At the heart of the problem with pornography is the fact that it promotes sexual arousal outside of a relationship, which has many dangerous consequences. This is the first of a series of articles which look at some of these consequences.
Pornography damages our relationship with God.
The Bible teaches that we can sin sexually with our eyes and mind, and the use of pornography is such a sin. In Matthew’s Gospel , Jesus explains that it is possible to commit adultery in your “heart”. He then highlights the seriousness of that sin by emphasising that it is worth taking radical steps to avoid its eternal consequences. As with other sins, lusting after someone in our minds and hearts damages our relationship with God and threatens the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives .
God designed sexual intimacy for marriage, and like all things God created, it is good. This is how the Bible describes marriage.
a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
‘Becoming one flesh’ describes the complete union of husband and wife in a new family; sexual intimacy is the ultimate physical expression of this union.
This is particularly important because God uses the picture of the oneness of marriage between a husband and wife to teach us about His relationship with His people, for example in the following verse:
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.
This verse uses the picture of marriage involving sexual intimacy to describe Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church. There is no human relationship other than the marriage of a previously unrelated man and woman, that reflects the complete commitment and physical, emotional and spiritual oneness of Christ and His church.
A dangerous separation of arousal from love.
The most significant problem with the use of pornography is that, as with any sin, it damages our relationship with God.
Pornography separates sexual arousal from this commitment, love and emotional intimacy with another person in marriage. It therefore dangerously distorts God’s design for sexual intimacy within marriage, and when we misuse God’s gift of sexual intimacy in this way, we dishonour God and risk harmful emotional and physical consequences for ourselves.
The most significant problem with the use of pornography is that, as with any sin, it damages our relationship with God. Like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden , we are likely to want to ‘hide’ from God; sin stops us wanting to read the Bible, to pray or to serve God.
But we should always remember that it was for our sin that Jesus suffered and died on the cross. Nothing we have done is beyond God’s forgiveness. If we repent we can be forgiven and live to overcome sin through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us. Remember, Jesus our high priest was also tempted and is able to sympathise with our weaknesses. If we ask Him, He will help us to keep going, to resist temptation, to focus on all God’s promises and to live for God’s glory .
- Matthew 5:27-29: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his hear. If you right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:18-20: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
- Genesis 3:8: ”And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”
- Hebrews 4:15-16: ”For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
- 10 to 15 percent of all searches are estimated to be pornography related. Psychology Today: Dueling Statistics: How Much of the Internet Is Porn?