You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. (Exodus 20:4-5a)
As many men do, I make a lot of my own stuff from scratch, like fishing lures and leather goods. I also enjoy whittling although I would never call myself a wood carver. I’ve seen some beautiful artwork carved from a hunk of tree, by both fine carving tools and hefty chainsaws. We all enjoy creating in these ways. We are, after all, created in the image of the Great Creator Himself and likewise have that divine characteristic of creativity.
Sometimes, though, our sin nature causes us to make a lot of stuff that God never intended for us to create, much less sell out to, like pornography. In every form – in print, on screen, on the phone, and as an inanimate object – it is the modern day version of carved images and idols made by hands of men.
Unlike crafts mentioned above which serve a useful or aesthetic purpose, pornography casts a dark and vulgar hue upon the excellently-created beauty of the human body. Pornography destroys the pureness and holiness of a monogamous, matrimonial, and wonderfully enjoyable sexual relationship between one man and one woman. The use of pornography in any way or any time is the same as bowing down to, and worshipping, unholy things made by sinful hands. Pornography is idolatry. God approximates this type of idol worship with hating Him (Exodus 20:5b).
The good news is – actually, it’s rather great news – God loves His children who are caught up in the porn battle, and He loves them regardless of how low and hard they’ve fallen. His forgiveness of porn-sin is already there, as it is for all sin. The Father is faithful to show mercy to those who love Him and keep His commands (Exodus 20:6). The Father is faithful to forgive the man or boy who confesses his sins – porn sin or any other kind of sin (I John 1:9). How many times? Well, let’s just say that you can’t count that high.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” This means that Jesus is the only One, not just number one. That’s our test. Do we say, “I’ll worship Jesus on Sunday and use porn on Monday.”? Maybe not so much in those words but that’s what Jesus means in this verse, and that’s what I mean by saying He is the only One, not just number one.
And it’s not just a test, it’s a war: the flesh against the spirit. It will always be so until we land in heaven. Porn is a serious affliction for brothers in Christ, but still, it is one of the battlefields that fell when Jesus died on the cross. Porn is a hard habit to break for brothers in Christ but it is one of the sins that was utterly defeated when the Father brought His Son back to life. In other words, porn is dead because Jesus lives!
So the commandment to not make a carved image, or any likeness of anything created by God, applies today as it pertains to pornography. God created the human body and it should not be idolized in an immoral way. The human body is to be respected and honored as a “very good” creation of God (Genesis 1:31).
It is a sin to look at this any other way, especially looking with lust, or with a propensity to use images of the human body – naked or not – to fulfill sinful thoughts or occasions to sin. As God said, we are not to bow down nor serve anything made as a likeness of something He created.
The conclusion is simple: It is a sin to idolize the human body in picture or any other man-made way. This second of the 10 Commandments might be the strongest Biblical argument against pornography.
Copyright © 2015, by Don Hamlin. All rights reserved.
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