In my struggle with crossdressing, many Bible verses have been helpful to me. I’ve studied them, memorized some of them, and often read them after failures. I’ll periodically mention and comment on some of them and how they relate to our fight with sexual sin. For those of you who are still struggling, it would surely help you to write some of these down and read them daily, or in times of temptation, or after a failure when you need to be built back up by God’s Word.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
This is a really difficult passage of Scripture to interpret. However, it seems that it is not about Christians who are sinning, but rather about people who have heard about Jesus and what he did, but have still rejected him. The readers of the book of Hebrews were likely Jewish Christians living among other Jews. We can see that they were familiar with the Scriptures. So I would infer from this that the author had in mind specifically Jewish people who heard the truth about Jesus but still rejected him (though it would apply to anyone who does this).
So why do I list this passage? Well, I like this passage. It’s a good counterbalance to our weak notions about love in our culture. We talk about how loving God is a lot, and he surely is, God is love! But God is also just. And we have a false view of God if we don’t look at him as loving and as just at the same time. This passage reminds me of God’s greatness, awesomeness, power, and holiness. It reminds me of the seriousness of our sin. I read verse 31 and shudder, but it’s a good kind of reverent shudder thinking about how powerful and holy God is and how much he hates sin. So reading this passage makes me more respectful of God and makes me take sin more seriously. Specifically, it makes me take crossdressing sin more seriously, whether in deed or in fantasy, and makes me take lusting after other women more seriously.
Verse 26 also reminds me that a true Christian doesn’t deliberately keep sinning over and over. This is a tricky subject and bears more explanation. Of course all Christians keep sinning. We sin every day. But we know from many different passages of Scripture that Christians don’t repeatedly sin without repentance. A Christian is not someone who doesn’t sin. A Christian sins, but continually repents, and continually is trying to do what is right, even though we often fail. In that light, this verse is a good wake up call for those who like to think or profess that they are Christians, but who living in willful disobedient sins without any repentance or any effort to fight sin. True Christians who have experienced the joy of forgiveness in Jesus want to live for him and fight sin out of gratitude for their salvation. This is still a tricky subject and we have to be careful when judging other Christians and careful in our church discipline. But personally, we can use it as a check and a wake up call for ourselves, making sure we remember the seriousness of sin, and making sure we are one of those people who is repenting and fighting sin in our lives as a true follower of Jesus. Don’t forget, while we can’t be “perfect” right now, we can actually stop doing certain sins. You may not completely remove lust from our heart, but you can surely never commit adultery again, not even once. You can surely never steal ever again, not even once, even if you cannot remove every feeling of greed and envy in your heart. And you can surely never give in to crossdressing again, it is very possible. If you are repeatedly giving in, you are not truly repenting.
Hebrews 12:1-16 – There is a lot of good stuff in this passage. I’ll take it by sections.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Verses 1-3 are some of the most encouraging passages in Scripture. Verse 1 begins by talking about the great cloud of witnesses. These are the people of God who went before us and they are talked about in Hebrews chapter 11, one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It’s very moving if you read all of chapter 11 and then read verses 1-3 of chapter 12. People of God have went before us, people who have struggled with various kinds of sins, people who had to suffer for Christ, people who finally found their rest with God in Heaven. We follow in their example, and find inspiration from their stories. We are to persevere and move forward, straining towards Jesus and Heaven, as they did. We are to get rid of our sin.
Sin entangles. We crossdressers know that so well! Sin leads to more sin. Sin leads to deception and cover-ups. Sin leads to hurting relationships and broken marriages. Crossdressing is a messy entanglement of psychological confusion, broken relationships, and physical mess and perversion. We are to throw it off, cast if off. We are not to gently set it down! We are to throw it away and run! This is a race! We aren’t sitting on a lazy-boy. We are running a race! This life is our race. We need to throw crossdressing behind and strain forward to the prize, to the goal, seeing our Lord Jesus face to face.
And who is Jesus? Hebrews says that he is the pioneer of our faith. We would have no faith without Jesus. Not only did he die for us to take our punishment and live for us to give us his righteousness, he is also the one who worked in our hearts so that we could have faith in him in the first place. He is also the perfecter of our faith. He continues to work in our lives each day to help us fight sin, grow in holiness, and learn how to love. He is bringing us along, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the process of sanctification. By looking at him we can run forward in this race looking ahead to the goal.
We can look at him also as our example. He had so much joy in knowing he was achieving salvation for us that he was willing to be scorned, betrayed, and killed on the cross, which also meant taking the wrath of God for our sins. He was willing to go through that worst suffering the world has ever known, all for our salvation and ultimately for God’s glory. Verse 3 says we are to consider him and the suffering he went through so that we don’t give up and lose heart. In our struggles against crossdressing, we have not suffered what Jesus has suffered. Our struggles are weak and paltry compared to what Jesus went through. If Jesus did all of that for us, then surely in our joy that we have in Jesus, we can go through the suffering of self-denial of our sinful desires. We should not grow weary, and not lose heart in our battle against sin. The race is hard. We are sweating, we are tired, sometimes exhausted. At times we wheeze and cough with the effort. Once in a while we get a side-ache from resisting the desires because they are so strong. But we must keep on running. The race will eventually be over and we will be full of joy. In fact, the reason we can keep on going is because of the joy we already have in Jesus.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
You can see how verse 4 connects to verses 1-3. We are supposed to follow Christ’s example in running our race, enduring suffering, and resisting sin. Most of us have not resisted sin to the point of having our blood shed. Jesus did that, but we have not. There are brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are dying or being tortured for following Christ. And here we are thinking it is too difficult to stop reading CD stories online, or stop trying on our sister’s dress. Wake up men! Stop giving in to the lies that you are doing all you can to resist sin. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. Follow Christ, be willing to suffer for following him.
The rest of the passage is mostly about God disciplining us as his children. I like to read this one after failing in some way with crossdressing or fantasies. It reminds me that God has the power and freedom and even the explicit desire to discipline me as his child. This doesn’t mean I expect God to strike me down with a lightning bolt. This doesn’t mean I expect to be punished. My critics think I refrain from crossdressing out of fear, but they are wrong. My relationship with God is one of love and mercy. If he disciplines me, it is because he loves me as his child and is training me to become more holy and loving. His discipline is not the same as his punishment of judgment, which I will not get because of having Jesus as my savior. It’s easy to worry about what God might allow in our lives to discipline us, but we must not think of it with fear. God always has our best interests at heart and he knows what is good for us better than we do. We can rest knowing that whatever he gives us or allows to happen to us, will ultimately be good in his plan.
Notice that verse 5 explicitly says that it is an encouragement to remember that God disciplines us. That means when we suffer we should not assume God is out to get us, but God might be trying to teach us something. Sometimes the discipline doesn’t come in a way we are aware of. Sometimes it does. Sometimes the discipline is just God’s rebuke of our sin that we read in Scripture, or that he speaks in our hearts. Sometimes that discipline is God showing us the consequences of our sin, or allowing us to experience the natural consequences of our sin. But if we wonder what God’s discipline could be, verse 7 makes it clear.
Verse 7 tell us to think of any hardship in our lives as discipline from God. This doesn’t mean God directly causes all hardship in our lives. No. But since God is all powerful and in control, at the very least it means all hardship in our lives is allowed by God. And he allows it for a reason, and one of those reasons is to discipline us to help us grow, to grow in dependence on him, to grow closer in intimacy to Jesus, to grow in our holiness, to grow in love, to grow in the fruits of the Spirit, and to grow out of sins that plague us. Discipline might seem painful at the time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it.