It’s the oldest trick in the book, and you may just be falling for it.
Lure him to the dragon’s lair with glittering gold. Poison her through the pleasure of pretty fruit. Look good and lie; lead them with a gentle hand to their death.
This is why witches dress like grandmothers; why terrorists dress like tourists; why Satan dressed like a serpent, and still dresses up like an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Evil must wear a mask—always—because it’s ugly underneath, and if we saw the reality, we would be repulsed.
Evil makes promises, because its plans are wicked, and you wouldn’t buy into them in your right mind without the glimmer of something alluring.
But you may just be falling for the age-old trick. There’s an industry slimier than any other in human history. The Queen of this enterprise bats her eyes, offers you pleasure, and of course, says there’s no cost.
Oh, she’s good, real good. The fact that she’s enslaved so many little boys and old men, some professing Christians too, not to mention girls, is no surprise. She may be duping you with the same trick—to what end?
For your good? No.
So she can kill you? Yes.
A Warning About the Forbidden Woman
Don’t believe us? There’s an ancient poem within the wisest literature that warns against her—
And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death. (Proverbs 7:24-27 ESV)
Did you hear that? She turns your heart before your head, and when your feet finally follow, she will make sure you end up dead. She will consume the hard labor of your hands when she comes calling for the price she promised you didn’t have to pay. She will plow pain into your soul and sever your most precious relationships. She will deceive you, dupe you, and lead you to despair.
Her victims are many, a mighty throng. None who take her ways come out alive.
Oh, did we forget to mention her name?
In Greek it’s Pornea. This poem calls her “the forbidden woman,” “the adulteress,” “a woman dressed as a prostitute.” We’ve nicknamed her Porn, and her full name is Pornography.
Excuses for Porn
But everyone does it!
Yes, “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matthew 7:13 NIV).
Who am I hurting? It’s just me and the screen!—And God, don’t forget. After all, “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account” (Hebrews 4:13 ESV).
In truth, you’re aiding the abuse of a masterpiece of the Creator; you are experiencing the trauma, torture, and trafficking of one of his beloved image bearers. He doesn’t ever leave evil unpunished (Romans 12:9). You’re on God’s screen; and he doesn’t clear the history.
“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17 ESV)
Nobody knows. In all the scary movies, if the killer has you alone, that’s the best place for murders to happen.
Faithful Are the Wounds of a Friend
We have some hurtful but hopeful news. If you’re looking at porn, you are self-deceived—just like all of humanity is—by the Evil One (Ephesians 2:1-2), and walking straight into your death. And no, we’re not being dramatic.
Death, yes, that is what the Scriptures are saying. Why? Because the most precious thing you have is your soul and there is one who seeks its destruction, and that is what Pornea is after. Deceiving us into death with sweet lies has been the Enemy’s scheme since day one (Genesis 3).
An Ancient Warning
If you’re looking at porn, you’re walking into a trap. And as your friend, we are screaming to keep you from taking one step further. Our hearts are burning for you to drop that apple, step away from the gold.
Blaring warnings from the book of Proverbs smash every excuse for engaging in porn. Solomon was the wisest man to walk the face of the earth (1 Kings 3:12) and he writes to his sons about this foul foe—Lady Fornication, in all the forms she takes.
This is really God’s warning to all his sons and daughters. And because we consider you a friend, we want to share his Word with you. This is our heavenly Father’s loving warning to you today, a holy and faithful wound (Proverbs 27:6), a loving shepherd’s crook to keep you from the cliffs (Psalm 23:4).
The Precious Treasure of Sex
When God wrote the Bible, he had all of human history in mind. He knew porn would be part of our world. God gave us the Bible not because he hates sex, but because he made it, knows its power, and knows the harm that will come to us if we don’t live according to his design.
Sex is like fire. God created and designed it for our pleasure and blessing and provision–when used in its rightful place. We enjoy the glow of candles, the comfort of a fireplace, and the warmth of a campfire. But we know that fire is a dangerous thing when it has no boundaries. God warned us what it would be like if we let sex loose from his limits. We didn’t listen to him. Thus all around are the forest fires of relationships and our own souls continually burning (Proverbs 6:27).
The Effects of Pornography
The Bible is God’s Word, and we believe it’s he who really wants to talk to you about this subject. He talks straight to you and warns you from his Word—not merely out of anger, but out of passionate jealousy for your soul (James 4:5). Not because he hates you and thinks you’re a pervert, but because God designed you, you are his precious creation; he wants to warn you away from self-destruction.
He made you for himself, for your creature heart to be bound to him, your Creator, for your spirit to be made pure and holy and good like his—to increasingly hate all that is evil and be a lover, source, and agent of good in his world (Proverbs 14:27; Psalm 25:14; Ephesians 1:4).
So what does this ancient poem God gave us, from the wisest man on earth, tell us about Pornea? Here are three warnings, among others.
1. You’re Being Deceived
My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword. (Proverbs 5:1-4 ESV)
Pornea is a forbidden woman. She isn’t your wife or husband. She is any woman or man other than your spouse—whether in person or on a screen or in your mind. If you’re engaged in porn, you’re choosing the forbidden fruit.
God’s first warning here is not that he is out to destroy you, though that’s a real threat (1 Corinthians 6:9). It’s that if you go on choosing what he has forbidden, you’re out to destroy yourself.
God always forbids what would harm us and commands what will do us good. Pornea wants you to believe the lie that God forbids what will do you good.
You may want her and think her sweet; she waits for you to taste the bitterness, the destruction. The question is, whose word will you believe?
2. You’re Being Robbed Along the Way
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!” (Proverbs 5:8-12 ESV).
Pornea promises pleasure, right? Cheap sex. Costless highs.
Really? All along the way, out of your very own pocket, she promises to give, yet she takes, takes, and takes. This isn’t loose change either. As you think she’s embracing you, she humiliates you, stripping you of honor, integrity, and purity. She takes your very life away, mercilessly wasting your years in the muck and mire—throwing away precious time, precious relationships. She wants your strength, so you’re weakened everywhere but in her lair.
When you come to your senses, you will see what you have lost. Your very flesh and spirit will be spent. The warning here is that while pornography promises to enhance your life through pleasure, it is really stealing your life away.
Let me remind you that modern science has proven all that God has said here. Porn rewires your brain. It saps your sexual drive for real people–your real wife or husband whether you’re married yet or not. It numbs your mind to all the love, goodness, and pleasure of real relationships with real flesh and blood people. It curbs your willpower and saps your strength.
That’s the great scheme. You think you’re alone with your phone and in control of “harmless dabbling.” Pornea wants your best, and she will have it—your heart, your affection, your mind, your will, and in the end, your soul. Question is, will you let her have it?
3. You’re Walking into Your Death
Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it…
With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with her smooth talk she compels him.
All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast
till an arrow pierces its liver;
as a bird rushes into a snare;
he does not know that it will cost him his life.
(Proverbs 5:5-6; Proverbs 7:21-23 ESV)
You go, you sit, you click. And each click is a step down a spiritual labyrinth closer and closer to the realm of the dead.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signpost” (Screwtape Letters). See, Pornea does not want you to just invest in a wordly industry. Pornea is part of the kingdom of darkness, under the power of the Evil One. His goal is to use her to perpetuate your rebellion against God, until there’s no escape left.
Revelation 21:8 (ESV) warns that “the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
God made you. God made your body for your pleasure and joy to be used according to his perfect design within a one-man-plus-one-woman permanent till-death-do-us-part covenant relationship.
Since he made you and everyone else, God knows what’s best for what he has made. For you to abuse his good gifts and creation without remorse and repentance will result in his severe anger being poured on you for eternity.
In the eyes of the Almighty, you’re a criminal, if this is your habit (1 John 3:9). Like a good judge, he will bring you to justice. These are his girls you’re extracting pleasure from. These are his boys you’re abusing. Though you are not the slave you are watching on the screen, you are a slave to that screen, enslaved to your wicked heart, and on your way to hell.
But there is grace—grace for the deceived, grace for the self-destructive, grace for the sinner. Grace to escape the snare of the devil.
How to Escape Pornea’s Lair
You can only escape by desperate measures. And like any abuser, Pornea lies to you that she owns you and there’s no escape. Not true.
There Is a Rescuer
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24 ESV).
There’s a way out—but only one. A rescuer must let you out of her lair.
“I am the way,” the Deliverer says (John 14:6). There is a Rescuer, a Redeemer, and he stands at the door of your dungeon.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18 ESV)
Who is he, that he can free my soul from Pornea?
Freedom Is Possible
The Rescuer met Pornea face to face (Matthew 4). He, a man like us, was tempted in every way, yet never sinned, never stepped into the trap of the adulteress (Hebrews 4:15). He did something incredible. He called her out and he conquered sin and death on the cross.
In all his innocence, he died for crimes he did not commit. He died for the deceived hearts of many men and women on their way down to that lair. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV).
Christ suffered the punishment you deserve for the way you’ve rebelled against God. He paid your debt. He has come to rescue you!
But he could not remain dead, for he wasn’t just any man. He was the Son of God. And so “God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24 NIV).
Freedom is not earned, or bought. It is given. Christ has come, he has died, he has risen again, and he is offering you new life. He says to you today, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20 ESV). “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 ESV).
Will You Be Set Free?
Jesus is at your door, right now, even as you are reading this. He knocks. You have merely to call on his name for rescue.
Jesus came to open your eyes to your sin, so that you may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that you might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are made holy by believing in Jesus (Acts 26:17-18).
He will not only set you free from sin, but will take you to his own home in eternity one day, and God will be to you a Father now, and will adopt you as his son, purchased by the blood of his only perfect Son, Jesus Christ.
He will not only lead you out of pornography’s death-trap, he will live within you never to leave you to fight the battle with evil alone.
He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones. (Proverbs 2:7-8 NIV)
He will give you his Holy Spirit, who will begin to work in you by making you a new creation the moment you put your faith in Jesus. He can sow love where there was only selfish consumption. His Spirit can change your thieving heart that takes from others and turn it into a serving heart, one that longs to love and do good. His Spirit can reforge pathways in your brain, and give you a mind that dwells on all that’s true and good and beautiful (Romans 12:2). He shall make you a new man, or a new woman.
Open the door and let him in, friend. Then fall at the feet of Jesus. For “if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36 ESV).