Repentance is the first step to redemption after sexual sin.
Repentance is the first step to redemption after sexual sin. (Lightstock )

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

God's standards never change. Premarital sex is unacceptable. It always has been. It always will be.

Living together without getting married is unacceptable to God. It always has been. It always will be.

Adultery, being unfaithful in your marriage, is unacceptable to God. It always has been. It always will be.

Pornography is unacceptable to God. It always has been. It always will be.

But if you've been guilty of one of those sins, that's not the end of your story. God gives you a chance to come clean and start over.

How do you do that?

1. Repent. Repent means "to change your mind." You say, "You were right, God. I was wrong. What I did was sin." You don't rationalize your sin or excuse it. The most important part is, you do this now. If you're currently in the middle of an affair, end it today.

2. Receive forgiveness. God is waiting to forgive, cleanse and restore you. He'll release you from the shame, regrets, the hidden hurts and the pain that come from your sin so you don't carry them into your next relationship. God wants to wipe the slate clean. The good news is, once he's forgiven you, you can forgive yourself.

3. Refocus and replace. You make a commitment to live morally pure by God's standard from this day forward. That means having sex only with the person to whom you're married.

4. Request help daily. Commit your life to Christ (if you haven't already). Ask him to help you manage your sex drive.

Your sex drive can destroy you if you let it. Don't let it. You have a choice.

Talk It Over

  • If there is a sexual sin from your past that you haven't repented of, walk through the steps above so that your fresh start can begin today.
  • How does our culture try to convince you that truth changes?
  • Why is it important not to carry shame or regret into your next relationship?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit rickwarren.org.

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