Article by Paul David Tripp, posted on PaulTripp.com
Are you in a moment of temptation right now, or have you experienced temptation recently? Are you experiencing some type of sexual suffering right now, or have you recently?
(If not, I'm sure you are close to someone who is.)
As sexual beings with sinful hearts, we should anticipate attraction to things that God prohibits. Similarly, as residents of a fallen world, we should expect to suffer, and at times, that suffering will impact our sexuality.
Despite these inevitable discouraging realities, there's an encouraging promise in Scripture that surpasses whatever we will face.
I love the words of Romans 8:31 - "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
There are many ways in which I could communicate how God is for you, but I want to focus on three foundational principles that come from the same discussion in Romans 8.
God Is For You … With Uncomfortable Grace (vv. 18-25)
The sexual struggles you face are not a sign that God has forgotten or abandoned you. He has placed you in a fallen world and in a broken body because he is delivering to you redemption, not your ideal situation of comfort and pleasure.
In the hands of our Redeemer, this groaning world becomes a tool of his transforming, refining, heart-changing grace. God uses the sexual brokenness around us to expose our wandering hearts. No, he won't ever tempt us to sin, but he will use the chaos to drive us to more deeply and consistently follow him.
God Is For You … With Supplying Grace (vv. 26-32)
At times, the battle with temptation is so great, so discouraging, and so emotionally taxing that you don't even know how to pray. In these moments, God does not turn his back on you. In fact, the Holy Spirit carries your cries in words of grace to the Father.
Beyond that, the Cross of Jesus Christ is our guarantee that in all our struggles with sex, no matter who we are and what those struggles may be, God will give us everything we need. If he willingly gave us his Son, we can rest assured he will gladly supply what we are not able to supply for ourselves.
God Is For You … With Inseparable Grace (vv. 33-39)
I've had countless people say to me in counseling sessions, "I think I’ve fallen so much that God has given up on me." It's a cruel lie of the Enemy that God would ever give up on one of his blood-purchased children.
The end of Romans 8 famously assures us that we will never encounter or struggle with anything that has the power to separate us from the love of the One who so generously blesses us with his presence and his grace.
You see, this world, with all its sexual distortion, confusion, and seduction, can't separate you from God's love. Your darkest moment of sexual wandering and defeat can’t separate you from God's love. His love for you is eternal.
So if Romans 8 is right about who God is and what he has given us in Jesus Christ, then we should be the most honest community on earth, because we know that whatever is known or exposed about us has already been fully covered by his amazing grace.
Why don't we talk honestly and hopefully about our sexual struggles and suffering!
Paul David Tripp
- When was the last time you experienced the uncomfortable grace of God? How did you respond, and did your responses draw you closer to the Lord, or push you farther away?
- Have you ever felt that your sin, or your suffering, had separated you from the love of God? In addition to Romans 8, what other Biblical evidence can you preach to yourself in these dark moments?
- Who do you know who needs the truths from Romans 8:18-39? Whether or not it pertains to their sexuality, suffering or something else, how can you be a tool of God's encouragement?