It has always been around, and will always be around. As long as there are people, there will be pornography. You might as well hold back the tide as to try and stop it. The production, sales, and dissemination of pornography have increased in recent years due to technical advancement and internet/social media. However, it is all the same. So, don’t be alarmed.
In this essay, I would like to:
- Define pornography.
- Explain pornography’s weaknesses.
- Give an explanation as to its resistance.
This phenomenon that draws men and women, like very few other lusts do, seemingly has taken over the world. The explanation defies the best psychologists. Their articles, which I don’t encourage anyone to read, are valueless, hopeless, and insubstantial. They will elevate such beastial behavior to a level of soft acceptance and will tell you that there is real satisfaction, need, for some level of sexual deviance, depending upon your line of right and wrong. Like I said: hopeless.
Rather, if you take every psychological journal article written from the beginning of its existence as a discipline and compile them into one volume, the weight of that volume will not even compare to one word in the Bible. The Bible’s diagnoses and remedy for any sin, let alone pornography, is substantial, true, and always right.
What is pornography?
Pornography must be defined. Because, like all sins, the enemy of God knows that if you misdiagnose sin you will also misapply the cure. So, let’s begin by defining “pornography.” Here it is: “Pornography is any, ANY, sexual behavior outside of the recognized marriage between a man and a woman.” You read right. Here is a list:
- Premarital sex-intimacy with another before marriage.
- Lust-desiring intimacy with another who is not your spouse.
- Adultery-the act of intimacy with another who is not your spouse.
- Images (artwork, music, or advertisement)-depiction of what entices another.
- Nudity-any level of revealing a person’s body in public.
- Lastly, the mere thought of any of these things in our hearts with a desire to fulfill them.
Most people don’t realize that pornography is not pornography simply because a man says it is. What I might consider pornography my neighbor might consider normal and acceptable. Pornography is not subject to the “non-moral” category. Its classification is not relative. What defines pornography is objective, fixed, and unwavering.
Let’s look at this a little more closely. The nation of Israel, in the Old Testament, was familiar with pornography. How do I know?
3‘You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.
Apparently, the items listed in Leviticus 18 were done in Egypt. Further, they were also done in Canaan, the land that Israel would inherit forever. That means that although there were no computers, printed pictures, or other means of disseminating it, pornography was alive and well in most of the known world. Obviously, the other nations not specified of here were not exempt.
Let’s look at this list:
- Vv. 6-17 teaches Israel to reject any, and every, form of incest.
- V. 18 teaches them to reject incestual polygamy as an aberration of marriage.
- V. 19 teaches men in the congregation to refrain from sexual intercourse during his wife’s menstrual cycle.
- V. 20 teaches Israel to reject adultery (which includes divorce-Deuteronomy 24).
- V. 21 teaches against idolatry (and given the context one wonders if there is an underlying tone of sexual aberration in this ritual of giving to Molech-Leviticus 20:5).
- V. 22 teaches against male homosexuality.
- V. 23 teaches against Beastiality.
As you can see, the levels of pornography in the nations matches our own in our nation. In other words, had America been in the land God promised Israel, we would have been slated for destruction by God along with the Canaanites. What has been practiced there is normal for us in ways we don’t even realize. Repeatedly, God tells Moses in this chapter that these are perversions to the original order of creation and are abominable, defiling, and worthy of judgment. As I said, “Pornography is any, ANY, sexual behavior outside of the recognized marriage between a man and a woman.”
The history of Israel is one of perversion. From pre-Israel days with Lamach having two wives (Genesis 4:19), to Tamar acting like a prostitute and Judah committing immorality and perversion by hiring her (Genesis 38), to David and his son Solomon with untold amounts of wives and concubines (2 Samuel 13:5; 1 Kings 11-it should also be stated that having multiple concubines was also practiced by Abraham and other men of God in the Bible as well), Israel ended up behaving just like those nations! The alteration of the good, very good (Genesis 1:31), original design of one man with one woman for a lifetime, has been the norm for everyone.
All of this is to say, it is normal to engage in pornography. And, that is the problem. According to the long line of examples in the Old Testament, sexual deviation is normal, sexual devotion is not. The normalcy of perversion, however, does not normalize it in the sight of God who created the sexual relationship.
Let it be stated once more: “Pornography is any, ANY, sexual behavior outside of the recognized marriage between a man and a woman.”
The Weakness of Pornography
The weakness of pornography is that it is incapable of holding itself against the truth of God. That is to say, if Jesus is right, then the truth of God does, in fact, strengthen the believer and weaken sin. Let me show you what I mean:
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Do you remember that I said that pornography is not “non-moral”? What I mean is that it is every bit as much unrighteous as murder, pride, drunkenness, or false religion. It is always included in the lists of unrighteousness in the New Testament. In fact, it often heads those lists (see Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19). Perversions from the norm are what make up those lists and sexual deviation usually leads them all. That means that whenever you lust for a woman, in church or otherwise, when you look at the printed page of pornography, or click onto that favorite pornographic website, or even lust after the women in advertisements, then you are committing condemning sin.
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.
“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Therefore, the unrighteousness of pornography is attacked, assaulted, and arrested by the truth which Jesus preached. Either that, or Jesus is an incessant, cruel liar.
Jesus’ Word is the exclusive, exclusive, cure for pornography just as it is the exclusive cure for drunkenness, love of drugs, or any other form of aberration from God. His Word, alone, contains the power to regenerate a person to believe in Him, follow Him, and be freed from these things. And, I might add, Jesus’ words do not need the help of modern, or pre-modern psychologists, psychotherapists, self-help groups, accountability partners, or any other form of embellishment. His Word is “spirit and life” (John 6:63). His Word produces faith (Romans 10:17). His Word regenerates the soul:
1 Peter 1:22–25
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
“All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.
The weakness of pornography is this: it is utterly incapable of standing up against the Word of Christ.
Someone will ask, however, “I believe in the Word of Christ but I still commit lewd acts, or desire to. Does God’s Word not work like you say?” Remember, lewd acts are not simply aberrations on perversions. They are ANY perversion from the norm. Here are some things to understand:
- You possibly believed a false gospel.
- It is possible that whatever you believed and considered yourself saved by was false, and thus powerless.
- You possibly did not truly believe.
- This is not a question of sincerity, but of the origin of your faith. If your faith was not given from God (Ephesians 2:8-10), then it is from yourself and that does not regenerate (John 3:1ff.).
- You possibly, in your heart, don’t want to quit.
- Be honest.
- You might be in a church that simply is not shepherding you well.
- If you are not in a church that is ministering properly, teaching properly, being led properly, then you are not being taught HOW TO repent from these things and follow Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). You are very frustrated!
But, above all else, please don’t blame God for the way you are. God did not create the aberrations in you-they are who you are before you came to Christ. In fact, if Romans 6-7 is any indication, those desires are still in the flesh, your physical body, and they constantly work to enslave you all over again.
How To Resist Pornography
How can a person resist the temptation, inside and outside of themselves, for pornography?
First of all, repent of that sin and follow Jesus Christ. It is worthy of the wrath of the Lamb of God, the Lamb of God Who died in order to remove sins from His people so they will stand in righteousness forever. Imagine feeling the impulse to devalue a woman and simultaneously realizing that sin is not as strong as it used to be! Imagine the day when you don’t look on a woman to lust after her, to have her (Matthew 5:27-28), but rather to lead her, make her holy, and genuinely love her for her benefit and not your own. Imagine praising that godly woman and being glad for her beauty without being allured by the same. Imagine looking on with pity at the prostitute you used to know when she advances and instead you confront her concerning her perversion.
How can you get to such a place? Do you even want to? Let’s assume you want to. Let’s assume you want to mature and grow up to spiritual adulthood, that is to look and act like Christ.
Think about this: Jesus had an extensive ministry to women. He spoke alone to an immoral woman at a public well (John 4). He received the touch of a prostitute (Luke 7:36-50). He was admired by women wherever He went (Luke 11:27). He was financially supported by many women (Luke 8:1). And, many women looked upon Him near His cross (Luke 23:49). Never, never, was there ever a hint at perversion, in either direction. Why? “Because Jesus is God.” True, but wasn’t He tempted?
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
He experienced temptation somehow. He, apparently, knows what it is like to be tempted to sin (see Matthew 4:1-11). Being tempted is not the same as sinning. Him being tempted to sin does not mean that He wanted to sin. Rather, it demonstrates His impeccable nature in that He was committed to righteousness no matter the result.
And that is the only key to resisting the sin of pornography: pursue righteousness by faith. When you pursue Jesus Christ, His Word (John 8:30-31), you are pursuing righteousness. I will say it again, this is not simply sincere belief. This is not simply a sincere recollection of data. This is not simply thinking better thoughts. You know your thoughts are defiled. It is submitting yourself, to the death of yourself, to the teaching of Jesus Christ in order to obey it.
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
This is not simply-“Don’t look at pornography!” Rather, this is practicing obedience to all His commands beginning with the source of all His teaching:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Submit to God, writes James, Jesus’ brother, and He will draw near to you:
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
You will never conquer unrighteousness by giving it a glance wondering how you are going to defeat it. You will only conquer sin by submitting to righteousness. Do what Jesus said to do. Pursue the obedience of faith. Be in a church that is actually a church with qualified leadership, preaching the Word clearly, minimized theatrics, seriousness placed on holiness, and who is striving to be faithful leading to growing holiness.
Don’t spend time in parachurch therapeutic clinics and seminars. They only serve to heighten the sin in your eyes by drawing continual attention to it. They cannot help you. God has ordained the simple preaching of the Word of Christ to be the power behind your obedience.
At the end of the day, you are not simply dealing with pornography, are you? Don’t you see pride in yourself, anger, love of money, coveting, faithlessness, etc…? Is the lust for others outside of marriage your only fault? Of course not!
In conclusion, all that I can say is follow Christ. His Word works in those who believe very, very effectively (1 Thessalonians 2:13).