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I moved from Chicago to Seattle in September. A new city, a new place that I wasn’t familiar with, a bunch of people I didn’t know and a brand-new church. It was a little scary, but lets just say that if you want to build genuine relationships with people, you should confess your sins to them.

Being an intern at Mars Hill, they required me to go through a program called, “Redemption Groups.” Once a week, for eight weeks, I sat with a group of guys, we confessed our sins and worked through them. I remember thinking, “This isn’t something Christians do – Christians don’t actually tell each-other what they’ve been through or what they are struggling with!” I was surrounded by 10 Christian guys, sitting together, talking about struggling with porn, being sexually abused, abandoned by parents, struggling with homosexuality, or being addicted to drugs. It was amazing. For the first time in my life, I was able to open up and be perfectly honest about my personal struggles with porn.

Porn Culture

Porn saturates our world. The question is no longer if you’ll be exposed to it, but rather when you’ll be exposed to it. Consider the statistics: 90% of children ages 8-16 have viewed porn and 70% of men ages 18-34 visit a porn site in an typical month. Porn is no longer limited to men, but one in six woman struggle with porn addiction.

Pastor Tim Gaydos lists 7 lies of porn and in that article states,

This is not just a behavior issue—it’s a worship issue. We’ve bought into the lies regarding porn, we’ve bowed down at the altars of our computer, and we’ve worshiped created things, thinking they will bring us what we need. But really, it’s stealing, killing, and destroying lives (John 10:10).”

The core problem of porn is sin. In each momentary struggle, we have the choice to worship ourselves or worship God. The place that people must go to if they expect freedom from porn, is the foot of the cross where they will realize just how much their sin weighs. It’s hard to look at this epidemic without great discouragement, but we know that even as people are addicted and enslaved, the good news of the Gospel, through the work of Jesus Christ, is ready to free them from bondage.

Christ Breaks the Bonds of Slavery

Behavior modification doesn’t work. At some point, not using your computer at night, taking a cold shower before bed and getting rid of cable, breaks down into our morality conquering our sin and that’s where we fail. It doesn’t work. What, “works” is Jesus:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” -Isaiah 61:1

“To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” -Isaiah 42:7

“Saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture.” -Isaiah 49:9

Through the work of the cross, we find that freedom. Something that has already been accomplished for you. The jail doors are open, there are no guards, the identity of a prisoner is now only a mental restraint that we must bring to the cross.

Christ Forgives Sin: Past, Present & Future

The Cross does two things to sinners: It shows them just how excruciatingly heavy their sin is, and then through the power of Christ’s death, dropkicks that sin right off their back.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9

“Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” -Titus 2:14

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” -Psalms 103:12

Christians cannot assume that this is a one time act, for it it is, we are doomed to failure. Just look at 19-Year-Old Isaac Newton’s List of Sins committed one Sunday:

Before Whitsunday: 1662: 1. Using the word (God) openly 2. Eating an apple at Thy house 3. Making a feather while on Thy day 4. Denying that I made it 5. Making a mousetrap on Thy day 6.Contriving of the chimes on Thy day 7. Squirting water on Thy day 8. Making pies on Sunday night…”

Newton lists over 45 sins that He considered Himself guilty of, including punching several people! I cannot help but think our lists would be much longer if it weren’t for Christ’s sacrifice and the Holy Spirit actively changing us.

Christ Redeems Sinful Pasts

The work of Christ not only cleanses sinners from their past, but also promises redemption of that past (Joel 2:25). We gain amazing strength when we grasp the reality what Christ did, who He is and what He is doing:

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. […] to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” -Isaiah 43:18-21

If Christ can redeem death with resurrection and sin with forgiveness, He can certainly work through the trash that we carry into our Christians lives.

Stop Trying to Stop Looking

Jake Johnson published an excellent article on How Jesus Overcame His Porn Problem. In it, he wrote,

If you’re struggling with porn, I encourage you to stop trying to just manage your sin and avoid temptation. Stop working in your own strength. Admit to yourself the severity of your sin and idolatry. Admit to those whom you love the darkness of your heart and sins, walking from now on in the light. And finally, trust in Christ Jesus as your righteousness and overcome evil by the faith you have placed in him—not in your own actions and righteousness.”

Christ died so you wouldn’t have to. Christ took your sin, shame, embarrassment, and darkness so you could walk in the light. Now trust in Him and be free.