Sanctification, the practical outworking of actual salvation, which surely proceeds from justification, Paul characterizes in Romans 6:12:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.Essentially the Apostle Paul is stating the expectation of the reality of true salvation in someone's life, commanding someone to cooperate in practice with what God has already done. A verse I quoted in part one speaks of this, Galatians 5:24:
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.Saved people, "they that are Christ's," "have crucified the flesh with the. . . . lusts." Sin won't reign in the body of a person where the flesh with its lusts has been crucified. "Crucified" is aorist tense, so completed action at one point in time. In Romans 6, this is what Paul said in the previous verse (v. 11):
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
"Reckon" is also translated "count," so count yourself as dead already unto sin. It only counts if it's real and it's real when it isn't "lust." This is big. For further understanding, Galatians 5:16:
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Someone walking in the Spirit will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Romans 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." In v. 1, same chapter, Paul said, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Those with no condemnation, in Christ Jesus, walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, which is that they don't fulfill the lust of the flesh. Again, saved people don't fulfill the lust of the flesh.
One should assume that we can know what lust is. I'm saying people do know. Not obeying lust and not fulfilling lust takes application. What is lust?
What Is Lust?
What Is Lust?
I've read several definitions of lust through the years. Lust itself is sin, but it also isn't sin. Someone is not to lust. That is how it is sin. On the other hand, lust isn't in and of itself particular sins. Abstaining from lust, which Peter commanded (1 Pet 2:11), is not the same thing as abstaining from particular sins. Paul said that lust occurs through making provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14).
Another way to describe "make provision" would be "to indulge." Lust is a desire that we should not have. Someone I read said it was a desire untethered to the purity of Christ. It can be just directed toward the wrong object. This would relate it to affections not set on things above (Colossians 3:1). The desire comes from indulging ourselves in something. Consider a classic passage on sin, James 1:14:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Someone is going to sin when he is first drawn away of his own lust. Paul commanded Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22, "Flee youthful lusts." That is a command. Lusts are to be fled. When one is being drawn away by lust, that is something he defeats by first separating from the source. The world is offering objects that draw someone to them and not to God. Allowing ones self to succumb to these desires becomes addiction. Instead of God controlling, the desire or the thing desired controls. In 1 Corinthians 6:12, Paul writes:
[A]ll things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Something may be lawful for a believer, but except for Jesus Christ, it must not take power over a believer. Allowing the draw is forbidden, I'm saying.
Applying Lust Passages to Music
I googled the words, "lustful music." I had not done it before, but I assumed results, and there were 16,200 of them. The words "lust music" brought 35,200 results. These aren't mainly Christian sites mentioning this music. The world produces lustful music and lust music. The world wants the music to be popular, so it makes the music addictive with targeting the flesh. It doesn't do that in so many words, but that is what the world does. Satan uses the world to do this, and there is where we get the world, the flesh, and the devil working in harmony.
Fleshly music, music that appeals to lust, is very dangerous to a Christian. It is addictive. I know many people, professing Christians, who started to listen to the world's music, and they couldn't get victory then in their Christian life. It's possible they were never saved in the first place, so they don't have power over the flesh and over lust (see first part of article).
A common answer from professing Christians and even church leaders is that the Bible does't tell us what lustful or lust music is, so this evaluation is going beyond what scripture says. Just the opposite, scripture is profitable for correction and instruction for everything in life, including music. Scripture applies to music. A related argument is that some Christians listen to this lustful or lust music and they still live a good Christian life. I don't think it is a good argument, because I think it is possible, but it's still wrong to do.
Just seeing and hearing, righteous Lot vexed his righteous soul (2 Peter 2:8). This matches what Peter says earlier in 1 Peter 2:11 with fleshly lust warring against one's soul. Even if lust doesn't wipe out a Christian life, it wars against the Christian life. Bad music appeals to the flesh. Acceding to that appeal is a wrong precedent for a Christian. This alone doesn't please God. It is of the flesh and not of the Spirit.
The reformer, Martin Luther, whom I'm not giving an endorsement by merely quoting him, wrote (from Luther's preface to the Chorgesangbuch (1524) of Johann Walter (1496-1570)):
Young people. . . should and must receive an education in music as well as in the other arts if we are to wean them away from carnal and lascivious songs and interest them in what is good and wholesome.
I use that quote because it is a commonly understood matter, that there are "carnal and lascivious songs." To put all this in a very simple way, carnality doesn't blend with Christlikeness. To live godly one must mortify "inordinate affections" (Colossians 3:5), which is the same word, epithumia, translated "lust" everywhere else.
One application I'm making here is stop listening to carnal music. That is not fleeing youthful lust. That is not mortifying inordinate affection. That is being drawn away of lust. That is not abstaining from fleshly lust. That is sin. It is not led by the Spirit, but by the flesh. It isn't saved behavior. It's even worse if this is being played and sung in the church, but it shouldn't be listened to by believers. It is not a "common grace" as I've read by certain evangelicals. Grace is not an occasion to the flesh (Galatians 5:11).
I could go further with entertainment. Christian need to apply the lust passages to entertainment. However, even before I go there, I've got to write more about carnal (lustful) music.
More to Come