The Cravings of the Flesh (Transcript)

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Justin Perdue: Hi, this is Justin. Here at Theocast, we aim to herald the message of Jesus and the rest that is ours in him. We also encourage the saints to show compassion to one another because of Christ and the gospel, but that does not mean for one second that we are soft pedaling sin. In fact, sin is far worse and it’s a much bigger deal than many of us think that it is. We are all born with lusts and cravings and passions and desires that are wrong. Jon and I are going to have a conversation about that today.

There are all kinds of implications for life in the church, including accountability, which is where Jon and I will go in the members’ podcast area. We hope this is clarifying and helpful to you. Stay tuned.

The conversation that we’re going to have today is an important one. This is one of those days where Jon and I were talking about various things before we hit record. We actually had a different episode planned to be recorded today, and we called inaudible because we got into a very good and lively conversation between the two of us about what we’re going to discuss today.

Here at Theocast, I rejoice in this reality and I know Jon does too. I know that Jimmy does as well. Even our taglines and all that would reflect this—we are known for heralding the finished work of Christ, pointing weary saints to Jesus, and extolling the mercy, the grace, the power, and the sufficiency of Christ, and then heralding the message of rest that we have in Christ.

That’s what we’re going to continue to do. It’s what we’re all about. I know that we are tremendously encouraged as struggling saints ourselves as we consider what Christ has done for us. Here at Theocast, this is also a really good thing. We are known for presenting a compassionate perspective when it comes to the struggle and the battle that often characterizes this pilgrimage called the Christian life, but we don’t ever want to be misunderstood. Sometimes people hear the message of rest, sometimes people hear the emphasis on compassion, and might wrongly assume that that means that we are somehow soft pedaling sin. In fact, as Reformed Christians, we have an understanding of sin that is very robust and want to come in and say that sin is actually a far bigger deal than any of us naturally think. Sin is far worse than any of us have ever conceived of it being. It has all kinds of very practical implications for us in our lives, in terms of our experience in our fight and our battle and our struggle. We want to have a conversation today about sin, about our fallen nature, and what that means for us at the level of lusts, cravings, passions, and desires. We all have them.

The Bible speaks to these things and what the Bible has to say about this stuff, sometimes, even for those who have dipped their toe in Reformed and Calvinistic thinking, I think sometimes this can be a shocking reality for some. Certainly for the broad evangelical out there—if you’re listening, we’re thrilled that you are—this may be a presentation of sin that you maybe have never heard before that we would stand by, that we think the confessions speak to, and certainly we think the Scripture speaks to.

Jon Moffitt: Sometimes I think the world has a better theology of sin than we do. They describe it as this: we’re just human. They understand humanity equals struggle: weird cravings and things that aren’t natural. In their psyche, they understand there are certain things that aren’t natural. Because of that, it’s part of being human. When we become Christian, that seems to get flipped. It’s as now that the Spirit lives within me, and now that I’ve been transformed, the cravings are supposed to be gone away with—which doesn’t make any sense.

There are a couple of things that you’re going to hear us touch on and help you explain. One is a sinner-saint reality: a very important theological concept where you have the Spirit, and you are still in the flesh as far as your body is concerned. Paul describes this in Corinthians as a new kind of creature that has never existed before. There never existed a sinful creature with the Spirit dwelling in them. We’re a new kind of creature. We misinterpret that as new creation, meaning that old things have passed away, behold, all things are new; therefore you should not struggle and have these cravings.

Secondly, there’s the concept that closely ties into this, which is we are not this way because we sinned; in other words, we act and therefore we have become—we are this way because we have been born this way. This kind of gets into what you are going to touch on, Justin, which is Ephesians 2. It really unfolds the state in which we are born, and that becomes the natural cravings by which we struggle with.

Justin Perdue: Absolutely. We’re dealing here with a biblical understanding of the fall of man and a biblical understanding of what it means to be born into a condition or a state of sin. The place that we’re going to start, as Jon already said, is Ephesians 2. The language that Paul uses there, especially in the first three verses of Ephesians 2, is very helpful and is a great launching point for us here.

Ephesians 2:1 and following read this way: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Just a few comments there. We were dead in our trespasses and sins; this speaks to what we are naturally—and this is another podcast for another time. We weren’t just sick and in need of healing. We weren’t just broken and in need of fixing. We weren’t just dirty and in need of cleansing. We were dead and needed resurrection, and that’s what the gospel provided.

But then Paul talks about what is true of all people naturally: we follow the course of the world. In that sense, we do what everybody else does. We are like a leaf or a piece of debris being carried down a stream. We just do things because it’s the normal thing; we see a crowd and we’re drawn to it. We’re like sheep who just follow along without knowing why we’re doing it. That’s true of us in this world.

We are “following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience”. Who is that? If we’re following the course of this world then who determines the course of this world? It would be the prince of the power of the air, namely Satan, the ancient serpent, who is the devil, who Paul calls the god of this world in 2 Corinthians 4. We’re enslaved to Satan in that regard. Finally he says we all lived amongst the sons of disobedience. We all lived as sons of disobedience in the passions of our flesh. He’s talking about passions, lusts, cravings, desires of our fallen flesh, carrying out the desires of the body—or the desires of the flesh literally in the Greek—and of the mind. We are, by nature, children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Again, to your point, this is not something that we become. This is something that we are in our nature, in our essence, as fallen children of Adam.

What we’re talking about in part today is we’re thinking about sin and how it manifests itself in our lives. We’re using the language of Ephesians 2, and we’re going to look at some other passages and we may even look at John. I may reference the 1689 chapter 6, paragraph two and three, where we’re thinking about the passions, the lusts, the cravings, and the desires of our fallen flesh.

Not to bury the lead, I’ll just go and say this and we’ll, we’ll unpack this more as we continue the conversation: because of sin, because of the fall, we all naturally have cravings, lusts, passions, and desires that are wrong.

Jon Moffitt: That are contrary to the nature of God and the original design of humanity.

To help understand this, in Ephesians 2, Paul says we’ve been gifted something. What we’ve been gifted is faith and our union with Christ. We become one with him not only in the blessings we shall receive, but also his Spirit becoming one with our Spirit. Now he empowers us not only to believe but to obey.

The one thing that’s very clear in Scripture that has not been gifted to us, which is the result of our faith: it’s an already, not yet. We’ve been promised a new body where sin will not reside—that’s glorification. We don’t have that now. So there’s this duality that’s happening, which is I can believe in God and I can even obey God, but I can’t do it perfectly because I’m still entangled in my own flesh. What ends up happening is that Christians don’t feel as if they can confess or admit that they have wild passions. What I mean by wild is that they’re unnatural to God’s intentions. They’re untamed.

Justin Perdue: Let me take us now to Romans 1, because I assume that this text is rising up in the minds of some. We want to make some comments here. Romans 1 is also helpful in trying to think about what we are as fallen children of Adam. In several points in Romans 1, and this in particular is the section verses 18-32, but even more specifically beginning in verse 24, Paul is going to use some interesting language. There’s already been talk about how we have exchanged the truth about God for a lie; we suppress the truth and unrighteousness—that’s just what fallen people do.

Romans 1:24, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” He’s going to go on to talk about, “For this reason,” verse 26, “God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the du penalty for their error.” Verse 28, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not be done.” This is the reality that we all are born into. Sometimes in America, you’ll hear pastors talk and Christians talk and they say, “America better be careful. If we don’t do what we ought to do, then God’s going to do this. He’s going to give us over to this.” To which we want to come in and say hold the phone. This is something that God has done. This is our reality in Adam as fallen creatures; we have been given over, to use Paul’s language, to the lusts of our hearts. We’ve been given over to dishonorable passions sexually, and we’d been given over to a debased mind to do what ought not be done.

A couple of comments by way of clarification. When Paul will even talk about homosexuality in this text, he says that women and me each exchange natural relations for relations that are unnatural. One of the things that we’re going to contend for in this podcast is that because of the fall, a biblical, robust understanding of sin would actually help us understand how people are born, and grow, and hit puberty, and have always been attracted to people of the same sex. That’s something that people experience, in a Reformed understanding of sin, would explain; that things no longer are the way they ought to be in a Genesis 3 world. We are born and naturally have cravings that are wrong. We all do.

What Paul means by natural relations there—I think we could make a few comments. One, heterosexual union is normative. A heterosexual union is the only means of procreation and heterosexual union is God’s design. That’s what he means by natural relations. We don’t need to get mired in the weeds here, but sometimes Christians will mean well, and they will try to contend that certain kinds of cravings and lusts are actually not natural to man but are decisions that people make, that they’re actually stuff that people sign up for and make conscious choices for. What we want to say is actually, no, there are so many things that we battle at the level of lust and craving and desire that we didn’t choose and that we did not sign up for. At the same time, those cravings and lusts and passions are still very wrong—and we are called to deny them.

Jon Moffitt: I’ve had friends and church members of prior churches I was at who would say, “Trust me, if I could choose otherwise, I would choose another sin to struggle with. I don’t want to struggle with this.” To which, I think anybody who has a crippling sin that they struggle with would say this. Part of today’s podcast is to try and think through how we can show compassion and not compromise on the gospel. Then I would say…I wouldn’t say gospel, I would say compromise on God’s Law.

You can’t have a pure gospel if you don’t have a pure Law. I don’t want to compromise on God’s Law, and I want to be very compassionate towards all the struggle.

Justin Perdue: And those things are not mutually exclusive, which is what we’re here to say.

Jon Moffitt: Within Christianity, it seems like we have patience and compassion for some who struggle with sin. Then there are others who tend to see homosexuality or any type of sexual sin as something that’s unforgivable and it’s the unspeakable that no one should ever struggle with. Then there’s the flip side of that, Justin, that you and I were talking about earlier, where we’re so confused on this matter because we’ve been influenced by the culture that to say anything against struggles with same-sex attraction is not loving. To put God’s Law in as loving as we can is wrong, and it’s more compassionate to not say anything. To make a stand or to make exception in these circumstances is a confusion. What we’re trying to do is come in and point to what the Bible says. Let’s look at it and say we can be loving, patient, and compassionate and still offer with full confidence God’s Law.

Just a brief interjection on that. A lot of times, people accuse even us and those who espouse a theology similar to ours. They’ll say that we are a part of the hyper grace movement or something. I bristle at that term because I don’t think that you can overemphasize grace biblically. What people mean when they start to talk about hyper grace, or whatever, is they’re actually talking about a confusion of what grace is and what the point of grace is; what’s it for?

Hear us say this: grace does not exist so that we can call things that are wrong as right. Grace does not exist so that we can say that sin is okay. Grace exists because sin is wrong, and because real wrong exists and we all do it, and therefore we cannot stand on our own. We have to have a righteousness and an atonement that somebody else accomplishes for us, that is given to us by grace through the means of faith. That’s what we are saying. There is a huge distinction in what we’re saying and then saying that sin is okay, or saying that there really is no such thing as something that’s wrong because we all struggle.

Justin Perdue: Before we move forward, we’ve already talked about Ephesians 2 and Romans 1. I want to read from the 1689 London Baptist Confession very quickly. This is chapter six, paragraphs two and three. Chapter six is the fall of mankind and sin and its punishment. This is helpful in thinking about what happened to us when Adam and Eve fell and what this means for us now as children of Adam and Eve.

1689 London Baptist Confession, paragraph two: “By this sin,” this is the original sin of Adam and Eve, “our first parents fell from their original righteousness and communion with God. We fell in them, and through this, death came upon all. All became dead in sin and completely defiled in all the capabilities and parts of soul and body.” Every aspect of our person has been corrupted and affected. That’s a big deal. Paragraph three: “By God’s appointment, they were the root and the representatives of the whole human race. Because of this, the guilt of their sin was accounted for, and their corrupt nature passed on, to all their offspring who descended from them by ordinary procreation. Their descendants are now conceived in sin and are by nature, children of wrath, the servants of sin, and partakers of death and all other miseries—spiritual, temporal, and eternal—unless the Lord Jesus sets them free.” That’s great language. It’s robust, it’s biblical, it paints an accurate picture of what happened to us in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve sinned. It depicts the ruin that we have all been plunged into.

So it should not surprise us that we have desires and cravings that are natural to our fallen nature, that are wrong and contrary to what God says is right. This is why I get very confused sometimes when I hear Christians talk. They mean well, I think, and I alluded to this earlier. For example—and I’m not trying to pick on sexual sin here but this is always a very charged up topic and people get worked up over it—if we’re talking about same-sex attraction, Christians will buck at the idea or will do everything that they can to disprove any notion that people could ever be born with a certain proclivity, or could ever be born with a certain set of lusts, cravings, and desires that would lead them to be attracted to people of the same sex. Christians wrongly understand and assume that if people are born with that, then that somehow exonerates them of any kind of guilt; if it’s natural to me, if I’m born with it, then I can’t be told that I’m wrong to want it. I just want to say time out. Do you not realize that every single one of us is born with all kinds of desires and cravings and passions that are wrong? Bible 101: this is what it means to be a fallen child of Adam. It means that you are born not righteous but corrupt, you’re born not good but wicked. Why are we shocked that we would naturally desire things that are wrong? This speaks to the depth of our ruin that this is how we all are.

Jon Moffitt: I would even say it’s natural to crave sin. Obvious. And there’s variety as far as what you will crave. It will have varying intensities; it’s really strong for some people and it’s really not for others. There’s no explanation other than the flesh has different desires than other people. For instance, we could even just some people eat when they’re stressed, some people drink, some people sleep—everybody does something different by nature that is not helpful.

Justin Perdue: Your constitution.

Jon Moffitt: That’s right. If we’re going to talk about “this is how I was born therefore everyone needs to accept it,” I would say there’s a large amount of people who are born that are not monogamous, that they have desires to be in relationships, that they are born to be not only in physical but mental relationships with multiple people that are intimate, and that God says is inappropriate. We could argue that any Christian who shows up to our church and says, “I was born to be with multiple people. I was born to express my love and desire with more than one person.” It sounds more acceptable to say it that way. “I was born to be with the same gender as me.” Then this person next to me says, “I need you to accept me because God designed me to be with multiple people and experience love, and the joy of love, with more than one person. I need you to accept that.”

Justin Perdue: Here’s a controversial thought that just popped into my head. Sometimes in the culture anyway, and sometimes people talk like this in the church: “Nobody should tell me who I should love.” You’re going to have to take that up with the Lord, on the one hand, because He commands our affections all the time. He tells us what and who and how we are to love regularly in His word. To make that claim that nobody should tell you who to love—I think the Lord actually has. We could talk about that maybe some other time.

I want to pick up on something you said, Jon, that I think is important. We are not trying to say that everybody struggles in the exact same way. We are not saying that the intensity is the same for every person when it comes to these various cravings and lusts that we have. We’re also not saying that all sins are the same in terms of the consequences that they bear and bring with them in this life. That would be foolish to claim. What we are saying is that every human being without exception is born with these cravings and passions that are wrong.

Jon Moffitt: That’s right. I couldn’t agree more. Two things to point out before I get into the next point: if someone comes to me and says, “But Jon, you don’t understand. I was born this way.” I would say I totally understand and I completely agree that most likely you were born that way. That doesn’t justify it.

There are studies out there now that talk about how they can look at your DNA and really tell you what your proclivities are. They’ll try to use that and prove to me that homosexuality therefore can’t be a sin. Listen, proclivities are a part of humanity. There are people who were born who have this natural desire to kill things like animals and cause it to suffer. It doesn’t mean it’s okay.

Justin Perdue: For some people it’s anger, covetousness, you name it, fill in the blank—and it’s as natural as breathing. This is what we’re saying for all of us, we don’t have to all have the same struggles, but we all have these lusts and passions that are as natural as breathing, that are a part of our constitution, and it speaks to the depth of our corruption and ruin. If anything, in the church in America and in evangelicalism, I think sin is sold short. We don’t actually depict it in all of its depth and horror. Which is how we understand what we need.

Jon Moffitt: I want to clarify that there are people who like to hunt. That’s not what I’m referring to. Everybody knows what I mean: torturing animals is not a good thing.

There are two things I want to do here. The reason why this podcast is important is that we need to have the weight of our flesh and the cravings of our flesh upon us because multiple times, Peter, Paul and James, all warn us about the cravings of our flesh and how Satan absolutely will come in and trip us up. The gospel becomes very important because the gospel faith is what helps govern our flush. This is Colossians chapter two where he says that all of these things appear to be wise in controlling your flesh but are of no value. He’s talking about asceticism, things about beating our body, strapping our body, or using starvation tactics that don’t work. This is why some people will assume that in the Old Testament, they didn’t have the Spirit to control them and in the New Testament, they have the Spirit to control them. Therefore, these things should not exist. I am telling you: how can you read your entire New Testament, including 1 Corinthians, and think that Christians, not unbelievers, but it’s the Christians who struggle with deep and dark cravings that are damaging and horrible. They’re horrible. Justin and I are trying to help the Christian think through why the church should be a place where Christians can come and confess these and people don’t drop their jaws. They should not be shocked.

Justin Perdue: Two things that are not mutually exclusive that I want to just beat the drum on and be very clear. We can say that yes, we all, as Christians in the church, have lusts and passions that are a part of our fallen nature that are flat out intense, strong, and can be near crippling to us at points—and it is okay and safe for you to come and confess those things because nobody’s going to be surprised that you struggle with that stuff.

On the other hand, at the same time, those passions, cravings, and lusts that you have that you were born with are wrong. Both are true. It’s safe for you to confess it and nobody’s shocked, and at the same time, it’s wrong. We’re going to be very clear about what God has said is good for us and we’re going to lovingly exhort one another. Towards the things that are good.

At the end of the day, where we land with this and what this drives us to is the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. This is where I want to pivot briefly to Christ in the gospel. I think what we’re saying is absolutely biblical. We come to this text inevitably about every third or fourth podcast because it’s so important: Romans 7. What we are describing is Paul’s Roman 7 reality where he writes so movingly and powerfully about his own state and his own war that he’s having internally between his flesh and his Spirit—the inner man and his flesh. He writes things that are compelling. In saying that, I find that there is another Law waging war in my members, against my Spirit, and I find that I do the things that I want to do, and I’m not doing the things that I want to do. He ends up landing in a place where he even says of himself, “Wretched man that I am.” I think we all have been there where we are battling so hard against these cravings, lusts, and passions. Sometimes it’s going okay. By God’s grace, sometimes we’re doing well, but there are some days where it is unrelenting. It’s chasing after us and has its claws in us. It won’t let up. God have mercy on us. Lord, who I am a wretch. Who will deliver me? We have only one answer and only one hope and his name is Jesus, and it’s what he’s done for us. It’s such good news. When we’re honest about our corruption, when we’re honest about these cravings and lusts that we all have, we’ve only got one place to go. You have a choice to say it’s all fine and that it’s no big deal, that nobody’s wrong; but the Bible doesn’t allow you to go there. The Bible says it is wrong. We say we’re enslaved to this stuff. It feels like we know we’ve been delivered from the dominion of sin, but we don’t feel delivered. Where do I go? Only Christ. He is your hope and your stay. Only Jesus is your righteousness, and only Jesus can give you forgiveness and absolution, only Jesus can atone for your sin, only Jesus can make right everything that is corrupt about you.

Jon Moffitt: I think the problem on both sides is one where we will lower the Law and make room for acceptability and saying it’s okay for you to have this sin. You can’t find the joy and relief that is found in Christ, and the hope and rest that is there because sin will always prevent you. If you harbor sin and you’re unwilling to confess that sin, it will remove that sense of rest and assurance that is there.

On the flip side, if you require someone to never have the craving, or they can’t have rest is also dangerous. That is not the gospel. The weight of the Law has to come in and say there’s condemnation for those who engage and are unwilling to repent, and there’s mercy and grace for those who struggle and repent.

What I love about 1 John is it doesn’t say you can repent once for one sin. It says that if you sin, you confess it. We’ll get into this in a little bit in the members’ podcast where we’re going to talk about what is accountability and how we skewed that in Galatians 6:1, but where I want us to feel this tension is that the church should be able to come in and not ostracize one sin and be able to openly agree with the culture. Everyone, not just homosexuals, but everyone is born with some proclivity and some kind of bent towards unnatural desires—and you can still have rest and joy in Christ as you battle these, and as you understand that we’re waiting for Christ to come and fix all of these desires to where we will have human desires that never contradict the nature of God. But we’re not there yet. So we need to be patient, kind, merciful, and look to Christ and faith to find our rest.

When rest became real to me, that was when I learned how to live every day struggling with my flesh and my sin, understanding it’s wrong and really wanting to fight against it, but understanding that it’s Christ love and righteousness for me that I can relax in and not because I’ve achieved perfection. Some people will never rest because they think, “Once I stopped struggling with sin, I’ll rest.” I’m telling you that you can have rest now as you fight and struggle.

Justin Perdue: That’s the wonderful message of the gospel: you can have rest and peace and hope in the midst of the struggle against sin. That struggle and that battle is not going anywhere until Christ returns. It’s a battle and a war that we have on our hands, and the struggle is real. So we’ve got to have a Christ and we’ve got to have a message that speaks hope, rest, and peace into that war. That’s what the gospel is. You’re exactly right.

Jon Moffitt: If you’re in the vein where you won’t allow someone to have the cravings that are contrary to the Bible, you’re going to really prevent people from having rest. Then if you’re in the vein where you really don’t want people to feel uncomfortable with their cravings—I want everyone to feel uncomfortable with their sinful cravings because you can’t have rest in Christ until you realize you need him.

Justin Perdue: I want to give a hearty amen to that, Jon, where I think a lot of times we try to rationalize a lot of stuff and people in the church. Again, with good intentions, we’ll say things like, “It only becomes sin at the point in which I act upon a corrupt desire.” Wrong. To even desire sin is wrong. We have to get at the level of the heart and the mind. When Paul speaks like in Ephesians 2 about passions and lusts of our flesh, and the desires of the body and the mind, this is what he’s speaking to. To have those passions and lusts is wrong, and to be governed by them is what was true of us before. It’s only in staring it in the face, calling it what it is, and owning the fact that I often lust after, crave, and desire things that are wrong that ultimately will drive me to Christ and will help me to see the real state of my need. It will help me to see how desperate I really am. Then I’m at the end of myself completely. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, the gospel begins always where man ends. When we are at the end of ourselves, we can then cast ourselves upon the mercy of God in Christ because we realized that we have nowhere else to go, nowhere else to look, and nowhere else to rest or stand—and that’s critical.

We’ve said things like this before, but just an observation here: the difference between a Christian and somebody who’s not a Christian is not that Christians don’t sin and people who aren’t Christians sin. It’s not that people who are Christians don’t have corrupt desires and that people who aren’t Christians do have corrupt desires. No. The difference is that for the Christian, we have taken God’s side. We have agreed with God that our actions are wrong and that our desires, our lusts, and our cravings are wrong—and we actually are grieved by them. We fight against them, imperfectly but really, and we are looking away from ourselves to Christ for our righteousness, forgiveness, and our peace. That’s the difference.

God, by His Spirit will work in us to transform our lives. But that’s going to happen at various rates at varying times and why is that? I don’t know. We’d have to ask the Lord about that.

Jon Moffitt: Paul makes it very clear and I agree completely with everything that he says here. Paul says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual morality, impurity, passion, evil desires, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.”

So we are not saying the Christian does not pursue fighting the flesh—we’re saying absolutely. What we’re trying to say is Paul is acknowledging that there is a battle. Paul is acknowledging there are these desires; he wouldn’t tell you to put him to death if they weren’t there. We need to say that as Paul acknowledges these, so should we. Just saying that they don’t exist or they shouldn’t exist is just not scriptural. I don’t think it’s biblical.

Justin Perdue: It’s even a theology of the cross understanding of the Christian life where we follow a crucified and suffering Messiah. On the one hand, the theology of the cross means that we too will suffer and we’re going to be weak; we’re not strong in and of ourselves. But part of what a theology of the cross does is it calls us to deny ourselves and love others. We are called constantly to deny the cravings and the desires of our flesh. That is not legalism. That’s not some kind of crazy talk. That’s just biblical—and it’s the experience of every believer.

The reason the struggle is real is because it’s a struggle in the first place. We’re actually fighting against our cravings and our sins. I think the saints understand that reality. This has all kinds of implications for pastoral care in the church.

Jon Moffitt: We did an entire podcast. If you’re brand new to the theology of the cross versus the theology of glory, you need to hear that podcast. It’s available for free. You can go and listen to that. We’ll put that in the notes.

I know where you’re going and I want to throw out something. One of the struggles I have with this whole conversation is people naturally say, “Okay, so there’s struggle. Now we need accountability.” I want to say that most people’s explanation and understanding of accountability is so gospel-less and without the function of the church. It literally becomes an AA program that I do not think is effective. I’ll explain why later.

Justin Perdue: No, I’m tracking with you, brother, and I look forward to having that conversation.

That’s where we’re headed. We’re going to go over to the members’ podcast. We’re going to talk about what this theology, this stuff that we’ve been talking about for the last 40-something minutes, what this means for pastoral care, for life in the church, for watching over one another as brothers and sisters in the faith and caring for each other.

As Jon said, there are many unhelpful notions that exist out there. A lot of times when we talk about things like accountability, we end up meaning something and trying to pursue something that Jon and I think is somewhat at odds with the New Testament. If you’re interested in hearing that, we’re going to have that conversation in the members’ area.

You may be new to Theocast and you might not even know what we’re talking about when we say that we have a members’ podcast. One of the ways that we accrue and gather support for our ministry here and fund some of the things that we’re doing is we ask people to partner with us in this ministry. People do that through our total access membership, where folks are able to support us monetarily each month. That’s a way that we are able to work to spread this message of Christ and the rest that we have in him to as many people as possible. If you want to know more about our total access membership, how you could partner with Theocast, and the various materials and things that that would give you access to, you can find information about that over at our website We leave that to you. There’s a lot of good stuff over there on the site. Navigate that stuff.

Send us your questions, call us, email us—we always love to hear from our listeners. We look forward to continuing this conversation over in the members’ area, and we also as always look forward to the regular podcasts that we trust will be coming your way again next week.

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