The tentacles of pornography have invaded almost every area of our lives through TV, movies, sports, music, the arts, the news media, video gaming, marketing, magazines, and the Internet. Differing degrees and aspects of pornography are everywhere. Many of these far-reaching tentacles go unnoticed and are even embraced by mainstream Americans—Christians and non-Christians alike. What once was considered unacceptable has become completely commonplace.
What is Pornography?
The word pornography is composed of two Greek words. The first is porne, meaning “harlot,” which is akin to the word pernanai, meaning “to sell.” The second word is graphein, meaning “to write.”1 In other words, pornography is literally “the writing of harlots.”
The Bible and Porn
The Greek word porne is used several times in the Bible. In one of these instances, the apostle Paul writes:
Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot [porne] is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:15–20)
Sexual immorality covers a broad range of sinful activity in the Bible, none of which is what God originally intended for man. In the beginning, man was made in the image of God, perfect and wholesome in all ways (Genesis 1). This included sexuality within the husband and wife relationship. God created marriage before sin entered the world. Adam and Eve enjoyed all the pleasures of marital life in a perfect world (Genesis 2:18–25).
The “sexual immorality” category includes pornography because it introduces an outside person (or persons) in the man-woman marital relationship ordained by God. With pornography, although no overt act has been committed with the person in the picture, Jesus warned His disciples that whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:27–28). Additionally, porn addiction, as it progresses, commonly does lead to a physical act with a real person.
The lie is the same one used in the Garden: Satan is suggesting that God is keeping something good from us. Usually it begins with thoughts somewhat innocent-sounding, such as “Women are beautiful; why shouldn’t I be able to admire a beautiful woman?” However, porn, like all addictions, tends to progress toward a destructive end from these seemingly “innocent” beginnings. But God’s original design for human sexuality was within the boundaries of marriage, and it far surpasses anything that Satan could offer.
Why is pornography so enticing?
In the same way that Adam was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3, so men and women today are tempted to sin by looking at pornography. The enticement may look attractive at the beginning, but, as James states,
each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from The Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:14–17)
As with Adam and Eve’s temptation, Satan subtly disguises his distortion of God’s plan for human sexuality. For one thing, pornography can be hard to define. Some of it is perfectly acceptable within today’s society (although that doesn’t make it right according to biblical standards). For example, think about what you watched on TV last night. Were there any images that introduced an outside person(s) into erotic thoughts (where only your spouse should be)? What about the billboard along the highway? Were there any images in the catalog you received that caused you to think about another person (not your spouse) lustfully?
Once a person becomes climatized to this type of “acceptable” pornography, it’s an easy step to the next level. Thanks to the Internet, hard-core pornography is readily available within the privacy of a home at little cost, effort, or chance of detection.
Pornography is a sin designed to draw people away from God, entrapping them in the slavery of their own desires. Over time, pornography will become addictive and intensify, drawing its victims into deeper and darker depths of depravity. For more information about the addictive characteristics of pornography and how to tell if you are already addicted, please see www.christiananswers.net/love/home.html.
As Adam and Eve discovered, death always follows sin (Genesis 2:16–17, 3:19–24, Romans 3:23). In the case of porn, this could mean the death of a marriage and family, or the loss of self-respect, friendships, or bodily health. Ultimately, the result is separation from God.
The Bible provides help for all sinners, regardless of their level of entrapment. Some members of the Corinthian church had problems with sexual immorality. In 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, Paul lists some sinful lifestyles that these people had embraced before they became Christians. Then in verse 11, he adds “And such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” [emphasis ours]. This demonstrates a definite turning away from the sinful lifestyle due to a change of heart, a healing work done by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit worked in the lives of these early Christians and empowered them to begin changing as their sinful burdens were released by the power of God’s forgiveness for their sins. The Corinthians were washed, sanctified, and justified through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ when He died on the cross and bore the punishment for sin. For more information about the redemptive work of Christ, and how you can receive Christ as your personal Savior, please read about the Good News of Salvation.
The Corinthians had to demonstrate repentance for their sinful practices through change, as we also need to do today. This involves action. In Ephesians 4:22–24, Paul exhorts the church to “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and . . . put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
The phrase “put on” in these verses is the Greek word enduo, which means to clothe.2 In other words, Paul is exhorting these Christians to throw away the old deeds of the flesh and “put on” the new man; just as a person would throw away useless, dirty rags and replace them with new, clean clothing. Through God’s forgiveness and grace, these new, clean clothes are readily available.
So, how does one apply these verses to everyday life? We can choose what we allow to influence our hearts and our daily thoughts. Would we watch a particular TV show, or look at a certain website if Christ were in the room with us? Does what we see draw us closer to Christ, and strengthen our relationship with Him? The answers to these questions should help us to direct our daily choices with wisdom. Taking a stand against pornography will mean separation from the mainstream cultural views and activities of our society. Ultimately, pornography is an issue of the heart, and a barrier to our relationship with God (2 Corinthians 5:9–11).
We need to walk by faith, believing that God’s way is the best plan for our lives. The alternative is to walk by sight, which is a dangerously misleading path to travel, especially in the area of pornography (2 Corinthians 5:7).