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Question: A Christian’s Struggle with Pornography and the Foundation of Freedom

An anonymous questioner asked me the following:

Pornography. How to break it? I honestly have the desire to, and I sometimes do for a couple weeks tops. But it always finds its way back. It’s so deeply embedded, and it’s messed me up psychologically. Need deliverance!

The following is my response:

Before we go further, let me begin by making this as clear as I possibly can:  nothing I say to you will have absolutely any value unless you are disciple of Christ, by which I mean that your faith for salvation is in the effective, redemptive work of Christ on the cross evidenced by his resurrection. Unless that it is the ultimate reality that guides your life, any desire that you have to flee from sin will be ultimately me-focused, egoistic, prideful, and sinful. It will do you no good to flee from unrighteousness to righteousness unless your fleeing to righteousness is through the blood of Jesus Christ by the power of the indwelling and active Holy Spirit.

So, now that we have established that initial framework, let’s continue. First, I want to encourage you in Christ. The nature of Christ’s death and resurrection is world-changing. It effectively bears the wrath of every sin past, present, and future of every believer in Christ that has, is, or will ever exist.

Because Christ, as a perfect lamb without spot, bore the sins of all the children of God on the cross, every sin that every believer will commit is atoned for. It is covered. It is wiped away. And because Christ was resurrected, we know that his death was sufficient for our salvation.

In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His (the Father’s) grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. . .

Ephesians 1:7, 8

Through and in Christ we have redemption. We have been bought from the grave. For that reason Paul reminds us that in Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Christ’s death was sufficient to cover the sins of the children of God.

Now, there are a few reasons that God has saved us from our sins. The first, and primary, one is this:

  • “According to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5b, 6a)

God is pleased in redeeming his children, and he does so that there may be eternal praise in his grace, which is accomplished in eternity. Meaning, the more aware we are of how sinful we are the more we are able to exult in the glory of God’s grace. When we being to understand the magnitude of the nature of God’s holiness and the magnitude of the nature of our sin and the inescapable fact that God’s grace is infinitely larger than our sin, when that begins to occur, we exult in his grace more and more daily. That is why Peter will tell the believers in his second epistle to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). As we more fully understand our sin and God’s holiness, we grow in the knowledge of God and we grow in the grace of God, for then we realize how desperately we need it. In Christ’s words,

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

Luke 7:47

A particular child of God is forgiven no more and no less than any other child of God; however, one particular child of God may be far more aware of his own sins, and as a result of God’s grace, than another.

So, looking back to the Ephesians 1 verse, as we more fully understand the depths to which God went to secure the redemption of his children, the more fully are we able to exult in his grace and in his glory, which is a driving motivation behind salvation.

The second driving force behind our salvation is a more practical, but only because of its nature, force for our salvation, and one that may help you more:

  • “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 1:4

We were chosen, saved, indwelt with the Spirit, to be holy and blameless. That is what we strive for by the power of the Spirit upon receiving salvation. Therefore, as Paul exhorts in 1Corinthians,

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 6:19, 20

Now, I want to draw to your mind some key things that will help you.

  1. You were bought at a price, and therefore you are not your own. What price was it at which we were bought? It was with the precious blood of Christ, which is much more precious than gold or silver. (1 Peter 1:18-21) Keep in mind this precious blood of Christ whenever you are faced with temptation. Know that this blood was shed for every sin you and I will ever commit.
  2. If you are in love with the things of this world, the love of the Father is not in you. John is perfectly clear here:  the love of the Father does not share a suite in your heart for the love of this world. It is all or nothing here. In the same way that Christ calls us to abandon all to follow him, we must abandon our affections for the things of this world to love God as we should, including the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. (1 John 2:15-17)
  3. We are set free from the things of this world by setting our eyes on heavenly things. That is how we avoid temptation, or at least walk in the power that the Spirit grants to rise above it. Paraphrasing John Piper, a little soul makes little temptations mighty and huge, whereas a large soul makes large temptations tiny and worthless. (Colossians 3:1-4)

There is hope. But that hope is only through the gospel of Jesus Christ, through which gospel we have been sealed by the Spirit and enabled to walk in the all-enabling power of God.

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