They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
–Romans 1:25

Where does freedom from God lead? When a person says, “I want to be unshackled from God. I want Him to let go of me. I want to follow my own inclinations,” God gives such a person over.

God abandons unbelievers to immorality. “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (1:24-25). This word “impurity” refers to sexual immorality. People say, “Why is there such an emphasis on sexual immorality in the Bible? Isn’t all sin the same?” Sexual immorality is special kind of rebellion against God, and it represents certain destruction.

How is sexual sin rebellious? God created sex to be a gift to us. But along with that gift there were some stipulations. He said, “Sex is a gift from Me that is for a man and a woman in a lifelong marriage relationship.” But whenever we pervert God’s gift of sex through premarital sex, adultery, or homosexuality, it is a rebellion. It is like saying: “God, we do not like Your gift; we are going to twist it and use it the way we want to.” It is rebellious.

Second, sexual immorality is very destructive. In 1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul said, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” When you sin sexually, you are not only sinning against God, but you are sinning against your own body. How is that? If you put your hand near a fire, you will sense the heat and pull your hand back. Why? Because God has placed nerve endings in your hand that make it sensitive to heat. Did you know that people with leprosy have no feeling in their hands and feet? Their nerve endings have been destroyed. So the destructive part of leprosy is that people can walk on a nail and destroy their feet, or touch something that is hot and destroy their hands. They are destroying themselves, but they are not aware of it.

In the same way, the Bible says when you disobey God, especially in the sexual arena, you have a conscience that tells you that what you are doing is wrong. But when you engage in that sin over and over again, you can so harden your conscience that you develop spiritual leprosy–you cannot feel anything any longer and so do great harm to yourself. That is why in 1 Timothy 4:2, Paul talked about those who have had their consciences seared as though with a branding iron. Imagine taking a branding iron, placing it on your hand, and pressing in on it until your nerve endings were destroyed. When you disobey God, especially in the sexual arena, it hardens your conscience so that you cannot feel anything any longer and you engage in behaviors that will ultimately destroy you.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When God Lets Go” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.