, particularly the part about “the sexually immoral not inheriting the kingdom of God,” it’s easy to assume that sexual purity is a salvation matter. I want to declare that this is not my understanding of Scripture. Just as Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Your sexual purity does not qualify you for heaven,” we can also assume the reverse to be true. “Your sexual impurity does not disqualify you from heaven either!”
In this passage, Paul was addressing believers in Christ who were saved, yet continued to act like those who weren’t believers, or those indulging in all kinds of selfish sins because they weren’t saved or sanctified. Paul wasn’t saying to believers, “If you do this, you’re scratched off heaven’s reception list!” He was saying, “Because you are on the reception list of invitees, you should not act like those who aren’t!”
So again, I want to make it clear that salvation is not a matter of sexual purity, but strictly a matter of trusting in Christ as your personal Savior. However, sexual purity is (or should be) a natural by-product of being sanctified, which means becoming more holy simply because we are in close relationship with the Holy Spirit.
How can we do that — be made more holy — while walking around in these sexual bodies, thinking these sexual thoughts, and wrestling with these sexual fantasies and urges? By adopting Paul’s strategy for victory in any spiritual battle we face:
We do live in the world, but we do not fight in the same way the world fights. We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5, NCV)
Did you catch that? With God’s help, we’re able to capture every thought and make it obedient to Christ. We’re able to operate completely within our value system, reduce our emotional risk and control the content of our fantasies with deliberate scripting, editing, and casting, just as psychology supports.
So perhaps psychology and theology aren’t so very far apart after all!
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Excerpted from The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.