Pornography is as old as the human race. It's been around since the first person discovered how to scratch a picture with a rock. Yet today it's availability has exploded. It is an inescapable and increasingly accepted part of daily life. Public opposition melted away years ago. It is now so prevalent that for Christians to ignore it is as irresponsible as ignoring issues like race relations or poverty.
When Israel entered into the Promised Land they confronted the challenge of Canaanite pornography. Canaanite religion used graphic sexual images, explicit speech and temple prostitution. The prophets fought a bitter struggle against it.
When the early church moved out into to the Greek and Roman world, they confronted the pornography of pagan worship—very much like the Canaanites. The temple of Aphrodite in Corinth was famous for its 1000 sacred prostitutes.
The most important Biblical passage on human sexuality is Genesis 1-2. Here we learn the basics: God created sexuality and filled it with beauty and goodness. God gave human sexuality for three main purposes: 1) procreation; 2) to bond the man and woman in marriage and 3) to provide an image of the Trinity: two unique persons becoming one flesh reflecting the unity and diversity of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus endorsed Genesis 1- 2 as the norm for his disciples, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh?...” (Matthew 19:4-50) This is the gospel teaching on marriage. It unmistakably precludes pornography, polygamy, prostitution, promiscuity and polyamory.
Jesus declared that pornography defiles us, “...out of the heart of man come evil thoughts, sexual immorality (in Greek: pornography)...these things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23) There is a God-given goodness to human sexuality and pornography doesn't fit. One of the first acts of Christian worship is to give our body to God (Romans 12:1) I am no longer my own but I belong to God. Therefore we are to glorify God in our bodies by serving God's purposes and seeking God's best for us.
Romans 8:5-13 contains a detailed discussion of the Christian struggle with pornography. Verse 13 is a jarring declaration and challenge, “If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Sexual purity begins with a moral absolute: My body belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ to glorify him and his purpose for me. It involves a decision: I will always flee sexual immorality (pornography) 1 Corinthians 6:18. Pornography is always and everywhere wrong.
We make our habits and then our habits make us. No one should underestimate the addictive and destructive power of pornography. It's grip is often by its secret. No one knows. Scripture urges us to break the secret and destroy its power, “Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) This is best done with a small group of trusted friends. With each other's support it is amazing how old habits can be put to death through the Spirit and new ones formed. God's best for us is to break free of the deceitful desires of the flesh and live in the beauty and goodness planned in creation.