Monday, April 26, 2010

Pornography and Other Addictions

Today as I read a post entitled Did Porn Cause the Financial Crisis? at Cranach: The Blog of Veith, I was led to ponder anew the issue of pornography and other addictions.  I have been involved in discussions on this matter in the past, discussions that evolved into arguments.  My emphasis on the Gospel as freedom ran strongly counter to the Gospel as accountability propositions that certain others embraced and promoted enthusiastically and religiously.  My Gospel as freedom preaching was counted as not being realistic or genuinely helpful.

Pondering this matter further today, I came into a deeper understanding of the distinction.  The Gospel is freedom from sin.  The Lord Jesus says so.

Why then do we not believe Him?  Why do we fight against His clear preaching?

The answer is that we do not believe that He really has set us free.  We do not really believe in the efficacy of the means of grace.  We do not really believe in the power of God to save us and set us free.

If we want to be free, we need to hear the Truth.  We need to be carried away from the noise of the world and the noise of our own hearts and minds to the pure preaching of the Gospel of Christ crucified.  There we receive peace in place of our struggles and pardon in place of accountability.

We imagine that we must change our lives, our habits, our actions so as to make them saintly.  Because of this delusional thinking, we become enslaved to our efforts to improve ourselves.

The Gospel teaches us that the change in our lives, our habits, our actions is the outflow of having been made to be saints who live within the communion of the saints.  The Lord Jesus does not tell us to become perfect but to be perfect, even as our heavenly Father is perfect.  It is this Holy Communion of God, into which He baptizes us and within which He nurtures us, that we have been made to be saints who live in the righteousness of God’s Holy Communion.

God tells us, “This is what I have done for you.  This is who you now are in connection with Me.  I have made you to be holy.  Enjoy the life that I have given you.”

When we fail, God does not tell us to seek to be accountable for our actions.  Rather, He calls us back to our baptism, where He takes our accountability from us and purges us from all unrighteousness.  He imputes to us His righteousness as our very own and gives to us His own holy name.  He tells us that as He is, so are we, so that we may walk in the freedom of His goodness.

In Christ the struggle is overcome.  He has taken all of the struggles for us.  He speaks faith into existence in our hearts so that all that remains for us is to walk in the peace that this faith provides.  When this is our fixation, all other fixations become powerless.  His peace, His mercy, His goodness, His love fills us so that these other things are flooded out.

This is the way of the Gospel.

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