Repentance ~ Road to Restoration
Sometimes we mess up. We face temptation and make horrible life destroying choices. Thank God that is not the end of the road. The fallen can be restored. Restoration begins with godly sorrow that acknowledges the horror off sexual sin. It continues with repentance - complete and total repentance that offers no excuses and no justification. Because sexual sin is highly skilled at justifying itself this kind of repentance does not come easily, and rarely comes quickly. And with such deep damage restoration takes time. Time to fully understand the seriousness of the sin, to have personal integrity restored, for deliverance to be ministered, if needed, and it often is. Time for soul ties to be broken, for generational bondages and curses to be removed, and time for a sullied reputation to be restored. It took a long while to get in such a mess. It will take time to get out of it. Both those ministering and the one being restored must be patient with the process.
The Lie of Sexual Sin
There is a
direct correlation between
believing a lie and
becoming a believable liar.
All sexual sin begins with a lie. The lie says that while in sexual sin life will somehow be better, that we can still serve God, that it makes no difference, and that it is no one’s business but our own. A lie is the root, sin is the fruit. The first step in the road of repentance is to recognize the lies we have believed, renounce these deceptions, and embrace the truth.
Sexual Sinners Lie
There is a direct correlation between believing a lie and becoming a believable liar. People in sexual sin become every skilled at lying, living a lie, looking good among fellow Christians, and keeping up appearances while safeguarding their sordid secret. These learned behaviors do not die automatically or easily. After being delivered from the lies they have believed they then must learn to once again live transparently in a Spirit of Truth. It sometimes takes time.
Walking With God
Learning how to once again walk with God is not always an easy process. When tempted it is very easy to slip back into old deceptive, defiling, and destructive ways. The joy and relief of Sunday’s repentance must be walked out in the cold light both Monday’s reality and the fire and heat of a tired Friday night’s temptations. There may be failures on the way, but with repentance failure is never final.
Repentance to their Sexual Partner
The restoration kind of repentance may mean making a public apology to the church. It certainly means repenting to the one with whom they sinned sexually. In the name of “love” they selfishly committed a totally unloving act. And they did the unthinkable; they interfered with that person’s Christian’s life and damaged their walk with God. They used their body to communicate the message that their sexual partner was not worthy of their best. Immorality is the act of ultimate dishonor.
We may just want to get over it and move on, but sexual sin does not evaporate. You cannot just act like it didn’t happen. You can change your behavior, even get married. That does not excuse or justify the sin, or negate the need to repent to the person with whom you were intimate, even if the other person was a willing partner. And if you are now in a relationship that began as adultery you need to realize a woman may love but will not trust a man who committed adultery with her. She will live with a fear. “If you were willing to sin with me, there is a chance you may also sin against me.” Vows do not restore trust. Flowers and cards and romance do not restore trust. The only thing that will restore trust is recognizing that the relationship began in sin - sin against God, sin against the church, and sin against each other. There was absolutely nothing good about their pre-marital sex-life. Only true and deep repentance will let her know that not only will he be faithful, he did her inexcusable wrong in committing sexual sin with her.
With sexual sin the more complete the repentance, the more complete the healing. And sometimes that more complete repentance comes in stages.
Fellowship with the Church
For healthy church fellowship to be restored time must be spent walking in the light. Trust shattered is rebuilt slowly. Relationships must be healed. In due time there will be restoration to the full fellowship of the church and participation in social activities; be patient.
Someone who is truly repentant
will be more concerned about
their personal walk with God
in purity than restoration
to any ministry position.
For those who have been in ministry a too quick return to public life short circuits the healing and restoring process. It can teach that appearance is more important than reality. You may go from the pulpit to the pigpen, but no one can go safely go directly from the pig pen to the pulpit. This true no matter whether you were there to lead worship or preach the Word. It just does not work. There is a long road between the two.
Someone who is truly repentant will be more concerned about their personal walk with God in purity than restoration to any ministry position. When the time is right they won’t have to go asking, the leadership will come looking. Everyone, including the person being restored, needs time to be assured that there will be no repeat of past patterns of deceit and defilement. But eventually it will come. It must for the Word declares,
“restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.” Galatians 6:1 (NASB)
When and how and to what must be determined with great care and wisdom. If a man is not willing and happy to push a broom, he certainly should not be given the pulpit.
The good news is that we are serving a loving compassionate God. With heartfelt repentance the sexual sinner can enjoy total restoration to intimate and joyous fellowship with Him. And with a stable victorious walk with God will come times, places, and opportunities to fulfill the call of God. Hopes, dreams and God given desires can be restored and destiny fulfilled.
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Christians Enjoying Nudity and Erotica
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.