What If You've Made a Mistake?

When it comes to sex, people make mistakes—both premarital and extramarital. The biblical way to cleanse one's conscience is to repent—that is, stop breaking God's law.

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Sometimes after making a sexual mistake, people will reason that since they've already committed the sin, they may as well continue doing so. This is faulty thinking because continuing to practice premarital sex or adultery perpetuates one's sin and can lead to a seared, unresponsive conscience. The biblical way to cleanse one's conscience is to  repent —that is, stop breaking God's law.

Because sex is enjoyable and because an emotional bond is created between two people through this act, breaking off an unlawful sexual relationship can be difficult. Here are a few points to keep in mind if you need to end or have recently ended a sinful relationship:

Repent . To repent means to stop what we are doing wrong and to change direction. It also includes admitting our sin to God and asking for His forgiveness. "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). Repentance is mandatory for being forgiven.

Have courage to do what is right . God respects people of courage who do what He says, and He promises us strength when we do. Psalm:31:24 says, "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD." Ask God for the courage you need as you cease your wrong conduct. Strive to do what is right and ask for God's help at the same time because "whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John:3:22).

Accept God's forgiveness . When we repent, God not only removes our sin from us, He no longer thinks of us as having committed it (Psalm:103:12; Hebrews:8:12). While penalties may remain (loss of virginity, an STD, or a temporarily broken heart), God forgives us completely when we repent. Believe God—not your unstable emotions

" Sin no more ." This is what Christ told both a man and a woman who had committed sins (John:5:14; 8:11). To follow this instruction, one may need to change habits and, in some cases, even friends. Being accountable to God through daily prayer and Bible study as well as attending worship services every Sabbath are excellent means to fulfilling Christ's command. Hearing God's Word regularly at Sabbath services will also increase your faith (Romans:10:17).

Though it is always hard to leave sinful conduct because of the temporary pleasure associated with it (Hebrews:11:25), doing so is well worth the effort. Remember God's promise in Proverbs:11:18: "He who sows righteousness will have a sure reward."

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