Forgiveness, Sin

You Were Once Josh Duggar, Too

Update: This article was written June 5, 2015, shortly after the news broke that Josh Duggar fondled several young girls when he was a teenager. I stand by the content of this article as true and accurate to the best of my knowledge at that time. 

Yesterday (August 21, 2015), in the wake of the Ashley Madison hacking scandal, Josh Duggar confessed that he had subscribed to the web site, had been unfaithful to his wife, and had been using pornography. These are all egregious sins which have dragged the church, the traditional marriage agenda, home schooling families, Christians in general, and the precious name of Christ through the mud. While Josh has apologized publicly, the more important issue is whether or not he has truly repented before God and to his wife.

What Josh did was heinous, and we would all do well to take a lesson from him to flee from even the hint of temptation as we see its horrendous consequences. But Christians do not stop at the point of the horror of sin. We look past it and repentantly make our way to the foot of the cross seeking the mercy and forgiveness of our Savior. Praise God that the biblical principles in this article remain true, regardless of Josh’s sins – or yours or mine. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

imageThe first time I met him was in a prison where he was incarcerated for child molestation. Years later, after his release, he told me prison was the best thing that ever happened to him because that’s where, through a prison ministry, he met Jesus Christ, who graciously and radically saved him.

God can and does save child molesters. That He can change their hearts and behavior, forgive them when they repent, and make them new creatures in Christ, only serves to prove how deep and and broad and long and high and mighty His grace is to save.

I have seen first hand the life long devastation child molestation wreaks on families and individual victims. I am in favor of child molesters being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and never having unsupervised access to children again for the rest of their lives. So please do not misconstrue what I’m about to say as minimizing either the horror of the crime or the suffering of the victims.

The castigation of Josh Duggar and his parents by fellow Christians has gone on long enough and needs to stop. Disagree? Take a few minutes and listen to this interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar in its entirety.

This is not a blog article. It’s not third hand information from a friend of a friend of the Duggars. This is Josh’s parents speaking openly and honestly about what happened and how they handled it.

And how they handled it is:

They made clear to Josh and the rest of their family that what Josh had done was wrong and deserving of punishment.

They took Josh out of the home to keep the girls safe.

They got Josh and his sisters Christian intervention and counseling.

Not knowing what his fate might be, they took Josh to the police station – with a witness – where he confessed everything he had done.

Josh repented of his sin, asked his victims and parents for forgiveness, and subsequently trusted Christ for salvation. As far as can be determined, he has borne fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8) and has not repeated his sin.

I have a great deal of compassion for my brothers and sisters in Christ who have been victims of sexual abuse, and I understand that perhaps seeing this story play out in the news has re-opened old and painful wounds and that that is why you continue to voice your strenuous dismay at this situation, but I have to ask:

What else would you have had Josh’s parents do?

They protected their girls, they got everybody counseling, and they turned Josh over to the police. (And let’s keep in mind, parents don’t have the legal authority to throw their children in jail, no matter what they’ve done. At that point, it was up to the police whether or not to arrest Josh or take other legal action, and they declined to do so.)

Put yourself in the Duggars’ shoes and consider all the actions they took. How would you – in the moment – have handled the situation better or more biblically?

But even if Jim Bob and Michelle missed a step somewhere along the way, there’s a bigger issue at stake here for Christians. Whether you like it or not (and if you don’t, I would encourage you to spend some serious time in prayer examining your heart), whatever he may have done in the past, Josh Duggar is your brother in Christ now, and so are his parents.

The same blood of Christ that covered your sins covered his, too. God took Josh’s sins and separated him from them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He dropped them in the depths of the sea (Micah 7:3). He forgave Josh’s sin and remembers it no more (Jeremiah 31:34).

Just like He did for you.

Is the blood of Christ powerful enough to save you, but not to save Josh Duggar? To forgive you, but not to forgive him? Have you forgotten the great debt which your Master forgave you, as you scream at Josh, “Pay what you owe!”? (Matthew 18:21-35) Have you forgotten that your past sins aren’t any cleaner than his?

When Christ forgives, we forgive. He has not given us the ministry of bringing up a brother’s past sins and holding them agaisnt him. He has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

My brothers and sisters, we were all Josh Duggar once. It’s time to forgive.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Romans 5

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Romans 5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


 

Questions to Consider:

1. To whom is Paul speaking in this chapter? Christians? Non-Christians?

2. According to verses 3-5, for what reasons should we rejoice in times of suffering?

3. What kind of people did Christ die for? (6-8) What do these verses say to the person who thinks she has to get her life cleaned up before coming to Christ? Would you be willing to die for a good person? What about someone who has sinned against you as much as you have sinned against Christ?

4. Verse 12 says that sin entered into the world through one man. Who was that one man, and how did he cause sin to enter the world?

5. This chapter talks a lot about justification and reconciliation. Re-read the verses that mention these words. What does it mean to be justified before God? What does it mean to be reconciled to God? Whose actions justify and reconcile us, and what were those actions?

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Hebrews 10

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Hebrews 10

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
    but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
    and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. What is the overall theme of Hebrews 10?

2. What are the “good things to come” (v.1) that were foreshadowed by the law?

3. Why, according to verses 11-14, 18, do priests no longer need to make sacrifices for sin?

4. According to verses 19-22, how may we now approach God, and why are we allowed to approach Him this way?

5. What reason, as described in verses 26-30, would someone have to fear falling into the hands of the living God (v.31)?