“The Corruption That is in
the World Through Lust”

Introduction. (II Peter 1:1-4). Peter says in this text that the Christian “escapes” the corrupting influence that enters the world “through lust.” The word translated “lust” is the Greek word epithumia meaning - “desire, craving, longing” (Thayer). Unlike the way that we usually use the word lust, here it is used in a very broad and general sense. Peter uses it in much the same way that James does, of...

  1. Generic desire. (James 1:13-15). Here “desire” (epithumia) is the seed of all sin. Doing what we want, rather than what God wants. It is covetousness. Paul in Romans 13:9 refers to the command of the Law of Moses “you shall not covet” (using the word epithumeo - verb form). This referred to all sorts of things that one might “desire” (Exodus 20:17). In the Ten Commandment law it is a sin to desire what belongs to another. There are in fact...
  2. “Various lusts” (II Timothy 3:6; Titus 3:3). That is, different types of desire for things that are sinful.
    1. “Worldly lusts” (Titus 2:11-12) Of those things which are sinful having to do with this world. The kind of things which prompt John to say, “the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”(I John 2:17).
    2. “Harmful lusts” (I Timothy 6:9) Of the desire for wealth. This is what Jesus speaks of in Mark's account of the Parable of the Sower. Those who allow “desires for other things entering in” to “choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19).
    3. “Former lusts” (I Peter 1:13-16) Here Peter speaks of things we might have desired before we came to Christ, but now no longer pursue. This could be many things, depending upon the person.
           Yet, when we use the term “lust” in modern English we generally refer to what the Bible calls...
    4. “Lust of the flesh” Which I John 2:16 says is “not of the father but is of the world” Fleshly lusts may concern anything that appeals to the sinful desires of the flesh, but often they are of the sort which Jesus addresses in the Sermon on the Mount - (Matthew 5:27-30). This is (like the covetousness of Exodus 20:17) the desire for (or the imagination of) physical relationships which one has no right to -- i.e. someone you are not married to, but is married to another or someone who is unmarried and you are not married to them.

         This evening I'd like for us to talk about this type of lust and consider the “corruption” which it brings into the world, the effect it has on the souls of those who pursue it and the importance of abstaining from this type of desire.

I. The Problem of Lust.

  1. It corrupts. (II Peter 1:4). This is true in many ways. It wars against our inner man. (Galatians 5:16,17). Think about it for a moment, when someone lusts after another person or looks at indecent material what is at issue?
    1. The one who lusts sins. This (as we shall see) could keep a person from inheriting eternal life.
    2. The person encourages a culture of lust. Would women wear indecent clothes if every man turned his head? Would indecent material be produced if no one looked at it? True, one person will not “make or break” a culture, but one person contributes to a culture.
    3. One person derives pleasure from the sin of another. i.e. immodest behavior or fornication. This is the sickest aspect of lust. Imagine that there was a magazine or a video that showed a person slowly putting their hand in corrosive acid again and again. What kind of person would derive pleasure from seeing someone else destroying themselves? The same is true of lust. One person derives a perverse thrill from behavior that is leading another person to an eternity in hell! How can people do this?
    4. People become objectified. i.e. they are not souls -- they are just bodies. As Christians this as much as anything should discourage us from lust when we realize another person is not just a body. They are a soul made in the image of God. Further, they are someone’s daughter, or son, wife, husband, mother or father -- and they are lost in need of salvation!
           It robs us of joys God would have us to know. Ephesians 4:22 speaks of “deceitful lusts.” This type of sin promises what it cannot deliver and robs what God would offer to us. Paul taught that marriage is the avenue for natural desires of this type to be fulfilled (I Corinthians 7:1-5). The man or women who gives themselves to lust will never be happy with the relationships which God gives them because they are always looking elsewhere.
           Lust is in fact discontentment! Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5, NKJV. The soul who lusts is not content with what God has given them.
  2. It captivates. (Titus 3:3). Note: one comes to “serve” lust. (Romans 6:12,13) Sin of all types calls upon us to “obey” its demands. How ironic it is that people in this world who demand “freedom” place themselves in the greatest type of bondage of all.
  3. It condemns. (James 1:15) Desire conceived brings forth sin and sin leads to death. Matthew 5:29 speaks of the eye “causing you to sin” and leading to being cast into hell. Ephesians 2:3 teaches us that those who walk according to the “lusts of the flesh” thus “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” are “children of wrath”
         The soul who gives themselves to the lusts of the flesh and mind (whether they act upon those desires or not) is at enmity with God and can be lost because of it.
         We should note that sinful lust is not the unsolicited thought that pops into the mind and is quickly dismissed. Rather it is that thought which lingers, sets up “house” in our mind and is pondered over. This sin and must be avoided.

II. Abstaining from the Sin of Lust.