Victory Over Sexual Immorality
May 1, 2019
The constant and consistent teaching of the Bible is that “the just shall live by faith.” This means that people do not receive God’s approval and favor based on things we do, but instead by what we believe. The testimony of scripture explains that as depraved human beings, we are totally unable to do anything pleasing to God unless His is both the motivator and manufacturer of the work. However, this doesn’t mean that our attitudes, speech, and conduct aren’t part of the equation. If God fills someone with His Spirit because He sees they have faith, it is important to know that the presence and influence of the Almighty God WILL have an effect on the life of that person. How could the Creator of all things dwell within the soul of a person and not have an observable impact? The Bible refers to this impact as “fruit of the Spirit.” It refers to a transformation in thinking, speaking, and conduct that God influences from within. The change that God administrates matches the quality and nature of His own character as described by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, God’s influence conforms us to the image of Jesus – God in flesh. Therefore, while our conduct is not the reason that we please God, the conduct that God produces in us is proof that we possess faith that does please God.
This means that the life of a true believer should be different than the average person. It is not that the true believer is able to “turn their life around” so that they live differently. The scriptures show that faith in God produces the fear of God. The fear of God produces the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God coupled with our fear of God produces a desire to live by God’s standards. This desire encourages humility, at which point the Holy Spirit actually produces the attitude and conduct that mirrors God’s nature as seen in Jesus. This miraculous work happens in spite of our natural desires and normal human habits. This miraculous work provides proof that God is real, that He is faithful, and that He alone is righteous. The testimony of Job shows that, though these seem like New Testament principles, God has been working this way for a long time!
The scriptures identify Job as a “blameless and upright man.” This phrase and description means that Job had faith in the identity and superior goodness of God. Job’s blamelessness doesn’t mean he was perfect. The scriptures don’t suggest that Job didn’t sin. In fact, throughout the testimony of Job, he frequently admitted that he fell short of God’s glory, did not have wisdom of his own, and sought the Lord to identify any fault that would have caused the suffering he experienced. Job was blameless in the sense that he was “justified” before God. He had God’s approval in spite of his weaknesses, his follies, and his failures. The testimony of Job explains that Job received the revelation of God, trusted it as supremely good and true, and cherished the righteousness of God above all things, fearing His holiness and judgments. This is what pleased God and why God approved of Job even though he was a sinner that made mistakes.
Job’s uprightness was the same. Job did not do good works by his own standards or merits. The good things that Job did were based on the standards of God’s righteousness. Job was motivated to do good to glorify God. Job wanted to glorify God in response to the good things God had done in his life. Thus, Job didn’t seek to make his name known to glorify himself. Job wanted to exalt God’s name out of gratitude for His revelation, His wisdom, His provision, and His protection. Job’s uprightness was based on the motives that God stirred up in Job’s heart according to the grace He bestowed upon Job, and good things Job did were in alignment with God’s own character. The testimony of Job shows that he sought to serve the fatherless, the widows, and the poor – people that are described as the chief beneficiaries of Jesus as the Messiah. Job was considered “upright” because he did that which God said was good in order to glorify God; not because he did what seemed right in his own mind to pursue selfish ambition.
The testimony of Job 31:1-12 explains that the influence God had on the spirit of Job produced outwardly observable effects. Though Job’s blamelessness and uprightness were on account of the spiritual revelation God provided to Job, that revelation produced tangible effects in Job’s life. Those effects weren’t isolated to “service” types of works. The effect of God’s influence in Job’s life produced a hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness so that Job desired God’s holiness in his life. Job didn’t accept sin. Job didn’t want to compromise in sin. Job didn’t want sin in his life to defile the good things God was doing. That desire was made evident by choices Job made. In Job 31:1-12 Job explains that the effect of God’s goodness in his life caused him to live free from sensual sin or sexual immorality. The impact of God in his life caused Job to chiefly despise sexual immorality. Job explained that he “made a covenant with his eyes.” In other words, Job swore within himself that he would not subject himself to temptations that would inspire desires to corrupt the holiness of God in his life. Job didn’t want to feed thoughts of immorality by allowing his eyes to wander and lust. Job valued the goodness of God so much that he sought to discipline his eyes in hopes to restrain inward desires that were contrary to the righteousness of God.
Job didn’t want to let his eyes wander, looking at young women. Job knew that all it took was a look in order for his mind to race off to wicked places. Job understood enough about God and His nature to know that, if he let those kinds of thoughts settle in his mind, God would bring judgment. Job acknowledged the wisdom and omniscience of God. Job knew that God could see into the hearts of all people. Job knew that God’s job is to examine the heart and respond in righteousness according to that which He sees of the heart. Job knew that if he let lustful thoughts comfortably dwell in his heart, there would be a major price to pay. Therefore, Job did what he could to keep those types of things out of his mind, by keeping certain things away from his eyes. Job feared offending God in this way, and made radical choices in his life to ensure his life wasn’t an offense to God. Job’s conduct seems noble and good, but remember that God is the cause. If not for God’s gracious and merciful revelation to Job, he would not have known God to fear Him this way. If not for God sharing His wisdom with Job, he would not have known how to protect his eyes from inspiring lustful thoughts. Thus, the attitude and conduct of Job is merely the bi-product of God’s influence in Job’s life.
Job was confident about his life in this area. God had really given him strength in this area of his life to where he invited his friends to look for some major offense in the realms of sexual immorality. Job had nothing to hide. Job was confident that his fear of God was sufficient to keep him from any major offense in this area. He was not actively looking at women lusting over them. He was not hanging around certain places, looking to flirt with certain people. Job was so confident in this area of his life that he invited harsh judgment if anyone should find anything against him. Job agreed with God’s standards of righteousness in this area of life. He knew sexual immorality was wrong, and upheld the standards of God’s righteousness concerning the consequences for this sin. Thus, Job freely invited people to examine his life in this area and punish him in the worst ways God would allow if anyone were to find him guilty of any major offense in this area.
This is what it looks like to be a blameless and upright person. Job was not perfect, but sought to live by the perfect standards of the Almighty God. Job feared living as an offense to God and His holy standards. Job received God’s revelation and trusted it to be supremely right and good regardless of his personal desires or opinions. Job made sure that the revelation he received from God directed the manner of his life. He didn’t fit God’s Word around his personal beliefs and standards. Job fit his life around God’s Word. If there was something in his life that didn’t line up with God’s Word, he cut it loose. Thus, Job made a covenant with his eyes, recognizing that his habit to lust was fueled by that which he saw and desired. Therefore, he sought to discipline himself in this area, trusting in the Lord for the ability. Job made mention of this because his success in this area of life was evidence of God’s influence in this life. Since God was clearly an influence in his life to this degree, this couldn’t be the reason that God swiftly and abruptly changed the circumstances of his life. Job’s suffering was not because of some secret sin related to sexual immorality. Job’s victory over sexual immorality did not mean that Job was a “good man” on his own merits. Instead, it meant that God was providing power and influence to deny sin in this area; so why should God judge Job for using God’s power to flee from sin?