The statistics are shocking. The average age at which an American child first sees pornography online is eleven! Forty million Americans are regular visitors to Internet porn sites. In a typical month, 70 percent of American men aged 18–24 visit pornography Web sites. Twenty-five percent of all search engine requests—68 million a day!—are pornography related. This is an epidemic societal scourge!
With these sobering statistics in mind, it is vital that we understand these words of Jesus Christ: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28).
In essence, Jesus’ words are a magnification of the Seventh Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Why was Christ concerned with the commandments? Notice what He said earlier in Matthew 5: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (v. 17).
The word translated as “fulfill” in verse 17 is the Greek pleroo, which means “to diffuse” or “to cram” or “to level up.” Christ came to magnify God’s law—to reveal it in greater detail than before and show its spiritual depth. And He literally filled God’s law to the full by living a sinless life.
Each human being is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). As such, each is worthy of profound respect, and should not be objectified as the target of our lust. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). Sexual activity before marriage is called fornication, which is prohibited under the Seventh Commandment. It is thus vitally important, if one wants a healthy marriage, to take steps to overcome any desires for sexual activity outside of its God-ordained bounds.
How seriously should we take this? Christ taught: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29–30). Jesus was not telling us to hack off body parts. Rather, we must be willing to discipline our eyes and hands and minds so that we do not fall into temptation. God assures us that it can be done (Mark 9:23). We should pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
If we fail, the consequences are severe. Jesus warned that “it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:30). If you are having difficulty giving up the viewing of pornography, and you continue entertaining lustful thoughts in your mind, consider that if you are a converted Christian, and you persist in neglecting the Holy Spirit that God gave you—which will help you overcome your illicit lusts if you persevere—you are at risk of the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
Thankfully, there is hope! Turn to God, and the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). To maintain that peace, follow Paul’s wise counsel: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (v. 8).
To learn more, read our commentary, “Internet Pornography” and our Tomorrow’s World article, “Pornography: Pleasurable Pastime or Toxic Threat?” Do not give in to temptations that can destroy your marriage, your life and your eternal destiny! Be careful what you see!