To Covet and Lust can be Good, not Evil

Letís begin with a quiz of the following questions:

  1. Can a Christian lust and still be qualified to enter into the Kingdom of God?

  2. Can a man or a woman lust for their mate, yet without sin?

  3. Is lusting a sin?

  4. Do you really know the difference between lust and desire?

  5. If you lust for something, would your Maker grant it to you?

  6. If you caught yourself lusting should you repent of it?

  7. Does God, Christ, and all the holy angels ever lust? Those who are spirit beings, those who are Holy, perfect, and righteous?

Donít be too quick to answer. Remember, all of our background came from our parents, culture, and our society.

God condemns the use of any thing, any thought, and any attitude that is harmful to you or your neighbor. But he will never condemn the right use of any good thing that he himself has created. Remember what God said about all those things he created? "It was very good" (Genesis 1:31). He didnít say it was bad, not a mixture of truth and error, but very good.

"Covet" and "Lust" are Neutral Words

The adversary has deceived men into believing that sex, lust, coveting, pleasure, sensuality, and feeling good is evil; yet, when God created all things he said "it was very good" (Genesis 1:31 ). Who are you going to believe? Christians desire, lust for, and covet after the Knowledge and Wisdom of God, which is good. Sensuality, like lust, is purely neutral. What you do with it determines whether you sin or not. Sex with strangers is not good, but sex with your spouse is. There is nothing wrong with lusting. Do you lust for your wife, or do you lust for somebody elseís wife? This is the point. The Law does not say, "Do not covet", it says do not covet anything that belongs to somebody else (Exodus 20:17).

Your arch enemy would always like you to blur the difference and remove the boundaries between the holy and the profane, between the light and darkness. Thatís why the Creator told Adam and Eve to eat of every tree that is in the garden, except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! You see, if someone gives you a glass of pure crystal clear sweet water, thatís good. But if you put a few drops of poison into it, thatís bad. And the bad makes the whole thing bad. And therefore the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is all bad, because poison will kill you, it takes time. Good and evil is not good, it is sinful. And therefore, to have a morality that is a mixture of good and evil is a sinful morality.

Thatís why we are studying the Word of God, because we are admitting that we are not clean, pure, righteous, perfect, but we want to be. And so we should not be offended at the words of God when they simply be contrary to what we think.

Positive examples in Scripture

In the Hebrew, "lust" (#08378 ta'avah & #0183 'avah) is defined as "to desire eagerly, to long for, to wish, to crave, to covet, to yearn, to be eager to, to have an appetite for." Lust could be used rightly or wrongly. By itself it is neutral. Whether lust is good or bad should be determined only by your Maker, and not by mere, fallible, mortal man, who doesnít even have a clean mind!

Positive examples of "lust" in the Bible are:

  • Deuteronomy 14:26 (lusteth) where God commanded the Israelites to turn the tithes into money and spend it on whatever their soul lusts for;
  • Psalm 21:2 (desire) where God satisfies your lusts if they are good and right for you;
  • Psalm 132:13 (desired) where the Lord himself lusted Zion for his habitation;
  • Proverbs 10:24 (desire) where the lust of the righteous shall be granted;
  • Proverbs 11:23 (desire) where the lust of the righteous is good, and this is in contrast to the lust of the wicked;
  • Proverbs 13:12 (desire) where lust will earn you the "tree of life", and not eternal torment in the lake of fire, as many Christians teach today; and
  • Isaiah 26:8 (desire) where the lust of our soul is to Godís name.

In the Hebrew, the word "covet" (word # 02530 chamad) is defined as "to desire, lustful, be carnally excited (speaking about the physical aspect of it; like how a little babe gets excited at a toy. This is referring to the pure carnal excitement, not the impure), pleasant, charming, beloved, lovely, delightful, desirable, precious, pretty, grateful, cute, darling, dainty, delectable", and it also means "greed, avarice, grasping, envious". The majority of the concept "to covet" is positive, not negative.

Positive examples of "covetous" in the bible are:

  • Genesis 2:9 (pleasant) where, in the Garden of Eden, the LORD God made to grow every tree that is covetous to the sight,
  • Psalm 19:7-10 (desired) where the Law of the Lord is to be coveted after,
  • Psalm 68:16 (desireth) where God Himself covets us to dwell in the hill of God,
  • Proverbs 21:20 (desired) where the wise will covet treasure,
  • Matthew 13:17 (desired) where the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven have been coveted after by many prophets and righteous men,
  • Luke 16:20-21 (desiring) where a beggar coveted to be fed,
  • Luke 17:22 (desire) where Christ told his disciples they would covet to see one of the days of the Son of man,
  • Luke 22:15 (desired) where Christ Jesus coveted to eat the passover with His disciples,
  • 1 Timothy 3:1 (desireth) where if a man covets after the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31 (covet) where believers are commanded to covet earnestly the best spiritual gifts,
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31 (covet) where brethren are commanded to covet to prophesy,
  • Hebrews 6:11 (desire) where we covet after others to show diligence, and
  • 1 Peter 1:12 (desire) where angels covet after the things of God.
You can covet the Law of God, and desire Jesus Christ. But, when your mind becomes defiled, then everything becomes defiled. You can desire the right thing, or you can desire the wrong thing.

The term "lust" appears 107 times in the Bible (54 times in the OT, 53 times in the NT). 35 cases in the Old Testament it is used to describe positive aspects, and in 19 cases it is spoken in the negative. The term "covet" appears 81 times in the Bible (65 times in the OT, 16 times in the NT). Lusting and coveting are synonymous in both the Hebrew and the Greek (word #1937 epithumeo). The words "covet" and "lust" are used most often in the positive than in the negative. Only the context can tell you which way it goes.

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