Over this past year, pornography constituted 30% of all data transferred across the internet. In 2016, the largest porn site in the world reported a total of 92 billion videos downloaded–an average of 12.5 videos for every man, woman, and child on the planet.
About a half-century before humanity dove into the age of digital porn, C.S. Lewis wrote,
You can get a large audience together for a strip-ease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?(1)
He went on to note,
You find very few people who want to eat things that really are not food or to do other things with food instead of eating it … perversions of the food appetite are rare. But perversions of the sex instinct are numerous, hard to cure, and frightful.(1)
Lewis’ main point was that both the food appetite and the sex appetite are a natural part of our physical existence, but something seems to have gone horribly wrong with one of them … our sexuality. What he saw in the mid-1900’s is absurdly tame by today’s standards (or absence thereof). As for the unspecified “perversions” he mentioned, I required the services of an up-to-date urban dictionary for two or three activities mentioned in the latest report, and felt like I needed a good cleansing shower after merely reading the definitions. I guess there is a lot I do not know, but the sky is bluer and the birds sing sweeter for that blissful ignorance.
What I say next is really only intended for the authentic Christian, that is, one who actually tries to “do what Christ said”.(2) If you make no claim to be a Christian, or if you think you are a Christian but tend to re-interpret the Bible to make it fit with what society affirms, then the possibility of a spiritual rebirth through faith in Christ is much more important to consider.
There are some passages in the Song of Solomon that are seldom read aloud in the Sunday morning Bible reading … blushing material as it were. My theory is that God included them in the Bible to show that a sexual relationship within the context of marriage between a man and a woman can be romantic, beautiful, and sensual–and this is wonderfully fine with God, who created sex in the first place.
On the other hand, the God indicates throughout the Old and New Testaments that all sexual activity outside the context of marriage between a man and a woman is morally wrong, using words like “abomination”, “lewdness”, “perversion”, “degrading”, “indecent”, “impurity”, and “depraved”, all of which communicate in quite strong terms what God thinks about it. There is no middle ground.
“For today’s culture, the goal is to be the way you naturally are. For God, the way you were born is only the starting point; the goal is far, far greater.”
Why does God care what you do in the bedroom? The answer to that question may go right to the core of what it means to be human–a being created in the image and likeness of God with both a physical body and a supernatural soul. Here are four points to consider.
1. Sexual immorality is natural for us.
We were born that way and we naturally gravitate deeper into sexual immorality if God releases us to it.(3) Furthermore, our natural self is in a state of on-going, moral corruption.(4) So, contrary to what society says, celebrating the way we naturally are is a large mistake, from God’s perspective.
2. Sexual immorality “wages war against the soul”(5)
This is not mere poetic language; it is the soul vs. your fleshly desires. The flesh wins at the expense of your soul. Sexual immorality destroys the image of God in you and it destroys every civilization that practices it. Oxford anthropologist, J.D. Unwin studied eighty-six societies and civilizations spanning several thousand years of history, and found that none survived more than three generations once sex outside of marriage became accepted … no exceptions.(6) In all cases the decline was irreversible. God’s moral instructions for humanity are designed to maximize human flourishing and minimize pain and suffering.
3. Abstaining from sexual immorality is essential for the authentic Christian.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality … not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God … he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”(7)
Observe that God supplies a bad example just in case we needed some clarification … “like the Gentiles who do not know God.” Practically speaking, if you want to know what not to do with your sexuality, take a look around the coffee shop, step out onto the street, surf the media; this is how not to live. Notice also that it says that if you reject God’s moral instructions on sexuality, you reject God.
4. There is a supernatural way to live.
For today’s culture, the goal is to be the way you naturally are. For God, the way you were born is only the starting point; the goal is far, far greater.
“in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness ofGod has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”(8)
This is a daily, even hourly, way of living. It will require a tough-minded total surrender to God each day, and a commitment to never, never accept defeat, no matter how many times you need to crawl back up unto your feet after a defeat–it is part of the unseen war that determines the state of the world. The rewards even in this life, however, are infinitely more fulfilling and wonderful.
1. C.S. Lewis, ‘Sexual morality’, Mere Christianity.
2. Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?”
3. Romans 1:20-28.
4. Ephesians 4:22 “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.”
5. 1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.”
6. J.D. Unwin, Sex and Culture. Out of print, but can be downloaded here.
7. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.
8. Ephesians 4:22-24.