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Will impure thoughts condemn me

Question:

Jesus has answered all my prayers. He has allowed me to organize and lead campground ministries, to do church services in three states and He gave me a great singing voice which I use for His honor and glory. 

However, I have a severe problem with impure thoughts that automatically pop up when reading, watching TV and even walking outside. I have memorized scripture and stopped watching movies that are not PG rated.  I have read some scripture that says impure thoughts will keep me out of Heaven.  Is that true?  How do I fight such a sin?

Answer:

There are two questions here: 1) Will impure thoughts condemn me?  and 2) How do I fight such a sin?  We’ll get to addressing the fight against impure thoughts (see link below), but first let’s address the question of whether sinful thoughts are condemning for a believer, someone who belongs to Jesus. While this person didn’t say he is a believer, we’ll start by assuming that, since we know that impure thoughts (as well as any other sin) are condemning for non-believers.  

So, can impure thoughts keep someone out of Heaven? To answer this we must begin by understanding the gift of salvation we have in Christ. And the security that we have in His love. 

Salvation in Christ

In our salvation, Jesus washed us clean by the power of His atoning blood (Revelation 1:5). He forgave every sin we have committed and every sin we will commit (past, present and future). He regenerated our souls by the power of His Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) and He imputed His righteousness to us (2 Corinthians 5:21).  That’s what makes us worthy to stand before God.  We stand clean in Christ’s righteousness. 

When Jesus saved us, He justified us forever and the eternal life He gave us can never be lost.  

Titus 3:5-7  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

These three verses in the book of Titus offer rich and full assurance of our salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is not by our works, but by Jesus’ works that the penalty for our sins was paid.  Therefore Jesus alone is able to justly forgive our sins.  

  • Not by our works, but by His work on the cross we are forgiven.
  • Not by our merit, but by His grace we are justified and made righteous.  
  • Not by our strength, but by Jesus’ love and faithfulness we are kept secure in His promise that our life in Him is eternal and we will enter into Heaven. 

So, can impure thoughts condemn a believer?

NO!  The righteousness of Christ that we have been given will never be taken from us.  We have the assurance of this based on who our God is.  He is Faithful and True (Read, “Can I lose my salvation?” ).  

The apostle Paul addressed this in his letter to the church at Rome:

Romans 8:1-2  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.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

The confusion that causes many Christians to question the security they have in Christ arises from not understanding the three-fold distinctions in our salvation.  It’s important to review and affirm these doctrines often.

Justification-Sanctification-Glorification

There are three progressive parts in our salvation, in the saving of our souls.  It is of utmost importance for Christians to understand each of the three doctrines.  It not only gives us assurance of entering into Heaven, it also helps in understanding God’s Word and properly applying it to our lives.  These doctrines cannot be talked about too much.  Repeatedly reviewing them strengthens our foundation.

Justification

This occurs when a repentant sinner comes to Jesus in faith.  It is receiving forgiveness of one’s sins and the regeneration of one’s soul.  It is the saving grace of salvation.  It is the gift of God.  For a more thorough explanation of  justification, and imputation, read: The Gift of SalvaTION: Justification & Imputation

Sanctification

This is the process of “working out our salvation” (Philippians 2:12)— a process in which we are being conformed to the Lord’s image (Romans 8:29) and the only part of our salvation in which we participate.  We participate by surrendering to God’s will and by desiring to live in honor and service to Him. Our participation is a work of the heart, because the heart directs the will and works.  With a devoted heart, we will desire to follow that Lord’s principles and precept.  With a heart for Jesus we will be willing servants and empty vessels for His Holy Spirit to fill us and work in and through us.  This is the sanctifying grace of our salvation and, although we participate, it also is a gift of God that He gives to us. 

Glorification

Our souls and bodies are glorified in the final part of our salvation.  At death we enter into glory (Heaven) to be with our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).  And one day, in full consummation of our salvation, we will be given glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:49, Philippians 3:21).  This is the glorifying grace of our salvation.  It is the gift of God that makes us complete and restores us to the perfection He intended in creation. 

For a more thorough explanation of  sanctification, read: What you need to know about Sanctification & Glorification

A better understanding of justification and sanctification gives assurance that no sin committed in our sanctification can condemn a Christian because justification is final and permanent.  Being justified is often said to mean “it’s just as if I’d never sinned.”  That is true because our sins are washed away and we have been given Christ’s righteousness by imputation (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Our entrance into Heaven is based on Christ’s works, not ours.  It is based on His righteousness credited to us at the moment He justified us.  Our entrance into Heaven is not based on our sanctification process in which we still commit sin.  Jesus has promised that our new life in Him is ETERNAL (Titus 3:7, et.al) and that means FOREVER with no possibility of loss or even of any changing.  Because Jesus is faithful and true (Revelation 19:11), no sin we ever commit will condemn us (Romans 8:1).  

Jesus Promised Rest in our Salvation

Most Christians understand that it was by Christ’s work they were saved.  But many think it is by their works that they stay saved.  That’s why it is necessary for all Christians to review the doctrines of salvation and eternal security frequently.  Therein lies the rest that Jesus promises:

Mathew 11:28-29  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

There would not be any rest for us if our salvation were not secure, or if we were left alone in our sanctification.  We know just how weak we can be. But we take comfort and rejoice in the freedom from the penalty of sin that we have been given in our justification and we trust that by the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit we have strength and power to overcome sin in our sanctification.

Confidence in Christ

Rest assured that no impure thought will cause a Christian to lose the promised inheritance of Heaven.  Let us all rejoice in the security we have in Jesus, our faithful Saviour.  

Hebrews 10:22a, 23   Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

How do I fight impure thoughts?  Click Here  

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