Grace vs Guilt: Who Saves Us From Ourselves and Lust?
I know the struggle of lust. It’s a battle that seems to have no end, in a war that too often already seems lost. Pornography addictions very often lead to sexual addictions, and compulsive, reckless behavior that destroys families, relationships, and can even end lives. When I realized what I had was not just something “natural”, or that it wasn’t okay “because everyone does it”, I realized it because it was ruining me. It was ruining, even more, a marriage that had been built on lust and no understanding or belief in what marriage was created by God to be.
This life I wanted so badly to escape at nearly 26 years old was the only life I had known since I was eleven years old. It may not be fair to say this filth ruined me, rather, it may be more accurate to say it kept me from ever knowing who I was. I would not know who that person was until I found out who this God was I had constantly rejected pretty much my whole life. What I found out told me it was possible to escape this death grip.
I found out, in the midst of much sel-loathing, guilt-filled regret, and suicidal thoughts that God is a God who loves us, in spite of us. He is a God who fights for us, even when we fight Him, and try to do it our way. When we realize this, who He is, we are faced with who we are: Wretched Sinners. We could not save ourselves or make ourselves worthy to be in the presence of God, even if we somehow possessed the power to do so.
If we could save ourselves, the Jews would have done so when they faced the Egyptians at the Red Sea (Exodus 14), but they couldn’t. God brought them there to show them just that; He is the ONLY way to life. Without His love, our story ends in the Garden when Adam and Eve failed God. It ends in bondage, slavery, and death had it not been for grace and mercy from the Author of Life. He gives life, and He saves life.
God parted the sea, not because the Israelites worshiped Him flawlessly, but so they would really see God for His might, glory, and most of all, His love. He did not ‘fight’ for the perfect people, or for the righteous. He fought for HIS people, in all of their brokenness, doubt, sins, and contentment for less than Him. He broke into their lives when they thought He had forgotten them and hardened their hearts. We are His, not because of what we do for Him, but because HE says we are His.
If God needed us to be perfect before He rescued us, there would be no grace or mercy. If we could be perfect God would not have needed to send His Son to bring us new life by laying His down for ours (John 3:16-17). No, instead, He meets us where we are to save us from ourselves, and to save us from the guilt and shame of our sins. His grace is stronger than our guilt, and His mercy reaches further than any sin I’ve ever committed, or any sin you could commit.
This is the freedom you seek, and the cure for the addiction you feel. This is the Good News of the Christian life. And this is the way out for the man or woman who feels trapped by their lusts. He is the Savior who can make this life you live now a distant memory. He is the only way to life, and He forgives you like He forgave Adam, and He will save you like He has saved the Israel of the Old Testament, and like the wretched sinners Christ has come to save in the New.
Don’t just cry out in your guilt and shame and face another day alone. Cry out to your savior. He WILL fight for you.