Puritan works on what constitutes sexual sin?

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by Seeking_Thy_Kingdom, Jun 12, 2019.

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  1. Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

    Seeking_Thy_Kingdom Puritan Board Freshman

    I feel silly for asking this question, however on a different forum the debate over what is and what isn’t sexual sin has once again flared up after a Revoice video was posted.

    Just to be clear I believe that any desire or lust (not sure why these are considered as separate issues), physically or mentally, outside of the Covenant of marriage is sinful.

    Though the issue of what sexual sin is seems to be very recent, perhaps since the 60’s or so, I am curious as to what the exactly the Puritans had to say.
     
  2. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Larger Catechism 139:
     
  3. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    A similarly important question, also applicable to current debates, is to define the difference between lust/desire and temptation. If lust is sin (Matthew 5:27) but one can be tempted without sinning (Hebrews 4:15), there must be a distinction between lust and temptation. But what is the best way to describe this distinction? I would find a good description helpful.
     
  4. Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

    Seeking_Thy_Kingdom Puritan Board Freshman

    Amen, yet the wisdom and truth of the standards are being challenged not only outside the Church, but even by our reformed brothers.
    Indeed. Looking at the standards posted by @TylerRay , I don’t see any signs of confusion in their day. That makes me wonder if we have created an issue that is not really there, or even worse, we are allowing the World to demand from us a definition that satisfies them.
     
  5. Susan777

    Susan777 Puritan Board Freshman

    What is “the keeping of stews” referring to?
     
  6. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Brothels/prostitution. See this post from John Davenant for some background reading.
     
  7. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Stew is an old word for a brothel. Don't worry--your leftover Brunswick stew is safe!
     
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  8. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    It is useful at this point to distinguish between external temptations from the world and the Devil to which one may be tempted without sin (as was Christ), and temptations that come from the flesh or our own fallen nature, which are sinful in and of themselves (Romans 7:8; James 1:13-15).
     
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  9. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I like this, Daniel. It certainly seems helpful to be aware of the differences between the world and the devil and the flesh. And it makes sense, logically, to conclude that Christ was not tempted by his own flesh.

    But how do we square this with the fact that Christ was tempted in every way we are, but without sin? Do we need to add yet another qualifier? And wouldn't that make it sound as if Christ's temptations were in some way easier than those we face?

    I can think of some possible responses to these objections, but I wonder what you (or others here) would say.
     
  10. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    That question is a difficult one to answer, Jack. I suppose my initial reply would something along the lines that Christ was subject to every non-sinful form of temptation to which we were subject, but he could not have been subject to the temptations of the flesh otherwise he would not have been without sin. If we have already established that the temptations of the flesh are sinful, then those type of temptations could not have been the ones to which the author of Hebrews was referring, as one could not be without sin and subject to temptations that were sinful of themselves.
     
  11. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Is that where "broth" came from? Lol

    Being serious however, works dealing with concupiscence would help. There was a thread not too long ago on it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  12. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I don't know how to rate your post. I want rate the first part as funny, and give my amen to the second part. I think I'll just "like" it.
     
  13. Susan777

    Susan777 Puritan Board Freshman

    So is a stewardess a lady who keeps a brothel?
     
  14. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    There is a difference between a temptation and lust. I am sure that Jesus was tempted to lust when he saw beautiful women. After all, he was truly a man. Praise God that he didn't, however.

    There is a a point in time in which your mind changes from simply processing information to envisioning/fantasizing. I notice this in my own thinking.

    For example, if I see a beautiful woman, I can make a mental note that a) that is a woman, b) she is beautiful and c) she is wearing xyz, all without sinning. However, as soon as my mind moves beyond those cursory observations and starts imagining her body, or sexual acts, I have lusted. There is that split second moment of decision in which you can turn to the path or righteousness or the path of sin.

    And most of us have turned down the path of sin frequently, hence why we need the merits of the one who was "tempted in every way like us, yet was without sin".
     
  15. Charles Johnson

    Charles Johnson Puritan Board Freshman

    No, a stewardess is a lady who stewards. No relation.
     
  16. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Good one, Susan.
     
  17. BuckeyeGirl

    BuckeyeGirl Puritan Board Freshman

    Could it be that we need to distinguish between desire and temptation? Certain stimuli, both external and internal, tempt (or entice) us to desire evil and act on that desire. Christ was exposed to all the same stimuli that we are, but he never once reacted by desiring evil or acting on that desire. I'm not sure if this is a valid distinction, but this is a topic I've been thinking quite a bit about!
     
  18. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Who we are by nature is presently determined by our fallen flesh. Adam was unfallen at one point, fallen at the second; and the second estate is that which he passed to all his children born by natural generation. Christ was not of natural generation but supernatural; yet his body was formed subject to all the natural infirmity which is the result of the fall. He had the likeness of our sinful flesh (Rom.8:3), without the sin.

    He was made like us in every way, and tempted like us, but without sin (Heb.2:17 & 4:15). Jesus' unfallen nature did not labor (as we do) under the corruption of concupiscence, which is the definition of sin-tainted-desires, an inclination to slide into sin which is itself also sin. Jesus could be tempted, he endured temptation, he vanquished temptation. WE know fewer victories than he over sin on account of our inclination to sin (concupiscence) and because we quit before the devil flees. Believers indwelt by the Spirit at least have the advantage of a new spirit and outside assistance by the Spirit, but we are not perfected yet.

    What is necessary for a temptation to be genuine, to be felt, is that it have the appearance of advantage. We don't have to affirm Jesus' peccability (the suggestion that he could have fallen) to affirm that Jesus could detect the proposed advantage (as when he understood the attraction offered in the devil's famous temptations). Jesus knew to subject all such proposals to the judgment of God's revealed will.

    But just because he did it at one moment doesn't mean he would not have the same (or similar) temptation follow instantly in the next moment. He handled it the same way, and won the battle, he won exhausting battles, he won all the battles. You and I have never won as many (even with help available), never been as worn, we've given in too soon, we've been handicapped by our sinful flesh.
     
  19. Alex Washburn

    Alex Washburn Puritan Board Freshman

    Haha I missed the “lascivious” and thought it was saying all dancing and stage plays are sinful.. I had to go look at my copy of the Catechism before I realized what I missed


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. Ben Chomp

    Ben Chomp Puritan Board Freshman

    I've found it useful to distinguish between outer and inner temptation.

    Inner temptation is our fallen desires which are informed by the lies of Satan that lure us into sinful behavior. A desire to have an affair, flirt with a married woman, look at p0rnography, or pursue a homosexual encounter are not merely temptation. They are tokens of our fallen condition and are sinful desires that reflect our miserable condition. Jesus did not experience any such inner temptation because he did not have a fallen, rebellious nature.

    Outer temptation is the occasion to sin that is presented to us from outside ourselves. Examples of this would be a sexual proposition from someone not our spouse - whether that be homosexual or heterosexual. Also sexually explicit adds or commercials which may pop up and attempt to lure us into sinful desires and behavior. Experiencing outer temptation is inevitable in a fallen world and Jesus certainly was tempted in this way - in every way that we are. Experiencing temptation like this is not sinful in itself, but it is the result of living in a sinful world.
     
  21. Ben Chomp

    Ben Chomp Puritan Board Freshman

    When we are put into painful life situations and we are outwardly tempted to turn to sin in order to sooth ourselves and try to control our situations, guess what we often do? We often yield to temptation. Such "temptation" or "testing" really reveals our fallen condition - we have sinful hearts that cannot endure suffering and are ready to sin at the slightest suggestion.

    But Christ suffered more in this life than any of us likely ever will. He was placed in all the kinds of sufferings that we endure (and worse). And he was externally tempted with all of the comforts and vain means of control that we are also tempted with (See Matthew 4). But what did this reveal about Jesus? Only that he continued to perfectly trust the Father throughout all his sufferings. "In his living, in his suffering, never trace nor stain of sin."

    That Jesus didn't have a fallen nature doesn't make his temptation less impressive. To me it makes it more impressive because it shows to us that Jesus is truly righteous. It also hints to us that Jesus is divine. Only God could live in a sinful world full of suffering and not sin himself.
     
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