It’s Time for the Purity Revolution
Sexual sin is destroying our culture, and our kids are getting the worst of it.
Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, has died at age 91. Now is as good time as any to reflect on what his life’s work helped usher in. And what we need to do to reverse it.
On October 12 and 13, 2015, the internet lit up with headlines:
- Playboy to stop publishing nude photos (USA Today)
- No more naked women in print Playboy (Business Insider)
- Playboy magazine abandons nudity (Telegraph, UK)
- Playboy magazine to stop publishing pictures of naked women (The Guardian)
After 62 years of featuring nudes, Playboy was no longer going to display pictures of naked women in its magazine. In a sense, this was not good news. As one supporter of nude photos explained, “We live in a world where all the world’s porn is like three mouse clicks away, and most of it is totally free. In a world like that, Playboy is redundant at best and embarrassing at worst.” And remember: It was a supporter of nude pictures who wrote this.
Readily Available Porn Is Ruining Our Kids
Today, the internet is awash with pornography. Most of it comes from the United States, the porn capital of the world. And it is affecting the most vulnerable members of our society — our daughters and sons. According to a major study conducted by the Barna Group in conjunction with the Josh McDowell Ministry:
- More than one quarter (27 percent) of adults ages 25-30 first viewed pornography before puberty.
- Nearly half of young people actively seek out porn monthly or more often
- 66 percent of teens and young adults have received a sexually explicit image and 41 percent have sent one
- More than half of Christian youth pastors have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with porn in the past 12 months
- 21 percent of youth pastors and 14 percent of pastors admit they currently struggle with using porn. About 12 percent of youth pastors and 5 percent of pastors say they are addicted to porn.
As kids and young people continue to view pornography, the negative effects continue to increase. One pastor told me that he knows men in their 20’s who need to use Viagra to have normal sexual relations. Constant exposure to pornography has made them unable to perform with their spouse or girlfriend. Another faith leader told me he has counseled young married couples who have a totally sexless relationship. They got burned out on sex in high school and college and they have now lost interest entirely.
The Bible Teaches Us How to Overcome Sexual Immorality
The Bible addresses this contemporary and yet age-old problem in three words: “Flee sexual immorality!” (1 Cor 6:18, NET) Yes, “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body” (1 Cor. 6:18, NLT). The Bible has rightly diagnosed the sickness, and the Bible has the cure. Here are four truths the Bible offers regarding sexual temptation, and how to overcome it:
1. Any of us can fall and none of us are invincible. This means that all of us must be vigilant. Sexual sin is like fire, and you don’t play with fire. As Solomon warned, “Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished” (Prov. 6:27-29, NLT).
2. You must deal with sexual sin ruthlessly. Don’t cut it back; cut it out. The One who loved us enough to die for us had this to say:
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matt. 5:27-30).
Jesus wasn’t telling us to amputate our hands or gouge out our eyes. He was using extreme language to show us the extreme danger of sexual sin. To repeat: we don’t cut it back, we cut it off.
3. Sin is never worth it in the end. It promises you everything and leaves you with nothing. It offers you freedom and leaves you with bondage. It guarantees you satisfaction and leaves you with insatiable desires.
4. If you want to be free, run from what is wrong and towards what is right, and don’t try to do it alone. This was Paul’s counsel to Timothy: “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).
Find other believers who share your heart, in your own congregation, at work, in your neighborhood or even online. Encourage one another and build each other up. Scripture teaches that “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise” (Prov. 13:20).
God’s Ways Work
The Bible makes clear that sex is something wonderful that God created for procreation and for enjoyment, but only in the context of marriage.
That’s why, on average, couples who live together before wedlock have less stable marriages than those who don’t live together before wedlock. And that’s why “a new study has found that women with between zero and one sexual partner are the least likely to divorce later on, with women who had 10 or more partners emerging as the most likely to see their marriages end, according to the Institute for Family Studies.”
Yes, God’s ways work!
As for young people reading this chapter saying, “I already slept with a few partners and I’m not yet married,” that is not the end of your story. If you’ll truly ask the Lord for forgiveness and abstain from having sex until you’re married, God’s blessing can overtake you and your spouse for life. You can be richly blessed!
The bad news is that sexual sin is destroying our culture. The good news is that there’s nothing stopping tens of millions of us who know the Lord from living godly lives. By adhering to His life-giving standards, we can have wonderful marriages and experience sexual fulfillment.
So, how about a brand new sexual revolution — a revolution of purity? Are you in? This is how America can rise again.
Adapted from Chapter 10, “From Playboy to Purity: Reversing the Sexual Revolution” of Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation.