Who is most righteous – the person who commits adultery on his wife or the man who looks at pornography? I’m not self deceived into believing that my writing ability or this article itself requires the attention of every man! However, I do believe what I say in this article should be considered by every man on planet earth – especially those within the church.
We often clothe ourselves in a false world of religion that condemns specific sins while condoning our own sins. That is better known as Phariseeism. We often call it hypocrisy! The fact is, many well meaning evangelical Christians sit in church each week with a condescending attitude toward the person who commits adultery while they are guilty of unbridled lust. So, the question remains – who is most righteous, the lustful person or the adulterer? Rather than guessing, we should allow Jesus to answer the question for us.
Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV) – You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
The problem that was facing the people of Jesus’ day was that they were hearing preaching and teaching from the rabbis that didn’t fully expound the Law of God. Therefore, their day was not much different than our present day. They were hearing the Word of God twisted to fit the system of the Jewish leaders of the day rather than submitting to the entire Law of God that goes beyond the external letter to the internal heart.
The Jews in Jesus’ day had heard that adultery was wrong. They had heard right. However, as Jesus points out, God was not merely interested in the physical act of the flesh. He was also interested in the inner heart of the individual. That being said, Jesus pointed out that any man that had looked at a woman with lustful intent had actually committed adultery with her in his heart. What a serious thing for Jesus to say! Therefore, Jesus put the lustful mind on the same level as the adulterer.
Like anything good that God creates, Satan desires to destroy it. God created sex to be a good thing, but Satan has taken it and painted graffiti all over it. God desires sex to be confined to one man and one woman for life. Sex is a good thing and should be used to procreate. The desire for sex was given to humanity, but unfortunately, Satan has twisted it, perverted it, and harnessed it to the marketing industry like a team of powerful oxen. Today, we blush if we hear sex mentioned in the pulpit. Satan wants to silence the pulpit so that he can preach in society. Satan has tried to redefine sex – and has done a good job in his effort. However, we should realize the importance of defining sex, the boundaries of marriage, and the danger of lust from the inerrant Scriptures of our Lord!
According to the following stats, the pornography industry is growing rapidly!
The statistics are truly staggering. According to compiled numbers from respected news and research organizations, every second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. Every second 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography. In that same second 372 internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S. It’s big business. The pornography industry has larger revenues than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple and Netflix combined. 2006 Worldwide Pornography Revenues ballooned to $97.06 billion.1
Therefore, it’s quite obvious that the sinful habits of lust are a serious problem. The lustful mind often leads to the physical act of adultery which often results in divorce and shattered homes. Jesus pointed out that merely following the external Law wasn’t enough. God expected purity of the heart as well.R. Kent Hughes writes:
Recently Leadership Magazine commissioned a poll of a thousand pastors. The pastors indicated that 12 percent of them had committed adultery while in ministry – one out of eight pastors! – and 23 percent had done something they considered sexually inappropriate. Christianity Today surveyed a thousand of its subscribers who were not pastors and found the figure to be nearly double, with 23 percent saying they had had extramarital intercourse and 45 percent indicating they had done something they themselves deemed sexually inappropriate. One in four Christian men are unfaithful, and nearly one half have behaved unbecomingly! Shocking statistics! Especially when we remember that Christianity Today readers tend to be college-educated church leaders, elders, deacons, Sunday school superintendents, and teachers. If this is so for the Church’s leadership, how much more for the average member of the congregation? Only God knows!2
Below are several questions that may indicate a spiritual problem in your life:
- Are you more appalled by homosexuality than you are your own sinful lust?
- Are you more disgusted with television shows like Desperate Housewives that glorify adultery than your own secret addiction of internet pornography?
- Are you more concerned with the adultery of political leaders such as President Clinton and John Edwards more than your own lustful mind?
- Are you more angered by the adultery of preachers that you hear about in the news than you are your own lustful eyes and thoughts?
It is extremely dangerous to look at the sins of others while condoning your own sin. God places sinful lust on the same level as adultery. Tim Challies in his book, Sexual Detox, writes, “I want you to know that you cannot be a loving husband, an effective husband, a godly man as long as your mind is filled with the lies of pornography. You need to break free, you need to detox.”3 The Scripture commands Christians to flee fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Joseph did that when Potiphar’s wife seduced him. The church at Corinth battled the sin of fornication and adultery greatly! As Christians in a modern world that sprinkles glitter upon the putrid sin of adultery and pornography – we must be committed to fleeing fornication!
It should also be pointed out that Jesus warns about Hell two times in this section of His sermon. Those who have an unbroken pattern of adultery and lust should fear for their soul. The person who continues to practice sin such as adultery and lust (which Jesus calls adultery) will die and go to Hell. It’s not that the person who lives in this manner is in danger of losing their salvation! The fact is, those who continue in sin rather than grace were never born again (1 John 2:19). Habitual sin is proof of an unregenerate heart. That is precisely why Jesus warned of Hell. Therefore, if you are engulfed in the sinful web of pornography and adultery, you are either a person who has never been born again by God, a true Christian who is living in sin, or a person who has religion but has never been born again. Examine yourself and see if you are in the faith! If not, you need to repent and turn to Jesus Christ who can save your lost soul and free you from the grip of lust and adultery!May God grant healing to the heart that is engulfed with unbridled lust! May God be pleased to spare that man or woman’s marriage who is entangled in the bonds of pornography. May it be done for the glory of King Jesus!
Pastor Josh Buice
Proverbs 27:20 – Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
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2. Disciplines of a Godly Man, Crossway Books, 1991, p. 21-22.
3. Sexual Detox – A Guide for the Married Guy
Link: Porn Addiction in America – View Chart