Scripture warns of the sins of lewdness, fornication, and adultery, which God calls “works of the flesh” not fitting for His saints (Galatians 5:19–21). If not sincerely repented of, these sexual sins will lead to death (Romans 6:23)! Yet the Internet today is full of modern-day “works of the flesh,” which many adults and even teens are participating in. What are these Internet works of the flesh? How can you protect yourself, your children, and all those you love?
Whether the physical act or the meditation of the heart, eyes, and mind (cf. Matthew 5:27–28), Jesus Christ made it clear that lust, fornication, and adultery are sinful! Whether it is visiting pornographic websites, using sex “chat rooms” or mobile phone “sexting,” or even if the behavior may seem by some standards to be less extreme—such as sharing provocative pictures or messages with friends or strangers Facebook or Twitter—if it is behavior that God considers “lewd” and inappropriate, then like any sin, it can be overcome if we sincerely seek the help of our Lord and High Priest, Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:13).
So, what do parents need to be aware of? And whether teens or adults, what do Christians of any age need to repent of if they are participating in Internet works of the flesh?
Some sources claim that “35% of all Internet downloads are related to pornography” and that one-quarter of all search engine queries (about 68 million a day) relate to porn. Other studies cite equally disturbing facts, indicating that "pornographic websites account for more monthly visitors than Netflix, Twitter and Amazon combined"! After years of tracking the steady growth of the porn industry, reports and polls now indicate that the numbers of teens and young adults who consider pornography to be a danger to society or a moral evil have slipped into the minority and that, most disturbingly, child sexual exploitation has become "one of the fastest-growing online businesses."
It is vital to understand that pornography is a very dangerous sin that can lead to or become a behavioral addiction. In addition to broken marriages and broken lives, the sin of pornography or sexual lewdness, if unrepented of—like any other sin—will lead to death (James 1:14–15). And pornography does not affect only men—some research indicates that about 15 percent of women who claim to be “Christian” admit using porn.
Additionally, the very disturbing trend of sexting and sexual messaging is growing and becoming more accepted alongside commercial pornography among today’s youth, and a whole lexicon has developed by youth to both talk about sex online and to hide those conversations from their parents! Sexting terms like “GNOC” (get naked on camera), “IPN” (I’m posting naked), “LH6” (let’s have sex), “WTTP” (want to trade pictures?) and “GYPO” (get your pants off) are just some of the common terms that teens have used to “KPC” (keep parents clueless) when “9” (parent is watching) or “PIR” (parent in room). Parents need to be aware of the very real dangers out there, and parents need to be attentive in establishing rules and boundaries to both guide and protect their children on the Internet, Facebook, and other social media.
Whether parents or children, whether youth or elderly, Christians must remember that obscenity, filthiness, lewdness, fornication, and adultery are not to be named among the saints, and those who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:3–5). True Christians should not be guilty of Internet works of the flesh. True Christians should let their lights shine in a good way on the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and any social media so they may glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Please read “Facebook Christians” and “Pornography: The Dirty Little Secret” for more on the subject, as well as "The Two Faces of Technology." And please remember that any sin and any weakness can be overcome, but the first step is to seek God in heartfelt prayer for the help and strength that He promises those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).