Pornography is ubiquitous today; addiction to pornography, especially among men, is equally widespread. Young men are often introduced to pornography long before they are able to understand what it is and what it means. Many a young man’s first awakening to sex and sexuality is by exposure to pornographic sex and nudity. This is sadly, increasingly, the case with women as well.
Some Christians can take a kind of refuge in the fact that so many others share in the struggle. “We are all in this together” can minimize the weight of it. Yet the ubiquity of porn and porn addiction does nothing to lessen the horror of it. I want to ask you a question. But not quite yet. Read on…
Desecration and Titillation
There is an inescapable consequence to the fact that human beings bear the image of God: there is nothing God values more than human beings. Bearing God’s image is an extraordinary privilege and brings with it extraordinary worth. Jesus asked, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul?” If you were to accumulate the wealth of Bill Gates and add to it the wealth of Solomon, you would barely be scratching the surface of the value of a soul, of a person. Wealth will fade. It will rust and decay and be lost. People are eternal. When all of that wealth is gone, the soul will live on.
God says there is nothing in all creation he values more than human beings. And if this is true, there can be nothing more abhorrent to God than the desecration of human beings. There is nothing that displays greater spite toward God than destroying what he considers most significant. As man rejects being made in God’s image, there necessarily follows a culture of death and desecration.
When you look at pornography you are watching the violation of what God considers more valuable than anything else he has created. It is a violation of all that person is, for sex is not only skin-deep but soul-deep. You are not only watching it but enjoying it, and not only enjoying it but being titillated by it. God says “I value her above all else because she is made in my image, in my likeness.” You watch her being humiliated and violated and desecrated and all the while fantasize about doing the same. God says “Of all I created there is nothing with more worth and dignity,” and you delight in her desecration and indignity. God says, “I hate it when her body and soul is stained” and you say, “It turns me on.”
I have an important question I want to ask you. But first I want you to consider another consequence of pornography.
Porn and the Portrait
There is nothing in all of creation with more value than human beings. There is no message more central than the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection. Long before the cross, God decided that he would embed within humanity a picture, a portrait of the gospel: marriage. The great mystery of marriage, a mystery that could be revealed only after the cross, is that marriage has always been and will always be about the gospel. The relationship of a husband and wife is to be a constant pointer to the relationship of Christ and his church.
Sex is inextricably bound to marriage. The only right expression of sex is within marriage, for only then can the sexual relationship point us to the intimate love of Christ for his people. Sex outside of marriage tells lies about Christ, it tells lies about the church, and makes a complete mockery of the gospel. To tamper with sex is to tamper with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When you look at pornography you are participating in this mocking of the gospel. You are watching the violation of the gospel, you are enjoying the violation of the gospel, you are being aroused by it. God says, “I have given you this great picture of Christ and the church” and you watch that portrait be defaced and violated and mocked, and you enjoy it all the while. God says, “The purity of the sexual relationship points you to the purity of the love the Savior has for you.” And you say, “Right now I need a different kind of salvation from a different savior. A more satisfying kind, and one Christ did not supply at the cross. I need salvation only this god can provide.”
Pornography desecrates the one thing in all of creation that God values above all; pornography makes a mockery of that great portrait God has given us of Christ’s faithful, compassionate love. And you who claim to love this God and who profess faith in this Savior, enjoy it, dedicate yourself to it, are titillated by it.
God wants you to know that there is forgiveness, that the same gospel you have mocked offers you forgiveness even for so grave a sin.
But I think God wants you to consider something else. He wants you to consider a warning:
No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. … Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him (1 John 3:6,8-10).
Here is what I want to ask you: Do you love pornography enough to go to hell for it?