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THE GLORY OF GOD IN BIBLICAL ABSTINENCE

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES THROUGH INNOCENT EYES

18) And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18, NIV).


14) If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Pet. 4:14, NIV).

THE GLORY OF GOD MANIFESTED IN MORAL PURITY

What is it about sexual pleasure that makes people willing to sin to obtain it? A moment of pleasure, where one goes for the bait, but doesn't note the hook that dangles there! It's a selfish moment, with little value beyond that fleeting moment. There's a repulsion with ones self, for engaging in it, which is called "conviction of sin." It can't compare with the glory of a moment -- of a lifetime -- of eternity -- in the presence of God! Sin has a boring emptiness and hollowness to it, that keeps people in an endless pursuit to find what's obviously missing in the experience, because it's obvious that the choice to engage in the sin was wrong.

In contrast, in God's presence is fulness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore!" One experience, stays with one for a lifetime, and makes you hunger for more. The conscience that goes with it is clean, and clear with no regrets. What makes people willing to abstain from illicit sexual relations, when these are so readily available and sanctioned by ungodly society today? The glory! What's the glory? It's the manifestation of God's presence, as you live in intimate relationship with Him! As you subdue appetites in your life that are in opposition to God's will for you! You can only do this "through the power of God's Holy Spirit." The presence of our great God and Saviour, Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ! The scriptures state that there is but one God and he that is joined to the Lord is "one Spirit." (I Cor. 6:17) The Lord's Spirit is holy! God forgives and sanctifies us--or sets us apart for His own pleasure and purpose, through the shed blood of Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ. As we appropriate salvation, by repenting and turning away from a lifestyle of sin, are water baptized by immersion in the name of Yeshua haMashiach, for the remission of sins, and receive the empowering of God's Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, God's will and purpose is manifested through us that He might "reveal His Son in us." <(Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:46-48, Acts 19:5) P>The glory of God is the revelation and manifestation of all that He has and is. Mashiach/Christ glorfies His Father, stating "I and My Father are one." The New Testament term for "glory" is doxa, is used of the nature and deeds of God in manifesting Himself. At the marriage of Cana, His grace and power were a manifested glory. His glory is "an excellent glory--and through it He works in us a far more exceeding weight of glory," that anything we have ever dreamed.

GOD'S GLORY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

There's a Hebrew word for glory in the Old Testament, and it's kabod. It's derived from a root meaning "to be heavy or weighty." It speaks of splendor, weight, magnificence, wealth, or copiousness. In the Old Testament we read that smoke filled the Temple, as a manifestation of the glory of God. From this we see that the glory of God's holy presence was perceived in a tangible way. When the priests set the Ark of God in it's place in Solomonís Temple, a cloud of God's manifested glory filled the Temple, and the priests could not stand and perform their Temple service because of the cloud of Godís power and glory. The Prophet Isaiah saw a manifestation of the glory of God, and the Temple was filled with smoke. (1 Kings. 8:6Ė11; Isa. 6:1Ė8).

In the book of Exodus Moses beheld God's glory when the Lord gave him the Law in tables of stone. The face of Moses shone from spending time in God's presence and beholding His glory. When he came down from the mountain, the people saw his radiant face, and were awed with godly fear, so that Moses put on a veil over his face. (Exod. 34:29Ė35).

GLORY OF GOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The Lord of glory has revealed his glorious presence in the NT, when at the birth of Messiah, the angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds keeping watch in the fields, on the night that our Savior was born. The glory of the Lord shined around them (Luke 2:9). When the Sanhedrin stoned Stephen, he looked into Heaven and stedfastly beheld the glory of the Lord. (Acts 7:55).

The Apostle Paul stated that the New Testament ministry of the Holy Spirit is more glorious than the former glory of the Old Covenant. The glory of the Old testament faded away, but the glory of the New Testament endures forever, because God has bestowed His glory on us. (2 Cor. 3:7Ė11). We have been given the Spirit of the Lord, and are to stand fast in this this liberty wherewith Mashiach/Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage. Our faces reflect the glory of the Lord, and as we behold Messiah's glory, we are changed from glory to glory into his likeness and given ever-increasing glory (2 Cor. 3:16-18).

The Apostle Paul saw the Lordís glory as he was caught up in the Spirit. He understood that even when we donít see the Lordís glory, itís still there, because the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. We see in part--looking through a glass darkly at the glory of the Lord. (1 Cor. 13:12).

THE GLORY OF THE LORD IN HIS PEOPLE

On the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter quoted from the words of the prophet Joel, saying God would pour out of His Spirit on all flesh, and young men would see visions, and old men would dream dreams. Glorious signs or omens would appear in the heavens and on earth (Acts. 2:17Ė21).

Revelation is directly related to personal holiness and obedience in God. Yeshua/Jesus said to Nathaniel:

Behold an Israelite in whom is no guile. Verily, verily I say to you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. (John 1:47, 51)

As I prepared to study the bible with our 5 year old daughter Zani, I was printing coloring book pages from the internet of the manger scene, shepherds and angels. I wanted her to anticipate the lesson as much as I did, as I said: Today we are going to study about Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus! She looked up at me from the end of the table, said excitedly: "I like the part where Joseph attacked his wife!" I pondered this seeming incongruous response for a moment, wondering where she got such a concept. Then I realized that she WAS sharing with me in spiritual fellowship, her knowledge of the birth of the Christ child, as she was able to relate to it.

As believers, we are constantly instructing those who frequently know either a little or a lot about what the bible has to say. Sometimes they've failed to comprehend what they've been taught. This is the reason why as bible teachers," we must be patient and apt to teach, in meekness instructing them that oppose themselves. (2 Tim. 2:24) Spiritual perception was required on my part, to understand what she meant, so that I did not misjudge her, or misunderstand what she was trying to say. But from time to time, as she has mastered the english language, I have had to go over words with her and their proper meanings. And I was careful in what I had to say, listening for the Lord's heart as I shared with her.

Then turning to her with the angel wings that I was cutting in my hand, I said: "I think you must be remembering that Joseph and Mary were going to be Bethlehem of Judea to be taxed!"

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. KJV

A SEASON OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE IN JOSEPH & MARY'S LIFE

The Lord brought this incident to mind, as I meditated on His word, and I realized that the story of Joseph and Mary is a case which strongly supports the biblical concept of sexual abstinence. Not only did Joseph as a holy man of God abstain from sexual relations prior to marriage, but he was called upon by God to the greater sacrifice of abstaining until after the birth of his tiny step-son, Messiah.

The basic purpose for marriage is found in the bond it creates, and the context of mutual growth it provides. When God created Eve and brought her to Adam, he said; "She is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." (Gen. 2:23) In the beginning God outlines an another prupose for marriage, when He states: "Be fruitful, multiply and replentish the earth." (Gen. 1:28) Human sexuality is a gift of God which must be brought into subjection to the word of God. Under ordinary conditions, husbands and wives are to meet one another's needs, guarding against temptations to fall into the sin of adultery. In Joseph and Mary's case, as in everyone's life, the written word dictated sexual abstinence until marriage, as the people of God living in covent relationship with Him. (Gen. 2:23-25) Joseph's situation had some unique facets that required special revelation from God, in that they were required to abstain from the sexual relationship well into the marriage, i.e. till after the baby was born.

"And (he) knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Yeshua/Jesus." (Matt. 1:25)

BIBLICAL ABSTINENCE FOR UNMARRIED COUPLE'S TODAY

The biblical basis for self control is thoroughly established in scripture, with the New Testament outlining this as part of the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5)

1) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage...5) For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith...7) Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8) This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9) A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10) I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be... 12) I would they were even cut off which trouble you. 13) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Lev 19:18, Matt 5:43, Matt 19:19, Matt 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Rom 13:9, James 2:8) 19)

    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
  • Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
  • lasciviousness, 20) Idolatry,
  • witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations,
  • wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
  • 21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings,
...And such like, of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22) But the fruit of the Spirit is:

  • love, joy, peace,
  • longsuffering, gentleness,
  • goodness, faith,
  • 23) Meekness, temperance

Against such there is no law. 24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26) Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

YOU ARE COMPLETE IN CHRIST

The completeness, wholeness or "oneness" with Yeshua/Jesus is given to the believer when he believes on Messiah, is forgiven of sin, baptized by total immersion in water in the name of Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ, and receives the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking supernaturally in another tongue, given by God. (Acts 2:1-4, Acts 10:46-48) He that is joined to the Lord is "one Spirit." (I Cor. 6:17) Of Yeshua/Jesus own flesh, and bones. (Eph. 5) The scriptures state that "the joy of the Lord is our strength." (Neh. 8:10) Sex is not necessary for wholeness, a sense of well being or emotional maturity. Unmarried people of God who abstain from sex are blessed as those who scripture defines as refraining from walking in ungodly counsel, avoiding the way of the sinners and the seat of the scornful. You walk in God's ways, and mediate in His word, you are like trees "planted by rivers of living water, that bringeth forth his fruit in due season; his leaf does not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Psalm 1:1-6) must take the biblical stand which states:

For in Him dwells all the fulness of the godhead in bodily form, and you are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power." (Col. 2:10)

Messiah is the pattern for moral purity, who did no sin neither was guile found in his mouth.

Sexual celibacy in ones life should be sanctified as "holiness unto the Lord." Moral discipline and sanctification to holiness must rule over natural passions, according to God's holy word. The state of sexual abstinence is a temporary sacrifice for a long term gain. Even if God's will for an individual is that this be a life-long state, God will gift you with what is needed to bear it. (I Cor. 7:7) The Apostle Paul describes the ways in which this is a priviledge that is not without benefits, saying: "He that is unmarried cares for the things which belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord." (I Cor. 7:32) The gain to you is that the incorruptible seed of God's word waits to come to fruition in your own personal life, as part of God's long awaited destiny--prepared for you before the foundation of the world was laid. It thrives in an attitude and atmosphere of holiness, and should be nurtured with all that is holy unto the Lord. As a believer, it is your responsibility and priviledge to abstain from sex before marriage. To do other wise is not profitable because it's part of gaining the whole world, but losing your own soul."

People are warned against teach abstinence from marriage as the superior state, and if they "forbid to marry," are false teachers. (I Tim. 4:3) Marriage is a picture of the Lord of Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ for His church. (Eph. 5:21-33)

IMMORALITY OPPOSES GOD'S DIVINE ORDER

God's ways are higher than ours. He has His own established way of doing things, and needs no correction from mankind. There has been a virtual flood of false doctrine, from false teachers, preachers who have invaded the church. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy of such people in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NKJV)

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; {4} and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."

People are told what they want to hear, so the leader will remain popular and continue to receive the maximum amount of donations. As a result they do not know or understand God's divine order. They do not know God's will. They vainly hope for a book or seminar with an easy criterion as a criterion for blessing. The results are a people "ever-learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

There is in many churches today, a lack of biblical righteousness. Many today do not believe they have to be righteous. God commands: "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; {14} as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; {15} but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, {16} because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." (1 Pet 1:13-16 NKJV)

The lack of sanctification and refusal to walk in biblical holiness, has created a ack of hunger for the word of God. Many are increasingly apostate, professing themselves spiritually wise. The commands of the scriptures are unpalatable because they do not agree with this current age of materialism and the obsession with pleasure. There is a lack often times of distinction between a the holy and profane.

Sex outside marriage is neither acceptable or safe. Immorality directly opposes God's divine order. It is the choice of willful rebellion against God's holiness. There is no scriptural justification for disobedience to God's word, but only a certain looking for of judgment, unless there is repentance, and cleansing by the blood of Yeshua/Jesus. The intentional act of unmarried persons or adulterous individuals stirring passion in another in the forms of sexual stimulation is also sin. Likewise witholding sexual relations as a means by which to intimidate, punish or bribe ones mate is outside the bounds of God's lawful purpose for marital sexual union.

GOD'S WORD ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE

God's wrath is clearly revealed against homosexuality and same sex marriage, as it is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, and against all who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. (Rom. 1:18) The apostle and writer of the epistle to the Romans mentions "creation," as that which is clearly evident to all. (God made male and female of every species, for the purpose of their having mates. Man is no exception. (Gen. 2:20-22) The Apostle Paul speaks of the distinction observable in nature. The distinction of long hair (komao) from (komeo) means hair which is fixed to the head, in such a way is the distinguishing characteristic. If the woman has long hair, this outward distinction is considered by God as a "glory (doxa) to her." Her hair is described as "a covering" given to her. (i.e. Something placed around about one like a mantle. God created them this way at creation. (I Cor. 11:14-15, I Cor. 14:33-40) There is nothing in God's entire word that supports the idea that practicing homosexuals are ever "biblical followers of Yeshua/Jesus." As with all other forms of sin, this sin must be repented of and forsaken. The homosexual or lesbian relationship considered by society today as an "alternative to hetersexual marriage, is not an "alternative lifestyle" to the holy lifestyle and marital relationship spoken of in God's word. There is no alternative to biblical holiness. Sex within the relationship of this sort is not blessed by God with godly fruitfulness. The conscience of such is described by the writer of Romans as "vain in their imaginations, (Rom. 1:21) fools professing themselves wise, (Rom. 1:22) worshippers of a man-made image and not God. (Rom. 1:23) They are further spoken of as those who have "altared or changed the truth of God into a lie, worshipping creation more than God. Romans states that they have been given over to affections which are "vile." Their sexual union is against nature. (Rom. 1:26) Their error will receive a just reward. (Rom. 1:27) The reason they do these things is not because of "genes" or a personality bent toward such a lifestyle, but because God has given them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things that are inconvenient. They are described as those who are filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness and the like, who knowing the judgment of God commit sins worthy of death, having pleasure in those that do them. (Rom. 1:32)

God's word never sanctions same sex marriage. It is unlawful for the believer in Yeshua/Jesus to receive a mindset that is contrary to God's word.

First of all, same sex marriage dishonours God's original intent found in Genesis 2:13, which states: Therefore the man shall leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and wife and were not ashamed. Homosexuality and lesbianism are described in scripture as sinful, and bearing shame. Same sex marriage dishonours the male as the head of the woman. "But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ. and the head of the woman is the man;" and the head of Christ is God." (I Cor. 11:3)

MORAL PURITY BEGINS WITH A TRANSFORMED THOUGHT LIFE

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations and every high thing that e-xalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." II Cor. 10:3-5.

One cannot be sexually pure in God's eyes while participating in the spirit of that which is scrpturally impure. Sexual purity can be violated with thoughts that don't come to fruition in outward sins of the flesh. In like manner, some individiuals seem ot delight in offending the holy conscience of fellow believers, with off colour jokes and inappropriate remarks. This sort of improper talking and jesting is as repugnant to the serious believer, as any other sexual assault, as they are selfish and deliberate attempts to rob God's people of the priviledge of holy conscience.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devilís schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Whether a film is popular or not, or whether or not magazines contain the latest fashions, are not the basic for justifying the type of "voyeurism" involved in these unwholesome activities, which are sins against both inward and outward holiness. Immodesty in the home and in public is tempts others to engage in sexual sins of this sort.

In the Old Testament, Daniel sanctified himself and abstained from food during a time of prayer and fasting:

"In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia . . .I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; neither did I anoint myself at all, till the three weeks were over." (Daniel 10:1-3)

In like manner, scripture speaks of married couples participating in abstinence during periods of fasting and prayer, "with mutual consent." (I Cor. 7:5)

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