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Lust, Sin’s Deadly Nature, and Pornography


Adultery in the heart

From Christ’s Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:27-30

"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 lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”


Like all sin issues, adultery goes well below the surface of human actions. Jesus tells us that looking at the opposite sex with lust is the same as committing adultery within the heart. The motives and thoughts of the inner person are highlighted within the Sermon on the Mount.


Dealing with Sin’s Deadly Nature

Our Lord states, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you.” Additionally, He makes the same kind of reference about the right hand. Jesus effectively uses hyperbole to make clear points. His language not only exposes the serious and deadly nature of sin, but it also demonstrates we must take definitive action to deal with it. Simply stated, we must not engage the temptation, and we must run from it! And, indeed, if we have committed a sin like adultery in the heart, we should take every measure to mortify it.


Implications for the Use of Pornography

In 2024, perhaps the most common form of lust is the viewing of pornography. If we believe Christ’s words, we understand lusting over images and videos is adultery that emanates from the heart. This should give professing Christians pause if viewing pornography has become a justified or secret pastime.


Shockingly, according to most surveys, at least fifty percent of church-going men view pornography regularly. In addition, many pastors engage porn frequently while shepherding their flocks. The reality is disturbing on many fronts.


Adultery in the heart.

But Scripture tells us that ongoing, habitual sin is eternally disastrous and is a product of the unregenerate heart. In Galatians 5:19-21, the Apostle Paul states, "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”


In Paul’s warning, the Greek word for immorality is porneia from which we get our English word pornography. The word refers to all illicit sexual activity, including adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and prostitution.


But God is great! Directly after Galatians 5:19-21, Paul contrasts sinful practices of the unregenerate with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). One of these fruits is self-control. Thus, the born again believer is equipped to overcome sexual sin. This describes absolute victory over ongoing, sinful practices.


Unfortunately, in the contemporary Church, we have managed to place the porn sin into the “special category” of addiction. We vastly ignore the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, years-long viewing should make one examine their salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ.


In the end, we must adhere to Jesus’ warning. Likewise, we must not excuse or minimize the power of the Holy Spirit within believers. In reality, it becomes impossible for the true Christian to make allowances for the ongoing and unabated use of pornography. The Word of God does not support this rationalization. When Jesus and His authority become real to us (John 14:15), we have the ability to choose Him and not a life of practicing cherished sins.


 

John 14:15-17

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”


Galatians 5:16-24

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.


Ephesians 4:17-24

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.


Colossians 3:5

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.


1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.


1 John 3:4-10

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.











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