Ask Your Preacher
I have a deep sense of guilt every time I masturbate. I'm seventeen-years-old, and sometimes I just have the immense urge to masturbate. I know it's bad under God's eyes, but I still seem to do it. I feel extremely guilty afterwards because I know God is mad at me. I ask for forgiveness, but I somehow feel God is mad at me. Will He forgive me? The temptation is strong... can you help me?
Dear Youthful Temptation,
We receive a great many questions regarding this subject, and after much thought, we have decided to give a rather lengthy answer to this question, hoping that it will not be necessary to deal with it continually in the future. We here at AYP do not wish to fixate upon a private and sensitive topic week after week, but we understand that the issue of masturbation is a very real struggle for most young men, and it deserves a Bible answer.
Your question makes the assumption that masturbation is always sinful. The truth is that the Bible never specifically addresses the topic. When we search for a Bible answer, we must conclude that God has not spoken one word on this subject. Having said that, we realize there are many religious teachings in the world today claiming it is either right or wrong. Catholic doctrine teaches it is a sin one hundred percent of the time, but that is a man-made teaching – not something directly understood from the Bible. On the other hand, many liberal religious groups teach that masturbation is a perfectly normal thing that should be practiced without any reservation. Neither teaching is accurate. We need to look at what the Bible says concerning the topic and accept its teachings and nothing else. There are some other things (such as lust and guilt) that are closely related to this subject, so we will address them because there are specific Bible teachings on those subjects.
- Lust is sinful. Anything that involves lusting after a woman (that is not your spouse) is not allowed (Matt 5:28). ‘Lust’ means to ‘look upon with strong passion or desire’. Any action that involves a strong sexual desire for a specific person that is not your spouse is sinful.
- Many, many God-fearing people have a sense of extreme guilt after the act of self-relief. When someone’s conscience is upset, that is always sinful because it shows you are doing something you believe is wrong. If we cannot do something in faith, then it is sin (Rom 14:23). In essence, if you think it is wrong, then it is wrong… at least for you. If you do what you believe is right, you will not have a guilty feeling in anything you do. If you do not do what you believe is right, then you will always have a guilty feeling. This holds true of everything in life. This is why it is so important that we examine the Scriptures and be fully assured that what we are doing is right with God. That means we must always study what God has said (not man) on every subject.
- Pornography is often closely associated with masturbation and should always be avoided. Pornography is sinful because it is designed around lusting after specific women (see point #1). Pornography is also a highly addictive sin. Many young lives have been horribly destroyed because of sexual addiction to pornographic images. We cannot overstate the dangers of this type of addiction. Thus, pornography must be avoided at all costs.
- When young people are in that stage between childhood and marriage, there is a constant pull and temptation from the sexual realm. There is no easy way around the desires created by the physiological reaction of a young man's body. God understands that a young person’s body burns in passion (1 Cor 7:9). It is said that in today’s culture and society, a young man is bombarded with things to stimulate him on an average of every ten seconds. This is not an excuse, nor should it be used as an excuse, for immoral behavior – but it is a reality that every young man has to cope with.
- Marriage is God’s vessel for the relief of sexual desires (1 Cor 7:1-5). God understands the devil uses the sexual realm to tempt us away from a faithful life, and God created marriage as the solution to that temptation. That is the long-term answer to this issue. The problem we are dealing with is what someone should do to act faithfully through the short-term period of time between childhood and marriage.
This issue is not an easy one and there are no clear-cut answers. The Bible provides many principles that surround this subject, and we have tried to outline them here… but ultimately, each person must faithfully consider these principles and behave themselves in a way that they believe is adhering to the teachings God lays out in His Scriptures. We shouldn’t allow man-made religious laws to control our lives, whether they are overly conservative or overly liberal.
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
I'm having a hard time forgiving myself for a wrong choice I made. What do I need to do? I have asked God to forgive me, but I feel so guilty and unclean.
Dear Internal Struggle,
Christians constantly struggle with forgiving themselves for sins even after God has already forgiven them (1 Jn 1:9). Godly people are known for their sense of integrity and personal responsibility. Like David, christians accept the blame for their sins and don’t shirk from taking the blame (2 Sam 12:13). This can be a double-edged sword though. It is a positive thing when we honestly examine ourselves and see our faults without excuse (1 Cor 11:27-31). But there is a negative side to personal responsibility… “hyper-guilt”.
When christians carry guilt for their sins long after God has forgiven them, they inhibit themselves from rejoicing. Christians should rejoice that they are saved from their sins (Php 4:4). It is hard for us to comprehend, but when God forgives us, He no longer remembers our sins (Heb 8:12). Let go of your guilt, not because you weren’t wrong, but because it is to the glory of God that you let go and rejoice (1 Jn 2:12). When we rejoice and accept God’s forgiveness and the comfort it brings, we bring glory to His name and honor Him for the gift that He has given us.
What was John Gill’s eschatology, and was John Gill a Calvinist?
Gill Seems Fishy
Dear Gill Seems Fishy,
Yes, John Gill was a Calvinist. We here at AYP are not well-read on the history of every false teacher throughout history (we admit; we had to look up who John Gill was) and could not properly explain what John Gill’s eschatological views were. Eschatology is the study of the end times. The Bible provides a spectacular answer of what happens at the end of time, and that is all that concerns us (see the post “What Happens When I Die?” for the Bible’s teachings on the end of time). We can, however, explain the pernicious false doctrine of Calvinism of which John Gill (a Baptist scholar who lived in the 1700’s) adhered to.
Calvinism is best described using the TULIP theory. TULIP is an acronym developed by Calvinists to explain their philosophy; each letter of the acronym stands for a fundamental part of the Calvinist doctrine.
‘T’ stands for “Total Depravity”. Total Depravity means that Calvinists believe that everyone is born completely sinful and depraved. A totally depraved human is incapable of doing good or pleasing God. This is completely false. All babies are born without sin and perfect in God’s sight (even David recognized that his dead child was going to be in heaven [2 Sam 12:23]). Sin is not a birthright; it is a choice (Gen 4:6-7, Jas 1:13-15). Humans sin when they choose to do wrong; they are not born in sin.
‘U’ stands for “Unconditional Election”. If you are born totally depraved and incapable of doing anything good through your own power, then it makes sense that Calvinists also believe that God saves you without any requirements. You can’t require someone to do the right thing if they are incapable of it. This, too, is false. The entire Bible is a book of commandments for mankind to follow. It is FULL of conditions. We cannot be God’s friends unless we obey His conditions and commands (Jhn 15:14).
‘L’ stands for “Limited Atonement”. Limited Atonement means that Calvinists believe Jesus only died to save a limited amount of people. Since they believe everyone is totally depraved and only a few are chosen by God to go to heaven, it follows that Jesus only died on the cross for those few that were chosen. This is blatantly opposite of the Scriptures’ teachings (Jhn 3:16).
‘I’ stands for “Irresistible Grace”. Irresistible Grace means that if God chooses you to be saved, you are incapable of resisting that salvation. If God chooses you to be saved, you cannot tell Him, “No!”. This is a complete lie. People reject God all the time. People rejected Christ as He walked this planet – even one of Jesus’ apostles rejected Him (Matt 10:4). Jesus specifically says that those who reject Him will be judged (Jhn 12:48). Mankind has always had the choice to accept or reject God.
‘P’ stands for “Perseverance Of The Saints”. Perseverance Of The Saints means that christians will always persevere no matter what sins they commit. Calvinists teach that it is impossible for someone to be lost once they become a Christian. That is rubbish. Heb 6:4-6 directly states that someone can enjoy the blessings of fellowship with God and then fall away. Even the apostle Paul believed if he didn’t continually strive to serve God, he would fall away (1 Cor 9:27).
Calvinism is a lie created by man to blind people from the truth of God’s Word. Calvinism teaches a lack of responsibility for our behavior and eternal destiny. It makes God out to be an evil villain that willfully seeks the destruction of the majority of mankind, instead of the loving God that sacrificed His own Son in hopes that all would come unto Him (Jhn 3:16). Calvinism leaves most of mankind tearfully unloved and alone, without the hope of salvation.