Overcoming Porn (explicit-ish)

Paul addressed the immorality present in the church at Corinth. Now, he turns his attention to the matters about which the church wrote him related to porneia, sexual sin. It seems there was much confusion about sexuality in the midst of First Century Rome like there is in our own time. Paul continues to address the church concerning porneia.

Please consider becoming a monthly contributor. We provide these resources free, support mission work around the world, empower the impoverished to end the cycle, reach out to youth and families, and serve as safe zones for the vulnerable. We seek to end addiction and see people free from the oppression of the world’s systems and categories. See more.

– Andrew
One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Thank you for your donation.
Mail checks to Christoa Ministries, INC. 124 N Haskell Ave. Willcox, AZ 85643

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

1 Corinthians 7:1-9

7.1 Περὶ δὲ ὧν ἐγράψατε, καλὸν ἀνθρώπῳ γυναικὸς μὴ ἅπτεσθαι·  2 διὰ δὲ τὰς πορνείας ἕκαστος τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα ἐχέτω, καὶ ἑκάστη τὸν ἴδιον ἄνδρα ἐχέτω.  3 τῇ γυναικὶ ὁ ἀνὴρ τὴν ὀφειλὴν ἀποδιδότω, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἡ γυνὴ τῷ ἀνδρί.  4 ἡ γυνὴ τοῦ ἰδίου σώματος οὐκ ἐξουσιάζει ἀλλὰ ὁ ἀνήρ· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ὁ ἀνὴρ τοῦ ἰδίου σώματος οὐκ ἐξουσιάζει ἀλλὰ ἡ γυνή.  5 μὴ ἀποστερεῖτε ἀλλήλους, εἰ μήτι ἂν ἐκ συμφώνου πρὸς καιρὸν ἵνα σχολάσητε τῇ προσευχῇ καὶ πάλιν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἦτε, ἵνα μὴ πειράζῃ ὑμᾶς ὁ Σατανᾶς διὰ τὴν ἀκρασίαν ὑμῶν.  6 τοῦτο δὲ λέγω κατὰ συγγνώμην, οὐ κατʼ ἐπιταγήν.  7 θέλω δὲ πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἶναι ὡς καὶ ἐμαυτόν· ἀλλὰ ἕκαστος ἴδιον ἔχει χάρισμα ἐκ θεοῦ, ὁ μὲν οὕτως, ὁ δὲ οὕτως.  

8 Λέγω δὲ τοῖς ἀγάμοις καὶ ταῖς χήραις, καλὸν αὐτοῖς ἐὰν μείνωσιν ὡς κἀγώ·  9 εἰ δὲ οὐκ ἐγκρατεύονται, γαμησάτωσαν, κρεῖττον γάρ ἐστιν γαμῆσαι ἢ πυροῦσθαι.

Marriage a shield (v. 1-6)

Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

The local church at Corinth, at least one group in the church, wrote Paul a letter, which apparently comprised a series of questions. That letter was probably a response to Paul’s previous letter to the congregation (cf. 5:9). Paul addresses one of those questions here after addressing the immorality of the local church. We don’t know what the question was, but Paul answers by saying that it is good for a man not to touch a woman. Paul’s following comments help us to understand the type and extent of this touch.

But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

But, contrary to men touching women, each man is to have his own wife and vise verse—as opposed to a man having his father’s wife (cf. 5:1). Each one is to fulfill his or her duty to the other. Neither has authority over his or her own body, but his or her spouse does. Essentially, instead of taking according to one’s lusts, each one is to have a spouse to whom he or she gives. Because we have died to self, we no longer use others for self-gratification, which applies more broadly than men touching women. Instead, we live to give of ourselves sacrificially.

Further, we see the complimentary nature of the marriage relationship. Paul describes marriage as between one man and one woman such that the wife has given authority over her body to her husband and the husband has given authority over his body to his wife. Complementary marriage becomes a safeguard against immoralities, porneia. Because I am concerned about giving myself exclusively to my wife, I have neither the time nor desire to seek out arousal. My wife’s presence has been a constant a safeguard for me. Because porneia is a reality in the world, each one is to have his own spouse—a help and safeguard against the temptations of the world, not a person to be used to gratify self (which is how the world views marriage).

Marriage is ultimately a picture of Christ and His church or Christ and the Father (cf. 11:3; Ephesians 5:32). Christ sacrificed Himself for His church and calls His church to die to its sin and be wed to Him (cf. 6:16-17). 

Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say by way of concession, not of command.

The Corinthians’ question must have dealt with abstaining from sex or withholding one’s self from a spouse. We have the same type of question today, only it is mostly unspoken. One spouse does not feel like having sex while the other is hot and bothered. Men stop when they ejaculate even though it takes women longer. Wives deprive their husbands as some kind of punishment because they know not how to forgive. These are the ways of the world, not of Christ. The way of Christ is sacrificial living. Stop depriving one another in any way. You are not more spiritual because you starve your marriage of its sustenance. You are more Christlike if you live sacrificially for the pleasure of your spouse. God has a good design for sexual pleasure practiced sacrificially within the marriage covenant to illustrate His relationship with His people—though His relationship with His people is not at all sexual.

There are times, though, when married couples might feel they need to live like single people—that’s single people in Christ, not of the world. When one is not concerned about pleasing his or her spouse, more attention can be devoted to prayer—to relationship with Christ. We do not forsake our spouses but voluntarily abstain from intimate gratification for a time. Because porneia is present in the world, such a lifestyle—being married but living like a single person for the Lord—is not to be permanent on this earth. Indeed, if one was never tempted by the porneia of the world, such a lifestyle would be desirable. But, because of porneia, the two are to come together again so as not to be tempted by Satan. They are to come together again because they lack self-control in the world. Separation for a time to focus on prayer is not essential. It is by way of concession, not command. Only do this if you want and if your spouse agrees. Don’t do it longer than you are able with your level of self-control. Marriage is a shield against porneia.

Singleness a sword (v. 7-9)

Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. 

Even though porneia is in the world and marriage is a safeguard against porneia, Paul wishes that all people (ἀνθρώπους, referring to both sexes) were like him. Paul is either never-married or a widower. It is my opinion that he is a widower because it seems the term “unmarried” refers to those previously married (cf. v. 11, 34). Having been married and lost his spouse, Paul remains unmarried. Even for those who are married, then, it is desirable that they commit themselves to the Lord—which is more and more possible the more they are sanctified through the marriage relationship. Those who have never been married, if they are so gifted, can remain single because they are not tempted by the porneia of the world. 

The less we are tempted by the porneia of the world, the more we can give ourselves to prayer, our relationships with Christ, and service to Christ for the upbuilding of His kingdom. For this reason, if anything ever happens to my wife before I die, I will likely remain unmarried. Such a life is not for everyone. For those who have never been married. Your singleness is a sword against the gates of Hell. If you are tempted by the world’s porneia, take up a shield early—marry young. If you are not, use your singleness as a sword for the kingdom. You are not too young to serve your God and local church. God has given you spiritual gifts to use. It’s never too early to start serving.

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

To the unmarried, widowers, and widows—it is good for them to remain unmarried. Why? Their singleness is a sword. If one loses a spouse and is tempted by the porneia of the world, not having self-control, he or she should remarry. It is better to have a shield so as to not burn with passion in the world’s porneia. 

The longer I live in Christ, the less I care about the pleasure that comes with sex. There was a time I burned with passion and was tempted by every fleeting image that came across the television screen or popped up on some internet ad. I was so bad that I could not be a lone with a computer or television, and I could not go to the beach without tripping into lust. I notice, while reading through Scripture, that our sexuality is a good measure of our relationships with Christ. The more we are sanctified, the less we are tempted by images or what others choose to wear—the less the world’s porneia appeals to us because our sexuality is about giving of ourselves rather than gratifying ourselves—two motivations that are incompatible. The world only knows gratification. Only with the regeneration of our hearts unto salvation and the filling of the Holy Spirit can we overcome the world’s lifestyle of sexual gratification and become living sacrifices. It’s not something we can do by our own muster. Now, when a woman is dressed indecently or producers sneak more skin or sexual images into a television program, I don’t have to worry that I will fall into sin. I’m simply no longer interested in that kind of gratification. I am interested in the giving of myself to others in appropriate ways, beginning with my own wife.

With this realization, I find a good principle. We do not overcome sin by removing every trigger. We cannot overcome lust by throwing out computers or cancelling television subscriptions. Sin begins in the heart. Hide behind the shield of marriage. Seek to know Christ more. As we are sanctified, as Christ’s good work is completed in us, we will care less about gratification. Images work less and less to trigger us. We will be free from sin. If we have to work and work and work to avoid temptation, we know we are still slaves to sin and need to know Christ more. If we cannot keep from making raunchy jokes, making passes at others, or sexualizing or objectifying anyone, we are still slaves to porneia and need to know Christ more. This is a matter of the heart and of maturity in Christ. God created the human body. It is a beautiful thing. It is not a sin to see. The human body was created for the Lord, though, and not porneia. It was not created for lust. So, we seek to know Christ more and lust after people less. Further, we safeguard those who are still slaves to their lust by covering our bodies. We are interested in their good, not desiring anyone to fall. Eventually, all of those in Christ will lust no more.

Do you want to be free from your lust? The previous generation misstepped by advancing purity culture, which only served to intensify the burning lust of their children. It is not good to sign a pledge of purity or try to, by some manner of works-righteousness, remove every manner of temptation. Simply come to Christ. Know Him more. All you who are weary and burdened by the religiosity of the world and worldly religion that requires you to remove the sin from your own life (however the current worldly systems define sin), Christ offers rest. His yoke is easy and burden is light. In Him, there is liberty from the oppression of human unrighteousness and sin. You can’t do it yourself. You will only burn out on church and life if you try.

Leave a Reply