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Jesus Died for your Porn Addiction?

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Did Jesus Die For Your Porn Addiction?

Did Jesus die for a future you who has enjoyed years of sexual sobriety . . . or did he die for you at 2:23 a.m. in front of a computer screen clicking on picture after picture?

Ever hear the classic evangelism question, “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” If you’re reading this, you’ve likely responded to that crisis-inducing question and now, you trust Jesus. If not, today is a great day to meet Jesus and find freedom from your sin.

For those who have met Jesus, how’s life going for you? Maybe you thought you’d have a life of success, peace, happiness, and power over personal sin after you professed faith in Christ—but that’s not what has happened. The problem is, you still sin.

Your doing has flat run out. You’ve read all the statistics. You’re aware of the science behind brain pathways and addiction. In response, you’ve gotten an accountability partner, installed Internet-filtering software, and received counseling. You’ve confessed, cried, and repented more times than you can count. You’ve denounced your heart idols again and again, but it just doesn’t work. What else is there for you to do? When the biggest hurdle to a porn problem is your failure to do, you’re stuck with the identity of “Christian porn addict.”

Now, let’s look at the earlier evangelism question, but from a different vantage point:

“As a Christian, if you died tonight while looking at porn, would you go to heaven?”

Answering that is a little tougher, isn’t it? It might be because your “Do” and “Done” categories are flipped: You’ve spent a lot of energy on what you must do to be a better Christian. All the while, you forget what Jesus has already done.

Because did Jesus die for a future you, one who pays his taxes, irons his pants, skillfully leads a Community Group, and raises his hands really high during the worship service? Or did he die for you at 2:23 a.m. in front of a computer screen with your pants around your ankles?

Did Jesus die for your best efforts or your worst day?

You’ve been thinking all along that your problem is behavioral. You’ve wasted a lot of energy digging up and smashing idols. You’re preoccupied with your subjective doing. But in the process, you’ve begun living for an image of future sexual sobriety instead of honestly facing the reality of the moment and turning to Jesus. What if instead of living for an allusive, future successful Christian life, you honestly confessed to what’s happening right now?

Jesus didn’t die for a spiritually successful you. He died for the here and now 2-am-with-your-pants-down you.

Yes, you have a behavior problem. But the bigger issue is that you have an amnesia problem: you’ve forgotten who you are. Christ does not see you how you see yourself.

So, Christian, how does God really see you? Romans 6 says that in baptism you have been united with Christ in his death and your sin died with Christ on the cross 2,000 years ago. When God looks upon you, he doesn’t count your sin against you—he sees the perfect, moral record of his Son, Jesus, not your sin. You are forgiven and redeemed in Christ. You are God’s temple, you are a citizen of heaven, your life is hidden with Christ, and there’s nothing that can separate you from his love.

Growing in holiness certainly involves an obedient response. But the Christian life isn’t just about God barking orders from on high. We’re not simply told that we have to be dutifully obedient, “or else.” Rather, we get to be obedient as our hearts and minds change by the grace of God. One has to do with duty, and the other with changed desires. But we often give our do-more-try-harder efforts more airtime than we do the objective, finished work of Jesus on our behalf. If that’s true of you, learn to see your sanctification as a sort of self-forgetfulness and receive the objective reality of what Jesus has already done. Sanctification is getting used to your justification. In Christ, you’re now free to live a life of worshipful response to his atoning for you on the cross.

Yes, there is sin in your life, but don’t forget who you are. You are not the “porn addict” but the beloved child of God—and nothing, nothing, nothing can change that.

Your identity is in Jesus, not your sin.

Remember that, and then be who you already are.

Matt Johnson is a pastor at Mars Hill Church Ballard and the publishing manager of Re:Lit.

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