Self Love and the Issue of Masturbation by Scott Bushey

Self- Love

Whats wrong with loving myself? God’s word tells me that I should love myself.

Psa. 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

The antithesis to loving your self would be hating yourself-surely thats sinful; you are made in the image of God, right? To hate yourself would be to hate God.

Lev. 19:18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Matt. 19:19 “Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Matt. 22:39 And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Mark 12:31 And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Luke 10:27   So he answered and said, ““You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’

The distinction between illicit love and a righteous one needs to be made. If your love of self is rooted in pride, that is not what Christ was speaking of, consider the distinction.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.
The apostle is urging us all to offer our body’s up to God as ‘living sacrifices’ to God.-‘holy and pleasing’. Paul calls it an act of true worship.

Calvin writes:

“There are then two things to be considered here, — the first, that we are the Lord’s, — and secondly, that we ought on this account to be holy, for it is an indignity to God’s holiness, that anything, not first consecrated, should be offered to him. These two things being admitted, it then follows that holiness is to be practiced through life, and that we are guilty of a kind of sacrilege when we relapse into uncleanness, as it is nothing else than to profane what is consecrated. But there is throughout a great suitableness in the expressions. He says first, that our body ought to be offered a sacrifice to God; by which he implies that we are not our own, but have entirely passed over so as to become the property of God; which cannot be, except we renounce ourselves and thus deny ourselves. Then, secondly, by adding two adjectives, he shows what sort of sacrifice this ought to be. By calling it living, he intimates, that we are sacrificed to the Lord for this end, — that our former life being destroyed in us, we may be raised up to a new life. By the term holy, he points out that which necessarily belongs to a sacrifice, already noticed; for a victim is then only approved, when it had been previously made holy. By the third word, acceptable, he reminds us, that our life is framed aright, when this sacrifice is so made as to be pleasing to God: he brings to us at the same time no common consolation; for he teaches us, that our work is pleasing and acceptable to God when we devote ourselves to purity and holiness. By bodies he means not only our bones and skin, but the whole mass of which we are composed; and he adopted this word, that he might more fully designate all that we are: for the members of the body are the instruments by which we execute our purposes. The word σώματα, “bodies,” he seems to have used, because of the similitude he adopts respecting sacrifices; for the bodies of beasts we are to consecrate our own bodies.”

Paul goes on to say in verse 2:
“2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Think about it; if you use your flesh for reasons that are against Gods will for you, you are intentionally sinning. To indulge it, time and time again to please yourself, you are not denying yourself; in fact, you are doing the total opposite.  You are not being proactive in your pursuit of righteousness; you are rejecting the Holy Spirit’s guidance and surely grieving Him when you do this.

There, I said it. Lets get the beating around the bush out of the way right at the front end. Everyone knows what mastubation is and everyone is guilty of it at one time or another. I have been told by people that they are ‘struggling’ with the sin and ask if I would keep them in prayer. Are you actually struggling or are you indulging it? Make the distinction. They are not one and the same thing. If I get angry from time to time as opposed to I get angry daily, well you can see the thought process. Routinely participating in self-love is not struggling, but indulging; you are guilty of embracing a thing God hates. You need to quit it. Easier said than done…….

Besetting sins; There is grace!

These are sins that the believer has trouble with; sanctification is a process. Not one is above this problem. The Westminster Confession of faith states:

WCF Chapter 5

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled;(19) and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.

Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.

I believe that the heart is the issue; if a man understands what the divines are saying above, we don’t indulge the sin; there is a difference and we need to acknowledge that.  The great John Owen wrote: “Do you mortify? Do you make it your daily work? Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

“Let no man pretend to fear sin that does not fear temptation also! These two are too closely united to be separated. He does not truly hate the fruit who delights in the root.”

J.I. Packer wrote:
“Sanctification….it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regenerate person, alive to God and freed from sin’s dominion (Rom. 6:11, 14-18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience. God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-re-liant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14;H3b.12:14). Knowing that without Christ’s enabling we can do nothing, morally speaking, as we should, and that he is ready to strengthen us for all that we have to do (PHil. 4:13), we “stay put” (remain, abide) in Christ, asking for his help constantly-and we receive it (Col 1:11; I Tim. 1:12;2Tim. 1:7;2:1).”

We can be encouraged by what these wise men of faith share. God is gracious to His saints. However, even in light of the above, one needs to see that sin is sin and we need to root it out. If I am planning on sinning later today, this is not the attitude these men are espousing. Don’t miss this fact. Grace and law are not at odds-they are partners in the same light.

Rom. 7:21   I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.  22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.  23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Are you walking according to the flesh or according to the spirit? This is key. If according to the flesh, expect condemnation.

Self love is an assault on oneself; it is sexual immorality and your conscience bears witness to it. You always feel guilty after the act and the reason is because the Spirit of God is bearing witness to your spirit that it is wrong.

C. Matthew McMahon in his book, ‘Lust, Purity and the Christian Man’ writes:

“The need for a Biblical treatment of lust and masturbation is necessary. Satan has conveniently disguised this “awful” topic as something that ought not to be mentioned, and never to be preached. The church’s response to this is a deafening silence.”

Do you have another believer who you share accountability with? Do you ever discuss your issue? If not, that’s one way to tell if you are involved in actual idol worship! Idol worship? Yes, you have an idol you need to crush.

When I struggled with masturbation, I never told anyone about the struggle; surely not a Christian man I looked up to. He would see my flaw. He would see the kinks in my armor. I didn’t want that, even though most men struggle with the same things. No one really wants to talk about this sin. Most of the time we justify it and dress it up as a thing it is not. This sin can be the undoing of most all of our other convictions. We call out sins frequently without any difficulty. If a brother is in adultery, we let him have it. If he is involved in viewing porn, we go after that. Lying, the same thing-yet many of us assault our flesh more often than these things just mentioned and make reservations for that sin. Sure, believers are to judge one another, but can it be said it is right when we have egg all over our face? This is another sign of pride; we pick and choose our poisons.

Luke 6:41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

But can it be really said that if you have a plank in your eye, and yes, masturbation is a plank, should you be in the place of judgment when your cup is filthy? Probably not.

Matt. 23:26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

In regards to masturbation, it was a personal thing to me, information not to be shared-I would deal with it alone. My prayers and persistence would pay off, thats how I thought. This went on for years. I was ashamed of it to a degree and I tucked it deep away, only to recall it often. I hated it only after the act and supposedly repented after each fall. I would wonder of the guilt that followed after all, the scriptures are essentially silent on the topic. I had the same guilt, prior to my coming to Christ. Was it the Holy Spirit or just a cultural thing. I was raised Roman Catholic. Was it an erroneous stigma Rome burdened my conscience with, thats what many modern day psychologists will tell you? I knew the scriptures in regards to purity, yet failed to apply them. I reconciled the failures as God leaving this thorn in my side for some reason I was not actually able to logically reconcile; what else could it be. I am a believer! I love the Lord! He has me in mind. He knows my frame is as dust. He loves me unconditionally! God does not tempt us, right?

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

I knew that at the base of the obvious problem was lusting after other females. Prior to my coming to Christ, I was as base as one could have gotten. I wont go into details here as I don’t see that as edifying, but I was highly promiscuous. Based on this fact, it was difficult for me to desensitize. The Holy Spirit had to do a great work in me for any sort of victory. As years passed, I attempted to cover the sin with different types of lies. You all know the arguments. I thought, maybe I can do this without lusting-just get it out of the way-better that I get it over with in lieu of lusting moment from moment, right?  I attempted to even do the deed while not thinking; major fail! I would have short spans of success, maybe a few months at a time and then, succumb to temptation. This went on for years. I looked at porn, from time to time. I was disgusted with myself on these occasions. Not only was I guilty of the sin of self-love, pride, covetousness but add putting evil things before my eyes as well. It’s a chain reaction. A sinfest of sorts.

Is it possible that the disgust is due to the assault on the image of God we are made in. Look at what McMahon says in regards to the Old Testament and emission:

“In the Old Testament men were unclean after orgasm. Leviticus 15:16-18 states, “And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.” There was a defiling nature linked with the expulsion of semen from the male body, and that which it contacts. No doubt there were cleanliness issues which Israel heeded due to their primitive medicinal understanding and the problems of infection and disease. But their washing was not for disease or infection alone. They were ritually unclean for God and corporate worship.”

I am guilty as charged. As well, in all my years of embracing this sin, even as a believer, I recall assaulting myself at times prior to going to worship; yes, this was prior to my understanding of the subject as well as the gravity of the regulative Principle, yet dragged my messy self into church to praise God, putting my idol away until the next time it reared it’s ugly head. Yea, I repented every time in prayer, but was I really repenting? I hated it afterwards, but did I really hate it. Granted, none of us are worthy to approach God outside of Christ. All of us sin as soon as our feet hit the floor-none of us have loved the Lord with all our heart, all of our mind and all of our strength! Sinning intentionally is key. It’s not like a believer wakes up and thinks, I don’t want to love the Lord in those ways today. In this way, self-love is different-it is intentional rebellion.

Possibly the reason so many men struggle with this sin is secondary to the intentional disregarding of teaching the doctrine. God’s word sanctifies; if a subject is neglected, the result is obvious. You might say, “Scott, c’mon man, how can my pastor teach on this from the pulpit?” Well, he can use implication. He can teach on pride, self love and denial of self. He can teach on the illicit subject of pornography. Granted, the people will squirm-but isn’t that what God’s word is to do. I recall a friend years ago telling me, ‘When I come to church, I welcome conviction-I want to be convicted of my sin-so often I go to church and never leave convicted! Please, convict me of my sin so I may repent!’.

Bridling the tongue will bridle the rest of the body:
James 3:3 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Bridle the tongue and you will have victory over the rest of the flesh. As well, if you have not victory in bridling your sexual assault on your flesh, you can be assured that you have no victory in other sins…

Another thing to consider:

If you are looking at porn and you are married, it is a form of adultery and if your sin finds you out, your wife has grounds for divorce. I thought of this often and it truly frightened me. Think about the failure of your calling to be the federal head of your family. Think about submitting and bowing before the idol of the illicit industry. Think about how the devil is so behind this service. Think about Christ sitting with you while you assault your flesh while viewing this junk, knowing deep down that it is sin, you push Christ away for the moment. This is despicable and is not worthy of anything but flat out rebellion.

You might feel, ‘it is not grounds for divorce-I am not actually touching the woman in the pictures!’ You have redefined adultery. What did Jesus say?

Matt. 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Sure, there is a difference, but as Jesus has emphatically stated, you have committed adultery. C. Michael Patton says:

“Is there a difference in the eyes of God between thinking about adultery and actually doing it? Absolutely. If we say anything other than this, I believe we do damage to God’s character and encourage the act based upon its premonition. The point Christ makes in Matt. 5:28 is not that lust and the actual act are equal, but that they both violate the same commandment, even if the degrees of this violation differ. Thus, Christ was telling people – and particularly the religious establishment of the day that thought they were safe because they had fulfilled the letter of the law – that the law runs much deeper. The spirit of the law is what matters. Therefore, if you have ever lusted, you have broken the sixth commandment. If you have ever hated your brother, you have broken the fifth commandment (Matt. 5:22). But, again, the breaking of the principles of the commandment is the issue, not the degree to which it is broken.”

~Taken from:

Granted, all sin is to be repented of and the mate of the man or woman caught in this type of sin is to pursue reconciliation. God hates divorce! Believers are to suffer as Christ has suffered for us.

Example: Hosea and Gomer:

1 Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.”
Hos. 3:2   So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley.  3 And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you.”

Gomer eventually returns to the world, but the example of unconditional and endearing love from her husband Hosea must be noted in all cases of divorce.

What if a woman or man is unable to reconcile? They have grounds, especially if this is a chronic issue. This should make one tremble. Is it worth it to sacrifice your family? Having been given this knowledge, see it as an official rebuke from God and do not go that route ever again. If you tuck away this rebuke and again pursue illicit avenues, it is on your head and as mentioned a number of times already, you have an idol and it needs to be dealt with. Remember what happened to Israel after Moses descended the mount:

Ex. 32:19   So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.  20 Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it. 21 And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?”

Ex. 32:22   So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.  23 For they said to me, “Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’  24 And I said to them, “Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

Ex. 32:25   Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies),  26 then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the LORD’S side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.  27 And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ ”  28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

Don’t try and compound the sin by arguing that it is ok.

2 Cor. 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

I prayed often, for years and asked the Lord to remove this sin from my life. I struggled still. I was wed 13 years ago. That quelled it, but didn’t remove it. Still, from time to time, I assaulted myself. Why? Convenience? Selfishness? Pride? Rebellion against God? Lust? Probably a bit of all these things. I am sure the enemy takes turns using these things as keys to unlock the door to our heart.

Matt 5:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man ‘unclean’;

I have had recent success. In the last 3 years, God has given me grace. I have had relief from the sin of self-love. One of the things I have found is that if you remove the influence, you can have a bit of victory. For instance, pray often, find the trigger, the place where it occurs generally, do not think on the stuff that is the gasoline for the event because without the gas, the lust will not be there. If you do not masturbate, you will not be inclined to look for the lust, which is the gasoline. As well, without the gasoline, you will not be able to complete the act. Remember, these two sins go hand in hand; masturbation is a secondary effect of illicit lust; if you look at illicit material, you will want release. If you remove the illicit material, why would you want release? If you want release, based on normal physiological needs, you will look for the trigger; it is at this time you must pray and avoid those areas where you fall, i.e. the bathroom or other private areas.

I remember a pastor telling me that when he was single, the devil met him nightly in his bed. He had a treatment for this: “I would generally wear sweat pants to bed. Prior to getting in bed, I would pray and then tie the sweat pants drawstrings into a knot that I was unable to untie in the dark”. This may seem a bit silly, but it worked for him. I say, do whatever it takes. If you don’t want to get wet, don’t walk by the water.

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

Pray that you enter not into temptation, resist the devil and he will flee, put on the mind of Christ….

As I have said, at the base of this is illicit lust; one cannot masturbate without illicit thoughts of the opposite sex. If your thoughts are of another male, there are bigger problems to discuss-but that’s another paper.

Many times, if not just the mind and memory, one uses pornography in this pursuit. The numbers of believers who routinely look at porn is staggering. It has been said that 50% of male believers and 20% of female.

let’s start with what God’s word say:

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Clearly this passage says that sinning against one’s own body is ‘sexual immorality’.

Galatians 5:19-21

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 7:2

“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”

Matthew 5:28

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

1 Corinthians 6:13

“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

Mark 7:20-23

“And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

In the beginning God created….He made man of the dust of the ground. He gave the man a woman as a helpmate. The marriage covenant is to ‘Be fruitful and multiply’. The sexual benefit of Gods blessing is sex; it is solely for the procreation of Gods creation. If one is using the blessing outside of the ordinance, it actually turns into a curse as you are blatantly sinning against God and the reason he gave the blessing in the first place. It is akin to flipping your nose at God and saying, “I don’t care what you gave me this for-I know what’s good for me!”.

let’s talk about the sins that are generated from the act. There is sexual immorality, fornication, lust, adultery, coveting, and pride. Additionally, you’re breaking the second commandment if you believe God allows for the sin; lets not forget lying.

“You have placed our iniquities before You–our secret sins in the light of Your presence!” Psalm 90:8

J.R. Miller writes:

“It does not take a rifle-bullet to destroy a life. Men have died from little scratch-wounds.

Some shepherds once saw an eagle soar out from a crag. It flew majestically far up into the sky, but by and by became unsteady in its motions, and began to waver in its flight. At length one wing drooped and then the other, and the poor bird struggled vainly for a moment, and then fell swiftly to the ground. The shepherds sought the fallen bird, and found that a poisonous little serpent had fastened itself upon it while it rested on the crag. The eagle did not know that the serpent was there. But the reptile gnawed in through the feathers, and while the proud monarch was sweeping through the air, the serpent’s fangs were thrust into its flesh, and the eagle came reeling down into the dust!”

The sin of illicit lust is at the crux of this personal sin; to feed that lust, the believer disregards God’s perfect will and submits to things like pornography and filthy literature. It is the fuel to the fire. Pornography causes an indelible stain on the mind. Images are uploaded to the memory center, generally never to be lost. Personally, I can attest to this; I can remember images back from the 1970’s when I first started viewing Playboy magazine. The images are idols that we tuck away in our subconscious for retrieval later. It is only by a regenerated heart and God’s Holy Spirit that we able to have any sort of victory and crush these filthy memories. They seek to take us down and are a valuable tool of the enemy and his minion. Interestingly, I started this paper yesterday-I had a sinful dream last night. Sad, but true.

Our age is particularly susceptible to this sort of calamity. The information age has steadfastly grown exponentially in the last 25 years. Look what we have at our fingertips? In Calvin’s day, the moral fiber was generally refined in relation to this age. They had books, no televisions, no computers. They went to stage shows and wrote their thoughts down on paper. They used a pen and paper! They drew things. How many of us still actually do that and if so, how many of us actually still use cursive writing? Most of us write like a 12 year old and our penmanship is abominable. That’s because we are in the information age; we type things and print them out; we have spell check and word processing programs that do the work for us. In this age, we have Skype on our computer. I can talk to a friend in Manila just as easy as if he was next door. Now, this is a great tool and what a benefit to the body of Christ-but it can be abused; we need to keep it in check. Example: When I first got saved, I remembered passages and addresses. Not any longer, I just Google them. I know the passages to reference, but their addresses? The information age has a bit of numbing potential to it. Did Calvin have struggles like us; yes, there is nothing new under the sun. Their struggles were different, but in the same capacity. The enemy is the great liar and used that which was relevant to that age as he does in ours.

In this day, if I want to sin, in 5 minutes time, I can upload a link and be live in the bedroom of an illicit person. Sure, we read in scripture of prostitution; it has been around since the dawn of creation, but never has it been so accessible as it is in this age.

Pro 5:1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
Pro 5:2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
Pro 5:3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
Pro 5:4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword.
Pro 5:5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Pro 5:6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
Pro 5:7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Pro 5:8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:
Pro 5:9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:
Pro 5:10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
Pro 5:11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
Pro 5:12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
Pro 5:13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
Pro 5:14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
Pro 5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
Pro 5:16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
Pro 5:17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.
Pro 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
Pro 5:19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
Pro 5:20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
Pro 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
Pro 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
Pro 5:23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

My nephew Michael has an issue w/ tobacco. He would like to quit. He has less victory that he would like and routinely asks for prayer about this issue. I had a discussion with him after church one Lords day. “Are you masturbating still?” He nodded. I told him, “If you will get control over that portion of your life, I promise you, you will see victory in regards to those other areas of failure. Yes, I said that. I believe that if you struggle with masturbation, you will struggle with much more things. If you gain victory over this sin, you will have victory over the other things as well. Notice how the enemy kept my nephew’s eyes on the smaller detail. He kept him bound to the cigarettes by his act of masturbation.

What was it that the Apostle Paul said about his body?

1 Cor 9:27 “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

And here:

Rom 7:15-20 “15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

We need to understand that we are in a battle. We all know the passage about the ‘enemy roaming around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour’. We need to be always prayed up; Put on the mind of Christ! Resist the devil and he will flee; pray that you enter not into temptation! Put on the armor of God.

Owen wrote: “Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until it be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death.”

Immodesty as a tool of devils:

Another issue to make mention of is in our church gatherings. God forbid that we are made to stumble in those settings. Both genders should dress modestly and appropriately for these get togethers. We need to consider our brothers and sisters in the faith. The last thing we need is a reason to sin in our worship services; we have enough to deal with mentally-we don’t need the help in diverting our attention at worship due to a scantily clad female or male. The enemy meets us often enough; why give him ammunition? One way to discern if you are dressed properly would be to look at yourself in the mirror and ask if you are dressed like you would be dressed if Christ was returning today?

I will give you another example:

The apostle Paul spoke of eating meat offered to idols:

1Cor. 8:1 Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.  2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.  3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

1Cor. 8:4   Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.  5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords),  6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

1Cor. 8:7   However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.  8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

1Cor. 8:9   But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?  11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

If a thing causes a brother or sister to stumble, we should avoid it out of a love for that brother or sister. We should be cognizant of others before ourselves. Isn’t that what this walk is all about? Denial of self? Carrying a cross. He must increase and I must decrease? Think along these lines always. I do not partake of alcohol, generally. I have had a glass or two of wine this year. I have reservations about drinking socially in public due to my convictions. I am not saying that all believers should abstain in public-that would be silly. However, it is a thing to be considered if the possibility of stumbling a brother or sister in the faith. The same can be said of other liberties as well. We just need to think through some of our choices.

Well, you might say, “Scott, what about the beach-you live in Florida-bikini’s are everywhere!”. I understand. If you struggle with lust, you should avoid things which will be a catalyst for you. I struggle with Walmart advertisements that come in the Sunday paper. I have to continually draw lines for myself, so as I don’t stumble. In regards to woman of faith who live in Florida and frequent the beach and wear revealing bathing attire; think about what I have said already. Why do you need to show so much skin? Is it for you or for the people looking at your goods? If it is the latter, you need to check yourself. Lay out in your yard, if you need to tan like that. Keep yourself for your future mate that God is preparing. Most Christian woman hang their hat on Proverbs 31. Are you following the exhortations?

I want to mention here as well that this sin of self love is not just a male item. Many females struggle with this sin. I have seen surveys where it is said that many woman struggle with it and porn addictions. I would guess the numbers are lower, but nonetheless true.

Is there more to be said here? I am sure. This paper does not encompass everything. I am but one man writing down random thoughts on the issue. I am not a marriage or sex counselor. I am but a man who knows the struggles that come with our walks and that, I bear witness. You may be thinking, “Scott, I will gain a better foot hold of this sin when I am wed!” You think so?  I can promise you, it may get worse. In my case, it did not worsen. But I have spoken to pastor’s who still struggle with this sin even though they have faithful wives and a healthy sex life.

Is masturbation in and of itself sinful?

We have all seen the arguments. “It is not a sin. It is no more sin than the scratching of an itch that one gets on a spot on their neck. The sin is the illicit lust that follows”. “The bible never mentions that masturbation is a sin!”

Most peoples go to verse on this subject is the sin of Onan.

Gen. 38:6   Then Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.  7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD killed him.  8 And Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.”  9 But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother.  10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD; therefore He killed him also.

In my opinion, this is not about masturbation, but a failure to procreate as God commanded; in that God killed Onan. Notice it says that Onan ‘went into his brother’s wife’. This is what is called ‘coitus interruptus’. The act was interrupted and finished by ‘spilling’ the seed of the man on the ground. One cannot disregard spilling of the seed irresponsibly with it’s relationship to masturbation; both are guilty of an abuse which God condemns.

Ainsworth, Henry, 1571-1622
[Speaking of Onan] “An unkind, and most unnatural [act]; to spill the seed, which by God’s blessing should serve for the propagation of mankind.”

Wordsworth, Christopher, 1807-1887
quotes A. Lapide:
“The Hebrews and the Christians agree that Er committed the same kind of effeminate sin and retraction as Onan, which is contrary to the nature of procreation and marriage…”

Westminster Annotations, 1657, by John Ley of the Westminster Assembly
“…now such acts [as Onan’s spilling seed] are noted in the scripture as horrible crimes, because, otherwise many might commit them, and not know the evil of them: it is conceived, that his brother Er before, was his brother in evil thus far, that both of them satisfied their sensuality against the order of nature, and therefore the Lord cut them off both alike with sudden vengeance; which may be for terror…”

Wesley, John Commentary on Genesis
“Onan, though he consented to marry the widow, yet to the great abuse of his own body, …Those sins that dishonour the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile actions. Observe, the thing which he did displeased the Lord–And it is to be feared, thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls. ”

Augustine, 354-430, The Good of Marriage
“For what gratification is there (except perhaps for lascivious persons, and those who, as the apostle says with prohibition, “possess their vessel in the lust of concupiscence”) in the mere shedding of seed as the ultimate pleasure of sexual union, …?”

Calovius, Abraham, 1612-1686
“That [Onan] must have been a willful, desperate fellow, for this is always a shameful sin, yet much more atrocious than a case of incest or adultery: we call it a sin of the effeminate, indeed, even a sin of Sodomy.”

Calvin, John Commentary on Genesis
“I will contend myself with briefly mentioning [Onan’s act], as far as the sense of shame allows to discuss it. It is a horrible thing to pour out seed besides the intercourse of man and woman.”

Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Paedagogus
“Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted.”

Dannhauer, Conrad, 1603-1666
“Although, I say, this sin [destruction of seed] is considered insignificant, indeed, a speck of dust, in the eyes of the world and of the whole of Babylon, it is still in the holy and chaste eyes of God an exceedingly abhorrent and shameful atrocity, more offensive than common whoredom and adultery; because it is more monstrous and runs contrary to nature and God’s order.”

Richter, J. Heinrich, 1799-1847
“In v. 9, shameful atrocities are designated that one does not want to mention! – Whoever practices this or something similar, things which from Onan have the name Onany [Onanism], cannot inherit the kingdom of God. 1. Cor. 6:9 and 10:8.”

Gerber, Christian, 1660-1731, On Secret Unchastity
“Did we not instruct our people all too little so that the common man did not know what was sin? …I ask whether it is not necessary to warn the people against Onanitic and other mute sins, especially since the Holy Spirit Himself does not pass over such sins in silence but has them shown in the case of the godless Onan, Gen. 38:9. What else certain Christian wives have complained to me about, how their husbands were accustomed to act with them, I should not report here because of modesty.”

Hughes, George, 1603-1667
“Destruction of future seed [was one of] Onan’s horrid crimes.”

Lactantius, Divine Institutes
“God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, the genital part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring.”

Lange, Johann Peter, 1802-1884
“Onan’s sin, a deadly wickedness, an example to be held in abhorrence, as condemnatory, not only of secret sins of self-pollution, but also of all similar offences in sexual relations, and even in marriage itself. Unchastity in general is a homicidal waste of the generative powers, a demonic bestiality, an outrage to ancestors, to posterity, and to one’s own life. It is a crime against the image of God, and a degradation below the animal. Onan’s offence, moreover, as committed in marriage, was a most unnatural wickedness, and a grievous wrong. The sin named after him is destructive as a pestilence that walketh in darkness, destroying directly both the body and soul of the young. But common fornication is likewise an unnatural violation of the person, a murder of two souls and a desecration of the body as the temple of God. There are those in our Christian communities who are exceedingly gross in this respect; a proof of the most defective development of what may be called, the consciousness of personality and of personal dignity.”

Luther, Martin Luthers Works, Volume Seven
“[The] exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches follows [Genesis 38:9, 10]. Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, Yes a Sodomitic sin.”

Mather, Cotton The Pure Nazirite
“It is time for me to tell you that the crime against which I warn you is that self-pollution which, from the name of the only person that stands forever stigmatized for it in our Holy bible, bears the name of ONANISM.”

Musculus, Wolfgang, 1497-1563
“Let all those be absolutely terrified by [Onan’s] example who thus relieve their lust…”

Paraeus, David, 1548-1586
“…we learn how much God hates every abuse of genital seed, illicit emission and wasting it: and we learn that we are to live chaste and holy lives before God in marriage just as much as in the celibate life. For God sees and punishes every impurity, even those which are committed in secret.”

Poole, Matthew, 1624-1679
“[Onan’s] sin itself…is…particularly described by the Holy Ghost, that men might be instructed concerning the nature and the great evil of this sin of self-pollution, which is such that it brought upon the actor of it the extraordinary vengeance of God, and which is condemned not only by Scripture but even by the light of nature and the judgment of heathens who have expressly censured it as a great sin, and as a kind of murder…. Whereby we may sufficiently understand how wicked and abominable a practice this is amongst Christians, and in the light of the gospel which lays greater and stricter obligations upon us to purity and severely forbids all pollution both of flesh and spirit.”

Andrew Willet, 1562-1621
“[Onan’s sin was] against the order of nature, using the act of generation for pleasure only…”

The sin of masturbation is a doctrine that is necessarily inferred. Taking into consideration what I have already said in this paper, how could one walk away from these facts thinking that self-love is not in one form or another a sin? I suggest that if you continue to kick against the goads you show forth the sin of pride. You refuse to acknowledge the truth and in that, it is quite possible that you may be still in your flesh and rebellious to God’s spirit. How many times have you said, ‘You will know them by their fruits’? Is a repetitive sin the act of practicing lawlessness? Does not repentance mean that one turns away, never to return? If the power of the Holy Spirit resides in you, why are we all struggling so with this issue? This is good food for thought.

Look at what Malachi says:

11  Judah hath dealt treacherously,

And an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem;

For Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved,

And hath married the daughter of a strange god.

12  The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar,

Out of the tabernacles of Jacob,

And him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts.

13  And this have ye done again,

Covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out,

Insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more,

Or receiveth it with good will at your hand.

14  Yet ye say, Wherefore?

Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth,

Against whom thou hast dealt treacherously:

Yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.

15  And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit.

And wherefore one? That he might seek ta godly seed.

Therefore take heed to your spirit,

And let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

16  For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away:

For one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts:

Therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

Can it be said that the above chastening of Israel was secondary to masturbation? Not primarily; however, the shoe fits in so many ways. By masturbating you deal treacherously with the groom, Christ Jesus. If you are married, you deal treacherously with the wife of your youth. God commands a godly seed. He does not expect you to waste your seed upon the ground!

I will end with a quote from Thomas Brooks:

“While a darling sin lives and keeps the throne in the heart,
grace and holiness will be kept exceeding weak and low. But
when your darling sin is dethroned and slain by the power
and the sword of the Spirit—grace and holiness will quickly
grow stronger and stronger, and rise higher and higher.

When a man has eaten poison, nothing will make him thrive,
until he has vomited up the poison. Beloved sins—they are
the poison of the soul, and until these are vomited up, and
cast out by sound repentance, and the exercise of faith in the
blood of Christ, the soul will never thrive in grace and holiness!

If ever you would attain to higher degrees of holiness,
then fall with all your might, upon subduing and crucifying
your most raging corruptions, and your most daring lusts!

Oh do not think that your golden and your silver idols will
lay down their weapons, and yield the battle, and lie at your
feet, and let you trample them to death—without striking a
blow! Oh remember that besetting-sins will do all they can
to keep their ground, and therefore you must arise with all
your strength against them, and crush them to powder,
and burn them to ashes!

Oh deal with your most enraged lusts, as the Philistines
dealt with Samson—pluck out their eyes, and force them
to grind in the mill of mortification, until their strength is
utterly consumed and wasted.

I have read of five men, who being asked what was
the best means to mortify sin, gave these answers.

Said the first, “The best means to mortify sin,
is to meditate on death.”

Said the second, “The best means to mortify sin,
is to meditate on the judgment-day.”

Said the third, “The best means to mortify sin,
is to meditate on the joys of heaven.”

Said the fourth, “The best means to mortify sin,
is to meditate on the torments of hell.”

Said the fifth, “The best means to mortify sin, is to
meditate on the death and sufferings of Christ.”

Doubtless the last man hit the nail on the head!

The daily sight of a bleeding, groaning, dying
Savior—is the only thing which will subdue and
mortify darling sins!

O friends! Never leave looking up to a crucified Christ,
until virtue flows from Him to the crucifying of those
special besetting sins which do most obstruct and
hinder the growth and increase of holiness.

Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry”.

Thomas Brooks-from his writing “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness”, 1662

I pray this short paper blesses you and causes you to continue to pursue righteousness.

Add’l info on the subject: On Onanism


4/7/14. Yesterday a prominent pastor here in the Ft. Lauderdale area resigned for moral failure. I posted this on a private area of Facebook:

I’m a bit angry right now; you will have to bear with me as I vent.

In light of the immorality Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel, Ft. Lauderdale, it has again dawned on me to re-emphasize a concern and conviction:

Gentlemen, if you are masturbating, you are sinning. If you are practicing it, you are showing signs of a tree of bad fruit. It is immorality. You need to quit it. We need to pray for each other in this regard. If you look at porn, you are compounding the issue.

Example: if you were a eunuch, would you look at porn? What would be the reason? You wouldn’t. if you look at porn, you will pursue a release. If you are masturbating, it is quite possible that you will entertain other things, i.e. extramarital affairs, etc.

If you are married, if you look at porn, it is a level of adultery. If I was to counsel anyone who’s mate was looking at porn and felt betrayed and wanted a divorce, I would counsel the person to forgive and pray; if that person could not, how would I not understand their complaint?

If you look at porn, you will masturbate. If you masturbate, you will most likely look at porn.

Psa. 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O LORD;
aTeach me Your statutes.

My wife and I have a healthy sex life. I told her the other day that I notice that when we are less active, I have trouble keeping my hands out of that particular zone. I didn’t stumble, mind you; however, I notice my mind gravitates towards satisfying myself. She is cognizant of the issue. We have a special relationship; God has been really faithful with us; we have been married 17 years. Not all men have wives that are concerned with holiness. This takes much prayer.

I pray this short note gets the point across. The family of pastor Bob will suffer; a divorce may be in the works. He has lost his position and pulpit; and rightfully so. Sad, but true. But now comes the aftermath. Possibly, if these things were heeded, he may not have had an issue-but hey, who is to know. This was on my heart again, so there you have it.