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took the scope of “porneia” to a
new level in his Sermon on the
Mount by declaring that “anyone
who even looks at a woman with
lust has already committed
adultery with her in his heart”
(Matthew 5:28). What does this
tell us? According to God’s
perfect standard, when it comes
to sexual immorality, “everyone
has sinned; we all fall short of
God’s
glorious
standard”
(Romans 3:23). The sad reality is
this: we are all adulterers.
The Good News
The good news of the gospel
is that, in spite of the fact that we
struggle with lusts of the flesh,
Jesus Christ was victorious for
us in his sinless life and,
therefore, the perfect sacrifice
for our sexual sin — all sin. For
those who are in Christ, the
price was paid on the cross. No
matter what the degree or
frequency of immorality, Christ’s
record is the believer’s record.
Sanctification is a process — one
over which God is sovereign,
and one in which we can be
confident
that
“God,
who began the good work…will
continue his work until it is
finally finished on the day when
Christ
Jesus
returns”
(Philippians 1:6).
Statistics and the Church’s
Response
Until that day, the body of
Christ must face the realities
surrounding
today’s
pornography epidemic and
seriously consider the impact
the church’s response will have
upon individuals and marriages.
The statistics are alarming. With
the nature of the internet,
numbers
are
constantly
changing, and survey reliability
varies; however, it is estimated
that up to 50% of Christian men
and up to 20% of Christian
women have some kind of
struggle with pornography. 47%
of families said pornography is a
problem in their home (Focus
on the Family Poll, October 1,
2003). 51% of pastors say
internet pornography is a
possible temptation; 37% say it is
a current struggle; and 4 in 10
pastors have visited a porn
website (Christianity Today,
Leadership survey, Dec 2001).
Depending upon its response,
the church’s view regarding
pornography as a grounds for
divorce — or even for breaking
an engagement — will have a far
reaching effect upon the chronic
singleness that exists in our
society, as well as the potential
for skyrocketing divorce rates
because of the prevalence of the
problem.
The complexities of the
nature of this sin call for
prayerful
consideration
of
approaches
in
individual
situations. There are many
questions to ponder in the
search for biblical solutions.
How will we bring sin to light
without condemnation? How
will we model the truth that it is
the Lord’s kindness that leads to
repentance?
How
do
we
counsel, equip and properly care
for spouses wounded by the
devastating
effects
of
pornography? How will we fight
and become victorious over a
thief that seeks to steal, kill and
destroy? The church has an
advantage over secular society
in the battle against the problem
with porn: we know the real
enemy. “We are not fighting
against
flesh-and-
blood enemies, but against evil
rulers and authorities of the
unseen world, against mighty
powers
in
this
dark
world, and against evil spirits in
the heavenly places” (Ephesians
6:12). We also know the only
victor: our savior, the Lord Jesus
Christ. The battle is his, and he
has already won. May we live in
such a way that demonstrates we
believe that.
Dawn blogs regularly at
dawncoates.wordpress.com.
Follow her on Twitter at
@dawn_coates.
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