by Scott Mason, author and speaker
There’s one verse in the Bible that I believe everyone should know without exception, and that is 1 John 1:9. The forgiveness verse, as I call it, states that: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (NIV).
There’s one word that stands out to me more than any other word in that verse, and it is purify. The definition of purify is to rid of impurities – to cleanse. What John is saying here is that God will not only forgive our sins, but He will also purify, cleanse and restore us to the state we were in before our sin – our original state.
When Shelley Hitz asked me to write a story on forgiveness for her blog and book, “Unshackled and Free: True Stories of Forgiveness,” it took about 10 seconds to figure out what I was going to write on. I could have talked about how God has forgiven me of my past life which consisted of being addicted to drugs and alcohol, arrested over 25 times, 36 felony convictions, and 10 years in prison, but that’s not what God wanted.
God wanted me to share how I use the verse in 1st John to help prostitutes, sex addicts and anyone who has had sex outside of marriage. Below is one story that took place in October of 2010, and it is similar to every other person I do this with. I hope it helps you find forgiveness in your own life if you have had sex outside of God’s will.
Sometimes You Have to Head Straight into the Pain to Come Out on the Other Side
One afternoon I met with up with a girl who, at the time, was addicted to almost any drug she could put into her veins. In order to pay for the drugs she was addicted to, she would sleep with countless men. At one point she was having sex with over 30 people a day. As we started to talk about her lifestyle I noticed right away that the sex she was having to support her habit really weighed heavy on her heart. Now, you would think that something like this would bother just about anyone, but when you’re living in sin it just becomes second nature.
So I asked her, “Why, out of all the stuff that you do to support your drug habit, is this one that bothers you the most?” Her response shocked me. She talked about how she knew that one day God would deliver her from her habit and that once that happened, she wanted to have a husband and children like she used to dream about when she was growing up. She went on to talk about how no man in their right mind would ever want to marry her because of her sexual past and this is what was weighing so heavily on her. She asked me, “Do you think any godly man would want me?”
Before I answered her question, I went back into my office and grabbed a devotional that a friend of mine written and my Bible. I sat back down and said, “Before I answer your question I want you to follow me on this. This devotion I have in my hand is called ‘Hope for Lily.’ Lily means purity. I would give you this devotional, but it really wouldn’t mean too much to you. You have slept with so many men that it would just be a waste of time for you to read it.” She sat there in that chair with tears running down her face. Any hope that she had, I had just ripped it from her in a few sentences. “But I do have something I want to share with you,” I told her. I opened my Bible up to 1 John 1:9, and I asked her to read it. She read it out loud with trembling in her voice. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I said, “do you realize what this means? It means that if you confess your sexual sins and turn from them, that God will not only forgive you, but also purify you back to the original state that He intended for you to be. That state is being a virgin until you are married.
Well, something must have clicked inside of her, because her tears went from sadness to joy, and in between her crying she asked God to forgive her of all her sins, including the sexual ones, and then proclaimed: “I am once again a virgin.” I sat there and looked at her for a moment with joy in my heart, like a proud father looks at his children, and slid the devotional across the table to her and said, “This devotional now has everything to do with you. You are now pure, you are now a virgin. …Oh yeah, and by the way, yes I believe that a godly man would want to share his life with you.”
Forgiven and Free
Today, that girl is serving Jesus, has been off of drugs for quite a long time, and has been saving herself for marriage. She tells anyone and everyone she can, that she is a virgin – even though she was once a hooker. How awesome is that?
Wow…thank you so much Scott for sharing that powerful story of how forgiveness can truly set us free from the sin of our past. So many of us need to hear that message.
Please share your comments and responses to Scott’s story in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.