Daily Archives: June 6, 2014

Questions about Sin: What Is the Meaning of Debauchery?

 

Debauchery is the habitual and unrestrained indulgence of lust and sensuality. There are several places in Scripture where the word debauchery is used to indicate what we would today call “partying.” It encompasses several aspects of unholy living, including but not limited to sexual immorality, drunkenness, crude talk, and generally out-of-control behavior.

Examples of the use of debauchery in the Bible include

  • Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
  • 1 Peter 4:3, “For you have given time enough in the past to the doing of the things which the Gentiles delight in—pursuing, as you did, a course of habitual license, debauchery, hard drinking, noisy revelry, drunkenness and unholy image-worship.”
  • Luke 15:13, in reference to the lifestyle of the prodigal son, “No long time afterwards the younger son got all together and traveled to a distant country, where he wasted his money in debauchery and excess.”
  • Romans 13:13, “Living as we do in broad daylight, let us conduct ourselves becomingly, not indulging in revelry and drunkenness, nor in lust and debauchery, nor in quarreling and jealousy.”

Romans 13:14 goes on to contrast a debauched lifestyle with one that honors God: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” The idea of debauchery is always used in reference to the ungodly (Galatians 5:19). There is no support in Scripture for a Christian to engage in debauchery. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). Those who are filled with the Spirit will not live in licentiousness.

Debauchery encompasses all that God hates (Romans 1:18), and it brings destruction in the end (Galatians 6:8). A Christian is one who has chosen to deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). The lifestyle of carnality and the lifestyle of spirituality are incompatible and therefore cannot coexist. First John 5:18 says, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin.” Galatians 5:23 says that those saved from debauchery exhibit self-control. “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (verse 24).

Debauchery is the polar opposite of godliness. It characterizes those who do not know Christ, those who are on the “broad way” that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). No one who chooses a lifestyle of debauchery can also be a follower of Christ (Romans 6:1–2; 1 John 2:3; 3:10).[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Christian Life: What Does It Mean to Love God?

 

First, loving God requires knowing Him, and that knowledge begins with His Word. It may sound glib, but to know Him is to love Him.

To love God is to worship and praise Him. “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only’ ” (Luke 4:8). The book of Psalms provides many beautiful examples of how to worship and praise our Creator (e.g., Psalms 8, 19, 23, 24, 67, 99, 117, and 150).

To love God is to put Him first. The number-one commandment is to love God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). It’s an undivided love. God is our priority. If we love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, then we won’t allow other things to crowd in. Our love for God is manifested by loving people (Mark 12:31), but we do not love the things of the world. “Earth has nothing I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25). We cannot love this present world and God at the same time (1 John 2:15); love for what the world offers can lead us astray (2 Timothy 4:10).

To love God is to desire Him, to yearn for His righteousness, His Word, and His grace. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). Once we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), we want more of Him. If we love God, we will be like Mary of Bethany, “who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (Luke 10:39). If we love God, the psalmist’s description of the Word of God will resonate within us: “[it is] more precious than gold, than much pure gold; … sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb” (Psalm 19:10).

Suppose a man is separated from his sweetheart and receives a letter from her. His first action will be to eagerly open the letter and pore over its contents. His love for his beloved will naturally cause him to love her correspondence with him. The same is true with our love for God’s Word. Because we love the Author, we love His message to us. We read it avidly and often, we hold it close, and we hide its words in our hearts.

Finally, to love God is to obey Him. Jesus tells us, “If you love me you will obey what I command” (John 14:15, 23; 15:10; 1 John 5:3). However, this is not a matter of merely following rules and registering good deeds. It is about having God’s love written indelibly on our hearts. We naturally wish to please those we love. When we love God, we will want to please Him and obey His commands eagerly. “I delight to do your will” (Psalm 40:8).[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Characters in the Bible: Who Was the Asaph Mentioned in the Book of Psalms?

 

There were a number of Levites that King David assigned as worship leaders in the tabernacle choir, according to 1 Chronicles 6:31–32. Asaph was one of these men (1 Chronicles 6:39). Asaph’s duties are described in detail in 1 Chronicles 16. According to 2 Chronicles 29:30, both Asaph and David were skilled singers and poets. Asaph is also mentioned as a “seer” or prophet. The “sons of Asaph” are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 20:14, and Ezra 2:41. The sons of Asaph were likely a guild of skilled poets and singers, modeling themselves musically after Asaph, their master. The church musicians of our day can be considered spiritual “children of Asaph.”

Psalms 50 and 73–83 are called the “Psalms of Asaph” because his name appears in the superscription at the head of those psalms. Regarding Asaph’s role as a prophet, of particular interest is the imprecatory Psalm 83, which deals with God’s judgment of Israel’s enemies: Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagarites, Gebal, Ammon, the Amalekites, Philistia, Tyre, and Assyria. If we examine the psalms written by Asaph, we can see that all of them have to do with the judgment of God, and many involve the prayers of the people at the prospect or moment of a particular event.

Asaph was a gifted individual. He understood where the gift came from, and he used his music to praise the Lord and communicate His Word to a needy world.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

A Tale of Two Gospels

And [Jesus] also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

– Luke 18:9–14 –

Pharisee and Publican

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