Goodbye Porn, Hello Wife

Pornography is not only a problem. It is a well-attested problem with a multi-billion dollar industry geared in the most part toward men. And I hate it. I want to burn the whole thing down to the ground in Jesus’ name. A number of Christian men are free from the sin of pornography. And by God’s grace several more will be. And this post is aimed at that very liberty. Before I go any further, if porn is a problem, I highly recommend SetFreeCourse.com. It’s an online course designed to put porn to death. With that said, let’s get down to it.

Christian men are no longer under the dominion of this sin for they, along with Christian women, are not under the dominion of any sin (Romans 6:14). But many Christian men feel that they are a slave to porn. And pornography is the kind of sinful weed that really does entangle. So I want to point out a key shortcoming in most approaches to ending porn, then offer some encouragement to uproot the weed once and for all.

Failed Attempts

The trouble with most attempts to kill porn is that they focus only on what the man is to avoid. He is not to use porn (and that much is right on the money). But these failed approaches have nothing to say regarding what the man is to do sexually. There is nothing wrong with a well placed, “Stop it.” But the Apostle Paul says to both put off the old man and put on the new. We are told not to be drunk with wine. And we are told to be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

So you have likely heard of approaches to ending sin that involves tokens for sobriety. A man receives a blue chip when he has been porn-free for 3 months. And he receives a red chip when he has been porn-free for 6 months. But this system is designed to celebrate how long a man has not done something. And men were created for more than doing nothing. Christian men have more to celebrate than avoiding the dishonorable. They can do something sexually honorable. They’re designed to do something sexually productive. 

In other words, you need a model for putting porn to death than involves more than looking back at how far away from porn you are. Walking backward up the mount of sanctification, generally speaking, is just not the best way to go about it.

Once and For All

Christian men can and must say goodbye to porn once and for all. Scripture speaks to routine mortification of sin. And it speaks to once and for all mortification of sin. The former is addressed in Romans 8:13, “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” In this verse, the word “mortify” has the sense “to go on mortifying.” Every Christian must make a regular habit of killing the little sins that pop up. But in Colossians, Paul speaks of mortification in a once and for all sense, “Mortify therefore you members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these” (Colossians 3:5-8). “Mortify,” in this context, carries the sense of a once for all action. 

Pornography use is not a small weed to be plucked every Saturday morning. It is a sin that can and must be killed for good. Doing so requires taking a hard look at what pornography is, and a good hard look at what sex within covenant marriage is.

Pornography is a particular and predominately modern form of sexual immorality. It is not adultery or fornication, and for that matter is not homosexuality or bestiality. Pornography most often involves sex with self while observing some form of lust by means of a screen. As such, this particular sin is pagan, individualistic, gnostic, and fruitless. Not unexpectedly, those who use porn become idolaters, isolated, disembodied, and empty. Each of these four points warrants a word.

Idolatrous

Porn is idolatrous because it is steeped in a rejection of the Creator and our creaturelinss. The Creator has a design for sex. But sex by oneself and with oneself inherently rejects the Creator’s design. In so doing, the creature makes himself the Creator, worshpping at the idol of self. Gene Veith, in a chapter called, “The End of Sex,” explains, “If the characteristic infirmity of our time is a repudiation of the creation and our creatureliness . . . it is no wonder that sex has been thrown into such disorder. We have been attempting to puruse sex apart form what it means. Having untethered sex from the family, we have taken something that is life giving and made it barren. We have untethered sex even from the body, we are, with the help of technology, coming close to eliminating sex altogether.” 

Individualistic

Pornography is the sexual practice of our hyper-individualistic age that has lost all sense of covenants. Covenants involve more than one person. Thus the marriage covenant is an act of God himself in which he joins two together. Sex is designed to be the consumation of that covenant. The whole idea that God can join people together in a real union is foregin to our independent and individualistc culture. We think that marriage is simply a decision that we make, neglecting that it is ultimately an action that God takes in joining two together. And so things have unraveled sexually, “First, God, with his commands and his creative and redemptive purposes, is removed from consideration. Next, sex is detached from its physical function of conceiving children. Next, sex is detached from the sexual distincitions of male and female. Next, sex is detached from relationship altogether—from the impersonal pursuit of ‘sex objects’ to sex with oneself, in the solitary eroticism of pornography.”

Gnostic

In his book, Post-Christian, Gene Veith writes, “Sex reminds us that we are not disembodied spirits but creatures of flesh and blood.” God made us soul and body. But some have rejected the goodness of the body. Gostics taught that spirit is good and matter is evil. A form of this gnosticism known as docetism went so far as to teach that Jesus did not truly come in the flesh. How could he? According to the theory, the flesh is evil. We see traces of this error when people neglect the physical world and God’s design for the body. Such neglect fuels pornography and wreaks havoc on actual sex—

“Besides violating every aspect of God’s design for sexuality—creation, conception, relationship—pornography actually disables those who indulge in it from experiencing actual sex. Pornographic stimulation desensitizes people sexually . . . A real, flesh-and-blood woman is not enough. And because porn conditions its users to make sex impersonal—the stimulating figures in the videos being merely objects, things—users will find it all the harder to form romantic relationships and to experience sexual love with an actual person.” 

Purposeless

Along with being idolatrous, individualistic, and gnostic, pornography is purposeless. Porn-users feel the emptiness because they sever the very telos God established for sex. Onan did something similar when he would not impregnate Tamar. More was involved in his situation. But not less. He engaged in the sexual act, but Genesis 38:9 says he wasted his seed on the ground. The text’s reference to “waste” or “ruin” signals the constructive and productive nature of male sexuality. Onan took that which was for production and wasted it. Put simply, male sexuality is good for something, and pornography is good for nothing.

The Marriage Bed

Against this troubling backdrop, appears the beauty of real sex in a real marriage. It is strange to have to use the adjective “real.” Many an editor would make the point that “sex” and “marriage” should be enough. If it is sex, then it is real sex. And if it is marriage, then it is real marriage. And if it is not real sex then it is no sex at all. And if it is not real marriage then it is no marriage at all. And if you’re a bit dizzy from that string of sentences, then you will have to blame the insanity of our times, not me. 

We live in a day where people are trying to join two men together and call it marriage. Men dress up like women and say they are women. People attempt to “hook up” in the metaverse and call it sex. So we’re left having to distinguish: real marriage and fake marriage, real woman and fake woman, real sex and fake sex, true God and false god. So you can see that all of this is fruit of us cutting down trees in the forest, using one end to cook our food, while bowing down to the other end—

“And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; Yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: And shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? Shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feedeth on ashes: A deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand” (Isaiah 44:19-20)? Those who engage in pornography have a lie in their right hand. And there is a much better way.

The marriage bed has a purpose. The Christian husband provides his wife with children. In the sexual act, a husband fulfills an obligation to his wife, what Paul calls the wife’s “due benevolence” (1 Corinthians 7:3). The marriage bed is tangible and covenantal. It is no disembodied and lonely fantasy-lust. It is the very consumation of the marriage covenant that reinforces covenant love. It testifies to the work of God in making the two one flesh. And the marriage bed repudiates idolatry, replacing it with the worship of the true and living God. Sex in marriage is submission to and enjoyment of God’s design.

So, if you’re looking to be set free from the grip of pornography, then embrace your wife. Turn away from the vanity and futility of pornographic perversion to your flesh and blood wife. God himself has joined you to her.