by Candice Watters
“Even the pagans who find pornography pleasant and necessary seem to recognize that it is kind of pitiful.”
So writes Russell Moore on his Moore to the Point blog in Arousing Ourselves to Death. He doesn’t stop there. Blazing ahead in what must be an essential area for Christian concern, he shows why this problem of pornography is at the heart not just of relationship damage, but of spiritual destruction. He writes,
Pornography is about more than biological impulses or cultural nihilism; it is about worship. The Christian Church, in all places and in all times and in all communions, has taught that we are not alone in the universe. One aspect of “mere Christianity” is that there are unseen spiritual beings afoot in the cosmos who seek to do us harm.
These powers understand that “the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). They understand that a disruption of the marital sexual bond defaces the embodied icon of Christ and his Church (Eph. 5:32). They know that pornography, in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ, joins Christ, spiritually, to an electronic prostitute or, more likely, to a vast digital harem of electronic prostitutes (1 Cor. 6:16). And these accusing powers know that those who unrepentantly practice these things “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9–10).
This is no less true for the unmarried man or woman. Pornography is just as disruptive of the marital sexual bond when it is used before a wedding, as it is after. In both scenarios, damage is done. Sometimes irreparably so. It may seem less sinful to use porn while single — you’re not cheating on your wife! But that’s the enemy’s lie. You are still joining Christ to a prostitute whether single or married, and if you are to be married someday, you’re cheating on your future wife (or husband). What our culture dismisses as legitimate entertainment, we must recognize as deadly fire (Proverbs 6:26-28).
As beings made in the image of God, we must think biblically about our sexuality. This includes how we relate to one another where there has been sexual sin. It’s not enough to admit a “struggle” with Internet porn — not enough for the one sinning to say it, not enough for the one sinned against to receive it. Moore writes,
Typically, for those who identify as Christians, a pornographic episode is followed by a resolve “never to do it again.” Often these (again, typically) men promise to seek out some sort of accountability and leave it behind. But often this resolve is less about a convicted conscience than about a sated appetite. Even Esau, belly full of red stew, wept for his lost birthright, but “found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears” (Heb. 12:17).
Without genuine repentance, the cycle of temptation will grind on. The powers of this age will collaborate with the biological impulses to make it seem irresistible again. The pseudo-repentance will only keep the sin in hiding. This is devil work, and is among those things our Lord Jesus came to destroy (1 John 3:8).
What should you do if you’re caught in pornograpy’s web? And what should you do if you discover that your beloved is trapped?
Moore’s post is most helpful at this point, explaining what genuine repentance looks like, including what your response should be to the Internet, how the church should be involved in accountability and ultimately, how it is the Gospel alone that can supply victory. I commend “Arousing Ourselves to Death” to you, whatever your exposure to this sin. We live in an over-exposed culture, even those who’ve been spared the hooks of pornography need to know how to help those who are caught.
This article was originally published by Marry Well on May 2, 2011.
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