The command, “Keep yourself pure,” given to Timothy (1 Tim. 5:22 NKJV), is still absolutely vital for every one of us today. We can clearly trace the subject of purity through the entire Bible. Times may change, but God does not age or change. Nor does He relax or lower His standards as time goes on. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians – who lived in a city known for its impurity and whose main goddess, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was worshiped through blatant immorality – that he had betrothed them to one husband, that he might present them as “a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2). This was not only to be true for them as an assembly collectively, but was also God’s standard for each of them individually.
Sexuality is an essential part of each of us. God deliberately made us to need and complement one another. He instituted marriage not only for our happiness, but also with the glorious intent that we might picture that grand purpose of the ages, Christ and His Church. He does not want us to spoil this picture by sins of immorality and impurity.
In Matthew 5:27-30 our Lord Jesus pointed out that immorality is not only a matter of gross actions such as adultery, but also that it embraces our thoughts and motives. It often makes its entry through our eyes. God reads our minds and searches our hearts. Knowing of God’s plans, His adversary and ours, Satan, tries to entice us, hoping to spoil the goal God has for us.
Pornography is nothing new, but probably never has it been as blatantly available as it is today. The motto, “Sex sells!” underlies much of the advertising industry’s efforts; thus sex is openly flaunted in countless ways. The entertainment world too thrives on illicit sex, and negative ratings are often a drawing card for films. Music, movies, videos, television, magazines, “adult” stores, extremes in fashion and especially the vast reaches of the internet make pornography almost omnipresent. The sanctuary of the home has been invaded by this monster. Chat rooms and internet dating services have again and again contributed to the breakdown of marriages and ruin of homes.
The lust of the eyes has often gone from titillating thoughts to physical acts, the lust of the flesh (1 Jn. 2:16). A double life is often the result. James reminds us that lust conceives sin, and sin ultimately results in death (Jas. 1:14-15). Christians once in happy fellowship and useful service have even been charged with criminal offenses and incarcerated. While others, thankfully, have not come to this extreme, their testimony and service for the Lord have been compromised and irretrievably ruined unless the grace of God intervenes in a miraculous way. But remember, God’s grace does not conflict with His government.
Some may think that in so writing we depict pornography, and indeed, sexual sin of every description, as the worst possible kind of sin. It is not our business as humans to devise a grading system for sin, regardless of how much we are hurt by it. Let us keep in mind that all sin is first of all an affront to God and most abhorrent in His eyes. “Flee sexual immorality,” He tells us, going on to say, “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 with a price” (1 Cor. 6:18-20).
Thank God, there are filtering programs available for computers that make it possible to screen out a measure of the grossest impurity presented thereon. Christian organizations promote some of these for parents wanting to guard their children against these dangers. But though we may not like to face the fact, we parents and grandparents need to guard ourselves against temptation as well. No mechanical or electronic device can do this for us. Purpose of heart not to defile ourselves is absolutely essential, as is earnest supplication for self and intercession for others. We must flee temptation, not attempt to fight it. We are weak but, thankfully, God is able to grant us victory in these areas, too!
Let us follow the example of Joseph who when faced with temptation unequivocally refused it saying, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). Pray for those trapped in Satan’s snares. Pray that they might be delivered! Pray too for those victimized through the effects of pornography. Pray with compassion, bearing in mind our own weakness.
By Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org