This article was written by Bro. Emmanuel Tamargo and was discussed with Bro. Jordan from The Christian Worldview Project on August 12, 2021.
In the first part, I explained the Psychological perspective of pornography and its issues. I also laid down my observations questioning some conflicting premises that challenge the firmness of its principles.
Let me continue from that by saying this: a person can deeply understand the reality of pornography and its effects on humans only in light of the Christian worldview and its source – the Bible. It may not provide detailed answers for each and every specific case of human behavior, but the essentials for life and godliness have already been given, through the knowledge of Him. (2 Pet 1:3)
While psychology still argues the nature and cause of pornography, the Bible defines it simply – not oversimplifying – as “lust.”
John Piper defines lust as “a sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God; disregards the promise and the warnings of having or losing the beauties of Christ.”
Let us pause here for a moment and notice that, while Psychology/Psychiatry label sexual immorality as a disorder i.e. sexually compulsive disorder, the Scriptures defined it only as lust.
We must clarify here that not all sexual desires are lustful desires. A husband can rightfully express his sexual desire to his wife, and vice versa. But our sexual desires have been corrupted since the fall of humanity into sin. As sinners, we tend to direct our desires to inappropriate objects. Paul said that God gave [sinners] up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity… and dishonorable passions (Rom. 1:24, 26). And such desires exploited technology (e.g. sex robots, sex toys) to fulfill sexual fantasies.
That is sexual desire gone wrong.
But Piper went on, making a profound assertion: No one is absolutely addicted. The common misunderstanding about addiction is that one cannot get out of it without proper intervention. The addicted person’s motto being “I can’t,” or at the worst, “This is incurable.” Piper elaborates that sexual desires do not decisively control them, but what they believe will happen if they acted on their lust. They are not coerced by their desires; they are not victims of their own volition.
Paul pressed his exhortation to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers because sexual immorality is not primarily about defiling the body, but more importantly, about defiling the One who created the body (2Cor. 6:14ff; 1Cor 6:13). It is closely related to idolatry (Acts. 15:20, 29).
Therefore, to decide to pledge our (lustful) desire to another instead of to God is idolatry.
The Crucial Factor
The Spirit of God who control us – as Christians – helps us to overcome our lustful desire through pornography. He convicts us, reminding us of the worth at stake whenever we continue to do a thing or not. The Holy Spirit cultivates self-control in the believer, working through, and with, the human act. The will of God is the believer’s sanctification: “that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passions of lust….” (1Thess 4:5).
Unveiling the Beauty
Pornography dims the beauty of creation, leading us astray into the corrupted beauty of our idols. But the Holy Spirit does not only keep us from pornography, but also, and most importantly, guide us in beholding the beauty of Christ. Job recognized the work of creation when God responded in light of his suffering (Job. 38:4). Such beauty is being displayed in Christ: the beauty of an infinitely, matchless worth. A true believer does not, and should not, exchange that beauty for a momentary use of pornographic material!
Therefore, those who are pure in heart shall see and be satisfied with the beauty of God’s holiness – or they will lose it forever because of pornography.
This is a call to resolve: to deal with your soul against pornography, or for pornography. But the Scripture radically says: Flee from sexual immorality. (1Cor 6:18)
The stakes are high – a matter of both body and soul.
Piper, John. “You Can Say No to Porn: A Pleasure Greater Than Lust”. Desiring God. February 11, 2015. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/you-can-say-no-to-porn