Recently a study was done on teenagers in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa on a wide range of topics. Some of the answers, from a Christian perspective, were very encouraging, while some were concerning. On the good side, 85% of the teenagers surveyed identified as committed Christians who went to church at least once a week. Of these, 100% claimed they read their Bibles and pray either weekly or daily. On the bad side, however, 42% of these committed Christian teenagers had been sexually active within two months that this survey was taken (February- March 2020). A further 43% watched pornographic material within the same period. Kenyan teenagers ranked highest in being sexually active (53%), while Nigerian teenagers ranked highest in pornography usage (47%).
Considering these stats, I am first of all grateful that these teenagers were as honest about their struggles. That, however, does not lessen my concern for their spiritual walk. While there is a supposed commitment to God regarding church attendance, reading the Bible and prayer, my heart grieves over the apparent inability to live for God. Why the disconnect between a supposed commitment to God and living a life that is pleasing to God? There could be numerous reasons for this, but I would like to major in one theological reality that I think is out of step in these young guys; the holiness of God.
God is Holy and He Hates Sexual Sin
“God is holy” (Leviticus 11:44) is likely the most used phrase in the Bible to describe the attributes of God. To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin. God, being Holy, cannot know anything but what is right. He is only able to do that which is right. God, in his holiness, never considers that sin can be enjoyable. Without the slightest hesitation, he only does the right thing.
Scripture describes God as light, in whom “there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). He has “no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17); otherwise, he would not be holy. To be holy means that God is pure to the point that he is of “purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13). Therefore, it is in God’s nature to hate sin (Zechariah 8:17, Psalm 5:4). He hates lustful thoughts, masturbation, pornography, and lack of self-control, which often leads to sins such as sex outside of marriage. He hates how, in our sin, we rationalize and lie to ourselves that such sins are anything but evil.
We must be gripped by the fact that God hates all of our sins, which includes sexual immorality. To think otherwise will mislead us into believing that our sins and God’s Spirit can peacefully coexist (Isaiah 59:2). Scripture warns against attempting to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We cannot possibly cherish sin and still affirm commitment to God (Romans 6:16) or be a friend to both the world and to God (James 4:4); this would be idolatrous and evil before our holy God.
Why Does God Hate Sin?
God’s hatred for sin mainly stems from what sin does to his beloved creatures. Sin blinds our hearts from the truth (1 John 2:11, Ephesians 4:17-18), which in turn hinders our growth in Christlikeness (Ephesians 4:18-24). It also denies us God’s blessings (Psalm 24:3-5, Psalm 84:11-12). By pursuing sin, we turn our backs to the God who has good plans to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). God hates sin because it enslaves us and eventually leads to destruction (Romans 6:16). Sin lessens our love for God (1 John 2:15-16, James 4:4) by eating it away little by little until there is none left.
How to Respond to God’s Holiness
If one persists in sexual sin or any other kind of sin, it might signify one’s lack of genuinely treasuring Christ. A heart that reveres God will actively strive to kill sin, as they die to self daily (Romans 6:6). 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 records that those with a lifestyle marred by sins, such as sexual immorality, will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Remember who you are and what you are called to do and be (1 Peter 2:9-12). If you want to learn more about how to truly become a follower of Christ, click on our “Receive Christ” button for guidance.
If persuaded, however, that you are a Christian but still struggle with sin, recognize that God is with you in your battle (Psalm 91:14-15). He has promised to never leave you (Matthew 28:20), so trust him. Keep running to him who is our sympathetic High priest (Hebrews 4:14-16), because a contrite heart He will not despise (Psalm 51:17). God desires that you live a life that is pleasing in his eyes as you become more like Christ. Set your mind on things that are above, not things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-3). This he desires for our own good and his glory, and the best news is God helps us do this through the power of his Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13). So keep fighting, don’t give in. Fix your eyes on the One from whom your help comes (Psalm 121:1). Pray that he becomes more pleasurable to your soul than sin. He alone can truly satisfy and keep you firm in him until the end of time (Jude 24).