The Married Christian and Porn
Our culture treats pornography with a sort of silent neglect. It’s the supposedly harmless woolly mammoth in the cultural room, if you will. But one thing it is not is harmless. It’s often the “gateway drug” leading to every manifestation of sexual immorality known to man. We think we can just shoo it away or simply sprinkle some pixie dust on it, and it’ll leave us alone. Well, the sheer massiveness of the porn industry shows it’s going to take more than a little pixie dust to ward off pixel lust. In this two-part treatment I will first address the marrieds and then the singles in regard to the unbelief of pixel lust.
Embedded within the commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), is the unshakable truth that your spouse is enough for you sexually. Not only is your spouse enough, he or she is also a physical, biological representation of the Father’s heart toward you. For the Christian, through the gospel God shows you that he is unstoppably for you. He is a good Father who has providentially, from before time began, designed and called a spouse for you. I want that truth, for just a moment, to rest on the realities that presently accompany your marriage and lustful temptations. To deny the goodness of the Father in this is to deny the Word of God and to disbelieve his goodness (James 1:16-17).
From beginning to end, the Bible is one big saga of whether God’s image bearers will believe or disbelieve his Word and promises. Every single word, sentence, chapter, book, testament, indeed the whole of revelation, is written with the foundational presupposition that God expects his image bearers to believe and obey his good Word. Indeed, the same proposition is presented to you as well. Your whole life, each year, month, day, and second, presents you with a question: are you going to believe the good Word of God or choose disobedience? When you choose to disbelieve God and trust the word of your sexual temptations over the Father’s Word on the matter, sin officially steps onto the scene (James 1:14-15).
If what I have argued so far is true, this places the issue of pornography, lust, fornication, and adultery firmly on the playing field of belief, NOT primarily biological compulsion or addiction. Thus, every occasion of the sin of lust, which is ever the fertile ground of all forms of sexual immorality, may feel and even seem as though it is of biological necessity. It argues that it is irrepressible, but it is not irresistible! That is true, Christian! Nothing has overcome you but that which is common to all men and women in all times and in all places throughout history (1 Corinthians 10:13).
I don’t say this as a scold or as a tough-hearted innocent unacquainted with the wiles of the flesh. No, I want you to know that you can say no to sexual temptation by owning these galvanizing truths, the good promises of God. Use them to fight the lies of the flesh and the devil. Hold onto the truth of God’s Word with white knuckled strength. And when the swirl of the storm of sexual temptation is all about you, speak to yourself the truth that this temptation is a mirage, and the truest thing about you is that Jesus is more. The sexual provisions he has provided you in the truth of the gospel and in the body and soul of your spouse is enough for you. It is more than enough for you.
I propose just two texts to dwell on in the midst of the storm of temptation. If you can think your way to the gospel and the truth, then you can outlive the gauntlet of pixel lust. If owned and believed, these texts can keep you on the gospel, the gospel in you, and the lies of the flesh and the devil out of you. The first is a sweet reminder of the hope and provision God has given you through your marital union. It is a means by which we put on Christ while married. We put to death the deeds of the flesh and put on the holy works of Christ. The second is a promise and reminder of the unstoppable gravity of the gospel’s sanctifying work in the life of the Christian.
Proverbs 5:18-19, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”
I probably don’t have to tell you this, but I will: sex is God’s idea! Thus, this passage is not awkward, nor to be veiled, but rather celebrated. By measure of potency, the most important reality for the putting down of your sin and the putting on of Christ, right behind the concrete reality of union with Christ, is the godly provision and refuge of your spouse’s body as a means of sexual enjoyment. Your spouse and your shared hidden universe of marital intimacy is one of the greatest weapons at your disposal for fighting pixel lust. “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight” means through the enjoyment of your spouse in marital intimacy, under the patronage of holiness and completely devoid of lust, you can trust in Christ’s provision for you. This is good news in the fight against pornography, lust, and adultery.
Matthew 1:21, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
The amazing thing about this passage is the immediately applicable strength with which it descends upon the moral struggler. This verse does not negotiate; no, it declares conclusively that for the Christian, your present and future salvation does not rest in your feeble hands, but rather in the Kevlar-like strength of God that even raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead. Your salvation from sexual immorality never has and never will rest in your feeble strength, but rather in the strong declaration of the omnipotent God who from eternity past set his affections on you to sanctify you…unstoppably so, too!
J. I. Packer once said, “Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.” That’s the kind of impenetrable gospel logic that will keep you from stumbling into pixel lust and all forms of sexual immorality. Take heart dear Christian, Christ has set you apart for life, not death.
Next time: The Single Christian and Porn