The Seven Steps to Stop Sinning
Before proceeding to tell you how to stop sinning, I’ll first discuss why you would want to stop sinning. Now you may be saying, “Why wouldn’t I want to stop sinning? Of course I’d like to stop sinning.” To you I say, God bless you. That is a normal and correct reaction. There are others, however, who in their bent thinking, believe that you cannot be both saved by grace and interested in living a righteous life in accordance with the Bible’s teachings. They mistakenly call those who wish to live in accordance with God’s laws, legalistic. In fact, legalism is the belief that you can be saved by your works. That is not what we are teaching. We are teaching that if God has put laws into place then it is good to follow those laws as best we can. The only laws that were done away with by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross were the sacrificial laws; laws that when acted upon provided for the forgiveness of sins. Examples would be the the wave offering, the offering of a lamb’s blood, and so forth. It is clear that the other laws such as those that forbid murder, those that forbid adultery, those that forbid fornication and so forth, are not sacrificial laws. They are to be followed and should be given a high place of honor in the lives of those who love the Lord. In order to discuss the topics on which all Christians can agree, I will not discuss the keeping of the Sabbath in this article. I’ll come back to it at a later date. A final note to my preface, it’s important that everyone sin as little as possible regardless of whether they are Christians or not. With less sin in the world there is less confusion and less strife. However, sinning less will not get you to heaven. Being born again will.
It truly is important to know what sin is, for it is written; “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 Since no sane person would want the words “woe to you” to apply to them, we must avoid calling evil good and good evil but how can we do that if we don’t even know what evil is? With that in mind, our study begins. This study of sin will focus on sins that fall under the category of fornication since that seems to be the most difficult for people to understand and I am not one who turns from controversy.
As you may have realized from the preceding discussion, the first step to stop sinning is to know what acts, and that includes thoughts, are sins.
The Seven Steps to Stop Sinning
Turn away from sin and to the Lord.
Read the Bible.
Learn what acts (and that includes thoughts) are sins.
How do we know what acts or thoughts are sinful? We know because they are specifically defined in the Bible. ALL sins are defined in the Bible. If the Bible does not define something as sin then it isn’t sin. The number of things that we can do without sinning is infinite. The number of things that we cannot do without sinning are finite. Everything below in quotes is taken directly from Leviticus in the King James Bible. I have not labeled the verses for easier reading. God is good. He’s given us so many wondrous things to enjoy but it is our sinful nature that confuses our minds and tells us that what is good may not be good after all. To lead a righteous life requires that we not make up things (and that includes cultural taboos) and call them sin for that would be to “call good evil.” If you do that, “Woe to you.” Furthermore, we can not change the definition of words to suit our cultural biases. We cannot pull out Webster’s dictionary and use it to define Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic words that are translated to English in the Bible. We must obtain the Bible’s definition of every word. It is not a difficult task considering all the modern day study guides available. Online Bibles and concordances are readily available. Now, if the Bible defines adultery as intercourse between a married woman and a man who is not her husband then that is adultery. Nothing else may be defined as adultery unless somewhere in the pages of the Bible an additional definition is given. All future texts concerning adultery must be analyzed in the light of what we have already been given, in context. Committing adultery in the heart and committing murder in the heart are not new sins, they’re simply clarifications of the commands, “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” and “thou shalt not bear false witness,” both of which are acts of hatred that precipitate more heinous crimes; adultery and murder.
Even though I have stated that the number of sins we are capable of committing is finite, there are still quite a number of sins to list. Too many to address in one article. For pre-salvation Jews there were 613 commands which were called Mitzvot. For today’s Christians there are quite a few less commands after you’ve deducted the number of commands associated with the sacrificial offerings. At this website I will soon post the list of those Mitzvot with notes specifying which of them do not apply to Christians who are not Jews as well as which ones are claimed to apply only to Messianic Jews. To shorten our task for today, I’ll limit our discussion to the commands regarding fornication. In order to complete this lesson in a reasonable amount of time I will limit my cross referencing of verses. When it comes to commands against fornication, Leviticus is the best place to start. In Leviticus it is often the case that the category of sin is first mentioned then the specific acts are defined. In order to avoid calling good evil and evil good, we must read the verses that follow the general category.
“None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover [their] nakedness: I [am] the LORD.” (This is the general category of the sin of incest. What is considered incest follows.)
“The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she [is] thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.”
(Biological Parent incest.)
“The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it [is] thy father’s nakedness.”
(Step mother incest.)
“The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, [whether she be] born at home, or born abroad, [even] their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.”
(Biological sibling incest. [even if you’ve never met them before])
“The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, [even] their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs [is] thine own nakedness.”
(Biological grand father incest.)
“The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she [is] thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.”
(Step sibling incest.)
“Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she [is] thy father’s near kinswoman.”
(Biological aunt on father’s side incest.)
“Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she [is] thy mother’s near kinswoman.”
(Biological aunt on mother’s side incest.)
“Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she [is] thine aunt.”
(Wife of deceased uncle on father’s side incest. [note: it is indeed after he has died for before he has died it would be the greater crime of adultery.])
“Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she [is] thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.”
(Wife of deceased son incest. [note: it is indeed after he has died for before he has died it would be the greater crime of adultery.])
“Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it [is] thy brother’s nakedness.”
(Wife of deceased brother incest. [note: it is indeed after he has died for before he has died it would be the greater crime of adultery.]) *exemption is levirate marriage.
*the exemption does not make the rule!
“Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; [for] they [are] her near kinswomen: it [is] wickedness.
(Step father & Step grand father incest. Applies whether married or not.)
“Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex [her], to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life [time].”
(Biological sister of living wife prohibited as wife or lover.)
End of kin relationship bans.
Beginning of general fornication bans.
“Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.”
(Woman in her menstruation prohibited.)
“Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.”
(Other man’s wife prohibited.)
“And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through [the fire] to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I [am] the LORD.”
(Child sacrifice prohibited.)
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.”
(Male homosexuality prohibited.)
“Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it [is] confusion.”
(Male & Female beastiality prohibited.)
“For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit [them] shall be cut off from among their people.”
(Exile is the minimum penalty for any of the above offenses.)
Following here are the verses containing further penalties for some of these offenses.
“Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever [he be] of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth [any] of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.”
(Death penalty by stoning for child sacrifice.)
“And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
(Death penalty by stoning for a married woman and the man who is not her husband who is found having relations with her. [Note: An unmarried woman cannot commit adultery and neither a married man nor an unmarried man cannot commit adultery by having relations with an unmarried woman. There are other offenses which we’ll discuss later that have to do with relationships outside of marriage.])
And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.”
(Death penalty for relations with a deceased father’s wife. Applies to the man and the woman.)
“And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood [shall be] upon them.”
(Death penalty for relations with a deceased son’s wife. Applies to the man and the woman.)
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.”
(Death penalty for male homosexuality. [note: Whatever God’s reasoning, He has spared lesbians the death penalty although they are committing the sin of coveting for women were created for man, not for woman.
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.)
“And if a man take a wife and her mother, it [is] wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.”
(Death penalty by burning for relations with a mother and her daughter. All three are to be put to death by burning.)
“And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.”
(Death penalty for male to beast intercourse. Both the man and the beast are to be put to death.)
“And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.”
(Death penalty for female to beast intercourse. Both the woman and the beast are to be put to death.)
“And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it [is] a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.”
(Banishment for both the man and the woman is the penalty when a man has intercourse with his sister or half sister.)
A frequent pitfall that people fall into is to believe that we are to “obey the laws of the land.” This admonition does not ocurr in scripture. The oft quoted verse regarding this is Hebrews 13:17
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.” The last phrase must be noted. They’re watching over your souls ‘for that [which is] unprofitable for you.'” A ruler who tells you that good is evil and evil is good is certainly not looking out for your interests. In fact, they’re seeking to lead you down the same wrong road of woe that they already are travelling.
An example wherein Paul himself breaks this rule with no qualms follows:
“Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, [thou] whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?” Acts 23:5 (It is true that Paul was reprimanded for speaking this way but only because the man he spoke to was the High Priest. Had he been one of the lesser authorities among those present as Paul had thought then he would have been free to speak against him.)
The place I wanted to bring you in this study was to clarify the laws of fornication and to teach you how not to fornicate.
Do not call good evil nor evil good.
Now you’re saying, “Duh, you started out with that.”
Yes, I did. But it’s easy to say you won’t call evil good nor good evil before you’ve heard what evil or good is. For example, since the Bible does not forbid any of the following they are not evil, specifically, they are good. Being good does not mean you must do them but it means that for those who have chosen to do them they are indeed good and likewise you are not too good to do them.
Marrying your cousin.
Marrying your uncle.
Marrying more than one wife.
Furthermore, examples where all of these took place after the law was given, and took place without condemnation, are evidence that God did not simply forget to mention them. If they are sins they would have been clearly listed along with the many other sins that are listed in the Bible.
I have begun with these examples because they will be the most difficult for you to accept. If you cannot accept what the Bible teaches on these then you’re not trusting the Bible, you’re trusting your culture. Rather than mess around with teachings that I know you’ll accept I may as well just get straight to the hard teachings and see if you love the Lord enough to accept His teachings or whether you can only accept His teachings when they’re in line with your culture.
To make even more clear how the Bible defines good and evil and how none of the men in the Bible committed uncondemned sins, listen to this. Amram married his own aunt, Jochebed, and Amram was the father of Moses. Why wasn’t this condemned? It was before the law and it is written in Romans 5:13
“For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
Again, Jacob married his cousin Leah and then married the sister of Leah; Rachel. This was forbidden after the law.
Before the law that was delivered to Moses there were many cases of condemned behaviors in the scriptures. Those served as the law until Moses received the law from God.
However, there are many things which were neither forbidden before the law nor after the law. God used the opportunity of delivering the law to Moses to forbid everything that was prior to that permitted for whatever reason God, in His infinite wisdom had, up until that time. One thing that he did not forbid prior to the law nor after the law was for a man to have more than one wife. Can you accept this without arguing against it from your cultural taboos?
So that you’ll understand that there are more types of fornication than I have already listed I will provide some more verses.
“Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;” 1Peter 3:1
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22
“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.” Eph 5:24
“[To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:5
Are you a woman? Do you act in subjection to your husband or do you blaspheme the word of God in your disobedience? (This blaspheming of the word of God is fornication.) If you cannot be subject to a man with the few demands that your husband has then how can you be subject to the Lord who has even greater demands?
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Gen 3:16
“Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.” Collosians 3:19
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;” Genesis 3:17
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
Are you a man? Do you take your role as master of your wife seriously? Do you rule over your wife as the Lord commands while not provoking wrath? Are you able to understand the differences between men and women without harboring bitterness? Are you able to NOT listen to your wife when she asks you to act against what is best for your family such as to spend money just to keep up with the Joneses? Are you able to rule your household without provoking your children to wrath?
If you don’t know how to do this, much of the fault lies with an ignorance of scripture and an unwillingness to spend enough time studying the Bible. Now do you still want to know how to stop sinning? Great! Here’s the next step.
Actively promote good.
To actively promote good means to stand up for what is good and to stand against what is bad. The Bible clearly states, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalms 119:105 “For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:” Proverbs 6:23
Men, are you ashamed to tell others that you rule over your wife? Are you ashamed to tell your wife that you rule over her? Are you afraid to discuss what the Bible teaches on marriage in your household? If you fear this and out of your fear you do not speak up for the truth then you are not willing to stop sinning. Sure you can continue to go to your church revivals and choir ministries but, face it, you’re a fake. You can’t even accept what the Bible teaches on marriage. No wonder there are so many divorces amoung Christians.
Women, are you ashamed to tell others that your husband rules over you? (Are you such a woman that really lets her husband rule? If so, bless you.) Are you afraid to raise your children in fear of changing God’s word so that they will not learn false teachings about morality but learn only the Bible’s teachings? If so, you must accept that the Bible allows a man to have more than one wife. This does not mean that your husband will have more than one wife. It simply means that you will begin to better understand your relationship to your husband.
Make friends with people before witnessing to them. Then share your faith when the right time presents itself.
Don’t follow a textbook type of Christianity that scares away people. Share the way you see life first. Reference the Bible freely but not in a way to show off your Bible knowledge. Make it clear that you love God. Be a good buddy to those you meet. There will be a time when you can share in a deeper way that will be meaningful to those whose hearts have been opened by your kindness.
My prayers are with you as you learn to sin less and please God more.
Much more material is posted on Andromony.com covering the following topics and more:
Greek Word studies: The difference between having yourself [idios] a husband and having yourself [heautou] a wife.