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Doug was a middle-aged man with all he could ask for. He had a wonderful wife, three charming kids, and a solid job. He was a regular attender of church services and served on a few boards. The congregation knew him as a backbone of many projects and plans. If you needed someone, whether it was to fix your car or give you emotional support, Doug was your man. But Doug struggled with lust. He had a wandering eye. He knew it was wrong–he had a wife! No matter how hard he tried, he kept on feeling more and more guilty…

Katherine was a high honors college student, on her way to becoming valedictorian. She participated in two sports and volunteered her free time in a program to help those with special needs. She was by no means the most popular girl in the class, but everyone who spent time with her enjoyed her company. But Katherine struggled with porn. Sure, she kept it a secret, and that made it even worse. She felt like a fraud, because she looked so good on the outside but was filthy on the inside…

Stephen was the oldest member in his congregation. He was of a good age of seventy-eight, and was still blessed with excellent health–never been hospitalized in his life. He was everyone’s grandpa. That’s just what his personality was made for. But he was haunted by the one night back in high school when he and a girl took it a little too far…

Now, go back and consider those situations again. What if those stories weren’t about Doug, Katherine or Stephen….but about you?

Maybe those stories aren’t exactly your story, but if you’re someone who has ever struggled with sexual sin, you can relate, can’t you? You feel the emotions, the guilt, the loneliness, the darkness. You are the one who struggles with lust. You are the one who can’t escape porn. You are the unmarried one who had sex that one night. You are.

Do you ever feel like David did when Nathan confronted him about his sin? David, the one after God’s own heart, lusted after Bathsheba, took her just to satisfy his sexual desire, and then tried all he could to keep it secret. The great king of Israel fell so low to become an adulterer, murderer, and liar. God sent Nathan to David, and after his story about the king, the poor man and his lamb, Nathan cried out to David, You are the man!” (II Samuel 12:7). Immediately, he had a guilt-ridden conscience. Read Psalm 32 and you may see that in a few verses. Do you ever sense that accusing finger of God’s law pointed right at you like Nathan’s finger was pointed at David?

The Law completely destroys you. The Gospel builds you back up.

The Law completely destroys you. The Gospel builds you back up. Just like David, you confess, “I have sinned against the Lord” (II Samuel 12:13). And what Nathan said to David is just as true for you: “The Lord has taken away your sin.” God’s promise rings in the guilty heart: he forgives wickedness and remembers sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). That’s what he promised. That’s why Christ suffered and died. To forgive your sin. To pay for it. To make you holy in God’s eyes.

That sin has been wiped completely away. It’s gone. But the consequences still linger–King David experienced that, too. He was graciously forgiven but that son born from his selfish sexual act died. I’m not in the position to break down all the things that still linger from your sin. I don’t know what they are. You might. But I am in the position to tell you that Christ has paid the price for your sin.

You were dead in your sin. You used to live in the ways of the world. You gratified the thoughts and desires of your sinful nature. You were by nature an object of God’s wrath. But because of his great love with which he loved us, God, rich in mercy, made you alive in Christ when you were dead in your sin. By grace you have been saved. You were dead. But now, you are alive. (Ephesians 2)

You are the one who is forgiven. I am the one who is forgiven. God’s love is great! The consequences of sin still linger in this world, but the ultimate punishment has been absorbed by God in Jesus.

In God’s eyes, your story isn’t a story of sexual sin, but of righteousness.

In God’s eyes, your story isn’t a story of sexual sin, but of righteousness. You are his loved son or daughter. So, count yourself differently.

Romans 6:10–11 says, The death [Jesus] died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

To “count yourselves” means to think about yourselves differently than what appears to be true on the outside. The consequences of sin say something, but that’s not who you are in Christ.

Be who he has made you to be!

 

Nathaniel Brauer is a first-year student at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.

 

Not that long ago, people didn’t talk about pornography publicly. Silence didn’t keep porn use from growing. In fact, use of porn and porn addiction has exploded. The Conquerors through Christ team has pushed back.

CtC has done unique and effective work. We’ve created a program to help people addicted to pornography use to reject it. We’ve created a system to aid parents, pastors, and teachers in leading our maturing children to resist the temptation of online porn.

Now it’s time for us to focus on…

The Bohemian Issue: Does Anything Really Matter?
“Nothing really matters to me.”

That line ends arguably the most unique and well-loved rock song of all time, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Interestingly, despite the popularity of the 1975 song, the term “Bohemian” hit its low in frequency of usage in the English language in 1980. Very few people, even those who know the song well, know what a “Bohemian” is. Do you?

Specific definitions vary, but that last lyric of the song does a pretty good job summing all of them up. A Bohemian is someone who lives with very little grounding in the real world. Nothing really matters to them.

Freddie Mercury was the quintessential example of a Bohemian. A man who found no grounding other than in the pleasure of wild living and the praise of man.

Over the past two and half years, we’ve seen the things that we thought could never change shown to be fragile. Who would have thought that the NBA and NHL would have shut down like they did? Who would have thought that international travel would slam on its brakes?

But sacred things, things that formed identity, things that grounded us, things that truly mattered were also halted: family gatherings, in-person school, and most importantly, the physical life of the Church in the gathering of believers around God’s Word and the reception of the Lord’s Supper.

As one pastor put it, “When people see that even the things that matter most aren’t truly sacred, why would we expect them to take anything seriously?”

This isn’t an article about how churches, schools, or families react to COVID. This is an article to acknowledge that this is the world the young Christians of our world live in today, a world that, by no fault of their own, has “bohemianized” them (if I may make up a term). If you’re older you may not feel it the same way. Much of your life and identity has already been set, and as things went back to a form of normal, you could too. But for young people who are growing into who they are, a foundation is necessary. For about 2 years, the world robbed them of that. It told them that “nothing really matters.”

The problem is that when nothing really matters, we are tempted to turn our thoughts inward to find meaning, pleasure, peace, and foundation. And while being a Bohemian occasionally produces awesome rock tunes, often it also leads into self-destructive behavior.

While most young people don’t have the resources to behave like Freddie Mercury, they do have cheap alternatives, one of the cheapest, most easily accessible, most addicting, and most destructive being pornography.

When “nothing really matters,” who cares if I watch this? Who cares if people get hurt? Who cares if it messes with my brain chemistry? Who cares if ruins my relationships with the opposite sex?

This may be hard for some to believe, but this is the fight we engage in now. We fight not just to help those struggling with pornography, but also to help those who are trapped in porn’s grip to see that this really does matter.

Psalm 144 feels this. It begins by acknowledging that from an earthly perspective, human life isn’t that significant.

LORD, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. (Psalm 144:4–4 NIV)

If this is all we are, then nothing really matters, but then the Psalm continues…

Part your heavens, LORD, and come down. (Psalm 144:5 NIV)

And God did. God came down into the womb of the Virgin Mary to show humanity that their life really does matter, that they really do matter.

And the result? The psalmist records that when the Lord comes down…

Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. (Psalm 144:12 NIV)

You matter enough to God that he would become human to save you. He wants to grow and shape you into something beautiful.

Today, pray Psalm 144 for our young people. Pray that God would continue to come to them in Word and Sacrament to grow them and shape them into people who give glory to God by their lives. If you feel a little like a Bohemian, pray that God would make you believe that this really does matter. And finally, pray for Conquerors through Christ, that we can help more people see that this fight really matters.

 

Caleb Schultz is the Content Editor for Conquerors through Christ. He serves as a pastor in a suburb of Toronto, Canada.