The Sexual Confessions of a Saint – Saying "Never Again" to Porn

Below is a short excerpt from a sermon by John Piper on the transformation of St. Augustine:

This ancient story of a sort of Bible-roulette is humorous but nonetheless powerful.

Augustine wrote this of his youth: “But I wretched, most wretched, in the very commencement of my early youth, had begged chastity of Thee, and said, ‘Give me chastity and continence, only not yet.’” (Confessions, 8.7.17). How many times have I prayed this way, wanting to dwell in the pleasure of sin, if only for a little bit, before I gave it up to follow Jesus?

And yet Augustine was gripped with God’s power one day as his eyes landed on Romans 13. Why?

– – – –

The Seduction of Sin

Paul, speaking to the Christians in Rome, wrote,

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:11-14).

Paul speaks of six sins that are not fitting of those who follow Christ: orgies and drunkenness, sexual immorality and sensuality, quarreling and jealousy.

        But if we merely stop with these descriptions of sin, we have not really seen Paul’s point. The fact is our sinful tendencies, after removing certain social constraints, gravitate toward these things: unbridled desire, selfish grabs for happiness, the buzz of a belly full of food and wine mixed with an atmosphere of flirtatious carelessness. We need not lie to ourselves and deny that this sort of life is seductive. To defeat sin we must see a life of holiness as somehow more attractive.

        – – – –

        The Beauty of Holiness

        This is precisely Paul’s point. He says, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand.” Paul sees us living on the new dawn of human history. The long night is nearly over. We are living in the twilight stage of God’s kingdom. When Jesus came into the world the first time, we saw the first glimmers of dawn, the morning star shone brightly and the rich colors of dawn were visible to us. We know “the day” is coming, so live in such a way that your life lines up with this coming reality.

        The only way that attractiveness of sin is crushed is when we begin to fall in love with the beauty of the coming kingdom of God. We see a new world coming, one where Jesus is King, where the natural world no longer groans under the weight of decay, where death is put to death, where all idols are destroyed, and where no one is engrossed in themselves anymore, but rather engrossed in the King of Kings. Someday we too will be like Frodo Baggins aboard the white ship passing into the West: “the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.” Only when Christ returns, we will not merely approach the sunrise; it will approach us and transform this whole world.

        This is why chastity—either unmarried abstention from sex or marital fidelity—is more beautiful than the seductiveness of sexual sin. In that new world, all will be chaste. We will experience there a new definition of intimacy and pleasure as we see Jesus, our Groom, when we enjoy our wedding feast. For eternity we will be married to the Lord of the Universe.

        – – – –

        See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-4).

        Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
        Will bring her into the wilderness,
        And speak comfort to her.
        And it shall be, in that day,”
        Says the Lord,
        “ That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’
        And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ . . .
        I will betroth you to Me forever;
        Yes, I will betroth you to Me
        In righteousness and justice,
        In lovingkindness and mercy;
        I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
        And you shall know the Lord

        (Hosea 2:14-21, NKJV).