Erstwhile Immorality

I wish I could say that never in my life have I been guilty of disobeying God’s will, my own sanctification. But I have indeed sinned many times.

Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York state, has sinned, too. And he admitted it publicly today without back-pedaling or blaming someone else:

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong,” said Mr. Spitzer, who appeared with his wife Silda at his Manhattan office. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”

“I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

I was struck by one element of his own reaction to his sin, as well as by the the New York Times‘ description of the origin of the law Spitzer broke.

At least as the Times‘ reports it, Spitzer stopped one infinite step short of a true confession. In stead of “against you, you only have I sinned,” (Psalm 51) we hear “I failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself.” I urge Gov. Spitzer to throw Himself on God’s mercy through Christ. Ask God to help you take that crucial (literally) step! I had to this not two hours ago. I have to do it nearly every day. I celebrate the gospel which allows me confidence to return to approach God!

But the Times‘ description of the 1910 anti-prostitution law Spitzer broke also struck me:

Federal prosecutors rarely charge clients in prostitution cases, which are generally seen as state crimes. But the Mann Act, passed by Congress in 1910 to address prostitution, human trafficking and what was viewed at the time as immorality in general, makes it a crime to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution.

Mankind has set aside God’s standards of morality. And they’re left with ambivalent comments like this. In one part of the Times Nicholas Kristof is inveighing against prostitution as practiced in the third world. In this article we get a shrug.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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