What does it mean when God says you are washed?

Self-ImprovementSpirituality

  • Author James Rondinone
  • Published October 7, 2023
  • Word count 2,699

15

You Are Washed

Have you ever been deceived (mislead by false appearance or statement106)?Countless commercials are broadcast on TV or social media telling us that such and such product is the best ever. That you can’t live without it.

And then we’re continually bombarded with broadcasts that ask for money for whatever cause. Whether the money will be used for what they say it’s intended, we’ll never know. How many of us have believed a lie without knowing that we have? I’ll admit to it.

Well, here’s an amazing story about deception that you won’t believe could actually happen, but it did.

ONLINE LOVE TRIANGLE, DECEPTION [ENDS] IN MURDER

Chatroom flirtation leads to [a] deadly relationship.

[Aug. 27, 2011 & #151]; -- The Internet is known as a breeding ground for illicit affairs between [people,] often hiding behind fake names and handles. But most such virtual relationships aren't dangerous as this -- when “Talhotblond” and “MarineSniper” struck up a relationship online, it ended in murder.

MarineSniper was [46 years old,] Thomas Montgomery, a married father of two. In [May] 2005, posing as a young, handsome Iraq-bound Marine, he entered a teen chat room [of] the popular game site “Pogo.” When 18-year-old Talhotblond started [instant messaging him, he decided to pretend he was 18, too.] “I kept thinking, well, we’re never going to meet. ... I’ll just play the game with her,” he said. Before long, the flirtation became a romance.

Talhotblond’s instant messages revealed that her real name was Jessi, a softball-playing high school senior from West Virginia. She sent Montgomery photos that lived up to her screen name ... and then some. “There were some ... very provocative poses,” he said. In return, Jessi wanted to see what he looked like [too,] so he sent her his photo from Marine boot camp. The picture was 30 years out of date. Montgomery’s screen name, Marinesniper, was a nostalgic harkening back to the six years he spent in the military as a young man. He has hinted darkly of covert ops and dark deeds best unmentioned, but U.S. Marine records obtained by “20/20” show that although he qualified as a sharpshooter, he never trained as a sniper or saw action.

But for Jessi, he invented a younger, stronger, more virile version of [himself] called [Tommy.] “He was my height, 6 feet tall, had bright red hair,” said Montgomery, “big shoulders, muscles and all that.” Instant messages recovered from his computer show that the online relationship began to consume Montgomery. He told “20/20” that this relationship “became more real to me than real life.” The feeling seemed to be mutual. Jessi and “Tommy” exchanged gifts, phone [calls,] and love letters. “I love you always and forever, Tommy,” wrote Jessi. “[I’ve] never felt this way,” Montgomery responded.

[“The relationship had become more than flirtatious,”] Montgomery said. “There was virtual sex going on in there between her and Tommy,” he said. While Montgomery said the virtual sex made him “feel kind of dirty,” he was in too deep to sever ties with her. “If I was smart, I would’ve just ended it, but it was like a, a drug that I needed every day,” he said. Montgomery seemed to be losing touch with reality. He wrote a note to himself: “On January 2, 2006 Tom Montgomery (46 years old) ceases to exist and is replaced by [an 18-year-old battle-scarred marine ... He’s] moving to West Virginia to be with the love of his life.”

Online Fantasy World Crashes

Fate finally took a hand. In March 2006, Montgomery told “20/20” one of his daughters was using his computer when Jessi happened to instant message him. Montgomery's wife, alerted by her daughter, found a trove of love letters, [photos,] and mementos from Jessi, including a pair of red panties. She sent Jessi a photo of her family and a letter.

“Let me introduce you to these people,” she wrote. “The man in the center is Tom, my husband since 1989. ... He is 46 years old.” Montgomery said Jessi was [horrified] and broke off the relationship immediately. “She sends me a text message and [says] she hates me ... you should be put in jail for this,” he told “20/20.” But Jessi also e-mailed one of Montgomery’s co-workers, a 22-year-old, [good-looking], part-time machinist and college student named Brian Barrett, to see if it was really true.

Brian’s screen name is [“Beefcake,”] and as he consoled Jessi online, she seemed to find a better fit with him -- and perhaps a way to strike back at the combat Marine who wasn’t. Before long, Jessi was sending Brian her [photos, and the two had become a cyber item]. Marinesniper became consumed with jealousy -- and he wasn’t about to take it lying down.

“Brian will pay in blood,” Montgomery instant messaged Jessi at one point. His messages became increasingly [violent] as he was forced to watch their romance blossom in the same chat rooms he used to frequent with Jessi. “He was enraged,” said former prosecutor Ken Case. “I mean, it oftentimes shocked me when I saw the names that he would call her.”

Jessi and Berrett took to the Internet to make sure everyone knew Montgomery (who recently had a birthday) was a liar. “They were then going into these chat [rooms] and letting people know that he was actually 47 years old,” said Case. “They almost made him out to be a pedophile.” But the IMs that came from Talhotblond showed her to be torn --- mad one instant, desperate to return to a love with a man who she knew didn’t exist ... teasing him.

She [continued talking] to Montgomery online:

Talhotblond: i ache to be with tommy

Talhotblond: do you miss it tom

Marinesniper: more then u will ever know

Marinesniper: my heart aches to hear you call me your tommie

Marinesniper: i wish i could be that 19 yr old marine for u

Talhotblond: i know tom

Talhotblond Rekindles Cyberaffair

Jessi took up with Montgomery again. “In his mind, this was the jackpot,” said Barbara Schroeder, who documented the bizarre relationship in a documentary called [Talhotblond.] “He was being accepted for being 47, and he still had this hot young girl who wanted him.” Montgomery knew he was in way over his head, but he couldn’t bring himself to end things with her.

“It was like a drug. I was addicted to it,” he said. “I [couldn’t just] end it.” At one point, when his wife actually told him to get off the computer and talk to her, Montgomery couldn’t. “I just told her I’ll get off when I’m done,” he recalled. Montgomery says nothing sexual happened between them after Talhotblond found out how old he was, but their IMs tell a different story:

Marinesniper: wish you were nude

Talhotblond: what would ya do?

Marinesniper: stare

Talhotblond: that all

Marinesniper: nope

Marinesniper: u might get the magic

Talhotblond: mmmmm

Talhotblond: make love to me tommy

But it didn’t last. Jessi told Montgomery they were [through] and seemed to take up with Barrett again. Montgomery began to go into a downward spiral. “The obsession turns into jealousy, and then the jealousy turns into betrayal and revenge,” said District Attorney Frank Sedita. “You really start to [get a] sense of this person going into an abyss. And it’s kind of frightening.”

And then... the tipping point. Barrett said he was going to meet Talhotblond -- in person. “He actually drove down to, I [think, North Carolina,” said prosecutor] Case. “And on his way back, he was saying, ‘I’m going right past your house. I’d love to get [together.’”] Jessi texted him at the last minute not to visit, but Montgomery, who had learned of the plan to meet, was incensed.

On Sept. 15, 2006, as Barrett left work, three shots rang out. Brian Barrett was found dead in the parking lot where he worked, shot three times by a military rifle. Police quickly learned of the Internet love triangle from co-workers. And when they couldn’t find Thomas Montgomery, they feared they knew just where he was headed. “At three in the morning,” Capt. Ron Kenyon told [“20/20,” our] first concern was talking to Jessi and making sure she was still alive. But when police arrived at her home, they were in for another surprise: A woman named Mary Shieler opened the door.

Talhotblond’s Shocking Secret

As police questioned her, she revealed a shocking truth: She was the one who had been sending messages to Montgomery and Barrett under the handle Talhotblond. The pictures she sent Montgomery were actually those of her daughter, the real Jessi, who had no knowledge of her mother’s cyberlife.

Montgomery was charged and later [pleaded] guilty to the murder of Brian Barrett. In exchange for his plea, he received a 20-year sentence. Prosecutors said their discovery of Montgomery’s DNA on a peach pit found at the crime scene and a photo of [the] Montgomery family’s gun cabinet -- which showed the type of old military rifle that police believe was used to shoot Barrett -- were key to their case against Montgomery.

Prosecutors in Buffalo, meanwhile, looked for a way to charge Mary Shieler for something -- anything -- in the case but concluded she may have [trampled] all over the moral and ethical [line] but never crossed the legal one. “Shame on her -- she not only didn’t do anything about it, I think she provoked it,” said Ken Case. “[Unfortunately,] in New York State, you have to do a little something more to be criminally liable.”

Mary Shieler didn’t come away unscathed. Her husband divorced her over her [deception,] and her daughter Jessi cut [ties,] too, moving in with relatives in Virginia, where she was attending college. Mary Shieler also pursued an education -- she took classes at a community college in West Virginia. She has spoken publicly about the deadly love triangle just once, to the BBC. “It was stupid. It should have never happened. I just never thought it would go anywhere,” she said. “That it would end, fall [off,] and that would be the end of it.”107

After reading this article, it’s difficult to believe that so many people weren’t only deceived but willing to throw away everything to fulfill a fantasy. In the Christian life, we too, have to be extremely careful. There will be false teachers who’ll try to convince us that certain behaviors are approved by God. Let’s see what the Apostle Paul has to say about this. Please turn in your Bibles to the book of 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

There were a couple of things that the Apostle Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians chapter 6. One of them was whether a believer should take another believer to court before unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). The second had to do with salvation and egregious sins. He began by making a straightforward statement. The unrighteous (those who aren’t children of God) shall not inherit (take possession of; not enter into) the kingdom of God (the spiritual kingdom).

And then, he followed this up with a statement that appears to cause much confusion in church circles. What he seemed to be saying was, if someone habitually commits any one of these sins, they’ll not enter into the kingdom of God. The sins, he discloses, that would inhibit their entrance are as follows.

●Fornicators - those who have sex outside of marriage

●Idolators - anyone who worships an image of a deity

●Adulterers - sex with someone who’s not your husband or wife

●Effeminate - those who make self-indulgence the grand object of life

●Abusers of themselves with mankind – “the passive and active partners... in male homosexual relation” (Barrett)108

●Thieves - those who [take advantage] of their brethren by any kind of fraud or secret artifice [trick]109

●Covetous - eager for gain; greedy

●Drunkards – those who are habitually drunk

●Revilers - gossipers and slanderers

●Extortioners - those that violently seize on another’s wealth110

Some commentators and fellow believers with whom I’ve had discussions about such matters have suggested that if a Christian is continually sinning in any of these areas, then they’ll lose their salvation, or it’s surmised they were never saved in the first place. I think that the key to interpreting this verse is by looking at the words at the beginning, which are, be not deceived. The verb deceived can also mean to be misled, i.e., to lead into [the] error of conduct, thought, or judgment.111

It’s true then, as it is now. How many people don’t consider some of these actions as sins? The unrighteous (the unsaved) hopefully had the gospel presented to them but chose not to repent (to change their views, designs, and practices112). That disqualified them from being allowed to enter the kingdom of God. But some take this a step further to mean that if you, a believer, likewise choose to practice these sins regularly, then you’ll also not be allowed to enter in. Do you agree with this perception? The key again in interpreting these passages is be not deceived.

The apostle concludes by saying, And such were some of you, i.e., some of you had continually or repeatedly committed some of these sinful actions before you were saved. But at a point in time, at salvation, you repented and believed in Christ, and subsequently, it’s a statement of fact that you are washed, or rather you had yourself washed by the Holy Spirit. The word washed means to be made pure. By the agency of the [Spirit,] the defilement of these pollutions had been washed away or removed.113 Another meaning for washed is that it’s the setting apart of one as consecrated [dedicated to the service or worship of a deity114] by the Spirit in the eternal purpose of God.115

With that said, keep in mind the phrase be not deceived. What seems to be going on here is the Apostle Paul was contrasting salvation to unbelievers and sanctification with believers. On the one hand, he emphasized certain sins because they were considered acceptable according to societal standards. However, when someone gets saved, they become washed. Does this infer that they couldn’t go back and commit any of these sins again? No, it doesn’t. But this doesn’t change the fact that they’re washed.

Do you know that there’s no such thing as a lying or fornicating or gay Christian, etc., but there’s such a thing as a Christian who lies, commits fornication, engages in homosexual acts, etc.? Huh? Who you are, including your new identity in Christ, isn’t impacted by carrying out certain transgressions. However, there’s no question that your walk with God will be affected.

So, don’t continue to regard or think of your spiritual integrity according to your engagement in a certain sin or sins because God doesn’t. Confess them and apply God’s prescription concerning it, i.e., His Word. And remind yourself daily, I’m washed, I’m pure and I’m set apart as someone committed by the Holy Spirit to devotion in the plan of God. Amen.

One of the most misunderstood blessings you’ve inherited is what we’ll look at next. Any idea what this might pertain to regarding your new life in Christ?

Endnotes

106Dictionary.com.

107Jim Avila, Geoff Martz and Joanne Napolitano. “ONLINE LOVE TRIANGLE, DECEPTION END IN MURDER,” abc NEWS 27 November 2022

.

108UBS New Testament.

109Calvin’s Commentaries.

110Calvin’s Commentaries.

111Adam Clarke’s Commentary.

112Adam Clarke’s Commentary.

113Barnes' Notes.

114Dictionary.com.

115Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary.

My name is James Rondinone. I am a husband, father, and spiritual leader.

I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life.

I attended Bible college, having completed a two-year Christian Leadership Course of Study and graduated as valedictorian (Summa Cum Laude).

Studying and teaching the Word of God has been a passion of mine for over 20 years.

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