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.
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6-8 is one of my favorite sections of the Bible. Chapter 6 hits home that we are saved in Christ, not by our own effort. Through Jesus our representative we have already died, our punishment is gone. And we are justified before God, because Christ’s perfect righteousness is applied to us. Through Jesus we have eternal life. This passage also talks about how sin has lost its power over us because of Jesus. We are slaves to righteousness not slaves to sin.
I’ve talked to some people who try to argue that since we are saved by grace, God is not so worried about sin in our life. All that is important is that we try to love God and love others. No! God cares very much about how we live. We are to ruthlessly fight sin in our lives and put it to death. We cannot use grace as an excuse to sin. Paul says that clearly in both verse 1 and verse 15. Because we are united to Christ, we are dead to sin. If we are truly born again, and truly united to Christ, we will not continue to live in sin, and we will not use grace as an excuse to sin.
1 Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.
4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Chapter 7 hits home the reality that even though technically we are set free from sin in Christ, we still desire it, and still give in to it at times. We still live with the reality of indwelling sin. We still fight against our sinful nature. And we will still struggle with it until Jesus returns. Just as Jesus already brought the Kingdom of God when he came, but the Kingdom of God is not yet fully here until Jesus comes again, we also live in a tension concerning sin. Just as the Kingdom is already but not yet, so we are set free from sin yet not fully without sin. On the one hand, Jesus has already set us free from sin. As chapter 6 said, we are dead to sin! On the other hand, we still wrestle with our sinful nature. We still sin. We don’t live perfectly. But when Jesus returns again he will make us unable to sin! In the meantime, we must realize both that we are dead to sin, and have power over it, but also not expect to be completely perfect until Jesus returns. We are no longer slaves to sin and we can say “no” to it, but that indwelling sin keeps making me want to rebel and do what is wrong. The only solution is not to focus on sin and the law, but rather the Holy Spirit which Paul goes on to talk about in chapter 8. We cannot conquer sin by our own strength or by legalistic obedience! We must be in tune with the Holy Spirit who lives within us, and through his power and communion we will be able to live in the Spirit and live a righteous life.
This is a very personal passage that highlights the vigorous struggle with sin that we all go through. Many crossdressers seem to think that if crossdressing were sinful than somehow God would make it easy for us to not give in to it. That kind of thinking is nothing less than the prosperity gospel! God did not promise us an easy life without suffering. If Jesus had to deal with temptation (and overcome it), and if Paul had to fight against temptation, then of course we will have a struggle too! Don’t expect the Christian life to be easy. This passage clearly shows that sin is something we wrestle and struggle with.
The times in my life where I failed with crossdressing and then read this passage, it gave me both conviction and hope. It gave me hope in the sense that I realized if Paul still struggled with sin so badly, and was still saved, then I am still saved to. I don’t lose my salvation after falling into sin. But it also gave me conviction because I would realize I was falling into sin even though I’m supposed to be dead to sin. And it would remind me that I’m not supposed to simply be gritting my teeth to fight crossdressing, but I’m supposed to be walking in the Spirit (chapter 8).
Romans 8 –
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 thatthe creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Chapter 8 is one of the most beautiful passages of Scripture. It talks about following the leading of the Holy Spirit into righteousness instead of living in sin. But more importantly it hits home again that salvation and forgiveness are found in Christ and are not obtained by our own effort. Even though we sin we are no longer under any condemnation. Absolutely nothing can take away our salvation or God’s love for us, not even our own sin. This is a wonderful passage to read after a failure in crossdressing. Yes crossdressing is sinful, but we don’t suddenly need to fear that God will send us to hell. We are saved because of what Jesus did and our faith in him, not because of what we did. But in gratitude for that free gift of salvation we try to live by the Spirit and resist sin.
Romans 8 also talks about the reality of suffering. Even the creation itself is suffering waiting for Jesus to return. We should not expect the Christian life to be easy. It is not. But we have help, the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weakness. Expect that living the Christian life and fighting against crossdressing will be hard. But God will give you the strength to do what is right and find healing and freedom.
We need to focus on walking in step with the Holy Spirit and not giving in to the pleasures of the sinful nature. This means that for a Christian, quitting crossdressing is not just about giving up an addiction. We need to at the same time be growing in our personal relationship with Christ, and enjoying intimate communion and life with the Holy Spirit. We need to keep our minds set on the Holy Spirit, on God’s Word, on life with God.
A psalm of David. A petition.
1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 For your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down upon me.
3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
4 My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and are loathsome
because of my sinful folly.
6 I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning.
7 My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.
9 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
11 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away.
12 Those who seek my life set their traps,
those who would harm me talk of my ruin;
all day long they plot deception.
13 I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear,
like a mute, who cannot open his mouth;
14 I have become like a man who does not hear,
whose mouth can offer no reply.
15 I wait for you, O LORD;
you will answer, O Lord my God.
16 For I said, “Do not let them gloat
or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.”
17 For I am about to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.
19 Many are those who are my vigorous enemies;
those who hate me without reason are numerous.
20 Those who repay my good with evil
slander me when I pursue what is good.
21 O LORD, do not forsake me;
be not far from me, O my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
O Lord my Savior.
This is a great psalm of confession that we could pray after a crossdressing failure. Just remember that we are already forgiven in Jesus. We don’t confess to earn salvation. We confess as a part of our sanctification to grow in holiness. Confession is a natural honest part of a relationship with God if we truly love him. And confession should always point us back to Jesus. We confess our sins, remembering we can’t save ourselves, and that we have total forgiveness already in Jesus.