Christians have been called out of darkness and into light. As such, they are to put off the flesh and put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14). As a result of being placed in Christ through the finished work of Christ, God calls His people to put to death sin and pursue purity. While our culture encourages us to be passive, God calls us to run the race towards Him (1 Corinthians 9:24-26).
In my teen years to early twenties I struggled with pornography. As soon as I came to see the cosmic treason I was committing, I turned away from pornography and to Jesus. At that moment, I realized that Jesus makes all things new, including my purity and thoughts. While I was formerly impure, I no longer have to live in that impurity. Impurity defined me in my past, but it doesn’t define my life now. The gospel wipes away the record of my sin, but I must deal with the consequences of it.
Let’s consider three ways to pursue purity by the grace of God.
See Your Sin as Idolatry
When I came to see that my impurity was at its root idolatry, I came to see my sexual sin as an act that violated God’s law. I was engaging in this activity for my own benefit because I didn’t treasure the perfection of God’s holiness. By recognizing sexual sin as idolatry, we see the nature of this sin. This sin not only diminishes the beauty of the opposite sex, but also the glory of God.
Fight Your Shame By Trusting in the Gospel
I minister to men week in and week out at my local church. I also receive e-mails from men the world over about their problems with pornography. (I know, however, from my studies on sexual sin that women also struggle.) The sexual addict lives in a world where shame and guilt reign supreme instead of the supremacy of Christ.
The gospel is good news for all people, especially for those living with the weight of sexual sin. Jesus took on our shame and guilt, and there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). This is good news for the addict because they don’t have to continue the vicious cycle of feeling guilt and shame—but instead turn away from sexual sin and to Jesus, who wipes away the record of their sin against Him with His shed blood.
Purity Software and Accountability
J.C. Ryle said, “The true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague.” In order to guard myself against sexual sin, I protect myself by using Covenant Eyes. I not only utilize the accountability software, but also have content filtering. The content filtering blocks any attempt to look at anything impure (or negatively rated). This stops me in my tracks and causes me to think twice about looking at anything impure since my accountability team will be able to see anything I view.
Christians have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:13). This means we’re no longer controlled by sin; instead, we are upheld by the Master, Jesus Christ. Your hearts of stone are replaced with a new hearts, new desires, new affections, new identities, and the message and purpose of the gospel.
All of this means that you and I can pursue purity with 100% dedication and carefree abandon. Corrie Ten Boom said, “Jesus takes your sin, past, present and future, dumps it in the ocean and puts up a sign that reads ‘No Fishing Allowed'”. God calls us to purity—to live in the freedom of our new identity. No matter what has transpired in the past, the Lord can and does make all things new.
Thank you for the article, Dave Jenkins. We all need this knowledge and encouragement.
i agree to not sin. However I believe that all people who sin need to repent to God, the Creator of Jesus. Jesus was a man who tried hard to obey God and he received God’s Message from God and told the people, as Muhammad did later. God Blessed us.
Thanks for this blog. This is something that I have struggled with even as a Christian. I am 22 years old and have been a Christian for almost 6 years, yet even after all the things I have learned about lust and pornography, and despite my efforts to avoid it, I recently viewed it online about a week ago after not having view it since this year had started, and it me feel guilty and ashamed of myself, but I really want to stop and not view pornography anymore, howerver, I still feel tempted to do it sometimes, and it is hard for me not to view it.
First of all PRAISE GOD for the victory you’ve experienced over the last several months. This is wonderful. Remember, when you slip, this does not bring you back to square one. Read this article: it talks about how to handle slips like the one you just experienced.
The shame you experience is very normal. In one sense, shame is good because it reminds us that sin has a cost. On the other hand, when shame is mixed with this nagging belief that God won’t accept us or is unable or unwilling to change us, it cam become toxic. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you’re too messed up for God to transform you. God has sanctified murderers and rapists, junkies and prostitutes. Your sin does not scare Him. Your sin is the very reason Jesus came to die and the very reason why the Spirit was sent to empower.
Read that article I linked to and let me know if it is helpful.